The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The dumbest man in the world.

Recently, I wrote about the Samantha Schermanhorn and Kaylie George case of youthful stupidity. Some people thought I was being harsh on them or that I was picking on them – not so, I was merely using them as a specific example of a general phenomenon – people are just rather dumb, these days. Stupidity is not just reserved for the young –mature individuals are quite capable of it, too, as I will now reveal.

I once met an actor who was a tall, muscular body builder. He was enormous. He was a strong, aggressive, very confident man, who had a certain arrogance about him. He really believed in himself. He was an actor on the cusp of becoming famous – he was getting decent sized roles in popular TV series and was, at the time, working on an epic feature film. He would soon be known to the world. He already had a following in certain quarters.

Now he liked to boast. One of the things he boasted about was his Mensa membership. He would actually whip out his Mensa card at random moments in conversation, to prove his intellectual worth. It was quite funny, if a little sad. He would use his Mensa membership as a reference to support his side of an argument, as if to say, “I am bright…so I am right”.

His primary characteristics were size, strength and aggression – but he was fond of referring to himself as “one of the brightest people in the world”. I think he was rather overstating what Mensa membership connotes – since it takes the top 2 % and that is not very exclusive in terms of intelligence, at all.

Anyway, one day, he really gave me pause to doubt his intelligence.

Can you guess what he said that convinced me he was the dumbest man I had ever met? Think carefully.

Well, he began boasting, one day, of how he refused to wear a condom during relations with his HIV positive girlfriend. He considered one completely unnecessary and thought that he had no chance of catching HIV from her, during normal relations.

That really brought a silence to the room.

It seemed that he thought he was so big and tough that nothing so small and puny as a mere virus could harm him. It was quite a mad moment.

Now, I don’t know how long he had had this particular girlfriend – but it was immediately clear to me that this very tall man would have a very short life. He lived in a part of the world notorious for its HIV rates – and he refused to wear condoms. I have seen two estimates of the rate of transmission of infection if unprotected in heterosexual relations – one in three hundred and one in five hundred. If it is the latter, five hundred instances of unprotected relations – quite possible in say a year or so of a new relationship – would result in a two in three chance of infection. If it is the former, that same year would result in a much higher chance of infection.

So, for all his boasting about his intelligence, his actions prove otherwise. Here was a man dumb enough to think himself invincible, who daily put himself at risk of HIV in a pretty suicidal manner, with a girlfriend known to be HIV positive.

I won’t name him, since he is becoming famous. However, if you are the sort who consorts with film stars, be very careful of those who are tall and muscular – for one of them is very likely to be HIV positive. He will also refuse to wear a condom.

Now, reflecting upon his behaviour I see a comparison with the Samantha Schermanhorn and Kaylie George case. Both are instances of people doing things which have an inevitable outcome, given long enough. Both actions are certain to lead to death or injury if pursued for any length of time. Yet, in both cases, the participants seem unaware of the risks.

So Samantha Schermanhorn and Kaylie George are not alone, in their foolishness. Hollywood has its fair share too. Considering that the actor is at least three times older than the girls, it seems fair to consider him even dumber than them. I hereby propose him as the dumbest man in the world.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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