The IQ Score

My dad used to say, “Yeah, well, your IQ score and a dollar STILL couldn’t buy you a cup of coffee.”  And he was right.  (I mean, unless you’re talking about that nasty vending machine coffee they used to sell on my college campus at Cal State Long Beach back in the ’80’s…)

What’s an “intelligence quotient” anyway? It means, roughly, what one’s mind is capable of in terms of intellectual activity and comprehension.  How flexible are the thought processes? What are the problem-solving capacities of a person?

We tend to distill this to, “How smart I am,” giving one a distorted sense of self.

The sad thing is that, for a long time, these numbers truly affected people. Maybe not so much now, but I know they were in play as I was growing up.  Maybe it’s because I went to school with “the gifted kids” in many instances, and so many of us had taken “IQ tests” and knew our scores and where we ranked on a scale.  I knew my brother, for example, was “one point shy” of being “a genius” as far as the official tests went. Knowing I wasn’t  “as smart” as he was could have been a problem to my fragile feminine psyche.

BUT. See, I was blessed to live in a house where there was balance.  I was taught, as I indicated at the beginning, here, that that number over there? Only a mark on a chart. It didn’t mean anything practical. It is an indicator of potential, not possibilities.

I grew up knowing that yes, I had potential, but unless I could earn TWO dollars, instead of just having ONE, I still couldn’t buy a cup of coffee.  Applying that “intellect” a test said I had required work and determination.

If we could only measure those qualities on a scale, there’d be a lot more “gifted” people identified out there than there are.  The world is filled with hard-working, determined people who are true success stories.  And some of them aren’t even “test-able.”

Thank you for reading this mini-rant. I just had it on my mind and had to share it.

Now, I’m going to have another cup of coffee.  My husband – who also has a “high IQ” score – worked hard so that I could have a good cup of coffee.