If there’s one question I get all the time it’s “Why can’t I be as smart as you?”

This is a good question, for which I have a brilliant answer.

I am extremely smart.

Some people refer to this as being “gifted.” This term is misleading. It implies that intelligence was handed to me like a present in a box that, upon shaking, feels like it might be a video game or the keys to a vehicle with a “thumping” sound system, but that, upon opening, is just a sweater with an embroidered pussycat on it that gets you beaten up when you wear it to school three days in a row. But my genius is not a gift, nor does it spring from textbooks or manuals or the ramblings of my so-called teachers, professors, and parole officers. My brilliance is a tree that grows in the fertile soil of experience, and extends 74 miles into space, where it catches passing satellites, which not only hang from its beautiful branches like multimillion-dollar Christmas ornaments but also impart to my brilliant tree all of their satellite knowledge. This is how I know the license-plate and Social Security numbers of so many young and attractive celebrities, and it’s the only reason, despite court orders that may say different. It’s also why you get such great cell-phone reception in my presence.

In short, unless your brain is a 74-mile-tall tree that catches satellites, that’s the first reason you can’t be as smart as me.

Second, I know the answer to every question that has ever been asked and that can ever be asked. Each and every answer is written on a sort of cheat sheet that I keep folded up under my watchband (which may sound like cheating, but it’s not, because I memorized all the answers when I wrote them down, so I don’t ever actually look at the sheet—I just like knowing it’s there). You may ask (and I knew you would, because it’s on my sheet) how it could be possible to get such a wealth of information onto a piece of paper that could be folded up and put inconspicuously under my watchband. The answer is lasers. (“Lasers” is also the answer to almost all the other questions that have ever been asked or could ever be asked, so if you less intelligent folks find yourselves facing a tough question, try just answering, “Lasers.”) But these are not ordinary lasers. They’re special lasers that I invented, potty-trained, and put through school. And they write their information in a typeface that I also invented, which can only be deciphered by a person like myself, a person whose IQ is an infinity symbol.

To summarize, unless you can read the infinity-IQ typeface written by special homeschooled lasers and happen to have made a cheat sheet containing all the answers to all questions, that’s the second reason you can’t be as smart as me.

There are 847 more reasons why you can’t be as smart as me, but our time is short, and, really, is there any point in dwelling on that which you can’t change? (The answer is no. But if you said “Lasers,” you were close.) If you would like more information on your inability to be as smart as me, send a bottle of Jim Beam, a pair of binoculars, and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: “Smartest Man in the Universe.” You don’t need to write anything else. They’ll find me. The law always does. Reason No. 8 involves sticky buns, and Reason No. 612 details my nightly aluminum-foil mummification ritual. They’re all good reading and well worth your investment in time, bourbon, binoculars, and stamps.

To conclude, there are many reasons you can’t be as smart as me, but my hope is that when you see giant trees extending into space you’ll think of me and my mind, and be inspired to leap into the branches of those trees and begin to climb, reaching ever higher, until you grow too tired and hungry to continue and eventually fall and wonder why you even tried to ascend to the heights of my genius.

If I could say one final thing to each and every one of you, it would simply be this: