The Bright One

“Curious,” The Bright One said,
The comer in the group
Voted most likely to Do Well.
He noted,’Curler’
In the hand stitched leather note book
Always within reach
And never referred to.”

We all learn to take dictation. Much of the role of being a good student is that of being a good secretary. Odd, now in this time of the computer, the official role of secretary has all but disappeared into the role of administrative assistant. But of course that is the natural companion role to being a good student. We take dictation, ingest the material, and convert it to new understandings that lead to new behavior.

Tests, or examinations are permit us to display our readiness to do what we have learned without the active supervision of the teachers. After years of taking dictation and processing and exhibiting our understanding we are released via graduation into the adult world and take our place in the generational line. In this country our cohort gets named by the professionals who write about us. Most of us have been properly socialized; we have learned the dance steps of our time.

That, of course, is H.M.’s non-verbal experiential understanding of the disconnect that has governed his life as a student, a child and a young man. The scene described above, is a description of the temporary result of that non-verbalizable understanding. And it is being witnessed and discussed by those individuals who have avoided the kind of questions that hook like twist and turn inside of him.

The “Bright One” is familiar to all of us. Sometimes admired, sometimes envied, he seems crafted to succeed. “Doubt” is a distant and untrusted cousin of his, disowned by the rest of the family. In his universe, people don’t get into positions of authority unless they belong there, either by intelligence, or character, or connections and luck. Most often, all of the above.

As he looks unavoidably but appropriately, down at the creature curled in the corner of the room, cold curiosity shoves empathy out of his system. He is determined to get to the cognitive explanation for what he sees. He knows that he has been made for this experience, to Sherlock and thus unlock the mystery that is manifest in front of him.

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