My daughter calls me Super Genius, but not in a good way. She doesn’t mean Fruit Loops with marshmallows genius (If you haven’t tried this perfect breakfast cereal, stop denying yourself). When she calls me Super Genius, the words are accompanied by a smirk and an eye roll. She means Wile E. Coyote Super Genius. . . and I’m okay with that. She even bought me this nifty shirt.
I earned this designation by sharing all the trivia stuck in my head with my family at the dinner table. So this means we made a habit of sitting down and eating dinner together, and even (gasp) talked as a family during that time. So yeah, I tell too many “dad jokes” and spout off nonsense trivia, but it beats each of us burying our heads in our cell phones only coming up for air for a “pass the bread.”
Besides, Wile E. Coyote is one of my childhood heroes. That dude never gave up! Get blown up, fall off a cliff, get hit by a train—it didn’t matter, he always came back for more. That coyote had a goal, and he was determined to reach it no matter what. To be honest, I always cheered for Wile E. Coyote. He was the underdog (or would that be undercoyote?), and that roadrunner was a bit too arrogant for my taste.
So when my daughter calls me Super Genius, I just smile.
When the roadrunner finally slips up, I’ll be the one strapped to my Acme rocket ready to swoop in and finally reach my goal. Or, maybe it’s off the cliff again. Who can say, but you can’t stop trying.
My philosophy has always been that there are too many books out there to spend the time to re-read. I’ve only consciously made a couple of exceptions to this rule.
A few years ago I re-read Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. In my opinion, this is one of the classics of science fiction and it was one of the first books that I remember having an effect on my world view. In other words, it made me think. I probably read it in my early teens and I decided to read it again as an adult to see if it still elicited the same response. It is still a powerful book, if you grok Heinlein.
I have also read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius a few times, and will probably read it again. There are few books worth the time to read them repetitively, and this is the one I choose. Marcus Aurelius was a roman emperor and a Stoic philosopher. This is a great combination as far as I’m concerned because I have always been interested in the Roman Empire, and I’m pretty much a Stoic by nature and inclination. If you are looking for words to live by, look no further than: He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.
These are the only two books I have purposefully read more than once, but the list grew by two more in the last year. The titles don’t really matter because it was more a result of my mind slipping with age than a conscious decision. So twice in the last year I found myself reading a book that I had read in the past. Maybe you’ve had that feeling a few chapters into a book where you realize you’ve read it before. What do you do? To quote Marcus Aurelius:
Whatever the universal nature assigns to any man at any time is for the good of that man at that time.
In other words, just go with it. I recognize that I have to accept this occasional slip as I get older. Also, a little flexibility in my book reading philosophy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have a feeling the universal nature is not done with me yet, so I might as well accept what comes next.
An exception to this rule, of course, is my own stories. We call them revisions, but it’s pretty much re-reading the story multiple times to find errors and make it better. Maybe if I call it re-writing it will make me feel better about it.