Well, that certainly explains a lot.
In a recent study at the Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, results revealed the IQs of children tend to be akin to their mothers.
Sorry, dads. You still excel at huntin’ and road rage, but evidently, intelligence is inherited from the X chromosome, of which women have two and you only have one. But no worries, you can always buy a Corvette and feel better.
Of course, researchers took into account education and socio-economic status as they annually surveyed youngsters aged from 14 to 22. Environment plays a large factor too as it is also believed the only 40-60% of intelligence is hereditary. All of which doomed me.
“Can you help me with my math homework?” I often wailed to my mother who was generally found standing in front of an easel, wondering if she had been right to paint the shadow of a haystack blue.
“Oh, heavens, no,” she would reply with a laugh. “I was hopeless at math at school. But I did learn to speak French fluently. Is there any French with your homework?”
“No,” I sighed. “No French fractions.”
Both my parents left school at 15 in England. There was very little talk of college in our household. One could go to a local institute of higher learning if one wanted, as long as it didn’t cost dearly, as one was to contribute to costs. My parents had to be informed what the SAT was. Their respective education was nearly entirely the liberal arts. My mother was fluent in French, my father, German, and both of them could quote Shakespeare, Byron and Keats. Bedtime stories were read to me from “The Wind in the Willows” and Dickens. The Magnavox stereo console would blast Wagner when my father was home weekend mornings and Mozart, when my mother had her choice.
But both of them were hopeless at math.
“Can you help me with my homework?” I bleated to my father one evening.
“Let me have a look,” he replied, sitting down and pleased that it was division, took my pencil and worked out the problem handily within a few moments. “There. Finished.”
“I can do that,” I remarked. “But we’re not allowed to do it that way anymore. We have to do it the ’new math’ way. Look,” I pushed my textbook toward him showing the example listed.
“Well, that’s bloody ridiculous,” he grunted. “And it makes no sense. Do it the other way and tell your teacher you got the right answer and that’s all the matters.”
I did. Triumphantly. I failed. And my mother had to take the phone call from my teacher as my father conveniently wasn’t home.
“No, I never said that,” I could hear her crisp, English accent as I hovered in the hallway. “That was her father. No, he isn’t home, he’s at his office. Yes, I realize it’s important that Pam improves her grades, but it’s not as if the child is going to go on to become an astrophysicist, is it? Can’t she just learn enough to go on to be a teacher or a secretary? Hello? Hello?”
My mother’s extra X chromosome exclusively gave me a love of art and literature. My home environment, the other factor in intelligence, gave me the defensiveness to argue a point, any point, regardless of whether I was right or wrong. Mostly wrong.
But it was the inability of mastering math that made me drop out of college and become a stand-up comic. And I think that was pretty smart.