"Gifted" Children, and the Burden

Being flagged as "Gifted" was probably the biggest "fuck you" in my early childhood, leaving me an empty shell in my late middle age.

I was a smart kid. Like "off the charts" smart. In the 3rd grade, I was one of the "lucky" ones who was pulled from my normal classes for half the day, and put in this "mini-Montessori" program. At the time I liked it, as it was cool to be "special". I was able to free graze lessons, and learn what I wanted, when I wanted.

It was really like the classic Simpsons episode "Bart the Genius":

But it really did me no service for a variety of reasons (not unlike the experience of Bart in that classic episode:)

  • I was marked as "Different". When you are 7 years old, this is a big deal. The "Poindexter" comments hurt, and I didn't realize how much that affected my psyche until much later
  • I came to believe that I was special. Later in life, in early career stops, I was shocked that this "special" really meant dick. It took me a long time to learn to keep my head down and go with the flow
  • While the opportunity to self direct my studies was great, the challenge was that it was only for a couple hours a day. I had to start and end my day in the ordinary classes, that seemed so "boring." A huge letdown. If I had been in a true Montessori academy, I wonder how my life would be different
  • My family rebelled at the process. My parents had divorced and my new stepfather was very abusive as well as distrustful of government programs, so I wasn't allowed to do any of the really cool things the program had to offer, as it required the family to fund some of the extracurriculars. I recall the one major disappointment as a whole section on rocketry, with a minimal co-payment, like $5 for the materials. Instead of participating, I had to sit out while the others got to build and play with the rockets. Man, that memory still hurts today

Today, I do an uninspiring job, thinking to myself how life might have been better. I no longer have aspirations, or goals beyond not getting fired, and not having to live in an old refrigerator box.

Oh well, shit happens and you move on.

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