How to be an under-achiever without really trying: Ignorant by choice

Once in a while, I remember a letter that I wrote to myself in Grade 6. I was very worried that I did not know how to get older. I suppose, in many ways, I’ve always felt a few years behind the cool kids.

I think I’ve accomplished most of the things I outlined in this letter. I leave the house without asking for my mom’s permission, have sleepovers whenever I want, and have totally had a for real boyfriend. There’s just one line in that old thing that still haunts me to this day:

“When will I start watching the news? When will I stop watching Full House?”

I have tried to be aware of my surroundings, I really have. I’ve even joined a movement or two. I’m all about supporting the LGBTQIA community (see? I even used all the letters), but I sometimes wonder if it’s because they throw the best parties. I run a feminist web zine, but I just don’t feel quite as plugged-in as some of my more politically minded friends. After most get togethers, I’m left with a browser history that goes something like this:

Google search: Define socialism

Google search: Socialism for dummies

Youtube search: Ted talks on socialism

Youtube suggests: Jon Stewart

Youtube suggests: Melissa Joan Hart on Jon Stewart

Google search: When did Harvey find out Sabrina was a witch?

Youtube search: Sabrina the Teenage Witch Season 4 finale

I’m not uninterested in being informed. I wish I was. I think being straight forwardly ignorant or just plain dumb must be very relaxing. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t care about important things, but I’m too shallow for anything with small print to hold my interest. Remember that Fresh Prince episode where he can’t get past the sentence “welcome to the exciting world of chemistry”? I do. I watched it last night instead of being a productive member of society.

The thing is, I can become very passionate about an issue if it is something that was taught to me in a conversational tone. I’ve slowly started to admit being a little bit clueless, and have found that most of the time if I sheepishly pull a friend aside, they will explain what’s going on. Points if they can include a sandwich analogy at some point.

So here’s what I’m thinking: I can’t be alone in this. I’m sure there are a lot of people whose brains check out when they see a lot of big people words crammed into one paragraph. Documentaries are crazy popular on Netflix for a reason.

I’m never going to watch the news. It’s too big of a leap from wacky hijinks and talking cats, and that’s just not the world I want to live in. What I can do is enjoy any information that Morgan Spurlock presents to me. I might be learning something, but his mustache tricks me into thinking I’m having fun.

I haven’t ironed out all the kinks yet, but I’m thinking the pitch “Sesame Street for Adults” should get me a modest budget from most producers.

Melanie Dahling is a stand-up comedian, actor and freelance writer.