You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet

January 2, 2009

In fact you may never see it. The hand may be too fast for the eye to detect.

At this point, I will say something not particularly intelligent about intelligence. Over the years, I have read various articles and books about intelligence and IQ (the measurement of intelligence). I’ve forgotten most of what I read, which isn’t especially bright.
Intelligence in theory perhaps measures one’s ability to manipulate one’s environment.

It does seem to me that there are many kinds of intelligence. It also strikes me that there is very little correlation between intelligence and emotional stability. Almost everybody in my family is very intelligent. I am perhaps the “runt” of the family in this regard. However, a large portion of the members of my family are emotionally disturbed. Among my siblings, my youngest brother was this year diagnosed as bi-polar. I have always regarded him as having something seriously wrong with him and as being much like myself. My wife tells me that I am crazy to worry about whether I am as crazy as littlest brother.

My littlest sister probably suffers from a personality disorder. Personality disorder seems to mean that you are too smart and cunning to get yourself locked up, but you are strange enough to drive everybody around you crazy. Perhaps the two best known disordered personality varieties are sociopaths and narcissists.

I think my paternal grandmother was clearly a narcissistic personality and her three daughters (my father’s sisters) have some of this disorder in their personalities.

My father probably suffered from a personality disorder also.

Looking at the Wikipedia page on personality disorders, I see there are a variety of varieties, so I am not sure of the exact flavors of my father, my littlest brother, and my littlest sister.

I don’t think I knew the word sociopath when I was 12 years old, but I knew the concept and I believed it described my next brother (then 9) quite well.

As I was chasing him with a knife in my hand as I was dwelling on this thought, I am perhaps not a stellar witness for the prosecution.

These diagnoses, even if accurate, are not set in stone.

My three aunts managed to lead normal (if very eccentric) lives. My brother up until his twenties showed some definite tendencies toward being a sociopath. I won’t detail them except to say I don’t believe there were any human bodies that lost their lives involved in my sibling’s activities, but he eventually grew out of his worst tendencies and by his second marriage became a reasonably respectable member of the community, including husband, father of three children, and owner of a respectable craft-related business with some national presence.

As my millionaire “Chinese” cousin died of breast cancer, my father’s oldest sister has Alzheimer’s, and his next sister, the ballet dancer, is crippled, I doubt we will have any more family reunions. However, If we did all get together again, we could open a 31-flavors of personality disorders store.

I have a vague and uncertain memory that my IQ once tested at 121. I think this classifies as a butter knife in the silverware drawer: high dull.

My wife says our daughter was scored at 140 when tested, which puts her in the bright category.

My wife did not go to college. She has a complex because my daughter and I have Masters Degrees. As my wife was sulking about this the other day, she told me that her IQ was measured at 80.

This is ridiculous. My wife is a very intelligent woman. Her intelligence is creative, intuitive, and immensely practical. In the practical details of everyday life she is a genius compared to me. We fight over her efforts to get me to fly right every day, but there is little doubt in my mind that she is much smarter than I am and a smidgen ahead of our daughter in practical life skills.

They tested Random Granddaughter again, both on her social skills and her IQ. I still don’t know how you measure the IQ of a four-year old child. I also don’t think Mommy provided RG with a “cram session” on social skills, though social skills are a useful thing for a child to have. As far as I can see they are still working on getting RG to say “Please” and “Thank you” without prompting. However, I am certainly clueless about what is going on in that very cute little head.

In any case, the School for Very Bright Children tested RG again.

This time they said:

Her social skills are fine. We measure her IQ at 146.

They also said, If she goes to a public school, she will be very bored and probably be unhappy and get into a lot of mischief.

This is somewhat believable (though they have a vested interest in getting her into the School for Very Bright Children).

As grandparents, my wife and I by default believe our grandchild is very bright. I think she is especially bright at watching people and figuring out how they work and how to get her own way without people realizing that is what she is doing. From the ages of 0-4, she used methods such as screaming. At almost five, she told me, “Buy me a stuffed animal and I will take a nap.”

By the time she reaches the age of five, which will arrive in February, RG will be a professional level manipulator.

While the news media has been occupied with admiring Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme as the largest individual con game of all time, people have failed to notice that the entire country of Iceland has gone bankrupt.

You haven’t seen anything yet now that Random Granddaughter has discovered the power of money.

Within a month or two of starting school, she will probably have the entire United States embroiled in a massive Ponzi scheme centered in her kindergarten.


11 Responses to “You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    Don’t worry, Mr. Random. RG’s IQ will diminish with age. At one time, mine was 139, but I think I’m in the low 130s now. Maybe even 129. They can test 4 year old IQs, but I’m not sure how. My son was tested at that age, when they were trying to find out what was wrong with him. (Nothing is wrong with him, but the school thought so. It turns out he was bright and bored to tears.)

    I also agree that Mrs. R cannot possibly have an IQ of 80! She’s far too wise. Perhaps wisdom isn’t measured by IQ. I’m not sure. I’m not wise.

    A very smart therapist told me this once. It’s nice to be smart, but it’s smarter to be nice. As long as RG stays nice, she’ll have it made.

  2. modestypress Says:


    It’s nice to be smart, but it’s smarter to be nice.

    I agree. I wrote what I called a “sermiette” on this theme once:

    In part, I wrote at the time:

    To me the great people of the world are those people who treat each other decently as best they can and I’ll happily trade the “great people” for the ordinary decent people if being “great” is supposed to justify being mean to their children or their spouses or their co-workers.

    My very inadequate system of ethics is based around people just being decent to each other.

    As far as RG goes, I am reminded of the sign seen in some offices: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    In RGs case, I will follow the principle: Grandpa will beat you until you learn to be nice to people.

    As I was writing the last post last night, the phone rang and three people shouted “Happy New Year.” Mama, Mommy, and Random Granddaughter are supposed to visit us next weekend. More news as I get a chance.

  3. So — is RG going to go to the Very Bright Kindergarten?

    I’d love to know how they test a 4-year-old’s IQ accurately, or even meaningfully. I too can only assume that people get stupider as they get older; I tested at 168 when I was 11, and now I test on the low end of normal, like barely breaking 100.

    On the other hand, I’m much nicer than I used to be. Or at least, I’m deluding myself into thinking so.

  4. modestypress Says:


    I will try and find out from Mommy how they test a four-year-old’s IQ. However, I am not sure I really want to know.

    Last night on the phone, I asked the mommies about RG’s destination, but with RG listening to the conversation, no one really wanted to discuss it in depth. The short answer was that no decision has been made.

    David, from the very first time I “met” you, I thought you were a much nicer person than you presented yourself as. I would argue that I am a very good judge of human character, except I have been badly fooled at times, as with my last department head, whom I now think of in very unkind ways. So if you need me to testify as a character witness in court, based on reading your blog posts, I would still say you are a kind, ethical, and nice person, but I don’t know that it would sway the jury.

  5. spectrum2 Says:

    I agree that the IQ will drop with age. Mine did too. I don’t know my current IQ, but I feel I know more now than when I was a child. That may be wrong. I cannot solve high level math problems, like I could in high school, any more, but I can do other things. So maybe our intelligence changes. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.
    I suppose that the niceness is psychology related to where I am now no longer so ego-centric and think more of others and glean happiness from pleasing my children and watching them be happy.
    I was never bored in school. As grade school student the work was not too difficult for me, and in high school I was trying to figure out the social hierarchy which constantly changed.
    Now that I am older, I see those kids I went to high school with passing out of ego-centrism as well and coming back down to earth. They are a lot less snooty than they used to be, a lot less self-conscious too.
    I’m also consistently amazed at how many of my former classmates have went on to become professionals. These are kids I thought would never try to do well on school work. It is slightly frightening too-when I think of them going to court as lawyers and to clinics as doctors and dentists.
    RG will grow and change, and I know you know that. She will be bright and smart and level-headed, then she’ll become a teenager and all that will go on hold and she will pick back up sometime in her late teens maybe even late twenties. And she’ll never disappoint you, I bet.

  6. modestypress Says:

    Spectrum, thank you. The serious question is: will I disappoint RG?

  7. kBells Says:

    I’ve seen IQ test for children in the bookstore and have been tempted to buy one for my five-year- old. But without a biological link, my son is likely to have an IQ very different from mine. If his is higher I could feel intimidated, always wonder if he’s playing me. If his is lower I may develop a false sense of overconfidence. My husband says he is average, neither stupid nor gifted, but my husband thinks he himself is average. I think my husband is brilliant. Of course I could be blinded by love.

    • modestypress Says:

      KBells, relationships are like cooking. Love is a good ingredient. When used sensibly, it increases the intelligence of everyone involved. When used carelessly and without a good dose of good sense, it tends to ruin the meal. Sounds to me as if you are cooking with a steady hand.

  8. spectrum2 Says:

    Random Grandpa,
    I suppose that is what God created unconditional love for. Disappointments are not so much with the person as with their actions. So, sure, you could do something that causes RG some disappointment, but her unconditional love for you shouldn’t change. Underneath it all, she can still see you and your heart. Just like you may be disappointed by something that RG chooses to do, but really, couldn’t imagine not still loving her because of who she is underneath it all. Same with all those other people for which you hold unconditional love. I think all you can do is your best, and so far, you’ve got a good track record and a good start.

  9. `Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn’t mind,’ said Alice: `three inches is such a wretched height to be.’

    `It is a very good height indeed!’ said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).

    Butter knife indeed. By which I mean to say that my IQ is 120 as well. Honestly, it’s not a bad metaphor. It’s like being too smart for common sense, but not smart enough to be brilliant. I sometimes think if I dropped my brain in some bleach water for a bit my quality of life might improve. RG does seem ridiculously bright, so I’m sure she will succeed in either setting, especially with such a supportive family.

  10. modestypress Says:


    She’s coming over Saturday. I expect to be surprised. My life is full of commotion at the moment.

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