So, I have this membership in MENSA, and it comes with a card I keep in my wallet. There are benefits to this membership—you get discounts in some places the same as with a AAA membership. You can go to meetings with other MENSA members, and you get a monthly magazine that might print your articles if you submit reasonable ones. I have had a couple of articles included in the Bulletin, but I don't take advantage of anything else this organization offers. I keep renewing the membership only for the card.
I call it "The Smart Card." As long as I have it, I feel smart, or at least not stupid. For years I thought I was stupid. It wasn't just an idea I had—I was convinced of it, and whatever opportunity crossed my path, I would shy from it because I was too stupid. It was a concept that was deeply ingrained in me and colored how I saw my place in the world. It colored it with dim shades, in fact.
With being accepted into this club of sorts and being given a membership card, I have proof I'm not stupid after all. It's proof only for myself because no one else cares, really, and most people don't even know I have this Smart Card tucked away as my secret crutch. But proof for myself is all I need.
There was a show I really liked, Boston Legal, with an autistic character named Jerry. Jerry had trouble being "normal" in stressful situations, and he used a crutch to alter his personality. He carried a wooden cigarette between his smoking fingers that made him bolder and able to finish sentences without stammering or hopping on one foot or chirping like a bird. In a way, my Smart Card is like Jerry's cigarette even though I'm not autistic and the card doesn't alter my personality. It's just my crutch, and it helps to keep me from slipping into my old "you stupid idiot, you're not worth a dime" mode.
I just renewed my membership to MENSA yesterday, so now I've got another year to carry a Smart Card. And I've got another year to belong to a round-table group that accepts me (mensa is Latin for table). Maybe by the end of that year, I won't need this crutch anymore, and I will have finally stamped out the idea that I'm stupid, and I will have finally proven the people who convinced me I wasn't worth a dime were wrong. Once and for all.
Until then, sign me up, just for one more year.