The pathway ahead…

It was dark. The pathway ahead was faintly visible and the ground felt soft, absorbing my footsteps as I passed over it running. The air was cool and damp from a recent rain. At first, running was easy. A slight breeze was blowing towards me. As I increased my pace, so did the resistance from the breeze. I reached a point in my speed that the breeze subsided… almost as if I had ‘punched’ through the resistance. My running became easier.

This went on for a while, so I decided to increase my speed again. The breeze returned and this time it was stronger. Again, I ‘punched’ through the resistance and it was somewhat less turbulent. I increased my speed… the resistance returned more strongly than before. Increased speed certainly meant more wind resistance. But this was a dream and I was well aware it was a dream. I had the distinct feeling that these breezes were in essence, more like walls. Each wall that I passed was met with more walls and more resistance. As I eclipsed each breeze wall, my strides became longer and the distance between the walls decreased, meaning that I was transcending the breeze walls more rapidly and not enjoying the reduced turbulence before encountering the next wall. I was caught in a constant state of buffeting air. It was interesting and annoying at the same time.

It’s funny when you’re dreaming and you know it’s a dream. Yet, it’s frustrating. Things happen in dreams with which we’re given very detailed feelings we can’t describe, and information we don’t know quite how to fit together. I don’t think this was a very hard dream to analyze. I’m no Sigmund Freud, but this dream felt very much like I was running towards goals and meeting resistance all along the way. The goals achieved were met with more resistance in accomplishing the goals ahead.

“Above the Dirt”

Yesterday was very trying. Like most mornings, I laid there thinking of reasons to get out of bed. I did get up… my heart just wasn’t ‘in it’. I arrived at work a short time later and started my day. As the hours slowly ticked by, I grew more and more uneasy. I finally reached a point when I couldn’t take it any longer. I filled out a form acknowledging that I was leaving work before my scheduled quitting time, and placed it on my lead’s desk. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if I’d come back… ever. I drove the short distance home and parked the car. I must’ve sat there a good fifteen minutes, lost in my thoughts. I climbed out of my car and went inside. Closing the front door behind me, I quietly ascended the stairs. Looking in my son’s room, I saw that he was still asleep… so peaceful. I envied him. Now, I don’t have many things my life in which I take pride and joy, but in my son… I have both. He’s the reason I go on. (Summer 2017)

 

Many times, when passing acquaintances, plesantries are exchanged. “Hello!”, “Good morning!”, and “How are you?” It’s how we greet one another and acknowledge our friendships. To me, these are some of the most awkward social interactions of my day. My Southern upbringing dictates that I reply in kind when greeted. Out of respect for those social courtesies, I do respond. Now, I’m not an extrovert by any loose definition of the term… so, responding makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I want to return greetings to those who were kind enough to initiate, but the “How are you?”, troubles me most with an adequate response.

I’m a firm believer in being as transparent and straight forward as possible. I can, at times, be very blunt in my day-to-day interactions. That said, my usual response when asked “How are you?”, is “I’m above the dirt.” Yeah, I know it sounds like a morbid response, and possibly ‘jerkish’, but it really is how I feel. Life is a chore… a chore that I’ve grown tired of participating.

It seems like I’ve spent the better part of my life, analyzing and justifying my existence. Life is pointless. It exists only to perpetuate itself. There is no ‘end game’ and no reward. It’s not unusual for me to contemplate death. That’s something always ruminating in the dark reaches of my mind. My challenge has always been finding a reason to go on. Every day that I’m in the here and now, I’m ‘above the dirt’… and that’s the justification for my response.

Just because…

Just because someone is highly intelligent, doesn’t mean they won’t make stupid decisions.

Many moons ago, I owned a tile setting company in the Deep South. The homes I would lay tile in were owned by well-to-do people. These were mostly self-made folks, starting out in humble beginnings and working their way into prosperity. I enjoyed talking with them as time allowed and a favorite question of mine was, ‘What is the secret to your success?’.

One such client, which I admired greatly, had grown up very poor. He said that he was the first person to graduate high school in his immediate family. But here he was, a very successful businessman, a prolific inventor, well respected in his community, and had no college education… how did he accomplish so much?

In speaking with him (I’ll call him Ted), I learned a little more about his life story. It turns out, what he would do was invent medical devices and take out patents on them. He would then ‘sit’ on the patents and wait. Eventually, someone would produce a product, which infringed upon his patent, and start to generate monies from the sales of said product. This was the point when Ted would step in and sue for patent infringement. By not suing immediately when the infringement was initially discovered, the offending party used their own monies to develop and market the product. This saved Ted a lot of his own time, money, and risk usually associated with bringing a product to market. All Ted had to do was claim royalties from the offending patent. Genius, right?

Well, on the flip side of Ted’s story, were a lot of missteps. For instance, Ted was building a large home overlooking a huge lake system in the area. From atop the hill, his master bedroom had a 270 degree view of the lakes below. On one part of his property there existed a cliff wall that was a local favorite for rock climbers. This presented a problem in terms of liability issues. If someone were to be injured, Ted might be held liable. This sort of thing is known legally, as an ‘attractive nuisance’. To protect himself from such a situation, Ted decided to gift the cliffside area to the city. Sounds great thus far, right? Wrong. When Ted, months later, decided to put up a fence close to the cliff, he was informed that he could not fence off city property. Now, people not only climbed the cliff, they also trespassed constantly across his land because he had no fence. Had Ted done his due diligence, he would’ve known about the restrictions concerning the fencing off of city property. Knowing this, he could’ve installed the fence and then donate the land to the city… his fence would’ve been grandfathered in and the law not applicable.

Sadly, Ted passed away before his dream home I was working on was completed. He was the pilot of an aircraft in which his wife, and a son were passengers. The plane went down and there were no survivors. The way his will was written, each benefactor of his estate was awarded a percentage. That meant everything had to be liquidated so that a monetary value could be determined and percentages divided up. Homes were sold, a private WWI airplane museum hit the auction block, and one of the country’s largest Disney figurines collection at the time was broken up… all because his will was in percentages.

I have little doubt that Ted was every bit a genius I thought him to be. He was a truly remarkable man. Even geniuses can, and do, make boneheaded mistakes.

The IQ bell curve

 

This is a difficult topic to write about. The general population is somewhat squeamish on the subject. The topic of IQ can be explosive. As with anything, IQ can be controversial.  The information is out there if people really have a desire to know and learn. My attempt here is geared more towards laying out the basics in order to obtain a general understanding of the subject.

An IQ score is a composite score of several tested areas comprised of reasoning, memory, acquired knowledge, and mental processing speed.

In the chart above, we can readily make several observations. The mean IQ score is 100. The standard deviations are by 15 point (SD=15) increments. Standard deviations can be both negative and positive. If a score falls below the mean of 100, it will be a negative SD. Above 100, a positive SD. Each SD above or below the mean is represented as SD- or SD+.

Referencing the chart again, we can see that roughly 68% of the general population will fall between SD-1 and SD+1. That correlates to an IQ value ranging from 85 to 115. And 95.44% are between 70 (SD-2) and 130 (SD+2). It should be noted that IQ tests are ‘recalibrated’ over time to obtain a 100 mean score. As the population gets ‘smarter’, the mean will adjust.

So, what does all of this mean? Without some sort of corresponding scale, IQ scores are hardly of any use. This is where we go to other sources to define the differences in IQ. The chart below breaks down IQ classifications.

I refuse to comment much on the classification ranges. It’s a minefield to even try. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. But I will say this much… less than 2% of the population fall into both the SD-2 and SD+2 ranges respectively. It has been suggested but never conclusively proven, that very high IQ people suffer from mental illnesses in greater frequencies than in normal intelligence ranges. True? God, I hope not…    😉

 

Input = output

A question was recently asked in a Mensa based online group. It went something like this, “What does Group Name mean to you? What do you love? Why do you stay?”

For obvious reasons, I won’t mention the group name… but the comments in response to the questions are very applicable to Mensa in general. Often times, people will sit on the sidelines and make observations about how ‘Mensa can be so much better if only…’. Rarely, will the people making the suggestions, attempt to enact real changes. To paraphrase a Mensan, ‘To complain, is to volunteer!’ And that’s the essence of this post. Everyone will have different experiences and interactions, as is true with anything else in life. Mensa, to me at least, is a relationship wherein the value we get out of it, is proportional to our participation.

What follows, are a few comments to the questions.

  1. Making an obscure reference or joke and people getting it. But what really keeps me here, and what will keep me fighting for our Group Name? Family. The fact is that anyone who *wants* to belong to this family is accepted with open arms.I can be loud and obnoxious and self-centered and a total attention whore. I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things. I know there are plenty of people here who believe differently than I do about almost everything. And I’d be willing to bet there are people here who just don’t like me, for whatever reason. You know what? THAT’S OKAY. We’re still family.The reason I stay and fight is because I know a lot of y’all would do it for me. If my life caved in, Group Name would have my back…and not just the people I count among my IRL friends. I know I’d have help from lurkers, and from those who disagree with me, and maybe even from those who don’t like me. And that’s not because I post all the time, or I’m a “cool kid,” or whatever. It’s because FAMILY.
  2. Friendship. Acceptance. Belonging. I joined Mensa in 2010 on a dare. I didn’t get my money’s worth until February of last year when I found Group Name. Some of the people here have become incredibly important to me, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them, because they allowed me to be myself, without judgment, without condemnation, and they liked me in spite of my flaws, which are legion. This is my family. My tribe. My Island of Misfit Mensans.
  3. I love the people… y’all are just some damn fun people! The fact that so many people have offered to drop everything and come help me… people reach out to check on you… people who you didn’t even realize knew who you were! The jokes, the sarcasm, the drinks… all awesome! Y’all have become family so quickly…. I’m all emotional today so I’m just going to leave it at I fucking love y’all
  4. For me, it is a testing facility for advanced ideas and language, which can go anywhere.
  5. Freedom to be me. Family – the one I choose. Fun because every serious matter has a joke in it.
  6. A bunch of smart people who are from a wide variety of backgrounds.
    I love the fact that some of my dearest friends I have become acquainted with in this group and then met in person. I like the fact that friends I have made through here have proven to be very loyal in the face of opposition.
  7. My wife will hear my full-throated laughter from the next room and comment, “You’re reading Group Name, aren’t you?” Sometimes I laugh so hard that I cannot breathe. Group Name: Witty, sarcastic and clever people to whom I am much obliged!
  8. In just one year’s time, my social circle has completely changed for the better. As others have said previously, I feel like I’ve found my people. I’m kicking myself for putting off the test all these years. [Bonus annoyance about that: After taking the test and being offered membership, I found some previous test scores that would have had me in years ago.] Many of you have become closer to me than I am to my “family of origin.”
  9. Group Name is (my) tribe. I love people who make irreverent statements and think really out of the box.

If you belong to a similar type of organization, why do you stay? What’s your motivation?