I just found out that I am too stupid to live. This saddened me because I’d always thought I was fairly smart. But I did something idiotic that crushed my ego flatter than an old Buick at a salvage yard.
Silly me, I thought it would be fun to take the on-line Mensa Workout, a little practice test that gives a sampling of the questions on the big Mensa Test, which is a two-hour proctored testapaloolza. You need to score in the top 2% to join the few, the brainy, the Mensans.
The practice test has 30 questions to be answered in 30 minutes. And I was doing really well, answering every question correctly, until at number 15, I ran out of time. Because I never got to the remaining questions, I scored a whopping 43%. I’m not even a halfwit; that would require a score of 50%. I’d need 20 more points to rise to the rank of moron. It seems you not only have to be smart; you have to be fast.
And that got me wondering, is intelligence simply the ability to answer questions at record speed, like on TV game shows? Does it really matter if it takes two minutes rather than one to arrive at the correct answer? Yes, it matters. According to Mensa, intelligence has a sell-by date.
But this type of exam doesn’t measure persistence or creativity, which cannot be quantified. Though Thomas Edison showed those traits in abundance, discovering a light bulb filament after over a hundred tries, and Werner von Braun crashed many rockets on the launch pad before one flew, both men would have likely flunked this speed test.
Yet, what upset me the most about my low score was that I really wanted to be in that top 2%; I wanted to stand at that cloud-high podium and look down on the lowly 98 percenters. But lacking the gray matter, I’m not even good enough to sit on that shelf inside the podium that no one uses because you look stupid bending over to grab your water bottle.
Having my non-genius status confirmed by a fabled gathering of mental giants not only crushed my ego; it kicked it to the gutter. Old childhood insecurities that took me decades to overcome resurfaced in just 15 minutes.
So learn from my mistake—yes, we simpletons can learn—do not log on to that evil web page; it is the devil’s handmaiden. Not to be a smart ass, but the smartest thing you can do is never test your smartness.
Until now I’ve underestimated the value of denial, but I’ve decided to pretend that I never took that test. Then I could retrieve my battered ego from the gutter, pound it back into shape, give it a nice wash and wax, and once again believe that I am a genius. Or at least, smart enough to live.