Too Smart for Your Own Good?
The Following Story is from the ArmaniTalks Newsletter
When I was in the 10th grade, I had a friend named Omar.
He was a strange fellow.
He was a black kid from Canada who was very quiet mixed with very hilarious.
There were 3 kids in my classes who would get in trouble a lot.
It was Jared, Kyle, and Omar.
With Jared and Kyle, you could expect it.
Those 2 were normally outspoken and loved attention.
But Omar in a conversation was SOOOO quiet.
He was a mute when you had him in a 1 on 1 setting.
So it was strange seeing him become a class clown.
He’d brazenly tell jokes and misbehave in front of the teachers.
It’s as though he had a split personality.
One day, I am chilling in a class where we got done early for the day.
I go to a computer and begin surfing the web.
Next to me, Omar is sitting with a CD player listening to music.
I asked Omar what he was listening to.
He quickly said:
I thought this was his way of avoiding a convo.
I go back to the computer.
He looks at me a bit disappointed that I didn’t follow up.
He began bopping his head like he was really enjoying this song.
After seeing him enjoy the music like that, I asked him again:
‘What are you listening to?’
He once again said, ‘myself.’
I was like:
‘Yea right! Are you a musician?’
I asked him if I could listen.
He seemed like he was waiting for me to ask him that.
He puts his headset around my ears.
Then I hear the song…
The song was of a guy rapping about Martin Luther King.
The lyrics were deep.
It had a great instrumental.
The more I heard the song, the more I felt like it could be Omar, but wasn’t sure.
Was this guy really a rapper?
‘This song is fire, but that’s definitely not you!!’
‘Yea, it is.’
I asked what his rap name was.
That’s definitely not him.
He told me he had a Myspace music page.
I said he probably got another rapper’s songs that he put on his page.
He was aggressively trying to convince me that he was a rapper.
I mean, was it is so outlandish to think he was telling the truth?
Thus far, Omar had been an enigma.
A mute who turns into a class clown when people are around.
What if he was actually a rapper?
I told him I’d believe him if he said my name in one of his songs.
I didn’t care if he roasted me or whatever.
But I had to hear my name, otherwise, he wasn’t Nameless.
I went home and told my brother about the incident.
It just so happened that my brother knew Omar’s brother.
Omar was in my class.
And Darren was in my brother’s class.
My brother told me that Omar being a rapper was not as weird as it sounded…
Because Darren was a rapper.
Now I was really mind blown.
Back then, this was big news.
There wasn’t Soundcloud, Spotify and all of that.
If you had a CD with songs, then you were considered talented.
Especially if you had the skill to back it up.
A week passes by.
Omar taps me on the shoulder.
He gives me a CD.
I go home with the CD.
I needed a CD player to play it.
My brother and I listen to the song together.
It was the same voice I heard in class that day.
The guy was insulting someone.
I heard a lot of lyrics.
But I didn’t hear my name….
The end of the song.
The rapper said:
‘What’s good Arman?’
Then he starts rhyming my name with a bunch of words that rhyme with Arman.
It was a machine gun of roasts.
Then the song ends.
I was amazed!
I soon became a huge Nameless fan and began telling the other kids in the class about his skills.
One day, I’m playing basketball at a park right by my school.
Omar and Darren come through.
Omar introduced me to his brother.
I meet Darren who seems like a more sociable version of Omar.
Once we are done playing, Darren told me he was supposed to meet Kanye West next week.
I didn’t know if he was lying or telling the truth.
But being a naïve teenager, I asked:
‘When you meet him, can you get me his autograph? I am a big fan of his music.’
I cringe thinking about asking that question.
If Darren’s meeting Kanye, I’m pretty sure it’s to advance his own career… not to get an autograph for someone he just met.
That’s when Darren says:
‘Ha, I think Kanye is overrated. He needs to….’
Darren began using these overly technical phrases.
He began convincing me why I shouldn’t like Kanye’s music.
One unheard of adjective followed by one unheard of noun.
All I heard was jibber jabber.
I was like:
This guy is too smart for his own good.
Here’s the thing.
Darren was smart.
He was musically gifted.
But to me…he’s someone who’s too smart for his own good.
When you’re too smart for your own good, you find it difficult to empathize with a beginner.
A few years ago, Martin Scorsese said that Avengers was technically not a film.
This was when Avengers was on FIRE.
It was setting unprecedented records.
When Scorsese made that comment, he was crucified.
But Scorsese stood by his comments.
I thought it was ridiculous to say that.
But after learning more about film, Scorsese was technically right.
Film is something that normally appeals to a narrow group of people because it was created with the intention of being art.
While the opposite of a film is something that is created with the intention of capturing a broad audience.
Did Scorsese have the technicalities right?
But was he also someone who was too smart for his own good?
In my opinion, yes.
‘What determines if someone is too smart for their own good?’
It’s when their advanced knowledge is being force-fed upon a beginner.
The beginner doesn’t know the crevices of the craft.
They just assess:
- Do I like it or not?
Maybe if I knew all the details about rap like Darren did, I’d be like:
‘Yes, Kanye is overrated.’
But I didn’t know the rap technicalities at that time.
Darren was unable to see that.
He only saw from his lens.
Being too smart is not a good thing.
Because the same knowledge that fueled you is the same knowledge that can blind you…
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