Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Now.....Repeat After Me.

A good friend of mine is in the midst of some rather intensive study in the hopes that he'll receive a Doctorate of Psychology degree a few years down the road. He's also trying to understand the whole blogging phenomenon, but that's another story for another time. Last winter, he called me up and asked for a little help with one of his assignments..... OK, a lot of help actually - could he steal a few hours from me one Saturday to have me take an IQ test?

Sure. Why the hell not? My Saturday's tend to be rather blasé affairs anyway, and I'd never taken an IQ test before. So that weekend, he came over with his IQ test kit filled to the brim with puzzles and cardboard pieces scrawled with bad artwork etc., and proceeded to tests ma' shit and see how intelleegent I am, dog. The test itself was made up of many different sections, each designed to test a different area. In one, I was shown pictures of various geometric shapes which I then had to recreate in 30 seconds using blocks I had been given. Another test had him asking me questions much like you'd hear in high school math (i.e. If six machines can make eight pieces of candy in 3 days, how many days would it take two machines to make 64 pieces?) Some tests simply tested my knowledge of current events. In otherwords, the tests really ran the gamut.

Some tests I did very well on. Others, not so good. There was one test however, which I aced with flying colors. Yeah - that's right.. 100% Mmm Hmm. It was a very simple test in which my friend verbally presented strings of numbers which I then had to repeat back to him. To start off, I only had to repeat back two numbers. Then three, then four, etc.. all the way up to nine. Once that was done the process was repeated a 2nd time, but this time I had to spit back the numbers in reverse. So he would say, "1, 4,2,5,9" and I'd have to say "9,5,2,4,1" Again, start off with two numbers and slowly work our way up to nine. Three quarters of the way through it struck me that I was doing pretty darn well, and the thought crept into my mind that perhaps I was autistic. I felt like what's his name there, in the movie 'Rain Man.' My friend would present a string of numbers and I'd have to restrain myself so as not to say, "Sally Dibbs, Dibbs Sally. 461-0192." When that portion of the test was finished and I'd answered all the questions correctly my friend just sighed and said, "I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it." He would later say to me that if recitation of numbers were a professional sport, I would without question be one of it's star athletes.

As you're no doubt thinking after reading that last paragaph, all of this made me feel rather smug. Star athlete, huh? I'll be Manny Ramirez, please. "Watch out, ladies. Here comes The Recitator. I got looks. I got style. And, I can sure as hell remember YOUR phone number." For the next few months, I walked around with an inflated air of self-importance when I could remember to do so. But then a couple of days ago, my roommate (who, God bless him, certainly knows how to burst a bubble) forwarded me this news story about a Japanese psychiatrist who recited pi to 83,431 decimal places... from memory. 83,431!!! To make matters worse he broke his own previously held record of 54,000 digits, and did so after reciting the first 16,000 before stumbling and having to start over from the beginning. Jesus.

Heart-stricken, I forwarded the article to my friend and conceded defeat. What else was there to do? I had to abdicate my throne. How could I compete with 83,431 numbers? My only option was to tuck tail and run. A few moments later I received this reply:

"That reminds me, someone in my class had a husband who used to remember pi up to hundreds of digits, too... It's a completely different skill than rote memorization of orally presented strings of numbers, but impressive nonetheless."

Translation: This is not the same exercise, dumbass. Your status as king is still intact. Yep - you rule the school.

Heh Heh. What else can I say? The Recitator returns! Back come the looks! Back comes the style! Oh, and I'm an excellent driver.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog...

But your score for humility is somewhere in the low average range....

11:09 PM  
Blogger Jesse Anna Bornemann said...

Watch out -- those psych tests can make your ego go the other way, too. I once took a special ed qualification test meant for a 4th grader (during my teaching days), and I discovered that I am spatially-geometrically retarded. Do I sometimes get lost in my own neighborhood? Er, yes. Do I get lost at the grocery store? Maybe. Unfortunately, there's no pill for this sort of thing...only humiliation.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. It's easy to get lost in the grocery store - especially since they're so damn big now and sell all sorts of things that grocery stores shouldn't sell... like home mortgages.

Yeah, I'm all too familiar with failed psychological examinations. I once took a left brain/right brain test and it came back 'down.' Also, in high school I took some sort of psych exam which was supposed to identify what career I'd be ideally suited for. My #1 bestest career choice? Military Drill Instructor.

This is why I take full advantage of opportunities to boast.

2:58 PM  

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