Anthropologist on Mars

by FayJay

DISCLAIMER: Sadly the denizens of Smallville belong to a whole host of people who are not even slightly me - DC comics, the WB etc. Don't sue.

COMMENTS: Merry's journal got me thinking about Clark's brightness, or lack thereof. Thus this doodle.

After he'd discovered Oliver Sacks' books on neurology, Clark had gone through a period of thinking he might have a very mild case of Asperger's Syndrome. It had seemed like such a sensible explanation of why he didn't quite gel with any of his classmates properly; and in retrospect it was still far more reasonable a solution than the discovery that his sense of alienation stemmed from the fact that he was, in fact, an alien.

Clark had always excelled in matters of abstract logic. He could solve complex mathematical problems effortlessly, and although he knew that most people needed calculators - just as most people needed to wear jackets in the snow, or use a jack to lift their truck - he could never quite grasp how that must feel. He simply had to accept it as one of the many inexplicable ways in which he differed from everyone else, and try not to let it show.

More frustrating, however, was the sense that in some subtle fashion he was always just missing the punch-line. In a very basic way, Clark just didn't get people. Nuances of behaviour and motivation which were transparently clear to Pete and to Chloe went right over his head time after time after time. He was used to wearing his heart on his sleeve and doing The Right Thing; but somehow the rules of behaviour drilled into him at home were no preparation for the schoolyard. Cliques formed and dissolved and formed afresh; fashions came and went; new slang terms slipped from lip to lip like passwords to a promised land of popularity and acceptance, and were altered overnight without apparent rhyme or reason; and Clark Kent was baffled by it all.

He looked to books for an explanation, and his speed-reading sent him hurtling through centuries of human history to plunder the concentrated wisdom of the ages, but he still just didn't get it. Oh, he understood the words well enough, and could follow the logic of Socrates and Montaigne, of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche; and in fact there was a satisfaction to be gained from this sort of abstract and rational thought that was akin to the pleasure of pure math. But he couldn't translate it into everyday life.

Clark knew he was a smart guy; his report cards all said so. But a lot of the time he felt unbelievably dumb. Realising that Chloe liked him was one of those moments.

Realising that he liked Lex Luthor was another.

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