There is a great Barack Obama ad about how the hands of America are shaping the future of America, and it makes me ridiculously maudlin and weepy (I am the Target Market) as I am hearing stories of my uncles with 30+ years as metal workers in Indiana getting offered early retirement packages (thank God) as the industry is failing even there . I had a weird moment a year and a half ago as Jeff and I drank pints at out favorite sports-bar dive and watched a special report on a repeat of Oprah where she spotlighted the bizarre problem in Shelbyville, IN (my hometown that I narrowly escaped) where they have invested, literally, millions upon millions of dollars in the local schools to no avail, with an attrition rate in the high 30 % range. When I grew up there, kids discovered alcohol, sex and drugs early as we had NOTHING to do. The lack of youth culture inspired an adoration and emulation of backwards adult behavior. I remember girls losing their virginity in the sixth grade, y'all. I have always said that I am SO GRATEFUL that my parents pulled me out when they did, at the formative age between sixth and seventh grade, as I got to understand myself in a new environment and truly challenge my preconceptions about race, class and tolerance going from a white-bread elementary school of 200 to a multi-ethnic, multi-racial school of 1,400. I told Jenny this week that the best lesson I ever learned was not being the smartest kid in the room (and as any of you who know Jenny, that is impossible as soon as you meet her) as it challenged me to better myself and rethink my status-quo liberal think-speak. I may come off as a know-it-all but I am terrified all the time. Getting married may (huh huh huh AHHHHHHHH!!!) elevate these feelings of inadequacy as I am about to attach myself to a person who thinks I'm smart, but I am really, really, really not smart and I know this. He is smart; one time we were watching Jeopardy! and he answered every question about representatives by state correctly and I took him into the bedroom and ravished him. (TMI? ef u) I have been pretending my. whole. life. as I know a little bit about everything and get by. I mean I know I am smart but he is really really SCARY smart. And meanwhile, I am literally trying to play catch up with him when it comes to current events, politics, music, etc. The only time I feel like I own him is when it comes to literature, but Jesus, how many of US are out there. I am glad I am marrying someone who challenges me and is smarter than I am but damn, sometimes, it sucks being the dumbest person in the room.