Monday, April 11, 2011

Mensa - Doorway to Nothing - 4/11/2011

It is not uncommon for an exchange with my friend, Bill Woolum, to inspire a blog. Bill is one of the handful of my Facebook contacts that is also a friend in real life. Last night our Facebook conversation began with a discussion of the Yankee/Red Sox game and ended with speculation as to which of our classmates, circa 1970, are Mensans. That may seem like a strange segue, but actually since both of us have severe attention deficit disorder, as well as other issues, it is a totally logical progression. Our exchanges often deteriorate into much more base topics (usually my doing).

I often wish that Bill and I lived closer so that we could have these conversations over beer, breakfast, or blancmange, but alas, we both love our particular coasts.
The Mensa dialog is what inspired this post. I am a member of Mensa and I expect Bill is a closet member. Speculating as to whom in my graduating class of Kellogg High School, Idaho, 1970, were possible Mensans proved to be an interesting activity.

Let me state at this time that I don’t believe my qualification for Mensa is any sort of accomplishment other than I am a really good test taker.

Mensans that I have come in contact with are generally weird and uninteresting, insufferable bores. (Except for Dave Powers and me) You will note that I have let my membership lapse. I have absolutely nothing in common with members of the organization. Contributors to their publications expend an inordinate amount of effort to try to impress each other with their knowledge. I write to publicly display my lack of enlightenment.

I believe that being smart is like being gay, it is not a choice. It is thrust on you and it is up to the individual what he does with it. My innate ability to process information has actually worked against me in my life. School was very easy and as a result I got bored and stopped paying attention in about grade six. Also, in the 1960s, in Kellogg, Idaho, tall, skinny, awkward, kids with big ears/noses that wore glasses and knew all the answers in class were not cool. I tried, unsuccessfully to be cool. I learned pretty much by osmosis, through no effort of my own. I can honestly say that I never read a textbook, other than an occasional chapter that interested me. As a result, I was, and continue to be a world class underachiever.

I graduated right in the middle of my 192 high school graduating class. That may not sound too bad unless you consider that the majority of those that finished below me would be considered special needs students in today’s society.

But, as is my modus operandi, I smoked the ACT/SATs, and went on to college, where I discovered lots of new distractions as barriers to success. I learned that class attendance was necessary to successful course completion. After one year, I was not invited back.

Getting back to the Mensa discussion, statistics would indicate that since Mensa membership is comprised of the top 2% of standardized test takers, my class should have included 3-4. I have no reason to believe that Kellogg High School produced genius above the national average. After all, we were all subjected to 18 years of heavy metal poisoning. I am thinking that would work against us.

Bill and I enjoyed speculating as to who the remaining 2 or 3 qualifiers were. It was an enjoyable exchange. I guessed the other Mensans from my class were Jim Etherton, Mike Jasberg, and Jeff Kenyon. Sorry Christy Blick, you can’t have beauty and brains. It wouldn't be fair. Bill did not disagree with any of those and added Brian Shiplett.

After our conversation ended, I thought that it is very possible that, like me, the other gifted students were also camouflaged, cloaked in mediocrity, and the high achievers from my class succeeded by sheer effort and ambition.


Kathy TeStrake said...

This is fascinating Rick! MENSA eh? Those who got it don't want it, and those who dream of it, can't have it!

I was so on target when I asked you to accept a Facebook friend, Ed Wissing. He is so much like you from what I can gather. Not only is he in Myrtle Beach, but he has the same feelings about his extraordinary brain! He often talks about how difficult it is to relate to unintelligent people. He wishes he hadn't been "cursed" with it.

I wonder if he didn't make an effort to befriend you, or ? He is a real character! I'm glad you're doing this blog, I think I'll enjoy it a lot!

Chris said...

Nicely done.

Nadja said...

Your writing is fantastic. Love reading your blogs.

Anonymous said...

As you well know I am probably not eligible for MENSA, however I do think that, by comparison, I am a relatively intelligent person. I couldn't agree more with the burden being smart brings to one's life. Compund that with being female and it only proves to make it worse. The shock that shows on peoples faces when you make a comment that no one thought you could have possibly come up with is frustrating. Not to mention the need to "dumb" down in certain situations as well. "Why do you talk like don't need to impress anyone." I think this leads to the mediocrity as well as the boredom. Men do not like to be outsmarted by a woman to boot. You are so right, cloaking the intelligence you have to fit in becomes a way of life. Perhaps dementia will help and bring us to a more common thread with others. LOL I have missed your blogs Mr.'s Skooter?

Anonymous said...

Finally made it out to read the mensa blog. Very funny. I'm curious if any Mensa members are organized. Seems everyone I know that I assume is Mensa has an over active brain with a very difficult time focusing. Love you, Carly

Go Figure said...

Whale: Ha...I knew it! Well I knew that you had better not try to make a living making a curve ball break! HA!

Anonymous said...

You make me laugh out loud. I can tell your winter blues are over for the season. Have a great summer.
Linda Weeks Roose