Could someone explain this to me?

This (see the comments here) isn’t the first time someone has said something like this about me (see also this and this post in which I believe I contributed some to his conclusion). I could name off a half dozen people that said something similar. I’m not saying I disagree with them. I just don’t get what it is I say or do that causes people to arrive at these conclusions after a brief encounter.

About the only thing I can think of that might have given them this idea was that I explained how easy it was to get a knife through airport security (Sebastian said, “I’m glad you are on our side” after I did this). But then Uncle explained how to get a gun through which is aย little more difficult but uses the same principles as I used in my knife example–so I’m not sure why I was singled out as an example.


11 thoughts on “Could someone explain this to me?

  1. Who doesn’t like hangin’ out with smart people? I got “C-lane’d” in Math in Jr. High and passed HS algebra with C+’s. About all I remember is our teacher had incredible, paint-peeling halitosis, and the last thing you wanted to do was raise a hand in question and gain closer attention. I failed pre-Calculus twice at UC Santa Cruz even without grades (sometimes those “evaluations” are more harshly accurate recommendations)- so my analytic skills derive from non-quantifiable source-materials like Literature, History, and other cultural analysis. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Well, I have heard that, in spite of any apparent shortcomings, the brain of the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal was larger, as a percentage of body mass, than that of Homo sapiens.

  3. Well, it’s been a couple of years since I went through O’Hare airport, but the last time I was there you could easily get almost anything past security. Just go to where the people enter the baggage claim area from the secured area. There are revolving doors that let people enter the baggage area. However, there is a gap of about 2-3″ under the revolving door. Set a gun down, slide it through under the revolving door to your comrade on the other side and away he goes. Even if there was no gap, you could just let the door push it through for you. As long as it wasn’t heavy enough to set off the sensor in the floor, the door would turn. If you weren’t worried about being seen on the cameras, you could hook even heavy objects to the top of the door and let it spin.

    Not sure how many other airports have similar weaknesses, but there are probably quite a few.

    If *I* can figure that one out, anyone can. I wasn’t even trying. I just noticed the big gap when I was walking through the door and the idea popped into my head. Granted, if you had to pass through another metal detector before boarding the plane, even this method wouldn’t do you much good.

    It’s all just a big show to entertain the masses into thinking all is well. I remember right after 9/11 when all the National Guard troops were stationed in the airports with their M-16s. Of course, if they were actually allowed to have ammunition in their rifles, it might have been more effective.

  4. Cause it shows, Joe. Your bright, articulate and knowledgeable. You are also easy going, warm and friendly by nature.

    Notice also, you get ragged by people that only know you in the slightest. People that are intimidated by smart folks often insult and demean them.

    People not so easily intimidated or impressed (like gunbloggers!) talk of what they see and are complimentary if it is a good thing. You, Joe, are a good thing.

    Now that I have reduced you to a “thing” I’ll just shut up and go back to ragging on MS ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Ride Fast, thanks. But what bugs me is I would like to know how to not appear “bright, articulate, and knowledgeable” if I so feel like it. Does that mean I just have to keep my mouth shut? Or do I have to make up stupid things to say? What is it that I’m doing to give the current impression? Are there specific examples (abstract stuff is sometimes tough for me) that I can use to make my own generalizations?

    The primary ways I identify someone that is smart is that they grasp concepts quickly even if I don’t express them clearly and that they come up with exceptions to rules or overly broad general statements.

    The primary ways I identify someone that is stupid is that they have to be told the same information repeatedly and/or nearly everything they says is wrong or at least partially wrong.

    Given that I know how I identify smart and stupid people I guess the problem boils down to how do others do this and how do I go about emulatating “normal” people? I was thinking I could just eliminate my “smart” behaviors but I’m not getting the feedback on what those behaviors are.

  6. Joe

    I get the same thing, and have the same puzzlement about it. Yeah, I’m pretty smart, but that and $4.50 gets me a Starbucks latte.

    What amazes me is how consistently the “scary smart” comment comes up. You’d think there would be more variation, but the “scary smart” phrasing comes up over and over again.

  7. I get the “scary” tag added when I start talking about airport security and the virtually wide open hundreds of types of targets all over our country. Guns and explosives will do it sometimes too.

  8. I’ve only had a few face-to-face interactions with you, Joe, but I think people are making this observation based on three of your characteristics that complement each other to provide the impression of authoritative intelligence:
    1) you speak quickly;
    2) your conversation is filled with facts;
    3) your delivery is confident, almost decisive. It doesn’t come across as arrogance, just that you know what you’re talking about, and you know that you know it. (If you don’t know something, in my experience, you have no hesitation in confidently saying so.)

    Because you speak quickly, it sounds to observers as though you’re marshaling your facts without hesitation –a sign of intelligence. Because you say things with confidence, it sounds authoritative.

    In short, you speak the way Chris Byrne writes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. *sigh*
    You smart guys…

    Let me break it down for you simply:

    Being smart is like having a set of huge boobs.

    Regarding the set: You can try to hide it, minimize it, deny it or camouflage it; but everyone still knows it is there, and they are in awe of it, want it and/or are jealous of it.

    Gosh, you wouldn’t think that would be that hard of a concept to grasp for the big-brained folk. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I must say, it was my pleasure once again Joe, and it was great to meet your wife this time, as well.
    A special lady.
    I can relate.

    And your 300 Win Mag is pretty sweet, too…

  10. I’ll have to think about how to “act normal” and maybe I’ll have something to share. I think that is a tough proposition, though. You do what you do and the intelligence behind it is obvious. This applys to “smart” people universally.

    We were talking Sunday night about Chris’ experience with the rent-a-cop that thought an unloaded, cased rifle was illegal to have in a hotel in Nevada (stupid is easier to spot).

    I said something like “Does anyone know what the guard said when Chris quoted the Nevada statute, section, paragraph and line which says otherwise?” And we all laughed. It’s funny because if Chris had done that, none of us would have been all that surprised.

    Therefore, Chris is “scary smart” because he has an excellent memory. Probably the result of genetics and extensive training, but none the less, people think good memory is “smart”.

    Joe, I heard that at the range when someone (Kevin?) decided to shoot the 950 yard target with your 300 Win Mag rifle, you pulled out your HP Scientific calculator and called up or calculated the ballistics and scope adjustment. Now, I call that smart. Because I always do that in wetware. I don’t know why that never occurred to me, but it didn’t.

    Therefore Joe is smart because he used a shortcut. See the pattern?

    At Genentech, I had a reputation of a smart person but someone to not argue with. I asked someone why and they told me “because you start out nuclear and then escalate”.

    Therefore, I am smart because I studied the issue.

    Tough problem not being yourself. Oh, and they just said I was scary. Not scary smart!

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