It started in school, when I could do the homework during class while all the other kids were still learning the lesson, or in a pinch I could knock out a 3-week essay on the bus in the way in. Then it got worse, to where I'd turn stuff in late and use the extra credit to get back up to an A. In real life, the consequences are worse, of course.
The part about knocking out a 3-week essay on the bus hit me. I was actually worse! If the class that needed the assignment was in the morning, I'd knock the essay out in home room. If it was in the afternoon, I'd knock the essay out after lunch.
What's even scarier in my case, was I grew up in a poor environment, surrounded by violence and stupid shit. Any knowledge of schooling and intelligence will tell you that the entire IQ system was originally devised in France in the 1800s to spot underperforming poor kids! Yeah, they really fucking missed me. The elementary school I went to placed me in an enrichment program, when what I really needed were classes to deprogram the fucking mess that was the poverty I grew up around. How funny is that shit?
This is Exhibit A on why the system is fucked. The system is highly self-congratulatory. Lots of middle class assholes high-fiving each other for helping smart kids be smart. And the system completely skipped over the fact I was, at the base of it, a classic "at risk" student. No one sniffed that fact until I was in 11th grade and skipped two-thirds of the entire fucking school year and still passed. Whoopsies! Good work . . . dumbfucks.
I'm old enough now that I don't hold that against the system. A system always exists just to perpetuate itself and the interests and safety of its members. Look at Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal! The system did everything wrong from a moral standpoint. But, as a system, you certainly can't fault their success in protect their members!
That's the system for ya.
I never link to my fellow commie scum enough . . . so, for a further reading on the subject, I point you toward Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is one of the few bloggers I've ever read who has the first fucking clue about growing up poor in America.
When you don't have much exposure to the world the options you see for yourself tend to be limited--you can't really dream about that which you don't know exists.
In my case, I had a very encyclopedic sense that the world existed. I could tell you where everything on the fucking planet was. The problem for me was those places were distant abstractions. They had no anchor for me. No meaning. They were just trivia. Sure, I can still rock a night of watching Jeopardy out like a motherfucker, but that's all I got to show for it.
In truth, when I finally went to Europe, I was disappointed by everything except the Eiffel Tower, the whole area around L'Opera (apparently rich Parisians are my people -- go figure that shit) and the looseness of Scandinavian girls. I was surprised by just how limited and stupid life is in wealthy, urban Europe. Being a kid poor kid from Appalachia, it's easy to think there's gotta something smarter once you make it over the horizon, right? Well, there isn't. Truth be told, that discovery really ruined my adulthood.
My real weakness is that discovery consistently disappoints me. When you can learn everything, and nothing impresses you, life become a dreadful exercise in rote repetition. I've played at making money and figured it out. I've played at getting laid and figured it out. I've played at getting in shape and figured it out. And nothing I have ever figured out has made me happy.
Eventually, you realize that life is just a series of pointless, rote exercises followed by more pointless, rote exercises. The only thing I can really say for it is that it has raised my appreciation for French cinema. Except, truth be told, I don't even find my sadness that fucking interesting. After all, showing an interest in it would just be one more pointless, rote fucking exercise.
The truth is, I'm an addict. I am addicted to the rush of learning new things. But, with each thing I acquire, it becomes harder to get the rush. Now that things come easy, there's no rush at all. There comes a point where all you can do is get out of bed, pay your bills and fuck the rest.