I have long been fascinated with the word, or rather the concept of, “adept.” It is defined as someone who is highly skilled at or proficient in something. Long ago I read a series of books by Piers Anthony called “Apprentice Adept;” overall they were weird and only slightly enjoyable, unlike many of his others which I have loved. However, from this series I learned the term “juxtaposition” and also really became acquainted with the concept of the oxymoron.
Of course an oxymoron is something comprised of two seemingly opposite terms; such as “bittersweet” or “girly man” or “controlled chaos” (and a personal favorite: “military intelligence.”) And juxtaposition is a similar concept; putting two vastly different things in near proximity to each other or in identical space. For some reason, the very idea of opposites coming together and working to create something new has always intrigued me….perhaps because somehow that is how I have always functioned on some level.
I have always had this ability to do most of whatever I set out to do, and usually do it fairly well; even if I’ve never done it before. That isn’t bragging or boasting, just an explanation. There are definitely exceptions of course….I’m not particularly athletic, so I can’t ever expect to hit a grand slam and I can’t sing; I’m not claiming to be any sort of prodigy. I have, however, accomplished a myriad of things both mundane and unique for a myriad of reasons; everything from building a forge so I could make a sword to training a goat to respond to a whistle, and of course all of my self-taught computer-related skills that I have since built a successful career out of.
There is the “Accidental” part here though. I am NOT a good student, at least not in the long term. Oh, I am respectful to teachers, I learn what I am there to learn and I am an amazing test taker. But I always lose interest in attending classes quickly and generally want to learn something else. I despise reading text books, they simply do not present information in ways that interest me and that I can learn from. Instead of giving me a book about chemistry, give me a hundred bottles of chemicals and a Bunsen burner….I’ll learn everything I will need to know about chemistry. Yeah, there will probably be some accidents, but so long as my accident prone brother isn’t in the room, nobody will get hurt.
That’s the thing….I just tend to pick up what I need to know as I go. I seriously think I learn through osmosis. Seriously though, I accomplish things because 99% of tasks can be completed by taking them in a logical fashion, going step by step and thinking through each “next step” before moving on to it. And once you’ve done something…well, you now know it for next time!
I’ve heard people describe George Lucas as an “Accidental Genius.” I have always liked that description, whether it be accurate or not. The idea is that he really did come up with something that is amazing, that has touched millions of people on very deep and personal levels in the way that only the greatest stories do. And yet he has proven himself to be an utter moron (yes, it’s subjective…I’m on the side of “George Lucas is an utter moron.”) Unlike Tolkien or Lewis who are unassailably brilliant and well-educated men, who toiled over and pondered for years to produce some of greatest pieces of fiction in history, Lucas almost seems to have stumbled into his idea and somehow threw it into the wind, thereby producing the shining gem of Star Wars.
I often think I fall into the same category. The fact is I am a genius; I’ve taken several IQ tests, one was administered by Mensa, and I qualify for membership in their organization. Again, I’m not boasting….just stating a fact. I can’t take credit for that, that would be like taking credit for being seven feet tall. It is just a property of me, something about Cody, and not something I did anything to get.
So yeah, I often think of myself as an adept at many things, but it happened entirely on accident!