Much like first-year psychology students who find themselves unable to go home for Thanksgiving because they fear sleeping with their moms and the resulting castration at the hands of their fathers who are really, really pissed that they slept with their moms, art history students are unable to complete everyday tasks without intellectual contamination.
For instance- painting. If you are, say, shown to a room, handed a can of primer, and left alone with just the Killz fumes and a friend who the same educational background and indeed has spent many, many lectures giggling over the Ecstasy of St. Theresa with you? Madness will ensue.
You will begin to harmonize with Josh Groban singing Vincent, with some slight variations that made very little sense three years ago when they first entered your personal lexicon (SQUIRREL!!!) and less so now. You will start to laugh about Youth Camp 200-whatever, because you can’t remember what year it was but you know you were also painting and singing spirituals from memory, which isn’t a lot (although I realized this morning that I totally remember the entire song that they play at the end of the Mass with exposition, a little reminder of the countless Mondays I served in my early teens).
But perhaps most tellingly, you feel that you are overqualified simply to paint the wall white. You know too much. Surely my mother actually meant a triptych? With a Madonna? And the Christ child? And John the Baptist? Arranged artfully in the pyramid shape? After all, I have not spent countless hours and pages learning how to do just that to waste my talents.
I know what colors to use, I know that all the angles must be actually pointing to the Child, and what to stick in the background just to rack up the grace points for those poor illiterate fools that these paintings were usually aimed at. (Survey says crosses and other indications of future Passion-ness score rather high, other saints and Bible stories lower.) Hell, I could even date it approximately by how cute Jesus is- if it looks like an actual baby and not this weird anthropomorphic little man? Post- 1500.
But then a breeze cleared out some of the fumes and I realized that I actually have no talent, at anything (including priming, as it looked, well, not like HGTV, when I was finished), and am only good at memorizing other people’s accomplishments. It was sad really.
Well, at least until Gwen Stefani’s The Sweet Escape came on and I seriously embarrassed myself by rocking out.