It also goes without saying that I did as all smart kids in high school do, and was careful to dumb down my vocabulary. This wasn’t just so that people weren’t confused with unfamiliar words.

It’s simply not cool to be different. All smart people learn that. You can’t take any pride in being smart, except in a hidden way. You learn to feel superior, but that’s not pride.

A football hero can feel pride. A smart kid can’t. A smart kid can only feel a hidden arrogance. An arrogance he must conceal.

Any possibility of pride gets contorted into social shame. You feel arrogance and it burns in you and you can’t get rid of it, no matter how much you want to.

Being measurably better becomes a source of being measurably worse. Nobody wants to be around people that KNOW they are better, and you can’t stop accurate self assessment. So who are are has to be hidden, and your own self assessment has to be kept secret, and you internalize shame for knowing who you are. You are arrogant, and can’t stop.