The absent-minded genius

quadraticformulaMy husband is a genius of sorts. He can fill a white board with an algorithm no one else understands, but he cannot find his glasses.

Seriously! He has even, at times, worn his glasses on a granny chain around his neck to keep track of them. It makes him look like a cross between a rugby player and a 1940’s-era movie librarian.

(These would be his regular glasses he can’t find. He knows where his prescription sunglasses are. They are in the bottom of Lac Vieux Desert in Wisconsin.)

He has also misplaced his long underwear (yeah, I’m wondering about that too), his favorite pair of mittens (for which he blames the rest of us), and once, his wedding ring (he tried to replace it with a completely different ring, hoping I wouldn’t notice. I noticed.)

He is a conceptualist. I, on the other hand, am steeped in the practical, which some might say is my weakness. He is the dreamer of 100-foot windmills in the yard, perpetual motion engines, and running a business from a catamaran in the Bahamas. I’m “With the nice weather forecast for the weekend, it might be a good time to re-caulk the siding.”

But when you’re all about the big ideas, you sometimes miss the obvious – which is why it’s good to have someone like me around to bring you crashing back down to earth.  My favorite example is a conversation that went something like this:

Him: I need a 1/4″ washer for this project, but the hardware store didn’t have any. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

Me: Why didn’t you just buy two 1/8″ washers?

Him: (Utter silence.)

And then the door slamming as he headed back to the hardware store.

If you live with an absent-minded genius, there will be compromises. You will need to manage all household expenses, bill payment, school schedules and medical appointments. You will need to feed, clothe, and transport the children. You will need to find storage for miscellaneous mechanical inventions in various prototypical states, and tolerate a lot of odds and ends in the garage.

The upside is…well, I’m sure there’s an upside, I just can’t think of one right now.

Well, maybe it’s that he can create just about anything he puts his mind to – a beautiful pergola in the yard, a house completely wired for a completely wired family, with access to whatever electronic activity you’d care to embark.

Ah, yes…the wireless network. Reminds me of another recent conversation. We were having some strange problem that brought down half our network – the upstairs TV, two of the four wireless connections, the printer in my office. He spent hours isolating the problem and trying to identify its cause.

Him: I can’t figure it out. The signal to the router is fine, but nothing connected to the router is working.

Me: Don’t you think the router probably just failed?

Him: (Utter silence.)

And then the trip downstairs to check the router.

We complete each other. Or something like that.

15 thoughts on “The absent-minded genius

    1. Oh, but the genius is the worst one in the “Where did you put my…” category, a side-effect of never really believing you could be at fault. And the junior geniuses, unfortunately, have a good dose of that DNA.


  1. Still laughing! (Of course not at you or him) You are a Great writer Sarah.

    This is true to who we all are as human beings. Once a older man told me that we are very good(correct) at our own thinking. We believe what we think. If we don’t understand some things we make something up to fill in the unknown. We are good make it up machines.And we protect our thought kingdoms because we know what we know.

    My largest challenge was/is for me to become the question to all things and people and to stop being what I know(the answer). Others have called this process (Know Thyself). To be clear about who we are being in a moment by moment life.
    I think people can be smart but we tend to operate on auto pilot. Stuck part of the time in a dream world of our own minds during the day. An example of auto pilot of driving down the same freeway you always drive and missing your turn off. If you have done this you know what i mean.
    Some where in that dream world(auto pilot) the glasses are stored.
    Another is being in communication of asking what others think not just assuming.

    So being the question is what the mind is not trained to do very well in our current society.

    A question could be…So “Genius” how do you get your glasses on your face when you need them most?(knowing you lost them) The mind may not like that question because the answer means “change of mind(Thinking)practices. He needs to ask the question.
    (Of course watch out for the mind it will fill in the blanks as to whom is at fault)The mind likes to protect itself)
    The mind can find easy answers once the hard question is (received)asked. I am not saying that just thinking about it alone can solve a problem. Some times our minds can not change completely as we need them too. And we need help from others. (Hence know thyself)

    For me I can not remember peoples names when i meet for the first time. I have tried many things over the years I found my answer though. My Wife ( she remembers them all) If my wife can’t be with me Than A note pad & pen in my back pocket and a copy of there drivers license as needed to copy it down. really? Yup then I have total success. Is this a weakness.?..Not when I use my helps. I also have trouble spelling and grammar. Under stress i can not spell at all. I call on my wife often for help. yet I write proposals and contracts-e-mails and text everyday. I have had to memorize words and grammar all my life. “I can not find lost words in my mind at times”
    Our mind is what it is in each of us.
    As families Knowing what each of our minds really helps us all to love-live and work together.

    As for the glasses.
    One will(may) have to use other measures to guarantee total success. A example would be 5 extra pairs of glasses with 4 of them actually hard wired to a wire(long enough to use) and bolted down to not leave a certain work chair or table.
    For total sucess. The last pair may require the sacred guardian of the spectacles to keep under lock an key for emergency use. And that partner(or kid) would have to make sure to get them back to the safe for the next time. Nothing gets a kid more connected then helping a parent and holding them accountable.(they can be relentless)
    P.S you may have to require that they hand over a favorite item during the exchange Like an iPod or something. (With a husband it could mean car and Boat keys)

    If all these fail then perhaps a glasses vending machine in the living room that takes credit cards?.
    I thought my cattle probe analogy would be over the top.So……..
    Just a thought.


    1. Love these thoughts! (And yes, I have driven by my exit ramp, but not today. At least I don’t remember doing it.)

      We may never solve the glasses dilemma. Spatial memory is not his thing. Instead, I have learned to appreciate his other “gifts”. Or tolerate them, anyway.


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