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Pretending to be Clever - How I Do It

Updated on November 17, 2010

I have always wanted to be clever, but have never wanted it enough to try to overcome my inherent laziness. I have always looked at intelligent people, scientists particularly, authors and playwrights, surgeons and airline pilots, and I have been jealous. I have always wished that I had been born with more brains, and a greater capacity for memorising facts. I cannot tell you how I envy someone with a photographic memory.

I also cannot tell you why big-brainedness seems so important to me. Intelligence has always just appealed to me as something to collect and desire more of. But I think our level of intelligence is probably a fairly constant thing. We can try brain training and mental exercises, but on the whole we'll always be just as clever as we are now - I don't think anyone can make themselves clever if they're not already. We can only add to the list of things we know. Feel free to disagree with me.

For this reason I know that I will never be as intelligent as I want to be. I have always fancied being a genius, but I do now realise it to be a truth that genius is something one is born with.

With this in mind, I realised the other day that I have probably always tried to put across an image of myself as a highly intelligent person. I doubt that anyone has ever really fallen for it, and quite rightly. Everyone is undoubtedly more intelligent than me, because they can see through my daft attempts to impress and appear to be of superior intelligence.

Some of the things I do to pretend to be clever:

  • mention that I went to a grammar school (whilst neglecting to mention that I did not get very good grades)
  • mention that I have a degree (whilst neglecting to mention that it was a poor classification of degree that I achieved, and in a relatively easy subject at that!)
  • telling people that I am a writer (whilst neglecting to mention that I have had nothing published, and have not even finished so much as a piece of flash fiction)
  • remembering how to construct a sentence. This is no great achievement since I have spoken this same language for almost thirty three years - anyone can be good at something if they've practised it for three decades. I have also practised procrastination for the same length of time, and I am ten times better at that than I am at constructing a sentence
  • using big words. I do this as often as possible, but I often get the word in the wrong context or use it completely inappropriately. Using big words when they're not really necessary is just showing off. And highly intelligent people, I find, use them sparingly. Small words will do just as nicely oftentimes.
  • raising one eyebrow and looking down my nose at people. This is something I am extremely ashamed of. I often don't realise that I am doing it, and I try to guard against it, but am still unsuccessful at times. It's a stupid thing to do, and proves that I am too judgemental. I have been wrong to do this many, many times. I have judged a person to be stupid, only to be proved wrong, and to discover that that person is much more intelligent than me. Thankfully, for me, I always keep my thoughts to myself, so no-one ever knows that I think they're stupid. My mother tells me that I have always looked down at people. If you have noticed me doing this to you, then please accept my apologies - it could be that I'm thinking of something else, and not even listening to you.
  • writing in public. I often do this, partly for the look of it, knowing full well that I write much more productively at home where I can concentrate properly. (I partly write outside the confines of my house because the lure of pastries and nice coffee are too powerful to resist.)

There are more points to this list, but I cannot bring them to mind, because I am not clever enough.
Being not quite as clever as I would like to be is something that I am coming to terms with. I am realising that it is not something that I can do anything about. And what is the point of unimaginable intelligence anyway, if one does nothing with it.
To conclude, I think that we should not take ourselves too seriously, and we should just try to make the most of the tools that we have. Intelligence is relative anyway, and is measured by more than just an IQ test. Common sense and social awareness are perhaps more important than IQ points, and these can be developed at any stage of life.


Related hub: The Importance of a Good Dictionary

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    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 6 years ago

      cool

      ...as to the hats, as you will read, especially in the more recent Posts, we will be glad to send you a (nearly) free Wakefield Doctrine hat (for your damn head) if you find that you are comfortable identifying which (of the three) hats should be sent.

      Let us know by email(through HP works) and arrangements shall be made.

      And don't forget the Right of Hat! Lots of the Continent left un-claimed! lol

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Hats, you say?? I'm coming. I'm coming to visit this very evening.

      As for the quotes: it depends on who's asking the question or making the exclamation; is it the person whose words are in the quotes, or the person who is quoting someone else's words, themselves speaking outside of the quotes? And of course, then, you've got to decide who gets the double quotes and who the single ones. Personally, I've always gone for single quotes initially, and double quotes for anything inside the singles. But I'm English, and a traditionalist, and a purist, and stubborn, and I have some quirks that might be called OCD traits.

      The Wakefield Doctrine, right, I'm on it.

      Linda.

    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 6 years ago

      I like it ( the word 'griefness' ), but then again, I totally admire people who have the (confidence) to make up a word and use it outloud, simply because (they) know that it expresses the thought better than anything else would.

      But then again, I slept through most of my English Composition classes back in my school days, fortunately I get a such a kick from writing and Commenting on these Hubs and Posts that I don't worry too much if I have the proper writing skills*

      Besides, we all know that when it comes to sounding intelligent and/or clever, it is not what you say as much as it is how you say it. yo

      Love to have you come by the Wakefield Doctrine blog (speaking of making stuff up!)! We talk about personality and self-development and, we have hats!

      Good calesthenical Hub

      *my favorite missing knowledge about writing and composition is whether or not the "quotes" go inside or outside the ! or ? or those other hand proto-icons

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Hello Clark. Thanks for this very interesting and thought-making comment.

      Yes, I believe you are right with trick #2, hanging out with the clever dudes - that way one will always be learning from people who test one's intellect and making-stuff-up skills (there will be a word for that, but I haven't learnt it yet).

      Certainly, please do, be as bold as you like. I do enjoy the odd bit of lah-di-dahing when it comes to chucking about a few olde words here and there. I like to make people believe I actually know what I'm talking about when I use words such as 'archaic' - I don't really know, because if you asked me to define the word I'd just go 'ooh, archaic huh? Well, it's err... well, it's... well...'

      Mental calisthenics eh? Now I could do with that kind of thing in a morning, because it tends to be my most productive time of day, in terms of mental output (whatever that means) - sadly though, it's also the time of day when I have the least amount of ... erm, time. I could do with finding a way of turning the day on its head so that my energy levels correspond with my periods of free time.

      I make up words too - I made one up today, and it was this: griefness. 'Oh my good griefness' is what I said. I'll admit it's not a very good one, but it illustrates the point that I do make up words.

      Linda.

    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 6 years ago

      very fun, excellent Hubation*

      So much of what you write makes sense, these Hub Pages appear to be magnets for talented/clever people people, which might be trick #2, find the clever people and hangout with them (being sure not to draw too much attention).

      If I may be so bold,** my thought for appearing clever is simply that if you can conceive of 'being clever' then you are! In my experience, a genius (something I wished I could be, think of how easy school would have been) tends to not reflect on their own geniosity, and most other people tend to shy away from those who appear clever, for fear of not looking as 'smart'.

      So, before I totally un-qualify myself let me say thanks for the challenging Hub! (I like to read these things first thing in the morning, sort of mental calisthenics).

      * trick #1 make up words and use them with confidence

      ** trick #3 do something odd in a social-custom sort of way, i.e. archaic language goes a long way

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      As long as the ruse is working sona, then carry on :D Obviously, you must actually be truly smart to be able to convince people so well! Probably, that's all that cleverness is: the ability to make people think you know something they don't.

      I'm off to out now, to read in a public place.

      Linda.

    • profile image

      sona 6 years ago

      Lady Wordsmith!!

      Now I doubt whether you know me or not, cause the same is with me. My education and practice didn't add my brains, and no matter what I do, I won't be as intelligent as I would like to be! I remained the same ....still dreaming to be smarter, still writing/reading outside to show off, still speaking about complicated things.The worst thing is that people I am surrounded with are convinced that I am a very smart girl! BUT I am not!!!!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Thanks Trish. Nice to meet you :)

      Linda.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      That was very entertaining :) :)

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Kimberly,

      Broadcast Advertising Producer, when you finished school at 13? Well, excuse me, but I think you're the inspiring one! That's a tremendous achievement. You are right, and I am taking that comment to heart - anything is possible. I'm ready to pursue my dreams, right now :)

      Thanks for the very warm comment, I truly appreciate it.

      Linda.

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

      Lady Wordsmith,

      Clever is what clever does? OK that wasn't clever but feel better as you had me fooled LOL

      Wanna feel better my last attendance in any form of education was the age of 13, I am now 44. I can not be a writer with no knowledge of our language, but I pride myself on being a messenger of sorts.

      Still pulled a 20+ year global career as a Broadcast Advertising Producer at 6 figures. I think anything is possible.

      I have been reading you, all joking aside, that's quite a brain, and with the humility you present as well in this hub, is inspiring!

      Thank you

      Kimberly

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Excellent Ann! That is exactly how it feels to me too. I think more people should put off going to university and put in a few years in the real world first - I think they'd find they'd get a better class of degree, and would actually be genuinely interested in their subject. Just a slight regret about not taking my Higher Education seriously that I'm voicing there, lol!

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment :)

      Linda.

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      i know what you mean, I went to the University of St Andrews as a mature student and kept thinking 'someone is going to find out I shouldn't be here' but they didn't and I graduated top of my class ahead of many public school students! Take that I said LOL

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      neeleshkulkarni, that's a great one!!! I will definitely have to try that very soon. I will be out for a meal with some friends in a couple of weeks - perhaps the effect will be all the more dramatic, since we will all be sitting around the same table. I will whip out my notebook, and when I asked I will say that I have just found that idea that I've been searching for, of how to move my novel on to the next chapter. I carry a notebook with me at all times for just such an effect! I rarely write anything in it unless someone is watching me :D

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to tell us your tip.

      Linda.

    • neeleshkulkarni profile image

      neeleshkulkarni 6 years ago from new delhi

      may i suggest a new one.

      i normally make a great impression when in the middle of a party when i find the attention is not on me i suddenly start looking round for something till someone asks me what i was looking for.I with a glazed eye tell them i must have a piece of paper immdtly and when i get one i rush to a corner and start scribling at it while the whole room watches fascinated.

      after looking into the air for a few seconds and then scribbling again with a blank look i then scribble finally with a flourish and quickly thrust the paper into my pocket and with a complete change of expression( as if i had just woken up)sheepishly look at everyone and say," dunno what happened but a poem suddenly occurred to me.i am soooo sorry i disturbed the party"

      most of the times they watch in awe and then gradually the party begins to get back to gear fully aware of the amazing talent in their midst.in the few cases they ask me to read out my poem i just smile at them and shaking my head say. never. never. never till i finalise the draft, it would be fair to the poem"and all the time i get away with it.

      if i want to add to the effect i say this happened to me on stage once when i was playing oedipus rex and jesuss i had such a tuff time staying in character!!!!1

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      I know, I can remember doing it. Do you still see me doing it now? I do! Isn't it terrible? What an awful trait to have; I'm so ashamed.

      Yes, I think I must get my cleverness from my dad, he is very clever (I say with a twinkle in my eye!)

      Thanks Mum :D

      Lx.

    • queenpoetica profile image

      queenpoetica 6 years ago from England

      You make me laugh! I laughed out loud when I read that you look down at your nose to people. I remember you doing this as a child, when you were a mere 5 years old - even less I think. You do have a lovely humour in your voice when you write, and a twinkle in your eye. You must get your cleverness from one of your parents (I say with a twinkle in my eye!)

    • imatellmuva profile image

      imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      Lady Wordsmith, an older friend of mine once said, "Keep smiling, and they'll never no the difference!" So...get your smile on!!!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      I'm only a bit clever, really. I'm not as clever as those people in the forums who say things that I don't even understand - I'll leave them to their mega-brainy debates! I bow to their braininess :)

      Linda.

    • MoneyCreator24 profile image

      MoneyCreator24 6 years ago

      You must be intelligent, to say that you are not.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Aha! I do my job well then, as I am sure I do not exceed you in intelligence at all! Thanks so much for the compliments though, greatly appreciated.

      Linda.

    • lindajot profile image

      lindajot 6 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      Another great hub - in my book, you are quite clever, and alas, you exceed my intelligence or at least do a nice job of pretending to be so. I enjoyed this!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      :) Fastfreta, it's true, I really am not as clever as I would like to be! But then, who is?

      My word, that is an excellent point Feline Prophet - I should play down the bit of intelligence that I do have, so that I can sleep more. Quite right! Thanks :)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 6 years ago

      Lazy people should never aspire to too much intelligence - people expect you to use it and really, wouldn't you just rather be napping instead? :)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      Very clever Lady Wordsmith! I loved it. Although you declare you're not clever, however you can fool all that take the time to read this, and I suspect your other hubs. I look forward to reading more, if for no other reason to put your theory to the test. See you later.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 7 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Lol bcat :) It's hilarious how we think we're so wise and grown up when we're in our teens.

    • bcatgray profile image

      bcatgray 7 years ago from United States of America

      Gosh, this brought back memories of Jr. high school and trying to pass as a college student at a college party! LOLOL

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image
      Author

      Linda Rawlinson 7 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Thank you. Yes, I think you are right. I think there's a quote about that - something about how being intelligent is knowing what it is that you don't know. But I can't remember it because I'm not clever enough!

      Tomorrow I am moving onto reading the hubs of all of my followers - I've been doing a 30-day blog challenge, which ended today. I'm very much looking forward to reading some hubs instead of writing them.

      Nice to meet you :)

    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 7 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Lady Wordsmith, Sometimes it can be clever enough just to know that you're not too clever!

      I liked the hub. Warm and humorous.

      Michael.