Saturday October 16, 2010 was Mensa’s National Testing Day.  Trying out for Mensa is on my bucket list for some reason, so a week before the test date I signed up.  I took the test with no preparation; I figured a legitimate genius is one that can consistently reproduce genius-caliber test scores.  Memorizing a bunch of logic problem shortcuts does not a bona fide genius make.  There were other factors that contributed to my lack of preparedness, but this is the one that makes me sound the most sympathetic.

Breakdown of reasons why I didn’t prep for the Mensa test

The Mensa Admissions Test was administered at a nearby public library.  There were four other test takers with me:  A severely overweight gentleman who required a chair for each arse cheek (I swear); a man who claimed to be unemployed for the past two years and logically concluded that his test results would result in spontaneous job offers; an obese 16-year-old gal whose hung-over mother seemed pretty annoyed to be out of bed at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning to sign the test as the girl’s legal guardian; and a 65-year-old Elvis impersonator.

I was the last one to arrive and since the administrator had not anticipated such a massive turnout, I was given the privilege of choosing who I would like to sit next to.  I selected Elvis because he looked both the most intelligent (I did not want any dumb nuts copying off me and sailing into Mensa on my coattails) and the least likely to emit a distracting odor.

The first portion of the test went by quickly, meaning that I answered only 38 out of the 50 questions.  You would think the serene screaming of the water pipes and the persistent knocking of the storage room door from the vent drafts would have helped me to focus.  I’m not making excuses; I’m just trying to give you a feel for the conditions I was working under.

The second portion of the test was all multiple choice (the first leg was a short answer and multiple choice combo).  It all culminated in us would-be Mensans answering questions pertaining to the administrator’s recitation of a riveting short story about some ancient Greek dorks who pranced around a fire to celebrate the life/death/bowel movements of the god Dionysus.

When it was all over, we sat there smiling at the administrator expectantly, as if to ask, “Did you grade our tests yet?  Well can you give us an answer sheet?”  She was kind enough to give me a little booklet with a schedule of upcoming events and activities that I could be a part of, should I qualify for membership.  I got excited as I envisioned myself joining the Wii bowling league or attending seminars such as “Nanotechnology Intro: Much Ado about Nano” or “Urban Chicken Raising” or “A History of Fire Safety in America”.

Said dreams were shattered two weeks later when I received the flabbergasting news that I had not been deemed brilliant enough to join the ranks of people who gather the first Saturday of every month for Star Trek rare episode viewings.

Page from the October issue of ChiME, Mensa’s monthly newsletter.
Arrows indicate intriguing activities offered on Halloween weekend.

Mensa does not provide test takers with a test score or even tell you what percentile you performed at.  You either ranked in the 98th percentile of those taking the test or you did not.

My rejection letter mentioned that I could still get into Mensa by submitting my standardized test scores from my K-12 days. If you score in the 98th percentile among the test takers in any one of a variety of other intelligence tests, you qualify for membership.  I saved my score reports at home, and have confirmed that I did indeed test in the 98th percentiles of several qualifying tests. 

Why didn’t those Mensa-holes tell me this option before I took their $40 entrance exam? While I am certainly overjoyed to help fund the Sunday afternoon Shakespeare Improv parties of a group of total strangers, I am a little peeved.  If they think I am going to reapply for membership just because they waived the application fee the second time around, they’ve got another thing coming to them.  And by having another thing coming to them, I mean that my application and a copy of my test scores are in the mail.

My rejection letter.  The large NO symbol was added for dramatic effect.