Growing up you tend to hear your friends use a lot of terms to describe you or themselves. Slacker, hothead, jock, geek, nerd, cool, etc., are all words uttered by yourself or your friends to describe somebody. They're pretty common words and you hear them used all the time. A lot of conversations between friends are also devoted to dissecting people's intelligences. You've probably had the same conversation in your New York or Toronto condo and know what we are talking about.
The conversation that revolves around debating intelligences of your friends and that of your own comes down to book smarts versus street smarts. It's a pretty simple argument to make. Book smarts belongs to those that can name all past presidents of the United States of America but are at a loss if you ask them for directions. Whereas, people with street smarts are the complete opposite. Street-smart people can put together a bookshelf in their New York or Scarborough condo but wouldn't be able to tell you what all the numbers are that make up Pi.
So, when somebody refers to somebody else as having a lot of street smarts versus having a lot of book smarts, or vice versa, you now know what they actually mean. It can be a tricky thing sometime trying to define a person as having either book smarts or street smarts. It rules out the potential of a person who has both street and book smarts. There are plenty of skills a person has such as being able to read The Junction maps, naming all the elements in the periodic table, and fixing a tire, that would show off both their book and street smarts.
However, during most arguments over someone's book or street smarts, only one can be victorious. Sometimes it's hard to settle on just one of the two but other times it can be really simple to say to someone they're street smart and book smart.
Being street smart shows off your independence and that you don't need much help to survive out in the real world. You know how to handle yourself in everyday situations, you know how to get around town, you can make your own decisions without having to ask for help and you aren't stubborn.
Book smart people won't have any problem answering questions that come out of a textbook but will have trouble figuring out how to bake a lemon meringue pie in the kitchen of their New York home or Trent Severn Waterway cottage.
Not everything can be taught in a classroom or around the dinner table in your piece of New York or Plano real estate property. Some things are meant to be learned outside of the home and in the "Streets."