…and not sound arrogant about it.
I’m a member of American Mensa Ltd. If you don’t know what Mensa is, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article. In common parlance, it means I’m probably smarter than you. Though if you’re reading this blog and this isn’t your first visit, there’s a good chance you’re wicked smart, too. If this is your first visit to The Quixotic Jedi and you don’t get a headache after reading a few posts, there’s also a good chance that you’re wicked smart.
So. Good start, huh? I joined Mensa a couple of years ago by taking the entrance exam. I took the exam “for sh*ts and giggles” and to see if I had any brain cells left after my undergraduate experience. It was definitely a fun test – there were parts that I knew I aced, and parts that were pretty incomprehensible to me.
Originally, I thought that Mensa was a kind of support group for smart people – that I’d go to regular meetings where I could commiserate with others about how poorly the world treated us smart people. I was wrong. To tell you the truth, that’s about all I know about the workings of Mensa. I get the newsletters and the magazine and skim through them as I do any other periodical (and I really don’t like periodicals). But I have yet to attend any events. I keep my membership card in my wallet, just in case someone needs more concrete proof that I’m a big dork.
I think my Mensa membership has actually been more beneficial to my friends and family than it has to me. People seem to enjoy knowing someone in Mensa. And there are no end to the jokes at my expense. For example, if I make a mistake or say or do something “stupid”, I’m often asked whether I “could get kicked out of Mensa for that”. Or people will threaten to “tell Mensa”. For the most part, these jokes are in good humor, though they are sometimes said with a certain acerbic tone that I don’t particularly dig. Mensans have feelings too, in case you were wondering.
Mensa might be the most well-known society of its type, but there are others that are more, um, “exclusive”. For example, the Triple Nine Society [See also Wikipedia article] and the Prometheus Society [See also Wikipedia article]. From their definitions, I would imagine that it’s incredibly lonely to be a member of the Prometheus Society. I’m giving some serious consideration to taking the Miller Analogies Test [Wikipedia article] to see if I qualify for Triple-9, though. Yes, that’s kind of arrogant. But I do love analogies.
Sometimes, people who have heard of these other groups like to say something along the lines of “You know, being in Mensa doesn’t mean you’re all that smart. There are clubs for people much smarter than you.” My usual response to such statements is “Yeah, I’ve heard of them – which one do you belong to?”
If they then remark that I just ended my question with a proposition, I’ll take a page out of my sister’s book and reply “Excuse me – which one do you belong to…bitch?”
By way of an aside, I don’t think that my Mensa membership necessarily makes me all that much smarter than you. Without getting into a whole discussion regarding the nature of intelligence, I think it’s important to note that #1 there are many different kinds of intelligence, and #2 that intelligence (of any kind) doesn’t do one any good unless one is using it. In addition, I think the tests to get into any of these societies are culturally biased. I’ve had excellent educational opportunities over the course of my life that many others haven’t. My Mensa membership is the result of both nature and nurture.