"Freakonomics Ruined My Life"
An e-mail from a reader named Eric Durchholz:
Too smart? Yes and it sucks. I am smarter than everyone I know. I hate it. I had to “come out” as smart recently because for years I dumbed myself down just to be able to communicate with people. I constantly quote books and blogs and podcasts to keep from sounding crazy. Between Freakonomics and the works of Malcolm Gladwell, my relationships have suffered from being smart because thanks to you I see the hidden side of everything. Most people don’t want to see or know the hidden side. The more I quote, the crazier I sound. Is this the downfall that Levitt touched on?
I moved to Chicago from Nashville to study improv and it broke my brain. I came to improv late in life and all those years of study and life experience are available for quick access at all times in my brain. Not only that, when I see things now, I see the hidden side automatically and it has made functioning in the world (of non-academia mind you) very difficult. I worked for big tobacco in promotions for years and we couldn’t promote smoking or cigarettes so I learned the value of the hidden side from the front lines.
Like when McDonald’s launched Fish McBites, I didn’t see the product. To me it said: “An excuse to come back to our restaurant and try a product we know you’ll hate but at least you’ll be in the store to smell a Big Mac because we know that’s what you want, anyway.”
And even if that is not true, it sucks because everyone I know is off to see the new Star Trek movie and I just think of things like that as business these days. So. … how do you learn to ignore the hidden side of everything and just get back to enjoying a nice Sprite without thinking of corn subsidies? How can I make new friends? Can you guys start a personals section?