Book No. 17 – How I Became Stupid

4 Nov

“How I Became Stupid” by  Martin Page is the story of a man who thinks his intelligence hinders his happiness. He is so analytical, pensive, perceptive, and intelligent that it hurts too much to be aware of what goes on in the world. So, he thinks in order to be happy, to numb the pain, he needs to become stupid. First, he decides he wants to become an alcoholic in the hopes that alcohol will give him a temporary release from his pain. This does not work and he ends up in the hospital. So after that he decides he wants to commit suicide and he even goes to meetings in which people teach you the best techniques to kill yourself successfully. (Morbid, I know.) He just wanted to live, not to know the truth about life, but just to live! I think many of us can relate to that feeling although hopefully we don’t take it to the extremities that he does in the book. Often, I have wondered what life would be like if I did not feel anything. No pain, no sorrow, no heartbreak, no fear… And the truth is, if I couldn’t feel anything I wouldn’t truly be living. I’d just be floating around amongst the people like a ghost… and who wants that? Not me. Pain is just a reminder that we are alive. But, the man in this book felt a little differently about it. He wanted to lose his awareness and become ignorant of causes, truths & reality. It’s like that quote, “ignorance is bliss.” I know we all have those days where we just want to crawl under our covers and never come up or we just want to doze off into a permanent sleep, but in reality there is no way to escape LIFE. And being ignorant of things isn’t really bliss, it’s just avoiding reality. The character in this book was really intriguing to me because not very many people have the attitude that he does about life. Eventually, his doctor gave him anti depressants to numb the pain he felt and it worked. He didn’t want to be different anymore, he wanted a normal life, to blend in, to conform. So many of us have these same exact feelings. We feel like we are different than everyone else, walking through life constantly being misunderstood or misjudged. I remember when I started taking medication for depression, anxiety and my insomnia one of my good friends said, “Taylor, don’t take them! Once you start you wont be YOU anymore.” And he was kind of right, in a sense anyways. I was numbed to what I was going through and still refused to talk about it with anyone. How can you heal when you pretend like nothing is wrong? You can’t. There are so many ways to numb reality and anti depressants are just one of the many things people use to fall into oblivion. Alcoholics, drug addicts, binge eaters, cutters, anorexics – they’re all just trying to numb the pain, erase the insecurities, and avoid the issues that are too agonizing to face. A good friend of mine is heavily immersed in the drug scene and the weird thing is that this friend of mine grew up with two loving parents, in a good neighborhood, and in a financially secure household. And yet, here he is using drugs so that he doesn’t have to feel anything. As humans, we are constantly looking for some sort of escape. Escape from work, from our responsibilities, from our bitchy boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives, escape from our past, our mistakes and an escape from our unsatisfying lives. In high school, just like most teenage girls, I dealt with my fair share of drama. As a release from it all, I would turn to alcohol. Every single time. It was my means of escaping, of forgetting everything going on in my life just for one night. And it was worth it, or so I thought. I am happy to say I have grown out of that stage and have found much healthier ways of coping with day to day stresses and set backs. But, nevertheless, I understand the urge to want to drink yourself into a hole of nothingness! What I have learned in the past 2 years or so is that, all of these things we do to try and numb the pain… they only offer a temporary release, a temporary getaway from your problems. A temporary release is not worth it. You have to feel in life. You have to feel the good and the bad. You have to feel everything. Otherwise, you aren’t really living, you’re simply existing. So, don’t become stupid like the man in this book. Don’t deal with your problems in unhealthy ways and allow yourself feel things, it will only make you stronger!


Taylor Jordan


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