‘Forget everything you’ve ever heard about geniuses’

We are living in the middle of a self-esteem epidemic.

Most of us are down on ourselves.

Thinking we don’t match up.

To make it worse – everywhere we look we are surrounded by images of high-achievers – people who’ve gone on to do great things and who have praise heaped upon them.

But I actually think we’ve got it upside down the way we venerate the people who do great things in society.

It’s actually us – the shit people – who deserve a pat on the back. We’re the ones muddling on through life with our shoddy DNA. We’re the ones getting up in the morning when – let’s be honest – for a lot of us there’s not much of a point.

But we do it anyway. We brush our teeth. We change out of our pyjamas. We eat toast. We’re the ones who deserve some praise.

And what of the so-called “geniuses” who walk among us?

What are they actually doing?

I don’t think any genius who has ever lived has ever done anything that special.

Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Galileo – they haven’t actually done anything to make a song and dance about.

Let me explain.

Let’s take John Lennon.

John Lennon is regarded as a musical “genius”.

But I don’t think John Lennon has actually done anything that good.

And here’s my point:

…cos if I had been born in exactly the same hospital as John Lennon

…at exactly the same time as John Lennon

…and if I had been named John Lennon

…and if I’d had the same family as John Lennon

…and if all my thoughts, emotions and experiences were the same as John Lennon’s

…and if for all intents and purposes I effectively was John Lennon

…then I could have been John Lennon.

But I’m not.

I’m Lee Kern.

And Lee Kern isn’t any kind of genius.

Lee Kern is a man who runs out of toilet roll and has to call for help…

…at a job interview.

Lee Kern is a man who once boiled a hotdog in a kettle and who ended up without a hotdog or a kettle.

My point is: it’s easy to be a genius – when you’re a genius. Try being a genius when you’re shit. That would be an achievement.

Try doing something incredible when you’re an absolute arse-bucket – that would really be something to write home about.

Another case in point – Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan is regarded as a “spokesman for a generation”.

Well we could all be a “spokesman for a generation” …if we had anything to say and a way of saying it.

But we don’t.

Most of us are batting with one hand.

But it’s actually us: the schmucks, the losers, the cretins, the shlubs, the shmoes, the numbnuts, the schmendriks, the schlemaziels, the tossers, the oafs, the nobs, the bozos, the dick-heads, the fuck-brains, the toss-pots, the jizz-bananas, the crap-potatoes, the egg-vaginas, the wank-satsumas, the arse-marshmallows, the prick-fritters, the turd-meringues – who are doing something heroic.

We’re the real warriors of this world. The people armed with no innate abilities but who go out to have a cannon of crap fired in their faces every day in spite of it – and who in the morning brush their teeth only to go out again and have more crap fired in their face.

We’re the heroes.

Where’s our medal?

So if you are a hapless nobody who is destined only ever to stub your toe – go out into the world today, raise your arms aloft and roar:

“I am shit – and I’m fucking brilliant!”

And make sure you let your fellow numbnuts in arms know too.


Lee is a comedian and writer
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