Monday, January 24, 2005

Oh, To Be A Genius Instead of So Darn Cute

In one of my classes, we have been looking at the design elements of various web sites. One of the ones that caught my eye was the highIQsociety. Later that evening I checked the site out more closely and though I already know I am no genius, I had to take a couple of the tests, just to see what kind of questions they would ask.

I have never been any good at the questions that show you triangles with dots and colors on them and then ask you to choose which drawing would be next in the pattern sequence. It annoys me that I cannot see straight away what the pattern is and thus, can't for the life of me figure out what comes next.

Then there are the questions like this one:

Bloody sock is to ______ as festering ankle sore is to a) Yossarian, b) Pirrip, c)Prynne, d)Raskolnikov, e)Meussault

And this:

What word can be added to each of these to create new words? --Fish, Board, Glaze--

Looking at it now, I can see that maybe what they want is one single word that could be added to each of those words. And I bet the answer would be immediately obvious to any genius seeing the question. There is one small problem. I am not a genius.

And I have no patience with silly little details like that. On those questions, I simply make something up and go on to the next question. Even though I guessed at half of the questions (at least), it turns out I am normal, high normal (as if that is any consolation). I did not even bump my head on the ceiling of above average, dang it. I am just plain old normal, high normal.

But here is what I thought about. What if---what if I did not have that annoying habit of not taking those tests seriously, what if I would actually try to answer the questions, instead of dismissing them as stupid, (the nerve of normal me) might there be a budding genius lurking deep inside me that just needs a little nurturing? Is the problem that I am not applying myself? If I tried harder, would I at least qualify as above average instead of just plain old normal? I know in my little heart that the answer to that question is unequivocally, "no".

I had a friend once who had a habit of peppering his speech with the occasional "f-bomb", and when he was going to meet my mother, I asked him if he thought he could "be good" long enough not to use any words that might insult her. His answer was that he would have to study for it. Apparently it works to study for being good, because his vocabulary was as clean as my mother's, if only for the time he was visiting with her. But I don't think it would do any good to study to become a genius. Trying harder will not make me taller, nor make my feet smaller; trying harder will not make me a genius. It is sort of like being pregnant, either you are or you aren't. And I am not (I am not pregnant, nor am I a genius. I am smart enough to recognize that the previous sentence, "And I am not" was ambiguous, and have here clarified said sentence).

Sometimes being just normal, even high normal, bugs me. It just seems like I ought to be able to understand the concepts of higher intelligence. It is one of the things that frustrated me in my attempt to pass my Algebra class. I thought I ought to be able to understand Algebra, and having passed the class, it seems I ought to be able to move into even higher mathematical ground. But mathematics ain't for everybody.

I happen to know a mathematical genius type person and he sent me a copy of one of his published papers on higher mathematics to peruse. I am no genius, but I am perpetually curious about how these people of higher intelligence operate. He wasn't bragging or showing off. I asked to see the thing because I was so sure that if I just read the paper, I would understand at least a sliver of the concept they were writing about. Well, I was wrong. I don't know how they got that paper published in the first place. It was full of gobbledy-goo.

So, yeah, I know it is a burden to be a genius, just like it is a burden to be rich, or beautiful, but sometimes I just can't help myself, I wish I could be a genius. I think part of the reason for that is the desire to be something above normal in some area of my life, a need to be outstanding in a field, rather than being relegated to simply being out standing in a field. Did you geniuses catch that play on words?


  1. genius is relative. I've seen your glue boards. that's a type of genius. those tests are made by "geniuses" that are so out of touch with the real world that only they can take them and pass. If you aren't culturally within a certain group of people, you'll fail miserably and and make "them" look all the smarter. I have been tested for genius as a kid and scored quite high - since then have taken a few out of curiosity to see if I still "have" it. I nearly flunked basic Algebra. I almost failed Chemistry. But give me music or words and it all makes sense. I still think most of those tests are incredibly biased and "stupid". So there. Showing off my grammatical genius there, I am(not).
    I think it's a compliment that they say your "normal" and that you're high. (how can they tell that?)

  2. btw if I come off sounding incredibly arrogant... I'm not. really.
    If I sound insecure because I just said that last sentence it's because I am.
    hehe... :o)

  3. “genius is relative” Yes, it is, but it seems I have been surrounded by so much of it lately!

    And no, you don’t sound arrogant at all! You sound like a woman sounding a warning. Here is what I heard: “Don’t do it sister, don’t take yourself so seriously. Don’t sell yourself short.” Though I AM often guilty of taking myself too seriously and selling myself short, I mainly wrote this to get my mind off deciding whether or not I am in that darned void you and Merton wrote about! I still want to get myself back to that!

    “If I sound insecure because I just said that last sentence it's because I am.”
    Really? Me too!


  4. In case you wanted to know:
    The answer to the Fish, Board, Gaze (not glaze) question is Star. Put that at the beginning of each of the words and there you have it.


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