On Knowing Everything When One is Young

When he was young he had prided himself on being clever. Walking down the street, not even thinking anything, just walking along like every other moron, he’d had a distinct sense of how clever he was. He’d never done anything with that cleverness except write stupid articles and make occasionally clever remarks, most of them not even clever. He just felt clever, and it was a good feeling, feeling clever. Now he felt, with equal conviction (and rather more evidence), that he was entering the stupid years. The stupid years complemented the vague years. They went together. The vague years and the stupid years were the same years and they had already started. Well, bring them on. Forgetting everyone’s names - as those adverts in the newspapers were always reminding you - was embarrassing, but apart from that, being stupid was fine, like a premonition of enlightenment.

Geoff Dyer, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: A Novel