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Give Me a Genius Grant

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Hey, I want a MacArthur grant, too!

I do good work. I'm interesting. I'm bright. I'm opinionated. I help people. I've written a book. I've even got my own company.

Why not give me $625,000 and let me improve the nature of what I do in any way I choose?

The John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation just announced this year's recipients of its lucrative fellowships, often called "genius" grants, for people in the arts and sciences.

Good for the winners.

But, hey, what about the rest of us?

We others do good work, too. We just haven't been touched by whoever it is who decides is worthy of the annual award. It's like winning the lottery or something, only you're also considered not just lucky, but gifted.

I think it's great that talent is recognized. I think that some of the recipients are indeed quite talented. Geniuses, I'm not so sure (I know one former recipient, who was bright enough, but far from being a genius). There aren't that many true geniuses in the world -- Mozart, Shakespeare, Einstein. A teacher of creative fiction at Columbia? Talented, certainly -- genius, I doubt it.

But that's beside the point. I'm glad that people are being given a chance to do what they will without strings attached to the prize money.

The rest of us. Well, we've got to work and work. We're not that lucky.

Unless you consider that doing what you want to earn a living is lucky. Then I'm lucky. Unless you count that helping other people succeed is lucky, then I'm lucky.

But I sure could use the money. I wouldn't spend it on anything frivolous. Maybe the new gold iPhone. Or maybe unlimited sushi at my favorite restaurant for a week. I'd share the winnings with my team, my loved ones. And I wouldn't even call myself a genius. Though I wouldn't mind being called one in public.

Nah, never gonna happen. No "genius" grant for me. My luck doesn't run that way. I'm going to have to be content to work hard, think of new ways to keep growing, and do my best to be of service and of use to others and to the world.

I do that already. I guess you could consider that I'm already a winner.