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    Once a possum came to realize how difficult it is to appear dim.
    It wasn’t enough to move slowly and look dopey much of the time. The possum’s mastery of the night was well known and prompted not a few acquaintances to lament the fact that it didn’t show more of its mental dexterity in the daylight hours as well.
    “Think of the brilliant career you could have if you just applied yourself more!” it was regularly urged.
    “Now, why would I want a ‘brilliant career’?” the possum just as regularly responded with a yawn. 
    “What a question! Wasting abilities like yours, nobody should do that.”
    “Nobody?” asked the possum with another, widening yawn.
    “Nobody who’s interested in leaving a mark on the world.”
    The possum closed one eye and then the other, as if forcing itself to take on an unwelcome task, and inquired, “What mark might that be?”
    “Why, some proof you’ve counted in the eyes of the world, that you aren’t simply an anonymous bystander to the grand march of history.”
    “Would that be so bad? Being an anonymous bystander?”
    “If the slightest effort could bring you fame and fortune, it certainly is. Think of the reputation you’d gain and the millions you could make from best-selling books and inspirational lectures about nearly anything at all these days!”
    “Fame and fortune, those should be my goals?”
    “‘When in Rome . . .’” 
    Waiting for the possum to complete the quotation, some checked their watches and others wondered if it hadn’t in fact drifted off to sleep. Unaccustomed to being ignored like this, they turned to addressing one another directly in voices they trusted were loud enough to penetrate even the deepest slumber.
    “Isn’t it a shame to see such utter lack of ambition?”
    “Especially when the avenues to success are so wide open.”
    “And with virtually no effort at all, one can rise to positions of great influence and prestige in today’s society.” 
    “But what things do you have to sacrifice in the process,” the possum murmured, taking the speakers by surprise.
    “Surely they’re worth it, whatever they are.”
    “Including your peace of mind, if necessary?”
    “Come, come, you exaggerate. And even if you didn’t exaggerate, take a pragmatic, real-world view. Only a fool would hide the capabilities you were born with, when merely appearing to be smart could be all that’s required!”
    “Appearing to be smart is easy. It’s actually being smart that is hard,” the possum sighed, opening both eyes again slowly. “But being ‘a fool,’ now that is harder still. Much harder.”