You’re Never As Smart As You Think You Are

Mr. Clever (Mr. Men and Little Miss Series) - Roger Hargreaves

Well, this was a rather interesting little book. It starts off in a place called Cleverland where everybody is awfully clever, and it is about Mr Clever who happens to be really, really clever. In fact he is so clever that he loves to remind everybody of how clever he is. Mind you, the guy is pretty smart, and I suspect he happens to be an engineer because he has invented a multipurpose alarm clock, a toaster that toasts his bread, spreads butter and jam all over it, and then cuts off the crust. Oh, and he also invented a toothbrush that squeezes the toothpaste onto the brush. In fact the ideas make me want to go out and build them for myself (despite not being an engineer).


The problem is that while he is really clever when it comes to engineering projects, it turns out that he actually isn't as clever as he thinks he is (or he claims that he is). Sure, he can build a fancy house, and create fancy inventions, but when it comes to everyday things, like telling a joke, or baking a cake, or even offering some advice, he really doesn't know where to start. It sort of goes to show that while me may be clever in one area, there are no doubt areas where we really fall down.


It actually makes me think of the renaissance men, such as Leonardo da Vinci. Sure, he was an inventor, and he certainly had an ability a paint people, but I wonder if he knew how to tell a joke, or whether he knew how to bake a really delicious cake. The same goes with Michaelangelo – sure, he certainly had a knack when it came to painting ceilings, but I wonder if he could offer a bit of advice to a friend that was having problems with a rebellious teenager (not that they actually had teenagers back then).


It also reminds me of a story about the rich and famous. Apparently they don't know how to drive a car, namely because they are so used to having other people drive them around, and having their own maids and cooks, that when it came to actually cleaning their house and cooking a meal they are at a loss. In fact I wonder if they even know how to put a frozen meal into a microwave and heat it up? Probably not. I do remember watching a Micheal Moore episode where he was trying to get CEOs of various companies to actually do the job that the average worker in the front line of their business does – such as making a big mac. It turned out that the only person to take him up on the offer was the CEO of Ford, who proceeded to show Moore how to change the oil in a car.


Well, I guess the moral of the story is not to go around telling everybody how awfully clever you happen to be because sooner or later somebody is going to come around and basically show you up as a fool.