Ask A Genius 347 – Snapshot – Growing Up Manly

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 347 – Snapshot – Growing Up Manly

January 22, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Rick Rosner: In 1962, my mom married my stepdad. I was 2-years-old; we moved to Boulder, Colorado, which at the time was a small, not weird, college town, surrounded by farms and ranches.

Maybe, a population of 15 or 20 thousand; Boulder didn’t get weird for another around ten to fifteen years. It grew steadily weirder beginning in the late sixties. I didn’t relate to my stepdad.

He was an intimidating guy. He was 6’1 or 6’2, probably a 190lbs. Then going up to two hundred or more in later life.  His arms and legs were spindly, but he was barrel-shaped and was physically imposing, especially compared to me.

It took me decades to realize he had a nice smile and a nice face, but I tell you he wasn’t as handsome as my dad or as fun as my dad. My dad who had good hair and a good face, drove sports cars and had visitation with me for a month.

For years, he’d drive me from Boulder down to Albuquerque in his Firebird or he had a GTO (he had something like that). My stepdad worked all the time and had a big stark nose from when having fallen on a pop bottle that had sliced open his nose.

He was grown up in Boulder, was a friendly local merchant owned ready-to-wear dress store on Pearl Street. It’s friendly at work. Then we would come home and be either quiet or pissed off about the assholes we’ve met during the day.

Though, I’m sure he called some people assholes and not too patient with the family. He’d go in my parent’s bedroom and fall asleep with the TV on. Over the next couple of years, it became apparent that I was both awkward and smart.

I taught myself to read before the age of 4. This was before there was an era of this being a thing with parents pushing their kids to do stuff like that if the kid could do it.

Kids were kids in his era. You lived in a household with your parents, but parenting was something that was an active concern. It was like they are adults acting like adults, kids acting like kids.

He went to school and everybody went to the same school in the neighborhood and everything was expected to turn out okay. And for the most part, things did turn out okay. There were plenty of outlier examples where things turned out terribly, but for most people everything was adequate.

There’s a movie coming out based on a crime novel called My Friend Dahmer written by a guy who grew up with the high school Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was born on the exact same day I was born.

He was an increasingly odd kid as he was transforming into the homicidal monster he would later be; all the other kids knew he was way off. None of the parents or none of the adults in his world could much be bothered to notice anything about this hobby of going and seeing kids.

So, I’m looking forward to that movie because they will be indicative of the laissez-faire attitude of that time. So, I taught myself to read. If I’d been the same kid thirty or forty years later, I wouldn’t have to teach myself to read at the age three and a half or three quarters.

I would have been spotted as gifted and treated like gold, then stuck in all these accelerated programs. They would have had me reading maybe a few months earlier and everybody would be looking at acceleration and enrichment private schools and testing.

Instead, when my mom noticed my signs of precociousness, she freaked out; she didn’t know what to do with the genius; I was her first kid. She didn’t know what to do with an apparently smart little kid. The other moms gave her shit because she wasn’t even a teacher.

She wasn’t being a teacher then, but the neighborhood, the people in the neighborhood, saw that I was reading and doing other smart kid stuff. I asked a lot of questions. I used bigger words than most 3 or 4 years old.

They gave my mom certain amount of shit because they thought she was keeping me inside and drilling me, teaching me all these smart kid things when she didn’t do anything like that.

I stayed inside because I was not good with the other kids. They intimidated me. I preferred to stay inside reading or hanging with my mom. Then I went on to a public school. I was not good on the playground. There was one kid, whose dad had died and he used to lightly beat me up after school every day.

This was to contextualize that he felt sad because his dad has died. And nobody that I remember was particularly concerned that this kid was messing with me every day. And this is early elementary school, say first, second grade.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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