Oops

So apparently I have been hermiting to excess, mixed with a certain amount of imposter syndrome. That and dealing with the inevitable flurry of bugs that follow a major release (all things considered, they weren’t too bad) and all the usual crap.

Sorry about failing to post – I’ve been spacing anything social like you wouldn’t believe… actually, you probably would. It’s normal folk who’d have issues.

But then, I’ve completely failed to locate normal many times. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

It’s a bit like the misconception that the excessively intelligent will do well no matter how crappy their education is.

I could give my unvarnished opinion of that belief, but I’d strip varnish if I did. Pretty much the entirety of all societies is geared to the majority – which if you know about the intelligence bell curve (arguments about its validity aside) means those within one or two standard deviations from the mean. Namely, normal people.

Those who do best tend to be those on the higher end of the bell’s body – what could be called “high normal”, or in IQ terms, around 120, give or take a bit. The ones who are normal, but just do things a little better than others. And usually conform to social norms, mostly.

The reason is pretty simple – the further out on the “rims” of the bell a person is, the harder it is for them to communicate with normal folk. I don’t remember where I read it (I used to have a crapload of academic literature about gifted kids and adults, but offloaded it before I moved to the US) but I read somewhere that if you’re using IQ as a guideline, most people can only really communicate well within 20 – 30 points of their own score. So someone with an IQ of 180 hast to really work to be able to communicate with someone who’s in the normal range. Someone in the 150 range could probably act as a translator, though.

I don’t actually know my IQ score, but I do know it’s high. On the flip side, my ability to understand body language and social cues, if scored on the same scale, would probably be near zero. I just don’t “get” most people.

Seriously, I don’t. We Odds are a bit different. We know what not fitting in feels like and we – at least most of the folk here – tend to give a bit more leeway when we don’t follow where someone is going (for myself, my leaps of logic skip a huge number of steps, so something that’s obvious to me can be head-scratchingly “huh???” for others).

I’m pretty much the poster child for intellectually gifted and emotionally inept – partly the holdover of natural naivete (yes, the cynicism and sarcasm is a learned defensive mechanism) and partly being ostracized by my age group while I was growing up – because kids can tell when someone is different and they’re merciless when it comes to driving out the outsider. It’s part of the whole working out the limits and social mechanisms that happens at that age, and part of why the kids that are intellectually gifted and ping their schoolfellows “not one of us” sense should really be in a separate group of their equals.

Alas, when teachers are asked to identify gifted kids, they typically pick out the well behaved and good at school sorts. The high normals, as a rule. Not that this is their fault: teachers are typically normal people too.

I’d love to be able to say there’s an easy answer, but there isn’t. Being blessed – or cursed – with ridiculously high intelligence doesn’t mean a kid can’t hide it and it doesn’t mean it will present itself in an obvious way. If the kid in question has other issues, the effect can be one of defiance and obstruction (gee, this is starting to sound kind of familiar) – and teachers are understandably reluctant to “reward” kids like that.

Of course, when our ilk, the Odd, the “too smart”, the different, the creative… when we’re allowed to join in and do our thing, we’re the ones that come up with the ideas or the things that change the world. Or not, depending on our nature – but there’s a damn good reason why the “eccentric artist/author/etc” and the “mad scientist” are cliches.

And this is what happens when I ramble on. I ramble on, free associate in ways that don’t necessarily make sense, and produce posts like this.

15 comments

  1. I can relate. My IQ scores range between 138 and 153 depending on which test and how I felt on the day I took it. Was active in American Mensa for quite some time until that organization skewed hard left and I no longer felt welcome.
    IQ is mostly about your breadth of knowledge and how well and quickly you make associations between disparate data. This is often apparent in the area of humor. Often I will get a joke quicker than the rest of the audience, but conversely on occasion fail to see what everyone else is laughing at.
    One of the standing catch phrases about Mensa before they went woke was it’s where you get each others’ jokes. Main reason I was sad to leave.

  2. Both my next-youngest brother and I tested out as gifted, early on, and I aced the military ASVAB general score, so I rather think mine must be in the 140 or so range. So a bit miserable in middle school because of being a bright “odd”, but found friends among the honors and AE classes in high school. And very glad to have had those honors and AE classes at the time, since I am certain they have been discontinued in the 40 years since. Later on – good at seeing things and pulling together disparate elements and making sense out of them. Usually to the bafflement of those in the same unit…

  3. I’m probably a high-functioning quasi-normal. My Oddities seem to be a wild imagination, and a mind like fly-paper. I read everything, almost, in a lot of areas besides my specialty, and everything sticks. I’m not as brilliant as some of my colleagues, but I’m familiar with more knowledge areas.

    This past year has been a [rude word] socially because of the mask mess. 1) it makes my hearing problems worse because I can’t see lips move and muffles the sound. 2) It is soooo much harder to ready body language! I shudder to think what the catch-up process is going to be like for kids who already have problems reading non-verbal cues.

  4. Back in the Olden Dayz before Raven’s Progressive Matrices (with which I have absolutely NO patience and by the third one, they look like targets… if I were tested using those, I’d score zero) I tested at 156 math/spatial, 165 verbal, aggregate 159 (I have no idea how they get from one to the other). And yeah, it’s a different world. I don’t care. I prefer it up here. I’m not sure “fit in” ever crossed my mind even when I was a kid, far less now. I’d briefly imitate the normies now and then, but it was too much bother and I had more interesting things to do. And there were so many of my type at our public schools, that we weren’t really remarkable; our class hero was the chief egghead, and our schools took great pride in ranking at the very top for the Iowa Basics. Not coincidentally, my high school class-of-1972 had, count them, TWO dropouts out of 560 kids. And that makes for a better world.

    I was considerably amused when on a Big 5 Personality test, for “agreeableness” I recently scored… 2. Out of 100. Apparently I am exceedingly disagreeable. Now get off my lawn!

    1. I spent approximately the first thirty-eight years of my life wishing that I had a lawn so that I could tell those darn kids to get off it. At last, mission accomplished!

  5. The joy of surrounding myself with people who are brighter, more well read, more world-traveled, and have been there, done that, and have the scars and reflexes to show for it… is that I get to feel like the normal, boring, slow one of the group. It’s all relative!

    On the other hand, when I turned down a date to go picking four-leaf clovers (look, I wanted to mail a bunch to friends I met on a bulletin board), and when I say “I’m perfectly normal, if I set myself as the baseline!”… I may not be at the normal baseline for the general population.

    1. Yeah, whenever I set Bob as normal, and start estimating population parameters from that, I get really crazy results.

      Of course, as folks who know me on the internet may have gathered, I also get pretty crazy results when I do not assume that Bob is normal.

      Seriously, y’all have been great company, and I look forward to spending more time getting to know you all better.

  6. I may be a “mad genius” but unlike you folks, not a “worder” (hat tip to Dorothy G). While overly “educated” (Berkeley, Oxford) I have always fed my genie with adventure before the inevitable “figuring it out” (what?, how?, why?, so what?). So this led me (in 79 years) to venture over most of the planet and reside in 6 states and 6 countries. Insatiable curiosity. (Yes I have cats)

    In my observations idiocy is often stoked by stupidity but more often by the ignorance so engendered. Intelligent ignorance.

    Yesterday I visited an ophthalmologist from Quito Ecuador (my favorite country). My oldest son Juanito was born in Baños 49 years ago. The appointment shifted from my ocular blindness to experience timeless self transcendence and emotional bonding! Takes me way beyond “figuring out” to completing a circle of life.

    Intelligence (like “word”) should be a verb.

  7. A solution to the sorting– don’t have teachers pick.

    Sort kids by “what they can do in specific subject.” So their peer group is truly peer. Bonus, lets folks get rewarded for hard work.

    …why yes, this is exactly how I’m doing the kids’ “grades”. ^.^

  8. I may be a “mad genius” but unlike you folks, not a “worder” (hat tip to Dorothy). While overly “educated” (Berkeley, Oxford) I have always fed my genie with experience before the inevitable “figuring it out” (what?, how?, why?, so what?). So this led me (in 79 years) to venture over most of the planet and reside in 6 states and 6 countries. Insatiable curiosity. (Yes I have cats)

    In my experience idiocy is often stoked by stupidity but more often by the ignorance so engendered. Intelligent ignorance.

    Yesterday I visited an opthomologist from Quito Ecuador (my favorite country). My oldest son Juanito was born in Baños 49 years ago. The appointment shifted from my ocular blindness to experience timeless self transcendence and emotional bonding! Takes me way beyond “figuring out” to completing a circle of life.

    Intelligence (like “word”) should be a verb.

      1. No, no, blame WordPress. There’s a reason “WP Delenda Est” is a battle cry as well as a wail of frustration.

  9. My father who was absolutely more brilliant than anyone around used to say
    … “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a meatball.”

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