While I can pretty much ignore most of your ignoble cousins, it is you who, for whatever reason, seem to think I might be receptive to your pitches. Understand that I was tested many years ago. I didn’t believe the results back then and I certainly don’t believe them now, even though certain adults bragged about what I apparently scored and it allowed me to get into some dubious program called “GATE.”
I imagined a drawbridge or a moat, but there were, I assure you, no gates to speak of. And in fact the program was quite slipshod in encouraging my supposed “gifted and talented” abilities, bussing me to a school on the other side of town and having adults, all of them speaking in soft and sensitive timbres reminiscent of Alan Alda and Phil Donahue (my only real reference point, seeing as how the television was an unfortunately prominent fixture growing up), letting me “do whatever I wanted.” So I was able to wile away the time quite egregiously, knowing very little of the art, the books, the science and the PET computer that was “accessible” to me, but never tossed my way. In short, I learned nothing and had no idea how to go about “doing whatever I wanted.” I was nine years old for crying out loud. Of course, had the soft-spoken teachers thought to demand something of me, I might have picked up a thing or two.
But I do remember a very cute girl (an older woman in fifth grade) named Kirstin, who was tall and blonde and a bit prematurely developed, if you know what I mean, and who I was relentlessly attracted to and who I longed to kiss at the age of nine and who I tried to impress with stunts on the ratty BMX bike I had and who I cried about on the phone to one of the men my mother was dating. Because I didn’t understand these profound feelings that crippled my solar plexus. Because I was confused that I could feel so much over one of those girls, who were declared “disgusting” and “icky” and other verboeten adjectives in the elementary school vernacular of that time. Fortunately, this guy was nice enough to encourage my mother to buy a box of After Eight mints, no small task given that we weren’t exactly living in style, which I then wrapped up with a bit of leftover Christmas ribbon in an inept way and which I then presented to her on the school bus, knees knocking together, nervousness and shyness spilling over the edge, and my face redder than a family dinner at the Red Lobster.
To my great shock, Kirstin received the mints with equanimity and proceeded to give me a hug and then further proceeded to smack me one on the cheek, leaving me utterly speechless and baffled and delighted. Kirstin and I gabbed to no end for the rest of that year. And that very day, during recess, we wandered off to the other edge of the school lawn and, neither of us knowing the protocol, proceeded to kiss each other deeply, outside the view of the supervising faculty members. She introduced to me this fabulous thing called the French kiss, which single-handedly sealed my heretofore unabated love for women, and older women in particular. And of course I cannot ever hate any woman named Kirstin. (Perhaps this might be one slight though subconscious reason why I voted Kirstin Allio’s Garner a 10? Or why I have had an inexplicable interest in Kirsten Dunst, who is much too young for me and not, from what I can tell, all that smart?)
Anyway, as you can see, none of this has anything to do with IQ tests. Nor is the consequential behavior that I have presented to you any indication of my intelligence. Nor are tests really the way in which one’s strengths and weaknesses come to occur. For I know very well that I’m not a genius and actually quite a fool, particularly with regard to the women I have dated and fallen in love with.
I have no idea if you obtained my address because I apparently maintain a literary blog or a “smart blog.” Or because perhaps in giving my email address to someone. Or maybe it’s the few Mensa members I’ve talked with having a laugh on me. I have long maintained that I am a few points short of this “genius” label and certainly a few beers short of an emotional genius’s six pack.
My birth name was Kirsten.