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Ann Arbor’s Smartest

20 Apr

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I was always attracted to intelligent, semitic-looking guys. They didn’t have to be particularly handsome; just super smart. (And if any old boyfriends happen to be reading this–you’re gorgeous; I am definitely not talking about you.) Nothing turned me on more than a cerebral, dark-featured guy with a pair of eyeglasses. Thankfully, the University of Michigan admitted tons of them.

One day, in a class that focused solely on Chaucer, a boy who I never noticed, raised his hand and interpreted an Old English phrase with alarming ease. He was no looker but my goodness, he was bright. At some point, I won his attention and we went on a date.

After dinner, he walked me back to my sorority house. It was a chilly, clear night, even for hormonal 19 year olds.

“Lisa, I truly believe that I am the smartest person in the whole school.”

He leaned in for a kiss. I was intrigued. Not by him. But by his admission.

“Wait. Undergrad or the whole school?

“The whole school.”

He leaned in again. I backed away. I was not personally offended that he thought himself brighter than me. Frankly, I was happy merely to gain entrance to the University of Michigan, my #2 choice (#1 choice Northwestern can suck it). Rather, I was floored by his swagger.

“There’s 30,000 people here. You think you’re smarter than all 30,000 people? The Med School students? The Law School is in the top 5 in the country.”

“Yes, I have no doubt that I am the smartest person here. I am taking Russian just to read Dostoevsky in its natural print. Are you free tomorrow night?”

I wasn’t free. I was turned off. The fact that I later learned he had to routinely have a fraternity brother shave his neck didn’t help either.

We didn’t go out again although he did stalk me for three years, even once professing that he was in love with me. He couldn’t have been that smart because I told him many times that I was not interested. Senior year he refused to talk to me altogether and that was okay too.

After all, it was only one date and there were approximately 15,000 other less intelligent women to court.

After college I learned he only graduated cum laude. And hey, so did I.

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Deductions

17 Apr

My brother and I took my mom out for lunch for her birthday. Somewhere between blowing out the candle and asking for the check, my brother excused himself to use the bathroom.  My mom whirled around, seizing the opportunity made available by his convenient need to empty his bladder:

“Lisa, we have to find him a wife. He’s getting KILLED on taxes. No dependents.”

I can’t tell you why he’s still single. He is downright adorable. He’s sweet, kind, charming. He’s hilarious too. We laugh at all the same things (some of which are terrible, leading to uncomfortable public situations). We still have that connection we did as children: we will zero in on the same thing and laugh uncontrollably — typically the kind that produces no sound but does cause endless tears, heaving shoulders, and sore abs. For a period of time after that, we can no longer look at each other without breaking into hysterics. Often this can last anywhere from 1 week to 3 decades.  We are ageless.

More important, I have finally forgiven him for not being a girl. I desperately wanted a sister. He seems to bear no scars for all the times I dressed him in a raincoat, put his hair in pigtails, and called him “Joan.”

“You’re threatening his masculinity!” My mother would shout. That didn’t stop me. If he wanted to play with me and my friends, he was going to be the little sister. Or the dog. That worked too.

He also doesn’t seem to hold against me the countless times I told him things tasted like watermelon because I knew he would eat them.

“Here! Try this chicken gizzard. It tastes just like watermelon! It’s delicious.” And then I would hold my breath and wait. He did not disappoint, reaction-wise, although the chicken gizzard was the last time he took that bait.

He was a great brother, still is. I don’t know many who could have survived having me for a sister. We hail from a colorful family of strong personalities and thankfully, he is one of them. If he was just some dopey wallflower, for instance, he never would have let my mom and me create the now defunct “pleasemarrymyson.com” in 2010. Although he was definitely mortified.

Perhaps he’s single because I was just too much to handle. Or perhaps he’s single because he’s looking for someone like his sister to laugh with until tears roll down his cheeks and his stomach aches. Who isn’t?

Regardless, my mom has entrusted me with this mission.

“So, Mom, you’re saying you want him to get married just so he can give less money to the government?”

“Yes. That’s what I’m saying.”

And then we laughed. ‘Til we cried. Because she’s pretty funny too.

**If you don’t hear from me within a week, call the cops because my brother killed me for publishing this post.