Thick as a Plank

A question I get asked a lot: ‘What was your degree in again?’

I don’t have a degree; I’m not a graduate. I’m as thick as a plank. I did badly at school, worse at university, and dropped out as soon as I could summon the courage. Then I moved to London with two friends, a sleeping bag and a guitar and didn’t look back.

My lack of academic prowess is masked effectively by the fact that I am a compulsive reader. I read everything. I don’t remember much of it, but gradually, in the same way that cliff faces are formed by the steady assault of ocean waves, I start to do a convincing impression of an intelligent person.

It works in my favour, but it’s not the real thing. To illustrate the depth of my Homer Simpson stupidity:

dispenser carex2refill

The company Carex sells two types of handwash. One is a plastic container of handwash gel with a dispenser pump. The other, on the right, is a refill bottle. The refill bottle is about 50p cheaper, but has no dispenser pump.

Here’s what I did with Carex containers for most of my domesticated adult life until remarkably recently: I would buy a refill bottle, and pour the contents from the refill bottle into the old, empty container with the dispenser pump. It takes ages, handwash gel flows so slowly!

I had an epiphany just a few months ago: ‘Wait, why don’t I just screw the dispenser pump into the refill bottle?’

I’m the smartest guy you know. But I’m unedumacated. I think it’s time to put that right. I intend to get myself a degree from the Open University, in the career-accelerating discipline of English Literature. I start in February, wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

The arts – not so much a way to make a living, more a way to make a living worthwhile.

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12 Responses to Thick as a Plank

  1. leedsbadger says:

    I do that with ketchup. You’ve just saved me from minutes of watching thick red liquid… Thanks x

  2. recoder says:

    Happy to be of service.

  3. charlotte says:

    Good times, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I loved doing my degree 🙂 Sadly it hasn’t cured me of stupid. I still struggle with remedial mathmatics, can’t read maps and recently sprayed deoderant into my face instead of my armpits.

  4. mieke says:

    you know i didn’t realise that the winnie the pooh characters kanga and roo make up the word kangaroo until a few years ago right?

    edumacation is overrated. but go git ‘r done!

  5. recoder says:

    Thanks C & M (that sounds like a discount clothes store) – I hope for more tales of stupidity. It sucks to feel alone.

  6. leedsbadger says:

    Edumacation isn’t everything you know. 11 GCSEs, 4 A Levels and 2 degress and I didn’t know unicorns weren’t real – I thought they had been made extinct about 100 years ago. Also don’t know right from left. x

  7. pete485 says:

    Good Luck!

    I don’t have a degree, and I don’t read enough. Looo-ser!

  8. Celia Warren says:

    Proud of you, son. Go, Rich, go. Your granny was a founder student with the OU and gained an honours degree after having left school in 1936 with no bits of paper.
    Me, I find if you wait nearly 40 years, you get given an honorary degree. I can’t read maps. I can spell mostly: M-O-S-T-L-E-E. And I have over 60 published tomes to my name. Bits of paper aren’t everything, but the process of acquiring them is exciting, I think.
    BTW, roll-on deoderants are safer than sprays – you don’t tend to roll ’em over your eyeballs by mistake! 😉

  9. Celia Warren says:

    Oh … and ‘thick as a plank’?
    That wood explain your splintering wit. (Geddit?!)

  10. Ray says:

    Nice piece. I would have laughed more, but . . .

    Was the question you started with usually put by people watching you pour soap, slowly, from one container into another, identical, receptacle?

    It would have been interesting to have plotted the point at which they asked. After 10ml? 20ml? Or perhaps timed. Would that chart have constituted part of a normal distribution curve revealing how smart they were? “By a man’s friends shall ye know him” & all that.

    There; another fascinating, if non-commutative, connection between the worlds of literature, mathematics, physics and psychology. Stokes would have loved it.

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