Smart Enough to Join Mensa, Not Smart Enough Not to Join Mensa

Posted on May 4, 2012


Just when you started to get excited about your two-year-old’s ability to spit out a few mumbles that kind of sound like words, Mensa–the high IQ society–has welcomed a two-year-old member who can recite the alphabet backwards and forwards, count to 1,000, name the planets, and I’m pretty sure never falls for the ‘I got your nose’ routine.

If you’re not familiar with Mensa, it’s an organization established by smart people as the fastest way to answer the question, “If you’re so smart, prove it!” I considered applying to Mensa when I thought the cut-off was the upper 1%, but then I learned they accept the upper 2% and I worry decreasing the line from the 99th to the 98th percentile would allow in too much riff-raff.

I can only think of two reasons why people would want to be in Mensa:

1. So you can constantly mention it to other people. “Sorry, I can’t come to your party but I have a Mensa meeting that day. What’s that? You weren’t going to invite me to your party? Well, still the same, I couldn’t come anyway. Because of my Mensa meeting. Mensa. The high IQ group I belong to. Mensa.”

Here’s the rub: If you’re smart enough to be in Mensa, you should be smart enough to realize how much everyone else hates people in Mensa.

2. To rub elbows with other smart people so you can pat each other on the back and share the burden of being smart. “It’s so tough being super intelligent. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like for people to go through life not understanding fractals. Maybe life would be easier if I could laugh at beer commercials and YouTube clips of people falling down.”

Here’s the problem with being in Mensa, when low IQ people find out you’re a member, they automatically want to find something wrong so they can take you down a peg. If you’re beautiful, people hope to find out you’re vain. If you’re rich, people hope you’re a snob. If you brag about being smart, people want you to push a door plainly labelled ‘pull’.

After first joining Mensa, members are probably surprised that instead of respect and admiration, they get asked the following questions:

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you more financially successful?

If you’re so smart, how come you can’t put together this IKEA furniture?

If you’re so smart, how come I’m your boss instead of the other way around?

What would you ask?

Posted in: Columns