Aim for the head of the class

(scene opens with maternal yelling over merit badge work)
Me: Alpha, your answer to “What life in America be like without Amendment # cannot be “We would not have that Amendment.” Treat this like a writing prompt. It’s all the same stuff you’re doing in school.
Alpha: (defiant tears) No we’re not!
Me: Then I guess you’re ahead of your class then.
Alpha: I don’t want to be ahead of my class! Then people think that you’re showing off how smart you are and that you’re all high and mighty and they don’t want to be friends with people who are all high and mighty.
Me: (sudden flash insight into America’s Culture of Dumb) Alpha, if your friends don’t like you because you’re smart, you need new better smarter friends. Don’t ever be proud about being dumb.