At some point in the last 42 years, I became an idiot.

I wasn’t always an idiot. I scored 1420 on my SATs. I was a finalist for National Merit Scholar. I attended a fairly prestigious college, and earned two Certificates of Merit based on my grades.

I think I started losing my mind when I decided to go to grad school. That, in itself, was a remarkably stupid decision, but it was compounded by the fact that out of the many fine universities I could have attended, I chose to go to a well-respected Midwestern University. This was a singularly bad choice for a child of the Pacific Northwest.

Regardless of how or why it happened, it is clear that I am now an idiot. I know this because of the way my wife and children treat me. I can ask a simple question, or make some statement, and they look at me as if I have sprouted a third eye, or grown horns.

“Hey,” I can say to the Girl, “You left your backpack on the floor.”

“No I didn’t” she will say, without taking her eyes off the TV.

Although I can be looking at a backpack that is resting on the floor that has her name written on it, clearly I am mistaken. Because I am an idiot.

“Hey,” I can say to my wife, “Shouldn’t you take that piece of plastic out of the flattened cardboard?”

She will look at me with a mixture of condescension and pity. “They mix them all together anyway, remember?” she says. “You don’t have to sort them any more.”

Frankly, it’s a miracle that I can hold down a job. I can only assume some sort of Equal Opportunity program is at work, providing employment for those with impaired faculties.

I should be grateful, I suppose. I just wish I could remember what it was like when I was smart. Or at least not quite such an idiot.