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#1 Oct 07, 2017 4:20 pm

New Historian
Active

My brush with genius

More from Michigan:

For my second year at UWI I studied at the University of Michigan, under an exchange programme. I got a double room in the graduate dorm and for the first six weeks I had no roommate. Then I got one. And what a roommate: a certified – and certifiable – “child genius”. Why me?

Mike “Silverman” is a genius: an officially registered genius, ranked among the top thirty geniuses of all time. Michael was only ten when he started taking university classes, got his Masters in Mathematics from Yale aged 18, and at twenty when I met him he was studying for a doctorate at the University of Michigan. He never finished grade school, never went to high school and never left home. He was featured in Life magazine and his mother wrote a book about raising a genius.

But despite being a genius – or maybe because of it - he was also a complete nutcase. If you wanted to typecast the classic geek, Mike Silverman was your boy: wide eyes, big sticky-out ears, a shock of hair and a mouth that never closed. He had never been away from mommy and daddy, even on school camp, never made a bed, never held a broom. After a few weeks it was ridiculous; I may not have been super clean but our room had become divided into two halves: the clean half (mine) and the dirty half (his). Under his bed was all dusty, one day I thrust the broom into his hands and said: “Clean it up!”

“Gee,” he said as he held the broom handle like an object of wonder. “I’ve never done this before!” He was an avid collector of comics; one day I saw a Superman comic lying on his bed, so I picked it up and read it, then left. When I got back, he had a face like thunder.

“Did you read my comic?” he asked.

“Yeah thanks, I haven’t read one of those in years.”

“Aaarrgghh!” it was like I’d punched him. “I’ll have to get another one now!” and stormed out the room. What did I do now? He came back later – and calmer - with another copy of the same comic, and showed me how he read comics. He put on cotton gloves, gently laid the comic on his (unmade) bed and read it slowly, turning each page with a spatula. When he finished reading it he lovingly placed the comic into a Ziplock bag and carefully placed it into a trunk, along with thousands of others. He could tell you the writer and artist of every DC comic ever sold - and don’t even talk about Star Trek.

One day his daddy and mommy came to attend some awards ceremony for their flawed genius, and then I saw where he got it from. Not the genius, the flaw. They fawned over him like he was a baby; which I guess he was. Daddy tied his tie while mommy combed his hair, cooing soothing words “Don’t you look lovely?” Weird. I used to invite people – girls – over to my room just to see my genius.

But the worst thing about sharing a room with Mike Silverman was that every night, and I mean every night, he would … relieve himself. Hey we’re all human, but it was the way he did it - loud! Dude, can you be discreet! Added to that he would never make up his bed or change his sheets, do I need to paint a picture? One night I couldn’t stand it anymore, in the midst of his “relief” I got up and turned on the light. He stared up at me, deer in headlights.

“Listen! I’ve had enough! One of us has to move out of here, and it’s not gonna be me!”

The very next day, I came back from classes to find that the university had moved him out. They didn’t want their resident genius getting disturbed by some “third world student”. Admittedly it wasn’t nice of me, but there’s only so much moaning and groaning one man can take!

For the next four weeks I had no roommate, but then I thought it wise to check with Student Housing to see if they had anyone lined up. The lady checked the printout and said yes they have someone lined up for my room, and his name is … Steve Silverman. Silverman! Are you shitting me? I didn’t know if this new Silverman was related to the old Silverman I’d just gotten rid of but I wasn’t taking any chances. I arranged for someone I knew to move in with me. That’s how I met my new roommate Kashaka Yero Kambon – a.k.a. Richard Bates! Kashaka was a vegan and lived on mung beans, peanut paste and alfalfa sprouts. Lawd. He was a jazz freak and introduced me to Sun Ra, John Coltrane and of course Miles. Our walls were filled with posters of Malcolm, Marley and Martin. We were the children of the (armchair) revolution.

Post script:

Mike Silverman is still out there, geniusing. According to one genius website: “Silverman currently is a system architect at a computer company in Chicago.” But for a certified top-thirty genius, Mike seems to have underperformed. According to one observer:

Gee, I don't know. Kinda underwhelming. Shouldn't he be a Silicon Valley zillionaire by now?

Even his home page is kinda lackluster.

Oh, well--maybe as a certified genius he knows that material success is a sham.

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#2 Oct 08, 2017 9:26 am

Dancer
Active

Re: My brush with genius

New Historian wrote:

More from Michigan:

For my second year at UWI I studied at the University of Michigan, under an exchange programme. I got a double room in the graduate dorm and for the first six weeks I had no roommate. Then I got one. And what a roommate: a certified – and certifiable – “child genius”. Why me?

Mike “Silverman” is a genius: an officially registered genius, ranked among the top thirty geniuses of all time. Michael was only ten when he started taking university classes, got his Masters in Mathematics from Yale aged 18, and at twenty when I met him he was studying for a doctorate at the University of Michigan. He never finished grade school, never went to high school and never left home. He was featured in Life magazine and his mother wrote a book about raising a genius.

But despite being a genius – or maybe because of it - he was also a complete nutcase. If you wanted to typecast the classic geek, Mike Silverman was your boy: wide eyes, big sticky-out ears, a shock of hair and a mouth that never closed. He had never been away from mommy and daddy, even on school camp, never made a bed, never held a broom. After a few weeks it was ridiculous; I may not have been super clean but our room had become divided into two halves: the clean half (mine) and the dirty half (his). Under his bed was all dusty, one day I thrust the broom into his hands and said: “Clean it up!”

“Gee,” he said as he held the broom handle like an object of wonder. “I’ve never done this before!” He was an avid collector of comics; one day I saw a Superman comic lying on his bed, so I picked it up and read it, then left. When I got back, he had a face like thunder.

“Did you read my comic?” he asked.

“Yeah thanks, I haven’t read one of those in years.”

“Aaarrgghh!” it was like I’d punched him. “I’ll have to get another one now!” and stormed out the room. What did I do now? He came back later – and calmer - with another copy of the same comic, and showed me how he read comics. He put on cotton gloves, gently laid the comic on his (unmade) bed and read it slowly, turning each page with a spatula. When he finished reading it he lovingly placed the comic into a Ziplock bag and carefully placed it into a trunk, along with thousands of others. He could tell you the writer and artist of every DC comic ever sold - and don’t even talk about Star Trek.

One day his daddy and mommy came to attend some awards ceremony for their flawed genius, and then I saw where he got it from. Not the genius, the flaw. They fawned over him like he was a baby; which I guess he was. Daddy tied his tie while mommy combed his hair, cooing soothing words “Don’t you look lovely?” Weird. I used to invite people – girls – over to my room just to see my genius.

But the worst thing about sharing a room with Mike Silverman was that every night, and I mean every night, he would … relieve himself. Hey we’re all human, but it was the way he did it - loud! Dude, can you be discreet! Added to that he would never make up his bed or change his sheets, do I need to paint a picture? One night I couldn’t stand it anymore, in the midst of his “relief” I got up and turned on the light. He stared up at me, deer in headlights.

“Listen! I’ve had enough! One of us has to move out of here, and it’s not gonna be me!”

The very next day, I came back from classes to find that the university had moved him out. They didn’t want their resident genius getting disturbed by some “third world student”. Admittedly it wasn’t nice of me, but there’s only so much moaning and groaning one man can take!

For the next four weeks I had no roommate, but then I thought it wise to check with Student Housing to see if they had anyone lined up. The lady checked the printout and said yes they have someone lined up for my room, and his name is … Steve Silverman. Silverman! Are you shitting me? I didn’t know if this new Silverman was related to the old Silverman I’d just gotten rid of but I wasn’t taking any chances. I arranged for someone I knew to move in with me. That’s how I met my new roommate Kashaka Yero Kambon – a.k.a. Richard Bates! Kashaka was a vegan and lived on mung beans, peanut paste and alfalfa sprouts. Lawd. He was a jazz freak and introduced me to Sun Ra, John Coltrane and of course Miles. Our walls were filled with posters of Malcolm, Marley and Martin. We were the children of the (armchair) revolution.

Post script:

Mike Silverman is still out there, geniusing. According to one genius website: “Silverman currently is a system architect at a computer company in Chicago.” But for a certified top-thirty genius, Mike seems to have underperformed. According to one observer:

Gee, I don't know. Kinda underwhelming. Shouldn't he be a Silicon Valley zillionaire by now?

Even his home page is kinda lackluster.

Oh, well--maybe as a certified genius he knows that material success is a sham.




........................

Keshaka Yero Kambon . ... a-k-a. Richard Bates.

Are you remembering  your room mate's name correctly ? Sure it was not Norman Bates.
Just asking.
SMH.

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#3 Oct 08, 2017 11:41 am

New Historian
Active

Re: My brush with genius

Good one, if he was a Norman Bates I might not be here to tell the tale lol!

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