It was nice being a genius
worth nearly half-a-million dollars
for the two or three minutes it took me
to walk back to my house from the mailbox
with the letter from the Foundation
trembling in my hand. Frankly,
for the first minute
I was somewhat surprised at being a genius.
I’d only published a few small things at that point.
I didn’t even have a book.
I was just a part-time lecturer
at a small mid-western college.
But early into the second minute
I had fully embraced the fact of my genius.
I mean, these people know what they’re doing, right?
Who am I to tell the Foundation its business?
And I was already practicing the kind of modest,
Hey, it’s no big deal tone of voice I’d be using
on the phone for the rest of the day
as I called all my friends, and especially
my enemies, to treat them to the good news.
But when I opened the letter
and saw it was merely a request
for me to recommend someone else to be a genius,
I lost interest and made myself a ham sandwich.