Wisdom vs. Intelligence

Doodleberry’s dawn is awash in an aquarium glow; the sun not so much rising as burping itself into being over the rustling cornfields. Head Nurse Bertha, twenty tattooed parrots adorning her forearms, swaggers into the room, juggling coffee cups like a circus veteran.

“Morning, tribe!” she calls out, her gaze sweeping the familiar faces at the kitchen table. “Says it’s gonna be hotter than a possum in a wool sock today. So, brace yourselves.”

She plunks down a tray, unveiling the day’s mysterious fare: oatmeal spiked with kale and jalapeno – a feast worthy of survivors of the Punic wars.

“Gerty,” Bertha grins at the effervescent octogenarian, “this’ll make your insides sparkle more than your eyes.”

Gertrude’s eyes narrow, her pearly whites flashing in a defiant smile. “Bert, you can’t fool me. Even Alice, my daughter, never tried to get me to eat spicy…grass. She knows better.”

With a chuckle, Bertha turns to the sophisticated Deloris, “Lorrie, won’t you have a go?”

Deloris, raising an eyebrow at the bowl, remarks, “Dear Bertha, I’ve outlived a husband and raised three kids with seven grandkids. I fear no culinary adventures. Francis used to bring home questionable sushi at midnight.”

Jerome, all eyes and no smile, flicks a skeptical glance at the volcanic concoction. “Back in the Air Force, we’d eat stuff not much better. But it was usually after jumping from a plane, not before.”

Setting down the coffee jug, Bertha introduces the morning’s debate. “Alright, my seasoned warriors, how ’bout this: which is more important – wisdom or intelligence?”

The provocative question hangs in the air as they stir their bowls, their minds whirring faster than the blades of Jerome’s old fighter plane.

“Intelligence, no contest,” Jerome asserts, his smoky eyes twinkling with mischief. “Kept me alive during the Cold War. Wisdom is just old age playing dress-up.”

“Disagree, Jerry,” Deloris counters, not missing a beat. “Wisdom got me through many a PTA meeting with sanity intact. Francis always said, intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad.”

Gertrude, tapping the table rhythmically, weighs in with her two cents. “Wisdom, hands down. Alice, my girl, she’s intelligent, but wisdom? She once mixed whites with reds in the wash.”

Just as they’re getting warmed up, Bertha unleashes another culinary grenade – bacon-wrapped tofu. Jerome’s eyebrows head northward, Deloris takes a delicate sniff, and Gertrude guffaws, slapping Bertha on the arm, “Who you trying to kill here, Bert?”

Then the gauntlet’s down. Jerome jumps on Deloris’s position, “If you’re so wise, Lorrie, how did you let Francis buy that sushi?” Deloris retaliates, aiming at Gertrude, “Gerty, intelligence would have taught Alice laundry basics.”

Finally, Bertha leans back, her fingers drumming a decision on her mug. “Gotta say, I’m with Gerty here. Toddy’s a smart cookie but has the wisdom of a hamster. Better to navigate life’s tide with wisdom as a compass.”

They sit in contemplation, Jerome’s face as stormy as the tofu, Deloris with a triumphant smirk, Gertrude nodding in approval, and Bertha, supremely satisfied. At Doodleberry’s Home for Old Biddies and Coots, the mornings are made of these: spicy debates, questionable breakfast, and shared wisdom. And everyone agrees, it’s a fine day to not be dead yet.