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Adam Joshua Smargon
www.adam.smargon.net/personality

Personality? Hmmm... well, it is unique, to say the least. My tastes in music span widely. I'm quite the sports fan, I'm not a vegetarian (but I should be), I have definite thoughts on religion and spirituality, my friends are very important to me, and I thoroughly enjoy the art of comedy.

I'd like to think of myself as an optimist; one of my favorite phrases is "Stay positive!" When I was going through a rather low point in my life, I made signs with that phrase and put them on my car dashboard, my television, and my computer monitor. Constant positive reinforcement did the job, and I moved on with my life. I continue to look at life as an exciting and fascinating journey, with all the expected ups and downs that are part of the trip.

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
- Herm Albright

Why do I use my full name? Must I use my middle name as well? Well, in a word, yes. Another Adam Smargon exists in this world; he used to live in New York (where I met him), and now he's in California. His middle name is John, and therefore using "Adam J. Smargon" still wouldn't cut it. I'm not afraid of me being confused for him, or vice-versa... it's more about a desire to be independent and to make a name for myself. A truly unique name helps that effort along.

I live in southeastern New Hampshire; I have, however, wandered elsewhere. Let us go together on the magical and twisted journey of my migratory patterns over the last three-plus decades.

I arrived on the face of this planet on 16 July 1973, at 8:38 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time. (My birthstone is the ruby, my astrological sign is Cancer, and I was born in the Chinese year of the Ox. I don't necessarily believe in all that, but I'm here to both entertain and inform.) I debuted in a delivery room somewhere at William Beaumont Memorial Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. (Thatís a suburb of Detroit.) I lived with mommy and daddy in Southfield and Oak Park (two more Detroit suburbs... surprise!) for four years.

When I was two years of age, I happened to pick up a piece of trash at a free concert in Oak Park, and a member of the city council saw what he perceived to be my way of Keeping Oak Park Beautiful, which was the anti-litter slogan for that city in the mid-1970s. I earned a certificate of appreciation, suitable for framing. And so began my lifelong interest in environmental issues.

Soon after my only sibling was born, the Smargons moved from Michigan to what is now Aventura, Florida for about nine months, (im)patiently waiting for the construction of their new home to finish.

I lived in West Kendall, a far southwest suburb of metropolitan Miami (part of the unsexily-named "Unincorporated Dade County") for nearly ten years. (Midway through that time span, the parents divorced.)

In the summer of 1988, I moved from the suĎburbs to my fatherís pla: a bachelor pad in the Coconut Grove section of Miami.

After about two years, my father moved to a house in the Grove. (Luckily, he invited me to come along.) That was my permanent abode until I matriculated from Coral Gables High School; I fled to Gainesville, Florida, six hours from Miami, to go to college at the University of Florida. I decided to continue my education with a master's degree, and after applications galore, I became a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York -- which is part of metropolitan Albany (also known as the Capital District).

I was hired by the White House (!) right after graduation, and I moved to Washington in January 2000. The next six months would not be kind to me; I headed back to Albany in July 2000, and I wandered in and around the lovely capital city of New York State for three years. (There was a short-lived marriage in that three-year time span too.)

After a few years of working in the environmental sector, I got a chance to teach... and I loved it. I was a college instructor at two schools in the Northeast. I got my start in 2002, teaching Ecology at the Albany campus of Bryant & Stratton College; I also taught statistics and economics. I furthered my teaching experience with environmental and mathematics courses in 2003 at Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vermont.

Because I loved teaching on the college level, I realized that I needed a doctorate for me to do that full-time. After more applications, I moved to Dover, New Hampshire to continue my studies at the University of New Hampshire. After a bit more than a year in a studio apartment in Dover, I moved in the summer of 2005 to much larger digs in the Town of Epping, where I hope to stay for the remainder of my doctoral studies in energy and environmental policy. While enrolled, I've been teaching to pay the bills; I taught microeconomics for two years at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and I am currently teaching mathematics at the Thompson School for Applied Science, a two-year school attached to the University of New Hampshire. My goal is to teach environmental courses (and do research) at a college or university in the Lower 48 States.

I hold three college degrees (and I'm pursuing a fourth!), and so most people think I'm an educated person. On 20 February 2000, the political comic strip Doonesbury featured a thought that I have had before, but never really put into words: "The sign of an educated person is that he understands how little he knows. It's why so many smart people are insecure... [and] that relationship might exist for competence in general. Incompetent people don't grasp their deficiencies. This also [might hold] true for social and emotional intelligence... the hallmark of the self-absorbed and boorish is that they haven't a clue that they present as such." In other words, ignorance is bliss... and knowing too much might be self-defeating.

I'm a big believer in how government does work (or should work). I guess I'm just another dopeless hope fiend... I also refer to myself as a male chivalrous pig. I've been an insomniac for life (they call it "delayed sleep-phase syndrome with a clock longer than 24 hours")... I'm a wimp in the dentist's chair (even though my uncle is a dentist)... and I'm a fan of puzzle games and trivia games.

On a deeper level, I am not scared of failure or rejection -- at least, not as much as the average person. I will try nearly anything once. I am extremely independent and self-sufficient. I am able to see multiple sides of an issue, and I am remarkably accommodating to others, almost to a fault; I can be so flexible to meet the needs of others, that I might avoid my own.

Many years of living in this contemporary society, this sometime cruel and heartless world, has blunted part of my sensitivity, but I am sure that there are some things about myself that cannot change. I am caring, intuitive, and insightful. I have passion and creativity. However, I am a bit cautious and inward, and I do need some time alone; some might see me as weak or unsociable. I am definitely not fearful, inhibited, or timid, but I do have an ego. I do think about and worry what others think of me, but that usually translates to my closest friends and confidants being relatively non-judgmental. I prefer small groups of friends as opposed to loud parties. (I was never in the bar-hopping or club-hopping scene, even though I grew up in (the suburbs of) a party city. Quality of friendships is more important to me than quantity. I prefer close friends because I seek support and understanding, and I give the same in return. They can -- and have -- upset me sometimes (and vice versa), but that mandates an inner growth; it makes me search within my own dimestore psychology for the solution to the dilemma in question. When solved, it eventually leads to a stronger bond of friendship. Isn't that what we all look for?

Competition is a prime factor in my life. My father taught me how to play the card game of gin as a boy, and he never let me win. Ever. Any and every win I had was therefore genuine. I do the same today... I can't even let a small child win, because I feel like I cheated him/her. I play to win -- it completes and displays my potential, it gives me the ability to make positive individual changes, and it forces others to expect only the best from me. Because I intend to only give the best. Why do something without desire and enthusiasm? I don't know any other way to do things... or any other way to live! If I am going to do something, I am going to do it right. If I lose, then I lose. I can take a loss, but I make sure that I learn from that loss: "What did I do wrong? And how can I correct it the next time?" Hopefully, I will only lose in things which are relatively difficult. Failure translates those high expectations to lower ones for future consideration. Competition as a whole is but one means to improve oneself.

We all have goals in life. Some of us want money, cars, sex, power, et cetera. Others want peace, self-sufficiency, and the ability to positively affect this world. I imagine that I want part of both of those dreams, but first and foremost, I want to be a good person in society, and I want to achieve as much happiness as possible. This is vague to be sure, but I can specify. The optimal goal in life is to be happy. Most people know that you don't know what you have until it is gone. I have learned that the hard way, and I know now never to do again that which initially brought me to that specific failure. I am a bit wiser for the time being. To be a good person perhaps is to follow the laws and rules, to be content with your morals and choices, and to be a productive member of society. Happiness is a subset of that theory; it is whatever you choose to do that makes you feel content or puts a smile on your face. A personal example is helping others; it is technically selfish because I get some personal satisfaction from aiding other people in areas of my personal expertise. Those I help think I do so out of the goodness of my heart, but it really puts a smile on my face as well.

I stay busy. I'm no slacker. I do not embody the stereotypically negative elements of Generation X... perhaps better is what Bryant Adkins has said: "I'm a Child of the Eighties." Although the band Living Colour also put it rather well: "We are the children of concrete and steel..." I am a tech-head of sorts... I use four different accounts -- each in a different state! -- to stay wired to the 'Net... I even manage a resource on the World Wide Web that lists nearly every college nickname in America. It also provides links to most of the schools listed.

Oh yeah... I'm also a proud member of the University of Florida Alumni Association, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association and the University of New Hampshire Alumni Association.

Copyright © 1994-2009 Adam Joshua Smargon (adam@smargon.net)
Personality Page v.1.48 - updated 16 July 2009