It's Entirely Possible I'm Getting Dumber


Have you ever read old entries from a paper journal or blog? Gone back and read posts you put on a message board? Only to discover to your dismay that the you that you were then seems a lot smarter than the you that you are now?

That’s kind of depressing, isn’t it?

I mean, on the one hand, it’s always cool to look back at something you forgot you said, some really smart piece of advice or really funny bit of writing, or some amazing accomplishment, and go “Wow. I was pretty clever, wasn’t I?”

But inevitably, it’s followed by “What the heck happened to me? Because I barely feel smart enough to competently toast bread right now.”

Part of this is probably having a teen and a precocious 8 year old, who spend a lot of their free time pointing out how stupid you are.

Part of it is that the person I used to be had a confidence born partly from ignorance. I know things now I didn’t know then. Which, ironically, made me sound smarter then because my arguments were always remarkably clear. When you don’t even know about all the variables, it’s possible to make a simple, clear argument.

Then again, maybe there’s a point at which you have too much information to process. Where the deluge of data just paralyzes your ability to analyze a situation or properly prioritize and weigh the variables.

Maybe I wasn’t smarter five or ten or fifteen years ago. Maybe I was just playing a way simpler game of Life.

Or maybe I really am just simply getting dumber. Maybe I wore out my brain with overuse during the first 39 years, and now it’s like “Sorry, babe. I’m done. That’s all I got. You’re on your own from here on out.”

It’s times like this I’m grateful for technology. I refer to my Windows Phone as my “outboard brain” and I’m pretty sure without it, I’d be even more scattered, smothered and covered than an order of Waffle House hash browns.

I’m grateful to have those tools. I’m just a little resentful that I need them.


  1. Kat French

    I suspect you’re right, Mark.

    There’s always (D) All of the Above.

    P.S. How’s that fiction writing going?

  2. Kat French

    David – I left off alcohol in my own list of usual suspects, but there’s that, too. I just keeping having those unfortunate “Need. more. brain.” moments lately. It’s sad, really.

  3. Lorraine

    “When you don’t even know about all the variables, it’s possible to make a simple, clear argument.”

    Yep. Truth.

  4. Lorraine

    Also truth: You’re still one of the most insightful and clever people I know.

  5. Kat French

    Lorraine – 3rd truth: You’re one of the sweetest and most encouraging people I know. 🙂 Thanks.


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