I was driving about town recently when I saw a car that had a sticker on the bumper that said “Mensa”. For those of you who are not familiar with this term, it is an organization of people who are a whole lot smarter than you and me…they are, in fact, brilliant. In order to qualify for Mensa membership, one must prove that he or she is at or above the 98th percentile on a standardized intelligence test. If that is not available a potential member can opt to pay a non-refundable $40 fee to take a qualifying test administered by Mensa.
This organization was founded in 1946 by Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist who was also a lawyer. I suppose that Dr. Ware was tired of the ho-hum, every day, meat and potatoes conversation that he was subjected to by Oxford cabbies, chimney sweeps, stable hands, and spittoon craftsmen. I can understand his revulsion. I mean…when is the last time you attempted to discuss Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or stoneware from the Han Dynasty with some guy who was covered with soot or, even worse, horse ordure (that’s Middle English/Anglo-French for poop). These are simply not the sort of people that a gifted person would invite into their parlor for tea, crumpets, and genteel discourse: “…Right, Guv’nor…we wuz laughin’ our arses off…the whole lot of us… when the horse lifted his tail and squirted a load of diarrhea smack on the bloomin’ bride maid’s dress. It was a sight to see, it was!”
The Mensa concept soon caught on and became a worldwide phenomenon. Membership is well over 100,000 and the United States has the largest membership with around 57,000 people on their rolls. Fees vary by country but, in the US, the cost is $63 per year.
What are the benefits of belonging to Mensa? First and foremost, you get a membership card that certifies your status as a bonafide genius. This is a very valuable addition to any wallet and I would suggest that anybody who receives one should immediately have it laminated. This is very important because, when you get into discussions, debates, or even arguments with the unwashed public, you may have to make a point by whipping out your card and handing it to any dummy who may deign to challenge your superior knowledge. The last thing that you want to do is to whip out an unlaminated card that some grimy, drooling rag-monger has handled. Once you laminate your card, you can clean and disinfect the precious object whenever necessary.
This card can come in handy in other situations as well. For example, what police officer is going to risk giving a Mensa member a ticket only to appear in traffic court and wind up playing the fool to a certified genius? And, if you are a lowly (but brilliant) boot camp Marine facing the wrath of a grizzled old drill instructor (who does not meet Mensa IQ standards), a simple flash of the membership card will instantly reduce him to a stammering, head-scratching noncompoop (pun intended). Think of yourself as a chess master pitted against folks who think that rock, scissors, and paper is a game of skill.
I logged onto the Mensa website and discovered that members can buy all sorts of products that scream their innate superiority to the world. There are nifty Mensa t-shirts in all sizes up to 3X. Wow! Fat AND Smart! I also saw Mensa tie tacks, earrings, cufflinks, key-chains, mugs, bumper stickers, logo car magnets, pens, license plate frames, watches, games, mouse pads, water bottles, and much more!
Upon reviewing the selection of Mensa products, however, I discovered some serious gaps that their marketing department may want to consider filling in their profitable quest to accessorize the concept of genius. If Mensa can offer up a tire-pressure gauge with their logo on it, surely they can market everyday items such as rectal thermometers, adult diapers, sex toys, nose hair tweezers, and toilet paper (to name just a few). I don’t know about you but, if I was a certified, card-carrying genius, I would want to use Mensa logo toilet paper to remind my rectum that it isn’t just any run-of-the-mill shit squirter.
Another thing that I found fascinating about the Mensa website was a large number of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) where members with specific interests can commiserate with others who share those interests. There are SIGs for beer lovers, gun enthusiasts, neo-pagans, astrologers, knitters, Mormons, witches and sorcerers, conspiracy buffs, and nudists. I would worry, however, if I was at a public meeting and some naked guy with a Mensa bumper sticker pasted to his ass were to jump up and demand that he be allowed to give a Pagan benediction. I would definitely require him to produce a membership card before allowing him to proceed but I would hope that it would be laminated as one can only guess where a naked genius may keep such an item.
There are a lot more SIGs including a Biker Group. I really think that they should get together and make the pilgrimage to Hollister, California for the annual Biker Rally. I am sure that the Hell’s Angels would cringe in any confrontation with these big-brain types especially considering the fact that most of the Mensa bikers probably have deadly laser particle beam weapons mounted on the handlebars of their Mo-Peds (either that or Mr. Spock action figures).
Another SIG that I found particularly interesting is the altSig which Mensa describes as: “An online, forum-based group for Mensans who fall outside of what is considered “normal” society: goth, punk, gypsy, steampunk, etc. You don’t have to fit into any particular subgenre(s) to be a member; everyone is welcome.” I don’t have a clue what “steampunk” means but it sounds ominous. I am curious, however, about the gypsy segment among the Mensa membership. Are they particularly cunning and brilliant in the areas of fortune-telling and pickpocketing?
Also, what hungry shark or stinging jellyfish will want to mess with a member of the Mensa Scuba SIG?
I think that Mensa should have an exclusive day allotted to it by Disney World in Orlando. I know that they have a Gay Day but anybody can attend. I mean a really exclusive day for geniuses. Put a big sign on the entrance that says “DUMMIES NOT ALLOWED”. To make it even more satisfying for the geniuses, they could use their superior brain power to convince the park management not to announce the event. Keep it a secret. Let the unworthy congregate at the gate in confusion and bewilderment as they are turned away. HA! HA! Let the noodleheads, the hayseeds, the ding-a-lings, the dunderheads, the bleating masses, the dim of wit, the clodhoppers, the prune heads, and the bumbling buffoons to name a few…Let Them Know Who’s In Charge!
They could even request different lyrics for the It’s a Small World ride using the same simple, hypnotic, somewhat annoying… yet strangely haunting melody. Do it now. Hum that melody. Good luck and I hope it doesn’t stay with you for too many hours, days, weeks, months, etc. It doesn’t want to go away … it has found a home! Anyway, same melody, new lyrics:
I’m a genius and you’re not!
I’m smart as a whip, you’re dumb as a rock!
I’m a genius and you’re not!
I’m a genius and you’re not!
(repeat ad infinitum)
Linguistic SIG groupies may also want to translate the above ditty into Latin, Greek, or Navaho.
The Mensa group that I find most interesting is the Under Achievers SIG which has the following mission: “Are you working in a convenience store despite having multiple degrees? Have you an IQ in the ionosphere but no high school diploma? We are a discussion and support group for under-and other-achievers. You will find a sympathetic ear here.”
I guess that (if I were a Mensan) this is the group that I would gravitate to first. I am definitely an under achiever as I only made about $9,000 last year (a banner year by my standards). I would fit right in with this group…especially in the “sympathetic ear” department. It would have to be my right ear, however, as I am going deaf in the left one.
I guess the point of this whole exercise is to question who the real geniuses are in Mensa. Is it the 57,000 Americans paying the $63 per year membership fee ($3.6 million gross)? Could it be the 50,000 or so worldwide members kicking in another few million in annual fees (not to mention the key chains and other stuff)? Truthfully, I seriously doubt that they are the brains behind this organization. It would seem that the really smart guys in this equation are the ones who are on the receiving end of the millions of dollars that are gleefully paid annually by really smart folks who should know better.