Don't call yourself smart

The weird thing about the word "smart"

Only others can use the word "Smart" to describe you. They have to do it with their own will, in their own time. You can't force it.

The smarter you feel, the more you want to use it. As you perform great deeds, the closer it comes to your lips. But you know you can't use it, because the more you want to say it, the less it describes you.

And when you say it, you are no longer smart.

A quick story.

A karate student was taking the train home from class. It was a big day for him. On this day, he had received his black belt.

He sat in the crowded train looking down his arms and legs. Unlike the armed security guard standing in front of him, his arms were attached to his body and aroused no suspicion. His hands were strong and swift. His legs were hard and dangerous. He could beat up anyone.

Yet, the virtue of being a karateka, and a black belt, was the control one can assert on himself. "Never fight, " his Sensei often repeated. "You learn to fight so you never have to fight."

At the next stop, the passenger on his right stepped out, the security guard took his place. The security guard was a large man with a belly too round to assure anyone's security. When he breathed it sounded like he was snoring. It was a struggle living in this body. The whole seat creaked in protest when the man put his weight on it.

"I could beat him up before he even realizes what is happening" the karateka thought. The security guard only smiled at him before returning to his loud, irritating, obese breathing.

The student started imagining scenarios where this fat man would start a fight, and he would save the day. Sometimes it was a strategically placed punch right in the belly. Other times it was a front kick on the chin. Or the combo kicks and punches that would end with a flying kick right in the middle of the face.

"Never fight" he heard Sensei say in his head. "You learn to fight so you never have to fight." But Sensei never said he couldn't fantasize about it. So he closed his eyes and savored his imaginary victory.

The train stopped and the door opened once more. Right before it closed he heard a startling clang in the next car. A drunk man had entered the train.

He was ragged, dirty, and stunk. It was clearly a homeless man. As if his appearance and smell were not attention enough, the man made sure to be as loud as he could. He bumped into people and yelled incoherently. He was foul and had eyes red like a nightmare. He looked evil. It was only a matter of time until he was going to start a fight.

The student smiled. This was an opportunity. Clearly even Sensei would approve to bringing order in this disturbance. This was an adversary, like in those imaginary scenarios he was dreaming only a moment ago.

"I will take my time and beat him up slowly and thoroughly. I will give him the attention he deserves."

As if the ragged man had heard his thought, he started heading in their direction. He stumbled left and right, drunk, yelling at people, disturbing the peace. The smile grew wider on the student's face. He started cracking his fingers, stretching his neck, picturing the defeated homeless man on the floor.

The homeless man, continued straight ahead, determined, and absent minded. Though his eyes remained evil.

He was only a few steps away now, his smell intense and nauseating. The karateka got on his feet in a single bound. The security guard appeared standing right between them, facing the turbulent man. He placed a hand on the homeless man's shoulder.

"Hey, sit down right here." The fat man said in an easy and caring voice. The homeless man obeyed like it was a fatherly order.

"I know you had something to drink, but when was the last time you ate?"

"I... I don't know" the ragged man mumbled. Though the evil had vanished from his eyes.

"There's this barbecue joint right by my stop. Man, it's so good you won't believe it. I tell Carla, 'your food is going to kill me' and she says 'you want seconds?' " and he laughed. The homeless man laughed with missing teeth.

"I mean look at me. Another plate of ribs and a side of corn bread and I'll invite you to my funeral. I hope they serve ribs" they both laughed again.

The student was standing. He was in half a fighting stance and half confused. He was ready to destroy this man. Annihilate him. Scrape him off the face of Earth. Beat him silly. But all he could see was a fat man who had made a new friend.

The train stopped and the two friends exited. They probably shared a fantastic meal after.

The student was left standing. He thought about the black belt in his backpack. That silly thing. He had thought he was strong because he was swift, light on his legs, and could beat up anyone. But instead, he had met a stronger adversary. One that fought the real fight, yet he was a meal away from a heart attack.

The security guard showed strength not by drawing the gun he had holstered, which is more powerful than any punch, but by giving a hand to those who need it most.


Hp :

It's a good lesson. The best way to win an argument, according to Dale Carnegie, is to never have one!

Let's hear your thoughts

For my eyes only