Monday, October 2, 2006


I've been told that I'm intelligent for most of my life. My intelligence is largely of an intellectual nature, and, of course, my sexual instincts and aptitudes. However, I have absolutely no mechanical aptitude and I had to learn "street smarts" the hard way while on the police force.

One day during the spring before I started first grade, my mother took me to the school to go through a battery of IQ and aptitude tests. All these years later, I remember the teacher being obviously impressed, telling my mother how smart I was, also remarking about the fact that I already knew how to read.

During my elementary years, I got good grades with not an inordinate amount of effort on my part. Once in high school, I discovered that I wasn't quite so naturally talented in math as I was in other subjects, and I had to put more effort into getting good grades in any form of math.

In the eighth grade, our school offered classes in three levels for each subject: Remedial, Average, and Advanced. I was placed in Advanced for English, science, and social studies/history, and in Average for math.

In the ninth grade, I began taking German. I chose this language because of my interest in the Second World War. Again, I got good grades easily, because of my high interest in the topic. I was even appointed as a tutor for the students having trouble with it. I remember tutoring one girl, but those sessions tended to turn into sessions of a different sort...

But I digress.

Because of losing my mother in the eighth grade, I lost interest in excelling in school and only got good grades in the subjects that came easy to me. So, I was neither the valedictorian nor the salutatorian when I graduated from high school. Nevertheless, I was first in the class by IQ -- the guidance counselor called me into his office right after I turned 18 to tell me so.

Once I went off to college, I discovered I could write and began to do so avidly. I'd never taken any courses in creative writing. To this day, I've not had any formal instruction in writing; I still write "by the seat of my pants". However, I've been an avid reader since age four, so I'm guessing I picked it up by osmosis.

Over the years, I've written essays, term papers, and so on for students from high school to Master's level, and managed to get them good grades. (John and Paula, cover your eyes!)

When I applied to the police force, I had to take an aptitude test, and I ended up getting the highest score they'd seen in many years. The woman in HR told me the last person who'd scored that high had a Master's. Why someone with a Master's wanted to be a street cop is beyond me, but that's neither here nor there.

However, my intelligence has not given me any real advantages in the work world. Without that piece of paper, employers don't care anything about raw intelligence, aptitude, or potential, even if they know you're intellectual light years ahead of another candidate who has the requisite degrees. Human resource departments of most firms are notoriously blockheaded; rules are rules and they either can't or won't operate outside the box when it comes to hiring.

Nevertheless, I'd not trade the intelligence for all the money in the mint, and it's something that no one can ever take from me.

Enough of tooting my own horn for now.


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