I set out to prove how smart I was by taking the Mensa test. I told my Smartypants colleague (and anyone who would listen) that I was doing it NOT to validate my own intelligence, but to prove that no one should be impressed with him being Mensa-licious.
"If he can do it, the so can I!" I shouted through the halls at work, "And if I can fucking do it, then the WHOLE THING'S a big fat fraud!" Everyone around me agreed immediately.
But my scoffing was all a front: I was hideously jealous. I wanted desperately to be in Mensa. To be accepted by worldwide club full of smart, intelligent, clever geniuses! Oh Joy and Rapture: to be officially crowned a Smartypants! I'd be the Wizard of Oz at the next Trivial Pursuit game, me versus the whole room, winner take all. (Take all what? No matter. As long as it was MINE.)
I'd stand near the counter at the gas station and be the go-to guy for lottery numbers, I'd help everyone win big and they'd cut me in on their jackpot.
"Try 37. I've got a feeling."
"Thank you, sir. When a Mensan has a feeling, they're usually right."
"Yes, I know."
I'd sit on my couch like a modern-day Solomon and watch TV while people came to me to settle domestic disputes:
"Mr. Mensa, sir, my father wants me to marry a man I am not in love with. What should I do?"
"Go into porn. That'll show him. Next!"
Finally I'd have a legitimate reason to hide in my room at the next family BBQ:
"Why is Mark hiding in his room?"
"It's okay, he's in Mensa. He's thinking."
No longer would I humiliate myself in public by doing those stupid voices and telling the same boring, long-winded stories over and over again. Like the one where I shit myself in fifth grade and Mrs. Sietz, the one-armed nurse, had to wedge her one-armed body into the doorway of the boys' bathroom so older kids couldn't go in and catch me easing out of my shit-blasted underpants. Oh, sure, it gets big laughs, but who fucks the shit-covered clown when the circus is done? The bearded lady, THAT'S who. A Mensa membership would truly be my one-way ticket to Electric Ladyland.
Picture it: I whip out my Mensa card at the entrance to the New York Public Library and head toward the back. The bouncer unhooks the velvet rope and whisks me to my private table in The Reading Room. I set up my laptop and chill, wait for the action to start. The ladies sense my presence and emerge from behind the non-fiction shelves. They come floating over, start caressing my skull.
"Hey there, scholar," I whisper to the psych major in the sequined thong, "Wanna hear my thoughts on universal truth?"
Before I can say Fermat's Theorem she's stroking my beard and panting like a sexy St. Bernard. My glasses fog up.
"You're giving me right-brain fever, smart guy," she purrs. "I want some of that fine, fine beautiful mind."
I go for the kill: "What say we go back to my place? You can time me while I do the Daily Jumble."
She swoons. My ace in the hole: the Daily Fucking Jumble. Suck it, Will Shortz.
What number is half of one tenth of one fifth of one tenth of one thousand?
Mensa means "table" in Latin. According to the website, Mensa is "a round-table society where race color creed, national origin, age, politics, social or educational background do not matter." You just need to be a Smartypants. Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, and scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for which was a high IQ. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population. Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence, and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.
I love doing all that shit. Mensa sounded like a perfect place for a potential Smartypants like me to hang out. I signed up to take the next test. I purchased some renowned study aids:
-Mensa For Dummies
-Genuis? Moi? Oui, Vous.
-How To Get Into Mensa Without Really Trying
I had over two months to study. Turns out I didn't even need to...
NEXT: Part 3, Where I Take the Pitch to Dinner AND a Movie