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April 22, 2005

I'm getting stupider

I can't deny it. It is just a fact of life. But as I get older I know I am getting stupider. Denser. Unable to understand words larger than two syllables. As I watch the TV show The Amazing Race I can't help but cringe every time the elderly couple Meredith and Gretchen come on the screen and, well, do something stupid. In between weeping over how much they love each other, and blubbering about how proud they are of their feeble efforts, they are constantly misunderstanding clues or going in the wrong direction. I can't tell you how many times I've turned to my wife while watching this show and said, "Please tell me I'm not turning into Meredith." But, alas, I know it is meant to be.

I can already feel a general malaise settling over my intelligence, a brain cloud, if you will, taking residence in my once impressive mind. What is happening? Is it Spring? Am I just stupified by the nice weather? I swear in the past couple of weeks I have been able to do little more than walk around outside and stop every once in a while to notice a flower or some piece of nonsense that catches my attention. "Oh look, there is something shiny on the ground! I like shiny things. Shiny things are pretty!" Gah! Where is the vibrancy of my youth? Where is my creativity?

Well, I may have found an answer. I can blame my wife and kids. According to a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality marriage and children kill creativity in men. The research, spearheaded by Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, suggests that the quality of scientific creativity and discovery is usually dictated by a man's age and marital staus. I know, it is almost too much to be believed, but check out this snippet:

His study was based on the analysis of a biographical database of 280 scientists considered 'great' by their colleagues, noting their age at the time when they did their greatest work. He found the data remarkably concurs with the observation made by Albert Einstein in 1942: "A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so."

"Scientific productivity indeed fades with age," Kanazawa said. "Two-thirds [of all scientists] will have made their most significant contributions before their mid-30s."

So, here we have the age factor. Einstein himself made his most important discoveries in his mid 20s. I am 32. Sadly, it seems, my "great" achievements are all behind me. Excuse me while I take a moment to weep ... And it gets worse:

But, regardless of age, the great minds who married virtually kissed goodbye to making any further glorious additions to their CV. Within five years of making their nuptial vows, nearly a quarter of married scientists had made their last significant contribution to knowledge.

"Scientists rather quickly desist [from their careers] after their marriage, while unmarried scientists continue to make great scientific contributions later in their lives," said Kanazawa.

Ah! The scourge of women strikes again! Not only do they torment us with their incessant talking, honey-do lists, and demands for "quality time together" but they also nefariously sap our creativity without us even noticing! Will their treachery never cease? Why do they have this effect on us? Kanazawa has a theory:

Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women. That craving drives the all-important male hormone, testosterone.

After a man settles down, the testosterone level falls, as does his creative output ...

Of course! Getting married is a virtual siphon hose on a man's testosterone! It is all coming together now. What can we as men do to get our testosterone back? How can we fight back against this evil nemesis of marriage and reclaim our most important hormone?

Polygamy. I think it is the only way. The ability to have multiple wives would mean that we would always be trying to attain glory for new women. Trying to attain more and more glory would mean more testosterone and more creativity. Problem solved. I am a genius.

Posted by snackeru at April 22, 2005 8:55 AM | Life


One of the greatest things you have ever written!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at April 22, 2005 9:14 AM


Posted by: ANGRY KUMQUAT at April 22, 2005 10:17 AM

I think this tirade is the best example yet of your impending stupidity.

Posted by: Cheesehead's wife at April 22, 2005 10:24 AM

I am not touching this with a 10-foot pole.

Posted by: Brian Maas at April 22, 2005 1:57 PM

You did everything a person normally does when trying to 'win' an argument. You stated facts, used logic, and provided an understandable solution.

That said... I'm with Mr. Maas on this one. But it was a very [good] piece of writing.

Posted by: Andy from Twins Killings at April 22, 2005 2:07 PM

Oh come on guys! Are you Mr. Cheer or Die? Or are you Mr. "Only what my wife allows"? And Andy, is your site "Twins Killings" or "Twins Bunny Slippers"?

That said, I appreciate your feedback. If you haven't noticed I'm sleeping on the couch tonight. At least I took a stand!

Posted by: Shane at April 22, 2005 2:58 PM

I believe it was Nigel Tufnel who said, "It's a fine line between genius and stupidity."

Posted by: SBG at April 22, 2005 5:27 PM

How old were you when you made the voters guide? I would consider that a great scientific achievement.

Posted by: TwinsJunkie at April 22, 2005 6:23 PM

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