By Dasha Kelly Special to Published Apr 05, 2007 at 8:58 AM

This is going to sound silly, but I'm worried that I've reached the end of everything I know. Everything. I fear that all of the nuggets of trivia I've collected over the years are really ... just nuggets of trivia. Not intriguing conversation starters, not clever cocktail party chit-chat, they're not even dots for me to connect into a proper analogy. I'm not that smart, after all.

Example: Waiting for a meeting to begin, I listened to two colleagues banter about fair-market value and variable-rate interest and, sheesh, I was confused. Granted, I've always dismissed any conversation containing a math formula (all the way through graduate school, I hovered as close to remedial math as my counselors would allow), but this is something I should be able to fake, at least.


Well, there's always dialogue about the government.

That won't work either, because the irrational ethics and social imbalance inherent in our nation's political machine is as fantastic to me as any Tolkien story. Money for war but none for education? Laws on who can get married, but we can't protect the sanctity of fresh air and the ozone? Science that can produces four-hour erections but not an effective treatment for sickle cell or autism? Hell, engaging in a serious political conversation is as important and "real" as planning a Hobbit family vacation to Middle Earth.

But I want to be smart again. I know I could do it! In fact, I have a diploma, two degrees and a certificate from a Believe in Yourself Workshop to prove it. So why do I feel so un-smart these days? Why do I feel as if all of the brilliance and promise and curiosity I had as a young woman has been all scooped out and, now, there's just a corner left.

Like a near-empty jar of peanut butter. Just enough for one more sandwich.

One more sandwich, indeed. What a ripoff! I've always loved being introduced to new ideas and feeling like the whole world was my candy store, with Wonka-sized surprises waiting around each corner. Now, as an adult, I know that Willy Wonka was just a creepy chocoholic and I don't have to eat everything in his stinking store ... like The Nation, "MacNeil/Lehrer Hour," Ann Taylor designs and wine tasting parties.

But I don't want to be one of those people who avoided learning new, grown-up stuff and then every point of reference dates itself back to "when I lived in Chicago," or "when I was in college" or, worse yet, " high school..."

I want to cushion my fall to stupidity with some fresh, new, super-smarty-pants stuff. Maybe I'll take some college classes or maybe I'll sign up for a lecture series or maybe I'll seek out a life coach and mentor. Or, just maybe, I can just keep living ... an adult learning program in and of itself.

One more sandwich, indeed. Reminds me of this one time in college ...

Dasha Kelly Special to
Dasha Kelly is an eloquent and accomplished writer who is able to unfold the spoken word into a variety of precision tools: as a performer, lecturer, or instructor. On the creative side, Dasha has published a novel, All Fall Down and three audio compilations of her original poetry. These earned her a place in Written Word Magazine as one of the Top Ten Up-and-Coming Writers of the Midwest. The Milwaukeean performs her work regularly throughout the nation and has opened concerts for comedians Tommy Davidson and Damon Williams and neo-soul artist Angie Stone. In 2007, Dasha will appear on the sixth season of HBO presents Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam.