Saturday, May 07, 2005

MENSA Sucks, Part 1 (No real poker talk here)

I moved to Buckeye land about 20 months ago, from a region that cannot be named in these here parts. I didn't know a soul, and was starting a telecommute and travel gig, so I wouldn't get to know anybody through working either. I started scratching my head about how I was going to find some regular human interaction in my life, and then I thought 'I'll join MENSA! Smart people can be fun to hang out with!'

For the record, I am MENSA material, a smarty pants. My 17 year old self's ACT (pre recreational drug experimentation) and my 30 something self's GMAT (post recreational drug experimentation) both measure my intelligence in the 98th percentile or better. It was a question of doing the paperwork and showing up for the meetings, which are primarily in central columbus, a 45 minute haul for me. Also for the record, I'm a very competitive games player, and I felt that if I could find an outlet for this, I might partially satisfy my social needs outside of family.

I attended precisely two MENSA meetings.

The first was a social outing where four of us met for Japanese food. The other three were generally very nice people, and we had pleasant conversation, but there wasn't much about the conversation that screamed 'genius.' If you'll permit me to make unfair characterizations, one of the people's conversation screamed 'insecure and off-balance, and a little too self-absorbed*.' The worst part? I'm a japanophile and I know my Japanese food. These guys didn't and it showed in the restaurant selection.

The second was a 'games night' at a regional convention in Columbus. I got there, and it was obvious that mostly everybody already knew everybody. A lot of the old-timers were at a couple of tables playing Euchre, an ironically anti-intellectual pursuit, and shooting the bull as old friends will. There were a few more lively sports, and I talked a handful into playing my favorite game, Perudo, which involves dice and bluffing, almost like dumbed down poker, if you like. After a couple of them played one quick game (10 minutes), I asked what they thought, and one answered in an insulting and unfriendly tone: 'This is a little too random for me.'

OK, fine, you don't like my game? We'll play what you like? We went on to play an excruciatingly dull game that took an endless 100 minutes to finish, but once you had committed to a strategy, there wasn't really weren't any meaningful decisions to make after the first 10 minutes. Ummm, your game sucks much worse, okay?

More later. I'm tired and it's late.

* Hello Pot, this is Ketlle. You're black.