Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Smart Card

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.


kyle@sift said...

I rather dislike being evaluated, especially if I have to pay for. I have never been fond of self-appointed elitism.

I believe you are very intelligent, but more are passionate and kind.

Scout said...

Wow, Kyle. "Self-appointed elitism" is a little harsh. This group may be many things, but I hardly see it as self-appointed elitism. It's simply a group of people who fit a certain category, like the VFW or the PTA or the art guild.

savannah said...

ok, the first time i saw the title, i thought it said "the smart CAR"
i'm going back into self imposed writing exile! *sigh* xxooxo

Miz Minka said...

I think it's cool that you have the "Smart Card." :) I wish I had the nerve to take the Mensa test. I think I'm pretty smart, and getting into Mensa would confirm why I was bullied ("they didn't like the smart kid")...but if I were to find out I'm dumber than I thought, then I'd have to find another way to come to terms with the bullying. So the sample home test just sits there on my desk, unopened, and I've never had the nerve to actually make an appointment for the real deal. Oh well. In my case, ignorance truly is bliss. ;)

MmeBenaut said...

I think it's fabulous that you put your smart card to good use in your wallet. Whatever makes us stronger works for me. From where I sit Robyn, you're not only incredibly smart but you are also competent, practical, caring, loving, cat lover. You can knit, paint, cook, photograph and your writing is simply fabulous. You are also a brilliant mother and no doubt wife and a musician to boot. In fact, I think that you could do most things that you set your mind to. You give generously to your community and to new immigrants. You are not only interested in history but you research it and write about it, not only for the benefit of your community but for us as well. I could go on if I knew you better ... I don't know where you got the idea that you were not smart or who in your youth convinced you of it. Whoever they were, they were definitely NOT smart!