Snappy Comebacks and the Limitations of Time

(This post might be part of a series of rambles dreamed up at four a.m. on the imperfections of self)

I am not stupid. I actually think I’m pretty smart. I test quite well—or did as a kid. No adult in their right mind continues sharpening pencils and filling out answer blips. Unless they’re taking Buzzfeed quizzes, which are ridiculously awesome.

Thing is, Buzzfeed quizzes are not timed. You can take as LONG as you like to pick your favourite food from six items. And there are pictures! Not weird little paragraphs of something that might be the description of a doughnut. The thinking involved is tied to measuring the pool of saliva around your tongue. Not trying to remember if immersed means in or on.


Time is the limitation on my intelligence. I am the person in the group who is still scratching their head after a joke. The one who says, “I don’t get it.” It has to be explained to me.

Sometimes I still don’t get it.

It’s not that I’ll never get it; it just takes me a while.

I failed my first year of college because I couldn’t think fast enough. Graphic design isn’t really art. I wanted to study art. I was convinced by certain parental units that I would starve and be found rotting in a gutter if I pursued a career as an artist. And graphic design did sound sorta cool. Graphic designers got to wear jeans to work and their glasses were always trendy.

(My congenital lack of trendiness is a whole other post)

I loved the drawing, the photography, the writing and the precision of layout and finished art. But I couldn’t design anything, because I wasn’t hip enough for my jeans and cool glasses. I didn’t have my finger on the pulse of society. I rarely kept up with current affairs, I didn’t read dying poets, and I hated abstract art. I had very little idea what was happening in the world beyond the fact the café sold Wagonwheels and that if I had enough cash, I could have one EVERY DAY. And Derek had invited me to work with him in the dark room on Tuesday. Alone.

Basically, I wasn’t mature enough for the course, and—even more basically—the wrong kind of thinker. It’s not that I’m stupid; I just have to think things through a bit. Sometimes.

Most of the time.

This is why I love writing. Unless it suits the plot for them not to, my characters always get jokes and they always have snappy comebacks. None of this waking up at four a.m. with the perfect retort tickling their tongue! They complete Buzzfeed quizzes in the blink of an eye. They can hear one strum of a guitar and know the song, artist, album, year the band formed and if they’re still together. Obscure Star Wars trivia comes to their call without the use of Google. They’re inventing black holes (yes, I said inventing), and curing cancer. They can be a walking Wikipedia of knowledge, edited and annotated by experts.

They can build IKEA furniture without looking at the instructions.


Obviously, no one is actually that smart. Well, some people are. But not a great proportion of us. There are a bunch of you out there who are just like me. Not dumb, just a little slow on the uptake. And, honestly, my lack of intellectual punctuality doesn’t bother me the way it used to, except in one case: Twitter

Losing sleep over why I don’t really ‘get’ Twitter is pretty stupid. In the grand scheme, Twitter is unimportant. I could never visit again and no one would probably miss me. But there are so many cool people on Twitter and I do like connecting with them. I enjoy reaching out to other writers and telling them how much I love their work. I really love hearing from people who have read my stuff. Twitter is a great medium for that quick and meaningful comment. “Hey, I see you! Thanks for being there.”

I just wish it didn’t all move so quickly. While I’m staring at the blank reply space, trying to think of something clever to say (often, I’m staring at the blank search space because I’ve clicked the wrong damn thing again), the feed has updated. Relevant tweets have slipped from the public consciousness and the collective mind has moved on.

I am lucky in that the other half of my co-writing team LOVES Twitter and is (maybe) surgically connected to it. So I have a sort of presence there through her. Jenn remembers to tag me on all the good stuff, and strives to keep me attached to this twenty-first century scene. She even does some of my thinking for me, for which I am ever grateful.

So, I’ve reached the point of this ramble where I should sum up my point and get out of here.


Yeah, I’ve read back through and I got nothing, so I’ll leave you with the title of my next piece in my series of rambles about my foibles: Schizophrenic Spelling. Until then, happy thinking!



Published by Kelly Jensen

Writer of love stories. Bibliophile. Gamer. Hiker. Cat herder. Waiting for the aliens. 👽 🏳️‍🌈

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