Last night, I joined some girls on my floor and a women’s fraternity on a outing to a place called Pumpkin Works. Pumpkin Works is a plaze with various mazes (and other things like hayrides, methinks). Their star attraction is a 6-acre maze, cut from a corn field, in differnet shapes each year. So you go at night, with some buddies and a flashnight, and try to make your way through the maze. Similarly, there’s a maze in which you weave your way through extremely claustrophobia-inducing walkways of hay with low ceilings, interspersed with short bits of crawling and the like. They have other stuff, too, but those are the only two I got to see.
Now, all of this would have been fun and fine and dandy (and the corn maze was) if I hadn’t fallen while running earlier that day. Now, if that doesn’t sound silly, I don’t know what does. I tripped over my own damn shoelaces (I went and bought shorter ones today) and went sprawling, banging up both knees, an elbow, and a palm. Big, ugly bruises and a little blood, but no apparent serious damage to the knees, as I was able to walk the remaining third of a mile back home with naught but a slight limp. If I had managed to redo damage to my right knee, I probably would have just sat there in the road and cried and not gotten up. And thank goodness no one else came along the road while I was getting myself up off the asphalt and assessing damage. Talk about embarrassing.
So back to the mazes. The claustrophobia maze involved itty-bitty bits of crawling to move between passages. Now, when my knees don’t want to bend to let me sit down, or, once sitting, straighten to let me get up and walk, crawling any distance is simply out of the question. And when scabs haven’t even formed on the elbow and palm abrasions, sliding around in hay isn’t a good idea either. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I just wanted to get off campus a little. I felt pretty bad about having to back all the way out of that maze after already forcing myself through one crawling experience that left me in tears–everyone did that annoying “I’ll go back with you” and “No, you aren’t ruining my fun by asking for one of our three flashlights to go back” bit. (They meant well, though.) I’m such a sissy when it comes to pain. Or a CSSE (hold your mouse over the acronym to see what it stands for). But how sthoopid is the explanation, “I fell while I was running today”?? Geez.
So tonight I’m enjoying having the entire building to myself while everyone, even the most socially recluse, are out hitting the Halloween parties. I’m just playing loud music and reading The Bell Curve for my Rhetoric of Science class. Grr. I haven’t read much yet, but my instinctive, defensive reaction to a theory that essentially says that, along with kinky hair, dark skin, and wide hips, you get less intelligence with being black is to wonder why, of all the possible interpretations of low test scores for blacks that are possible, they chose that one. A girl in my class actually said to me, “Well, you know, if it’s true, you can feel cool about being that much higher on the relative scale of intelligence than we are.”
There are no words for my response to this. How fucking petty does she think I am? It’s not from my cutthroat tendencies in my desire to succeed–I haven’t shown any of those, and I doubt I will (It hasn’t been necessary… Yet. Muah-ha-ha). I jest. Even I have standards. But how fucking petty is she?! And… and… who the fuck would even think, “Oh, I’m glad my race is less smart than other races, because that means I’m just that much smarter for getting where I am”??? Augh! And does she put merit into such an idea, or is she simply more open-minded than I am right now? If anyone had asked me what my IQ is, I probably would have just left the class, plain and simple. Well, I might have tried to get in a parting shot, but I also would have left and enjoyed the break before my next class.
I hate to go into a book so close-minded already, but I don’t think I can get over my instinctual reaction to that idea. I’ll still read the book, of course, and write the essay. The idea of American (or Western society, I suppose, although they focus on America) being divided by intelligence, rather than money (or rather, divided by money as a result of intelligence) or race (again indirectly) is a new one to me, although it makes sense in terms of the jobs that pay the most money (or rather, the intelligence we associate with such jobs). Herrnstein and Murray use some sneaky rhetorical techniques to get their points across, though.
One slightly funny aspect of this is my prof trying to explain to the class the controversy that sprang up around this book. I am one of the most out-spoken people in the class (yes, one of those three or four who dominate discussions), and the whole time he’s talking, my prof is sort of glancing at me out of the corner of his eye, as though waiting on me to make a face or an outburst or something. I limited myself to making faces, clearly visible from the front row, although I opened my mouth once or twice only to shut it when nothing coherent would come out.
[Edited for clarity]