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The Intellectual High Jump

A metaphor

 

 

"All the six year olds!

Stand in a line.

Lets see how high you jump.

.

According to this table,

you should be able

to clear one half a metre.

.

So off you go,

Don't be slow.

I've raised the bar that high.

.

Oh goodness me,

poor Sally

and Bill

They just can't make it still.

.

I'll call the Government,

and get a grant

to find out

why you can't.

.

Oh by the way,

Of those of you we find are able,

Haven't you done well ?"

.

".. but Miss!"

"What do you want ?"

"I found it far too easy."

.

"That's very nice.

Now stand in line.

We've finished for the day."

.

Sally, and Bill,

try as they will

confounding all the experts.

.

The men in suits

A serious look

All terribly consumed

.

"Lets focus our attention

Spend the cash

put in the extra effort

.

Dear class,

we go too fast,

I'll have to lower the bar.

.

I've done the sums,

Down it comes

to Sally and Bill's best jump."

.

"Look at ME"

the instructor roars

"All my class can pass."

.

The men in suits

Wear smiles as wide

as the height of that best jump

.

"The program works!

What success!

I'll pat yours, you mine."

.

But from the corner,

the shortest whimper,

a tall and lanky lad.

.

Looking at his score card

wonders why it's not so hard

to get an A plus plus

.

"But Miss ! Why is it so easy ?"

"Be quiet!

You make me feel quite queasy"

.

Sad and mad

that lanky lad

quietly doubles the height.

.

He runs and jumps

and fairly flies

Nearly bruised the sky.

.

"Look Miss !

See what I've done?

I jumped a bar that high."

.

"Such imagination,

She warmly disbelieves.

Why are you so spacey ?

Sit back. Sit down. Put up."

.

No longer mad,

but very sad,

The bar was slid back down.

.

And so as if

a flame snuffed out

the lanky lad did bad.

.

He tripped one time

and clowned around

and made himself look funny.

.

All the kids are pleased as punch

and the teacher says one lunch

I see you try your very best,

Just like all the rest.

.

Yes Miss,

No Miss,

Three bags full.

.

His happiness turned inside out

he wore a coat of joy.

But inside, looking through

once sparkling eyes of blue

was like a dream.

a sea of goo

.

Stop.

There's no way through.

.

Then one day

an odd thing happens

They call it talent search.

.

"Excuse me Miss,

are you the instructor ?

Give me one of your best."

.

"I'm sorry I don't understand,

explain yourself to me."

.

A sideways glance,

a knowing look,

"I want to know who jumps the bar when lifted."

.

"Now I see

your asking me

to segregate my kids.

Now listen here,

I'll let you know,

ALL my kids are gifted.

.

They all pass!

The whole damn class.

There's the door

Thanks for coming.

Bye !"

.

A mouse sized cough

from away in the corner

They turn and view the scene.

.

The lanky lad once

mad, sad, bad

but lately seems quite normal

.

"It's time to turn

my flame will burn

So raise the bar for me."

.

Miss misfires,

she stutters and speaks

with no particular meaning.

.

He couldn't hear,

(to much focus)

A hop.

A skip.

A run,

.

The bar comes forward

looms in view

a pat pat pat of springy feet,

then a gliding elegant silence.

.

"What is this Hocus Pocus !

I've never seen such things !

This boy !

He must be gifted.",

Miss face now beams and sings.

.

The talent search turn and say,

"That's not too bad from you,

although we do not understand

why you haven't had more practice.

.

It seems to us you've been too slack,

Improve, and we'll be back."

.

"Don't be cruel !"

Miss covers lad's ears,

Protect! It seems the rule.

.

He wriggles free,

"Listen !

You never gave me a chance !

Make it HARD, and then you'll see.

What I can really do."

.

Sally and Bill,

they clapped and sang.

And did a little dance.

"We're both so pleased for you."

.

Miss looks puzzled,

"Aren't you upset ?

Don't you feel inferior ?"

.

A doubled-puzzled look returned.

And the two short kids blurt out,

"You never let us rest !

You made us try our best !

The feeling, when you clear the ceiling

is never to be missed."

.

A humbled tutor,

Struck down with pint sized wisdom,

Turns and mocks a scowl.

"LAD, don't go too far!

Your jumps so far are fowl.

Improve your stance !

Breath in deep.

Imagine you can do it.

I m going to raise the bar."

.

So up it went,

and got so hard,

Until he failed three times.

.

With aching legs

he finally cried,

"That s the best that I can do."

.

"I don't believe you,"

Miss said once more,

but this time didn't mean it,

picked up the phone and dialed

U J.U.M.P.2 high.

"For you, a B + score."

.

"Good afternoon !

Talent search,

Please supply details.

A gifted child ?

Thank you Miss,

I'll send a man around."

* * *

When old and grey,

and musing in a rocking chair,

Miss raises her eyes to the wall,

For what hangs there

is a prize so great

as not to have a price at all.

.

A fading, curling, dusty print

of high jump,

Extra ordinare.