I'm the eldest of 9 kids. I'm the only one who didn't go to Cambridge or Imperial College (the British equivalent of MIT) and the only one who didn't graduate and then immediately start a Ph.D. I can remember my folks suggesting I drop out of school (or college) at 16, 17, 18, 21 and 22.
I'm not a "pretty learner." I think I've said in the past I've been seen as the opposite of a swan. You can see me peddling like crazy but inside, I've always had a sneaking suspicion that I could do whatever I set my mind to academically. I'm sure there's some coach somewhere who said that "Winning pretty's a nice thing to do but winning ugly's still winning." Academically, I win ugly but it's still winning and that's not a bad thing I think.
Anyway I've always assumed that my family assumed I lacked intelligence because I "won ugly." But we were having a discussion about something business related over dinner this evening and it hit me that the way they talked to me suggested I was wrong to think they thought I was slightly less able than them, and that they actually thought I was just pain dumb.
The discussion itself is too unimportant to go into detail about here, but when I pointed out an error in their logic, my father threw a plate at me (he's always had pride in his socialist views, but I'd pointed out his views were pretty right wing), one sister told me I was an intellectual pygmy who she could jump over intellectually 10x over and my kid brother yelled at me that I was an "effing moron" and a "effing c who had the brain the size of a walnut."
Four hours on I'm still stunned.