|16th September 1927 – 23rd June 2011|
The world has lost a great actor in Peter Falk, who by all accounts was a rather lovely person too. I’ve always had a particular fondness for his most popular character, Columbo. I’m sure you know his MO – the bumbling detective would lure his suspects into a false sense of security until they realised too late that his shambolic persona concealed a brilliant mind.
I admired the way Columbo DIDN’T CARE if people thought he was stupid, because he knew that he wasn’t. In society where “What other people think” is the definition of some people’s self worth, he was a breath of fresh air.
Similarly, I have been addicted to Steig Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. (If you haven’t read them yet, do. (The first book is a little dry to start with, but it’s 100% worth the perseverance.) Like Columbo, Lisbeth Salander really doesn’t care what people think of her. And like Columbo, she is a memorable character.
“Salander gave him a long look, satisfied herself that he was an idiot, and decided that she would not waste too many seconds concerning herself with his existence.”
Unless you're the kind of nincompoop who is constantly telling people how smart you are and how you “don’t take any crap from anyone”, you have probably been aware, at some point, of someone thinking you're dumber than you are. I apparently give every appearance of being a total bimbo (I admit, I do giggle a lot) and have been told “I’m surprised you’ve read so many books” and “You’re smarter than you look!” – both by casual acquaintances.
I take comfort in characters such as Columbo, who exemplify the truth that it’s much better to be thought of as stupid when you’re not, than the reverse.
Viva la underdog!