Here’s a (13-year-old) study that asserts that the U.S. Average reading level is between 7-8th grade.
That means most people, including adults in the U.S.A., won’t even understand my title. And don’t think that only means dropouts. I’ve spent over 25 years in academia, and know PhDs that can’t read higher than this. I know one VERY well, in fact. And that includes native-born Americans as well as Internationals. I’ve worked as an editor and proofreader for PhDs and Professors who can’t read or write even close to the level they somehow made it to.
It also means over half our population can’t even LEARN to read at a higher level of comprehension, no matter how much time and resources are provided. These are voters, mind you, activists, and criminals. This is half the people around you, depending on where you are. For example, just entering a Wal-Mart raises the population to around 95% and lowers the reading level to 4th grade.
However, this is another installment of my “Life Lessons” series I am writing for my daughter as a handbook on how to grow up. And I assure you she will read at a higher level than the average American, even before the 7-8th grade.
The point of this lesson is one I’ve learned recently, as I have with most of these lessons, “the hard way” and I relay them so that my sweet daughter doesn’t have to learn them the same way I have. It’s a costly, sad, inefficient way to do it.
This lesson has to do with when other people seemingly go out of their way to tell you they “aren’t” something. Or perhaps “are,” but my experience is that red flags should go off when someone inexplicably tries to remove themselves from being thought of, usually as the very thing they are telling you they aren’t. Confused?
Allow me to try and explain more clearly using some recent profoundly harmful examples.
When I moved into my current apartment, which I was happy to be moving into back in January, my new landlord, for some reason, told me “I’m not a slumlord.” It was so out-of-the-blue, that even then, it struck me as odd.
Since then, he has been unresponsive. The dishwasher has never worked, which he had no response to. He laughed about not being up to code, with a deadbolt lock that doesn’t work, rendering there only 1 egress, which is illegal and puts my life at risk to save $20.
I’ve texted him, which is how he prefers to be contacted, about a lot of things and gotten no response. I’ve even offered to do yard work for him if he’ll leave some yard tools. Nothing. I had a power line dangling about 3 feet off the ground that I clotheslined myself on one night while carrying a bunch of heavy boxes and couldn’t see it. I ended up having to fix it myself in a very dangerous way, which I showed him. No comment, no action.
But most strange is that he’s refusing to send me copies of 2 sets of legal docs I signed for him. I’ve asked 5 times over 5 weeks now. Nothing. Silence.
He also doesn’t exterminate, so there are giant black ants everywhere, which I suspect are moving in from the 2 young guys upstairs. They’re awesome, but they aren’t clean.
He hasn’t spent any money on maintenance. So what does he consider a slum lord, exactly? I don’t want to know.
So, there’s one example. Here’s another:
I agreed to work for a guy that went out of his way to tell me he didn’t want to be thought of as a “used-car salesman” because the only thing he knows is sales. I agreed to take a pay cut because of all his big talk. All hat, no cattle, unfortunately for me.
And then not only went on to make slimy used car salesmen look good, but he was actually a con-man. And he used me, bad. I own it. But please learn from it.
I blame myself for falling for his scam because it was the exact same way I was used in my recent 10-year “romantic” relationship. Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, etc… There are professional manipulators out there(one is even directly related to my daughter), and someone telling you they aren’t should be a major RED FLAG.
One you’ll hear a lot is that they aren’t a liar, and they use the word “honestly ” a lot.
If nothing else, try to remember this from this lesson:
When people behave contradictorily to their words, you have a problem. Everyone can be flaky from time to time. I’m guilty of it worse than anyone because I tend to overload my plate. But I own it and apologize if necessary and correct it immediately.
But spotting a pattern, which means 3 or more examples, then it’s time to say and do something about it. You won’t ever win here otherwise.