In sixth grade, I won the class spelling bee because my esteemed rival tossed a “c” at the beginning of the word “kindergarten.” My victory proved once and for all that I was the smartest kid in the entire class – nay, the world. Shortly thereafter, as I was polishing off my application to Mensa, I discovered she misspelled the word on purpose because she didn’t want her friends to think she was a dork. My runner-up somehow managed to pull off looking both intelligent and awesome. I was officially usurped as smartest kid in the world.
While temporarily deflated, the experience taught me a valuable lesson – the appearance of wisdom is perhaps as important as actual intelligence. I’ve since dedicated my life to smoking out the finest tactics for proving one’s faux genius to the masses.
Here’s how it’s done:
Surround yourself with dummies. Grading on a curve doesn’t just apply to that obscenely difficult Calculus final. If you spend time with a bunch of Ds, your C+ self looks a lot like an A.
Carry around non-fiction books on obscure topics. A hardcover biography of an early nineteenth century Vice President should do the trick.
Insert extra syllables into otherwise perfect vocabulary words. It’s a fact that the longer it takes you to say something the more important it is. Try words and phrases such as “comingle,” “utilize,” or “communicate out.”
Correct people – often and in public. Anyone within ear shot will know you’re the man; plus your coworkers will appreciate it.
Only ask questions to which you already know the answer. This is particularly useful in situations where you haven’t had the opportunity to correct someone for awhile.
Never play Trivial Pursuit. If your friends insist, offer to “ref” so as to not unfairly tip the scales in one team’s direction.
Nod when someone explains something complex. ‘Cause you already know.
Create, then share random statistics that end in odd numbers. 67% of people find them more believable that way.
And if all else fails, never forget that winning by default is still winning and not being wrong is exactly the same thing as being right.
What are your favorite methods of feigning intellect?