Limits To Consider

bow to greatness by ~4dreamer
bow to greatness by ~4dreamer

Our kindergarten teacher once told my mother that she thought I was a “մտավոր հետամնաց (mentally lagging)”. Couple weeks later we were given small paragraphs to learn for a performance. I brought home the handwritten piece of paper so my mother could teach me what I had to say. She instead corrected seven or eight grammatical and spelling errors with red ink and asked me to take it back to the teacher. This teacher I think had the wrong diagnosis. After years of denial and disagreement with my beautiful wife, I finally came to the conclusion this week that I probably suffer from some (maybe mild) form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). When I mentioned this to her a couple of days ago, she smiled and said that she still loved me.

Along the lines of self-examination, I also rediscovered my “plain vanilla” nature lacking in extraordinary abilities and exceptional gifts. Maybe this is a blessing. Perhaps extraordinary people who can see more, understand more, command more also suffer more. I was reading about Enrico Fermi after a book recommendation from Rocky Humbert who kindly bought me a cup of coffee last weekend for which I completely forgot to thank him as we were having a most interesting and enjoyable conversation. Rocky is also someone with an extraordinary mind. My nuclear physicist friend once told me that the difference between exceptional and average people is time. That which takes me hours, days or years to learn or understand may take them seconds or less. Also, when I commit one hour or one day to a project, they commit a year or a lifetime.

Deep in the comments of an interesting post about hubris, Don Chu mentions that “the referential individual unit is certainly the level where all significant achievements originate.” I hope that the three-letter-acronym mentioned above will not get in the way of living my life of average achievements. Regardless, as Don says: “And the result in every case, always: mene mene tekel upharsin (numbered weighed, found wanting — divided).”


  1. When it gets too heavy, just remember the “orange” jump suit. That should bring you back down to reality or at least bring a smile to your face. Or is it spelled simile?

  2. LD: You’re most welcome for the coffee. I enjoyed our conversation thoroughly.

    If you hadn’t mentioned OCD, I would have thought nothing of your continuous refolding of your napkin into a perfect cyclic polygon. 😉

  3. legacy,

    While eventually we all have limits imposed upon us like an invisible ring of penicillin around bacteria, we certainly should not stop striving or achieving.

    And I think everyone has his own little compulsive quirk.
    While some can’t help folding paper napkin polygons, others may be unconsciously flicking their toes (big+2nd) in combinatory logic/geometric states rapidly and incessantly when thinking or conversing. Thankfully, this quirky twitching is (usually) hidden in public… 🙂


    [Your origami compulsion is interesting:
    a 2D regular polygon is what you get when you take the Vitruvian Man
    superimposed in his circle, make multiple rotations, and join the chords between each successive fingertip and heel.

    And once again, we have the idea of Man, no matter how Perfect and Proportioned he imagined himself to be and no matter how many rotations he performs; to be in the end, ringed by his invisible and preternatural limits…

  4. LD,

    I had a trading student years ago with OCD. She was one of the brightest minds I could find – intelligent, eager for knowledge, passionate to learn and to trade.

    Then she started taking medications.

    Two years later I couldn’t recognize her: dull, dumb – not remembering something you said to her 10 minutes ago.


    Maybe is how God wanted us to be do develop different skills and sensibility.

  5. Newton – I don’t think it’s so bad to take any medications but it does sometimes get in my way. This morning the weather is beautiful, the world is peaceful and I’m perfectly happy. 🙂

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