The guy who gave me the test told me afterwards that I was smart. I've heard that a lot. I've met plenty of people smarter than me, but most people I know view my intellect as my strong point.
The results came in the mail. Eighty-five. By some standards that's called dullness or low average. By other standards it's called borderline intellectual functioning or borderline intellectual deficiency. An E2 node has it five points above a room-temperature IQ. The paper went on to say that an IQ as high as eighty-five might make people think I had better cognitive skills than I do. It cited my deficits in adaptive functioning and my scores in the range of mental retardation in some of the other tests the psychologist gave me as evidence of this.
"I just don't know how to talk to people with average IQs. It's nothing personal. I just can't relate to them."
People think they can say things like this in front of me. After all, I'm smart. Like them. Smart people have high IQs, not average, certainly not low average. Right?
Sometimes through gritted teeth I've told them my IQ to see if they'll change their minds. Their reaction: incredulous laughter followed by, "No it isn't!"
Their responses tell me that they take IQ too seriously. They believe it's meaningful. I am not ashamed of my IQ, but I don't usually tell people. Their insistence that I don't really have a double-digit IQ reveals too many of their hidden beliefs about people who have them. People like me.
Just once I want someone to respond with what I already know: An IQ is nothing more than a number on a piece of paper. It's a fiction, but it's also a meme so popular that people believe it as fact.