Reading about the National Spelling Bee this morning made me think about my own wasted childhood of underachieving sloth. OK, so I was a straight-A student and played the flute and was on the staff of the school newspaper, big deal. That could hardly get me into a state school these days.
I can't help but think they must be exhausted, these kids who must strive and strive in order to get into a good school. And what do they do then? What is it like after college for these wunderkids when it is no longer a matter of traveling from accomplishment to accomplishment, but a slow, steady stream of doing your best?
I suppose I was one of them, for the time, expected to go on to Great Things, and I certainly feel I have adjusted to the routine with a measure of contentment. But I still look at these bright young things and think, "Why are you working so hard?" Life seems to happen in the pauses and the steady forward movement, not the Accomplishments with a capital A.
I still remember with tremendous chagrin the pointed truth of the novel "All Is Vanity" when the narrator realizes at the end, "I thought I was brilliant, but I was merely smart." Oh, that is so true. There are so many of us out there who had been prompted into brilliance and I suspect will have to settle for smart in the end.