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Sue's comment yesterday brought to mind my own mother's advice: Don't be smarter than the boys and don't win at games. If you do, you'll never get married and nobody will like you.

Each time I went to a new school, my mother met with the principal and the teacher and made sure my records with my IQ and my academic history were sealed from inquiry. And I myself asked my high school principal not to list my name on the honor roll.

All because I wanted to be liked. And I had been brought up to think the only way that was going to happen was if I were just like everybody else. If I didn't stand out. If I weren't smart. If I were the Least Common Denominator.

It was many years later that people around me told me two facts of life.

One, my intelligence shows on my face and in my words. Get used to it.

Two, people like me, just as I am, usually on sight. Accept it and them, just as we are.

It took years for the lessons to sink in and even now, even now, I downplay it and go (metaphorically speaking) "Aw shucks, podner, 'tweren't nuttin'" when complimented.

All so as not to give offense, not to frighten people or seem threatening. I guess brains and talent are fearsome weapons to be denigrated and denied, at all costs.

But you have to be who you are; there's no getting around it.

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