12-year-old Boy Genius Graduates from High School, College, and Graduate School, AND Retires and Moves into Assisted Living on The Same Day

Christine Stevens
Apr 30 · 4 min read
Adeobe images

Mike Shimmer of Salsbury, South Carolina, graduated from high school, acquired his bachelor’s and master's degrees, retired from his job at Bethlehem Steel, and moved into Salsbury Senior Center, an assisted living facility.

“I’m done,” said Mike Shimmer, putting on a pair of pajamas that he vowed never to remove, leaving his house with a small suitcase of spartan belongings and beginning the short walk to the assisted living center, just half a block from the house he grew up in.

Well, grow up is a term used loosely.

“He grew up fast,” said his mother, Ms. Shimmer. “He blazed though all his classes. Got this job in the steel plant as a smelter. Then he took early retirement when they offered it.”

The reason behind why Mike decided to do all these amazing things was simple — he’s an amazing kid.

“I just found school really interesting. And for a while I loved smelting. Now I just want to put on my slippers and play shuffleboard with the other seniors.”

It came as kind of a surprise to his teachers, both at school and college, that he wanted to retire at age 12.

“I thought Mike might become a CEO or an engineer, or maybe get his doctorate before he was 15,” said his high school physics teacher, Mr. Ed. “It’s kind of disappointing. But I understand it. I know he really enjoys the cafeteria food here at high school. And by coincidence, they have a lot of the same items on the menu at Salsbury Senior Center. You know, tater tots, sloppy joes, the kind of things both kids and seniors love.”

Speaking of seniors, Mike really likes them.

“Old people smell funny to some people,” he said. “But to me they smell sweet. I just want to be with them, relaxing and enjoying my golden years. Starting now. I mean, why wait until I’m decrepit and too achy to throw the shuffleboard or flirt with the grandmas.”

Speaking of flirting, rumors are that Mike has already struck up a romance with 87-year-old Shirley Basset.

“We’re just friends,” demured Mike.

“With benefits!” added Shirley.

“Hush, Shirley,” said Mike. “Don’t stir up any controversy. They could put you in jail.”

“I’m already in jail!” said Shirley. “They won’t even let me drive a car.”

“That’s because you’re legally blind,” says Mike, giving her an affectionate rub on the shoulder.

He’s Totally Normal

Some people might think a whiz kid like Mike might be a real weirdo. But it’s not true. Mike’s just a regular kid who loves playing with his Hot Wheels in his room at the senior center. He just happened to pass by this building many times on his way to school, and decided at an early age that he wanted to live here.

“I like the front lawn. The grass is nice,” said Mike. “The people here are very friendly. Plus, if I have any medical emergencies, I don’t have to go to the hospital, they can treat me right here.”

What Kind of Medical Emergencies Might a 12-Year-Old Boy Have?

“I’m thinking of the usual kid things, you know,” said Mike. “Tonsillitis. Mono. That sort of thing. Oh and now that the old lady and I are going to start banging, I will probably get some sort of STD. I mean, Shirley’s kind of made the rounds here at Salsbury Senior Center, if you know what I mean.”

“Hey!” said Shirley, punching him in the shoulder and looking at him lovingly.

Why Doesn’t He Want to Do Great Things?

Hey, do you know any other kid who graduated from college while putting himself through school as a steelworker? Mike’s parents were too poor to pay for the tuition, so he did what he needed to do, working the nightshift in the smelting plant, and showing up to his morning classes half asleep, but already ten times smarter than anyone else in the room, including the professors. He’s so smart he out-thought the whole idea of great achievements.

“There’s no point in achieving things,” said Mike. “When you’re as smart as me, you realize that the whole enterprise of human existence is completely, one hundred percent pointless. Life on this planet is a fluke accident. The whole idea of human civilization is pure hypocrisy. We’re less civilized than a bunch of termites. Have you seen the way termites unconsciously cooperate to perform extraordinary feats of architecture by simply chewing logs together? But the termites, they don’t pretend to be superior and special. They know they’re just termites. We humans, we have to pretend that we are important and that somehow all of this matters. It’s a joke. I read about it in Shakespeare when I was three — ‘a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’ Well, alright then. I’m ready to pack it in, get some rest and relaxation, and eat some of those great tater tots they have in the lunchroom. Let’s go, honey.”

Shirley and the boy headed off down the hallway. I’m not sure, but I thought I detected Mike beginning to adopt the “old person shuffle” in his gait. He kind of dragged his slippers along the floor, and went at about zero point one miles an hour. Shirley was no faster. The two of them looked as happy as clams.

What a prodigy!

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