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Journals of an Insane Genius -- June 1999
For a number of years a recurring comment I've heard from people that are just getting to know me is that I see or think of things from a perspective that most people tend to overlook. As an example I was recently discussing the ongoing exchange in the Mensa Bulletin about the woman that believes that her cat has distinctly spoken to her on several occasions. I wasn't there so I have no idea what actually took place, but I think it's more interesting to think of it from the cat's perspective. I imagine this cat being startled when her normally unperceptive servant occasionally exhibits flashes of brilliance where it almost seems like she can understand her. Unfortunately for the cat this servant also seems to notice the fleeting connection and starts constantly pestering her with all sorts of unintelligible ravings. Driven to the point of distraction the cat volunteers for that Schroedinger's Cat experiment it keeps hearing about, corrects a minor math error, becomes a non-event mass, and vanishes in a poof of logic. While I have no empirical data to prove this I'm willing to bet that the very next day this exact same cat wandered onto the porch of the young lady that used to work at the garage until she was "disappeared" just moments before I could ask her out on a date. They're probably both happier this way.
Some people seem to find this skewed perspective interesting while others find it tedious and annoying. Either way I find it amusing that most people seem to think that it's something that I'm consciously doing when the reality is that whether I like it or not it's impossible for me to shut it off. So how did I get this way? An interesting question. I've recently acquired some insight into this in the form of some writings from my great great grandfather, Mr. Eli Jesse Troxel. While the writing style is much different from my own, Eli certainly describes some very unusual incidents.
For instance there was Eli's grandfather:
“Grandpa was a born Hessian, fought in the Revolutionary War, subject under England, and as a German, was taken prisoner by General Washington on Christmas Eve when crossing the Delaware River. He was taken prisoner and then turned traitor to England, refusing to be exchanged, enlisting in the US Army, and helping to win the battle for the freedom of America, thus redeeming himself and becoming an American citizen, swearing allegiance to the United States.”
This certainly makes my own military record seem rather lackluster. Yes I did swear allegiance to the United States and defend my country. However no matter how hard I tried to demonstrate that my intelligence could be an asset, it always seemed to end up that the best way for me to contribute was by cleaning a toilet.
In 1850 at the age of three Eli was already leading quite the adventurous life and was apparently much sought after:
“While living on Hudginson St. on a beautiful summer day, returning from Church service, Mother allowed me to play on the front steps while she went in the house to prepare the dinner. But when she came out to get me, I was gone and nowhere to be found. They went to all of the neighbors and not a trace of me could be found (lost). The dinner was untouched. Father walked the streets all that afternoon and in the night, coming home at intervals expecting to hear that I had been found by someone. And every time he came, I was not found. Mother’s heart was nearly broken. Search was continued way in the night and the next day with the neighbors help and also the police. A faint trace of me was made through a woman that kept a bakery shop. She told Father that a well dressed lady had a roast left there and that when she called for the roast she carried a lovely little child on her arm. But she could not remember her name or where she lived but only the direction she took. From the description Father gave to her she said it must be the child, but Father continued the search with but little hope, often to return to the bakery to get more information, but with no better result. How often have I thought in years afterward what a sad day and a half it was for Father and Mother on my account. But Father would not give up the search, not doubting that but God in some way would help him and his lost or stolen boy. Mother told me every time that Father went out to look for me he took new courage, peering in every open door of the houses to find me. At last when Father was almost discouraged, he heard a child’s laugh. He heard me laugh across the street. He crossed the street and knocked on the side of the door. While he did so, I laughed again. This time he did not wait for anyone to come, but walked through the hall and here found me playing with all kinds of toys, just as contented as though I were at home. Sadness was then turned to joy as Father brought me home. Now while I said I could remember things when but 2 years old, I am glad to say that I have not the least remembrance of this because the lady treated me well. No goat in this. I simply give it as mother told it to me. So now you will ask what ever was done with this woman. She was a married woman without children. Having a mania for children, she took this step making for an excuse that when she took me off the step, Mother saw her do so, which was not true as she being a stranger to Mother, Mother did nothing of the kind. As Mother said, it was a common occurrence for women to tell Ma that they would like to have me as their own child. Father and Mother were only too glad to have me back again. Sometime later in life I asked Mother what kind of woman she was (English, German, or Irish). Irish she said, so I have formed an opinion of my own, will let you all guess the rest.”
Eli wrote these stories down in 1920. He managed to describe events from his grandfather's time in the Revolutionary War up until 1865.