As much as public school curriculum might have you believe otherwise, simply knowing a lot of facts does not make one intelligent. Having a working understanding of the French Revolution or a passing knowledge of cellular construction (#Mitochondria #ThePowerhouseOfTheCell), while impressive, is about as indicative of a high IQ as one’s ability to run fast or dig a hole. There is certainly a level of mental fortitude required in being able to rapidly and accurately remember a lot of things, and in being able to dissect and analyze the facts that are populating your brain-space. But rarely is this level of mental alacrity ever required or expected in our day-to-day school, work, or personal lives. Yes, truly our lives and upbringings, while teaching us very little about property taxes or fixing a leaky faucet, have rigidly prepared us all to someday take home big bucks from a game of Jeopardy. Or more likely, bar trivia.
And while I do ultimately believe that modern American society is clearly just one big front run by NBC and a series of local tavern organizations to propagate trivia fodder for their respective mediums, that is a theory for another day. This post is more about what happens when someone breaks away from the miscellaneous facts and figures that, tied together with grey matter, comprise the modern human brain. Truly if one’s entire schooling career is nothing more than a decade-long game show, there are just certain pieces of information that they should know. The existence of protons and electrons, for example. Or the definition of a noun, verb, or pronoun. And, if one particularly antiquated social studies textbook from middle school is to be believed, the fact that all historical figures were white, European males, transposed into various cultures and geographies. So, what happens when someone is unaware of such basic underlying principles of the universe? How does one respond to or engage with such a person?
Again, in the name of humble pessimism, I will be the first to admit to my own shocking dearth of knowledge. I was very recently surprised to learn that flour had calories in it, and that my chocolate chip cookies were, therefore, far unhealthier than I had originally convinced myself they were. Additionally, I called manila folders “vanilla folders” as recently as 2019, and am still filled with a deep-seated sense of immense shame whenever I think back on this. Hell, I’m still not sure how a furnace works, and am generally confused at all times about what day of the week it is. However, I am able to temper my idiocy with two very important things: An almost crippling level of self-awareness, and the sense to Google a subject I am ignorant of before attempting to speak on it. Being acutely aware of the things you don’t know, being curious enough to learn about those things when the occasion arises, and having an intense fear of ever looking foolish in the eyes of complete strangers are usually enough to bypass any inherent ignorance you might have.
Which bring me to Sarah. For context, there were two prompts of interest on this particular Hinge profile. The first stated that “margaritas are trash” is her most controversial opinion; the second stated that Nachos are what she will always “Order for the table”. Which, taken together, I’m sure you all can agree is a stunning contradiction. How does one actually enjoy Mexican food without margaritas? How does one convince themselves to ignore the literal bag of chips, block of cheese, and various accoutrements they are eating without the persistent assistance of alcohol? Obviously, I had to comment and inquire into this. If there is a manner outside of alcohol to consume 2000 calories guilt free, I’m certainly all ears. I mean…I won’t *stop* drinking alcohol with the 2000 calories either way, but it’s nice to know I have options if I ever want to take a legitimate stab at self-improvement. But regardless, I commented, and *lo and behold* she replied.
And thus does our real narrative begin:
Now, there’s certainly a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with the (*Looks back through prior post on obnoxious and soul-crushing corporate jargon*) low-hanging fruit. First, it is mildly relieving (and in some ways, equally as disappointing) to see that she agrees with the general premise that alcohol must accompany nachos. Tequila, specifically. Which is in itself interesting. The only reason I would have ever assumed a distaste for margaritas would have been for the tequila, and the ubiquitous PTSD it’s caused in almost any individual who’s experienced bad decision making in college. But per the initial lines of her reply, this did not appear to be the case. She seemed to be as fond of tequila as a high school girl discovering Bacardi for the first time.
But clearly, the most jarring aspect of this comes in the last line of Sarah’s reply. For those of you who either grew up in a Mormon household, are under the age of 21, or have a Sarah-like dearth of alcohol knowledge, a margarita (excluding ice) consists of *exactly* three ingredients: Lime, tequila, and Orange Liqueur (Triple Sec). Lime. Tequila. Triple Sec. In fact, one might even be so inclined to call a margarita a “wild combo” of the three.
I certainly would have liked to educate Sarah in a kind and polite way. I’ve been told I have a Clint Eastwood like rough-and-tumble wisdom about me, with the general disposition of a well-behaved golden retriever. If given the time, I think I could have both salvaged the conversation and given Sarah a new outlook on the nature of Mexican-inspired cocktails. That being said, the moment I pointed out that those three ingredients do, in fact, comprise a margarita, she immediately unmatched me. Truly shame is a powerful motivator, and I will never begrudge her for scurrying away from the conversation, just as I will never apologize for posting about it on this blog.
Sarah, wherever you may be, I hope you find your way in this cold, alcohol-fueled world. I also hope you take a vacation to Mexico, and ask the bartender for a “Tequila with lime, and a *dash* of Triple Sec on the rocks please!” And if you do, please take a picture of the bartender’s face. I will add it as an addendum to this blog post.