Old Prodigy?

A three year old sits at a Steinway and bangs out a little something by Bach, an eleven year old knocks out huge abstract paintings with as much depth and experience as Picasso at the height of his career, an eight year old belts out an operatic piece with a richness that should have only been achievable after years of training and practice, a six year old rips up some blues riffs on a Stratocaster twice her size that would blast Clapton off the stage.

And then there’s technology. The nine-year old Microsoft certified technology specialist, the fourteen year old college student with sites on graduating at seventeen with a master’s degree. There’s more where they came from.

So where are the proverbial ‘Dues’ that we associate with this kind of skill and talent that were supposed to be paid in a million seedy night clubs, in years of mentoring under a master, and years of investment in universities- straining through calculus and higher maths?

What causes this kind of fully developed expression to be realized by these fresh, unsullied, half-pints? Where is the hard-won grinding life experiences to validate their being allowed to fathom and harness a sense of a confusing, beautiful, complex, tragic, heartbreaking, spectacular world?

But we love them don’t we? We marvel, we parade them across the stage without questioning their ‘credentials.’ The talent they present is accepted at face value, applauded and encouraged. Dues paid are never addressed.

I don’t want to go into in-depth speculations about how and why prodigy behaviour may manifest in some individuals, you know, the musings of incarnation or spirits of old masters vying for a posthumous come back. I’ll save that for another post.

I’m curious that the phenomenon of Prodigy apply only to prepubescent individuals, and found this article.

Dr. Joanne Ruthsatz, https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/11/what-makes-a-child-an-art-prodigy/382389/

…”Prodigies have a nature component that all the nurturing in the world can’t compensate for. There is a biological difference that kicks in with these kids and they become obsessed with their work and want to engage in their art or play the piano all the time, even though they are ordinary kids in the sandbox.”

That excerpt, and especially the phrase “a biological difference that kicks in” made me think that there might be something to that curiosity I had been mulling over for a few years. Which is if older individuals can be prodigy’s?

I had assumed it doesn’t occur because we never hear stories about an octogenarian who suddenly taps into a full-fledged talent which caused them to flourish in unbridled creative pursuits.

But if being a prodigy means something “kicked in” then why could it not be possible that this something can kick in or awaken at any time in one’s life?

Maybe the only advantage a child prodigy could have over an adult or senior “prodigy” could lie in the fact a child is not sullied and bogged down with woe and heartbreak. And debt. Their mind isn’t cluttered with the ways of the world.

Their mind is more like an open conduit to the creative spark, not yet conditioned and manipulated by societal constricts, leaving room for creative ingenuity to fill in societal conformity has yet a chance to dominate.

So why not us? The middle-aged, the seniors. Are we so calcified and brittle and rutted?

A whisper in the back of my mind is saying –mmmm probably.

I googled “Cases where a senior citizen suddenly exhibits prodigal behaviour.” The list read like a roster of symptoms one would see in a mental institution: Brain damage, Delirium or Sudden Confusion, Unusual or Strange, then ending with Savantism and Autism.

It appears this ‘Biological Difference’ kicking in is a sweet thing if you’re five, just not so much if you’re seventy-five.

If anyone has some stories of “mature” individuals they would like to share I’m all ears!



Whatever, I’m easy.

Do you want to go to such and such place or do you want to go to the other? Do you feel like eating Greek or Thai or at home? Would you like to schedule a time for now or then?

When I’m with someone and I ask any of these questions I really do want some feedback, an opinion, a suggestion, some help in deciding. Because two or more individuals are obviously involved in the scenario, this is diplomatic behaviour, to ask the question, to want to involve the other person in a final decision. It is open for discussion, so discuss! That’s democracy.

So then it’s no surprise it exasperates me when I ask those questions of someone I’m with and instead of some constructive input a volley of ‘I don’t know, whatever, I’m easy, where, what, when do you want to…?’ is trolled out.

C’mon, I offered some choices for crying out loud – help narrow things down!

I’ve come to the conclusion that those responses of ‘I don’t care, whatever, I’m easy’  are tactics in handing over control, sending the message of not wanting to commit. It could even be an act of passive aggression. It means evading any responsibility to the outcome of the decision.

Not wanting to risk making a “bad” decision and take the blame, especially if it doesn’t pan out as hoped. Like if a restaurant I may have suggested turned out to serve horrid tasting dog mash on a plate. Could be countered with, “Why did you pick that restaurant?”

Worse yet is the ‘Whatever, I’m easy’ person who complains and blames if all didn’t go according to your decision ( because remember, they didn’t give any input), proving many times that they aren’t as ‘Whatever, I’m easy’ as they propose to be, truth be told.