“You have to consider all the parameters surrounding the factual matrix”, he said. “Well, that’s true”, she responded, “but you also have to appreciate the basic dichotomy presented here.” “Of course, of course”, he said, “but one must also acclimate oneself to the irrefutable fact that one cannot compromise one side for the other even though the sides are diametrically opposed to each other”.

Such was the conversation at the bar where the local Mensa Club was holding its weekly Tuesday night meeting. Paul and Mary were carrying on this conversation over a couple vodka and tonics because the formal part of the meeting had terminated and the members were now into the “social” part of the meeting. You met some very interesting people at these meetings --- and if you traveled extensively, as Paul did, you got to visit with other clubs in distant cities. Paul had taken the preliminary test for Mensa when he was in college and the formal test a few months later. It was difficult to comprehend that Paul and Mary were lovers, because you just didn’t expect people who were sleeping together to talk this way. But Paul and Mary were intellectuals and they never stopped to consider that they were “talking” a particular “way”. Of course neither of them talked “that way” with most other people because many people would consider that they were “putting on the Ritz” or something. But when they were alone or with other intellectuals they quite naturally utilized the full spectrum of their vocabularies.

Paul had an IQ of 145 --- and Mary had an IQ of 149. Statistically speaking, they were of equal intelligence. Both had had the highest IQ in their respective high schools and both had gone on to college and grad school. They had met just six months ago --- at a Mensa Club meeting --- and had slept together on the third date. They were already talking about marriage. Besides being extremely intelligent, Mary had a pretty face and a terrific figure. Paul, himself, was considered quite handsome by most women. In short, they made a striking couple.

They had been discussing the concept of holding two diametrically opposing views without compromising one for the other. They agreed that you must view each view in its proper context but that that stipulation did not ameliorate the fact that the two views were still diametrically opposed to each other. They were using as an example the fact that someone could be “pro-life” and still favor “capital punishment”. Or vice-versa.

“But could you argue that the pro-lifers are really just concerned about ‘pre-born people’ and not so much about people who have already been born?” asked Mary. “No, I think they would argue that the “pre-born” are innocent whereas some adults like murderers are ‘guilty” --- thus differentiating the two groups”, responded Paul, “but in that sense they are not truly ‘pro-life’ in all respects”.

“But how about people on death row who are actually innocent?”

“Well, then the pro-life crowd would say they should go free because they are innocent --- but that’s really a different issue.”

A short time later Paul and Mary left the meetings and drove to their homes separately. They usually only slept together on weekends. The next morning in Harry’s office found his co-worker, Bill, sitting in the coffee room nursing his second cup of coffee for the morning. When Paul entered the room, Bill asked, “Hey Paulie --- what did you do last night?”

“I went to my Tuesday night Mensa meeting”

“Oh, that’s right --- that’s where all you smart asses sit around and watch the educational channel!”

“No, that’s where intelligent people gather to socialize.”

“Well what the hell do you guys talk about?”

“Whatever we feel like. But you know they say that dumb people talk about things --- average people talk about people and places --- and really smart people discuss concepts and ideas”.

“Geeez --- I talk about sports and pussy --- what’s that make me?”

“You’re a cretin, Bill --- you really are!”

“Well do you ever meet any nice chicks at those meetings?”

“As a matter of fact, I’ve been dating a girl I met there for the last six months.”

“Is she a looker --- or just some pointy-head brainiac?”

“See for yourself”, replied Paul as he took out his wallet and showed Bill a picture of Mary.

“Sweet Jesus --- she’s a goddamn knockout! Are you guys --- you know --- doing it?”

“Bill, we’re practically engaged!”

“Oh, man --- a girl that’s that good-looking and smarter than hell, too! You really have somethin’ going for you, my man!”

Yes, Paul knew he was quite fortunate. So many guys wanted to marry a real looker who was not very smart --- or at least as not as smart as him. In that way, they could be the dominant partner and become the “final arbiter” on most matters. But Bill was different. He wanted a wife who would be his equal. He wanted a true partnership. And Mary was very much his equal.

The people in Mensa were not that different from those other people who would not have been eligible for that organization. They were from various occupations and had varied interests. In fact, they really only had one thing in common: they were extremely intelligent.

It is said you are judged by the company you keep. Perhaps. But it can also be said that you are shaped by the company you keep. Unconsciously, you begin to speak and act similarly to the people with whom you most frequently interact. A Yankee spends two years living in the Deep South or she marries a Southerner --- and soon she develops a Southern accent. A guy from an upper-crust family attends an Ivy League school --- but he works with a bunch of guys who are big time cursers --- after awhile he’s cursing up a storm, too. Paul worked with a number of very intelligent people --- but the Mensa crowd enabled him to utilize the full spectrum of his intellectual abilities. He could even feel it.

People went to gyms to exercise --- or they played tennis --- or racquetball --- or they ran --- and all these things contributed to their physical well-being. Mensa contributed towards Paul’s intellectual well-being.

Paul was back in his wood-paneled office now and the phone was ringing. He picked up the receiver and said “Paul here.” Mary’s soft voice said, “How are you today, Love of My Life?” “I’m great, Sweetheart --- how are you?” “Fine --- just fine.”

Yes, loving someone and having that someone love you back is the greatest thing in the world. And Paul knew this had to be true at any level of intelligence. But perhaps love was even stronger --- no, even more complex perhaps --- among the more intelligent people. Just as the trained athlete has a wider range of physical abilities, the more intelligent person has a wider range of abilities to think --- and to express the love he feels. He just had to consider all the parameters surrounding the entire factual matrix.

--= ACHS Class of 1958 Web Site © , 2003 by Edward R. Doughty   All rights reserved. =--