Monday, December 6, 2010


I took my first IQ test in elementary school. I had already learned to read by watching Sesame Street and The Electric Company, so while my teacher was instructing my classmates how to sing the alphabet song, I was whisked into the coat closet with the teacher's aide to read, write, and play word games. Back then, before I learned the proper, socially unacceptable ways to escape feelings, reading was my refuge. Even the little pervert next door was fascinated that I could read at three years old. He used to pull soup cans and cereal boxes off the shelves to watch me read the labels.

Supposedly, IQ tests are developed in such a way as measures one's capacity to learn and think, rather than the amount of knowledge in one's head. Thus, your IQ score at age 5 should be the same as your IQ score at age 35. I'm not sure how they do this; perhaps my friend Susie can fill me in sometime. She develops IQ tests for a living. My personal experience tells me this is not the case, however. My IQ in elementary school was measured at 140. In high school it was 130. As an adult, it had dropped to 125.

Do we naturally get stupider as we age? I don't think so, although it's hard to dispute when I am driving down the street, in my car, frantically wondering where I left my car keys.

In my opinion, and Susie, correct me if I'm wrong, intelligence is a muscle. In school, it is exercised daily, challenged, stretched, warmed up and on the job. After schooling is completed, it atrophies and gathers dust. One can hardly expect it to lift the same amount of intellectual weight that it did in one's youth.

Even if you have a job that challenges your mental capacity, ask yourself just how much of each day you really spend exercising your brain, as opposed to attending meetings, walking down hallways, making copies, fantasizing about vacations, drinking coffee, loading the paper tray, pretending to listen to coworkers or customers, etc.

I still enjoy reading these days, but most of the time I'm too lazy to make it through a book. But I try to exercise my brain by asking questions. I am still curious about things, stupid little things like who decides what key a car's horn beeps in, and huge philosophical things like how regional accents develop or why we haven't all been sucked into a black hole yet.

Whenever one of those silly little ponderings enters my mind, I jot it down so I can look it up later when I get bored. Undoubtedly, when I die, some of those questions will be yet unanswered. I want the people who attend my funeral to find my jotting notebook, pick a question or two, and find out the answers for themselves. Maybe that little exercise will raise your IQ a few points.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Divorce

We met in school, early enough in life to be excited, but late enough in life to know what we each wanted. I won't say it was love at first sight, but I don't think many hours passed before we knew there was something special about our bond, and that we were meant for each other. We each decided, first in an unspoken way, and later spoken many times over, that we would spend the rest of our lives together.

The next few years were filled with happiness, change, silly laughter, challenging moments that strengthened us, and a few heartbreaking moments that threatened to divide us. While others around us left, focused on different things, we stayed together.

As years tend to do, years passed by, and another color was added to our world together. My partner in life started to look around, finding other people to spend time with, other activities preferred over those I offered. I was startled, of course, but not overly concerned. I chalked it up to a seven-year-itch sort of situation, only the 20-year-itch version.

But when it became clear that those dabblings meant that my partner in life had found and chosen another partner in life, that new color started to overtake all the wonderful colors I had come to know and love and need.

It started as a fear, but not a fear of anything that could really take anything from me. Plans began to be made, and fear became sinking horror, reality, knowing...they are leaving together. I have been asked to leave the house. I am packing my things. I am sad. But we are still partners, aren't we? Aren't we still irrevocably intertwined together in the eyes of God and in each other's souls?

Time has passed and the color is gone now. I make a phone call when I need to be renewed or when I need a laugh or a memory. I hear the voice on the recording of the one who stole my love away, telling me they have no time for me now. If a conversation happens, it is brief and shallow, telling me without telling me that my partner has untwined from me, irrevocably, permanently, no matter how deep my need. My thread waves aimlessly in the occasional breeze, longing for another thread, but all the threads are woven by now.

I live, I am, alone.

Bet you never thought I'd been divorced, did you? I bet none of you even thought I'd ever been married. I haven't been. Fourteen months ago, when we were both nearing 40 years old, enjoying an adulthood of childless singleness, my best friend got married and moved away.

Trying Out for Wheel! Of! Fortune!

Yes, after many years of hearing from family members and a few friends, "You should go on this show!" it is finally coming true. My cousin Stuart saw a billboard advertising the Wheelmobile coming to Buffalo Thunder Casino next weekend (Oct. 23-24), and he called to tell me about it. (Thanks, Stuart!)

Hopefully my friend Janet will come with me. We always wanted to go on "Best Friends Week" because that's where we're best at the game. But I don't think the Wheelmobile version of the game allows for that.

To have a chance, you fill out an application, then sit in the crowd and hope to be called at random to go on stage and play. While you are playing, staff members evaluate you as a possible contestant for the TV show. The odds are pretty astronomical that you'll be picked. But you know...I've been struck by lightning, I've won a trip to Europe from one of those peel-off McDonald's stickers, I had a documented-as-miraculous recovery from kidney failure that should have put me on dialysis...WEIRD, strange, unusual, fateful things just tend to happen to me.

So I have hope. I have personality. I solve the puzzles quickly. I'm just crazy enough to be a good contestant without freaking people out. Watch for me on national television on WHEEL! OF! FORTUNE!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wow, I totally forgot that I have a blog. I guess it's been about a year and a half since I've posted anything.

Turning 40 last year hit me like a wall. I was in the hospital SEVEN times this past year. In August, the last hospitalization, I suffered my third round of kidney failure, and at one point my blood pressure crashed down to 50 over 20, and I very nearly died.

I'm healthy now. Lots of people are commenting on how good I look. I guess I wasn't aware of how bad I looked when I was sick! It's great to be alive, it's great to feel a little healthier. I've lost about 30 pounds, and I hope that continues.

Like many people, I am currently unemployed and broke. But my emotional health is good today. I don't know what to attribute that to, except the love and constant presence of God. I know that He will be with me, even if the worst should happen, and He will take care of me. I need to cling to that. He talks to me in the applause of the autumn leaves when a breeze blows through the trees. He is there when I breathe deeply of the cool clean air. He is in control, when He shows me the constancy of the stars in the night sky. He is there. Be there for me, God.