Now, it's easy enough for a person to assume I'm not smart. In the aforementioned legal deposition, I was obliged to disclose my entire collegiate and employment history. Neither of the above would convince anyone that I was smart. I went to three colleges of no renown and got a degree from none of them. For 6 years, I worked a string of slacker jobs, most of which were unskilled labor and paid peanuts. How, then, could I objectively prove that I'm smarter than the average bear? My own conviction that I was smart came from anecdotal evidence and the fact that I totally fucking OWNED at standardized testing when I was in public school.
In elementary school, I had to take an IQ test. My score was 136. All I knew was that 140 was "Genius" and I had fallen four points short. At the time I was sure it was a mistake. I convinced myself that the four point shortfall was just because I was hungry and distracted. Unfortunately, subsequent IQ tests through my school career kept proving the same thing: 136. This was maddening. I wanted to be a Genius! I wanted to be able to say "why should you listen to me? Because I'm a fucking GENIUS, that's why!" But, instead, I had to live with the chagrin of being not-quite-a-genius. It was not until later that I realized that 136 still put me in the top 1%.
And so, in a huff after being treated like brainless Jane by some fancy schmancy Harvard lawyer, I decided that I would join Mensa. For those who don't know, Mensa is a club for people who test in the top 2% of the population. I told some friends I was going to try to get into Mensa and the responses ranged from "hmm. Maybe I should try that" to me basically getting laughed at for five solid minutes.
I called my Mom and asked if she happened to still have any of my old test results. Since she didn't, I figured I could just take the Mensa test. It honestly never occurred to me that I would NOT pass the test. I mean, I had a historical precedent of OWNING at standardized tests! I once applied for a job at Cheesecake Factory and they made me take an intelligence test. The guy interviewing me seemed almost unnerved as he told me "you've got the highest score I've ever seen." Then he didn't give me the job, which, in retrospect, makes sense because clever ducks in lowly positions can figure out really fast how to circumvent the rules and steal shit.
And so, I paid my 40 bucks and scheduled the test time. In an interesting twist, the mensa person in charge of test scheduling ACTUALLY KNEW WHO I WAS. This was trippy in the fact that not that many people know who I am, and the fact that this was a mensa person, so I had that feeling of "AHA...see? See? I'm totally in with the smarties already!"
Taking the test was a learning experience. Firstly, On the day of the test, I was wickedly hungover. This taught me a lot about my "live in the moment" mentality: that while I was funning it up the night before, I wasn't thinking "I should refrain from drinking so that I don't have to take a test hungover." I was just funning it up, tomorrow-be-damned. Still, I dragged myself to the testing room and prepared to kick ass, even in my sluggish state.
I looked around the room and the first interesting thing I noticed is that I was the only girl there. Mensa, is, judging from that room, a total sausage-fest. (I told my laughing friend this and she said "it's because they've all got small dicks.") Second, I started looking over the test, which lead me to totally ignore the test administrator. This is the main thing I learned about my self: I am terrible at listening to verbal instructions. I always have been a little bit, but my years of self employment have definitely cemented it. So, for some reason, I thought she said that "wrong answers don't count" which would lead to the logic that you should answer every question whether you know it or not.
And so the test began and the learning continued. Thing learned: I own at verbal skills and suck at math. I should have known this based on my performance on the ACT, in which my lameoid math and science scores dragged down my awesome verbal and reading comprehension score and gave me a barely-get-a-scholarship-at-state-colleg
When I was doing the math problems, my brain felt like some creaky Rube Goldberg device which took way too long to come to it's conclusions. I was lucky if I could finish half of the problems before the time was up. Meanwhile, with the verbal sections, my brain suddenly turned into a kung-fu master doing a backflip and kicking ten ninjas in the face before landing. I'd zoom through effortlessly and finish way before the time was up, then sit there tapping my pencil for ten minutes. I was like "please! more verbal! Give me definitions! Give me comprehension! Give me analogies! I am to analogies as superman is to leaping tall buildings!"
The test sections seemed to be these alternations between things I was good at (verbal skills, sequences) and things I sucked at (anything with numbers...except sequences!) And so I was ping-ponging between thinking that I had the test in the bag and I was totally going to blow it.
Anyhow, I finished the test and turned it in, and, as I was doing so, one of the guys turning in his test said to the administrator "If you only get counted for right answers and you only answer one question and it's right, don't you get 100%?" And that's when I realized... you DO get counted off for wrong answers! Which means that all the last-minute fill-ins I did were going to completely fuck me! I left with the sinking knowledge that I had totally muffed the test.
Sure enough, I got the letter later on saying that my score did not qualify me for mensa. But here's what I learned about myself:
1. I am a drunken hedonist.
2. I am a loose cannon and play by my own rules (ie. I am bad at paying attention to verbal directions).
3. My mental alacrity sways strongly toward words and pictures rather than numbers, which makes me realize that "superior intelligence" can be compartmentalized into specific areas. In a room full of mathematicians, I'd probably come off like Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.
I suppose I could have retaken the test and seen if I could have passed if I followed the instructions, but I didn't really want to pay another 40 bucks. Besides, what if I WERE in mensa? It's not like I could tell mister fancylawyerpants "Excuse me, I'm not dumb...I'M IN MENSA!" since this would not only make me sound like the douchiest douche in douchetown, but also the nerdiest nerd in nerdtown. So, really, was it all just some hollow exercise in self-reassurance? Did I just need to KNOW that I was smart? Didn't I already know that I was smart? Is "smart" even something that can be objectively evaluated? Isn't it just a matter of how many questions on a test skew toward your strengths?
I realize now that all of this is beside the point. The real moral of the story is that that lawyer is a patronizing dick and needs to get punched in the nuts.
So I saw this box of toothpicks laying on the table and noticed something: These toothpicks were calling themselves "chewing sticks." I guess being called a toothpick isn't good enough for these pretentious assholes, they have to be "chewing sticks." Oh, hello chewing stick. Would you like some champagne and caviar? May I take your top hat? How about I roll out a fucking red carpet for you?
Look, give it up. You're a toothpick. Why do you have to play games? Do you think that just because you have tea tree oil, you're better than everyone else? Oh, excuse me... you're "impregnated" with tea tree oil. La-dee-fucking-da. Don't expect me to give you my seat on the bus. You're not impressing me with your fancy vocabulary, toothpick, you're just making yourself look like a douche.
Oh, and where did you get the idea that you could impress people by saying you're australian? This just shows that you are totally fucking clueless. What? Did you think we would think you were "exotic." Did you think you would conjure up images of the Sydney Opera House and crystal goblets of robust Shiraz? News Flash: here in America, when we hear "australian" we just think of Crocodile Dundee throwing shrimps on the barbie while he gets drunk on Fosters. Maybe you should grab your digeridoo and your Kylie Minogue CDs and fuck off before a dingo eats your baby.
Okay, so you're a stick and maybe people chew on you, but you know what other sticks people chew on? That's right: TOOTHPICKS. Some of them are even minty, and you don't see them putting on airs. Seriously, get over yourself.
"Actress/comedian A.V. Phibes has appeared in two off-broadway comedies!"
Hell, even writer A.V. Phibes "has been blogging since 2001, been published in the Audacity Productions "In the Works" anthology** and her one-act play "Grading on a Curve" has been staged in in the US and Hong Kong. Her work has been described by the the Dallas Morning News as "quite funny" and having "...lots of garrulous, good lines..."
And all of this feels like just anecdotal "stuff I did." None of it feels like I was doing it "for real" (except maybe the entrepreneur bit). Most of this was "dicking around." I have told people before: "The key to having an exciting life is omission. Omit everything except the exciting parts."
I still don't have the sense that I'm doing what I ought to with my life. And so that's how I came about to my previous thoughts: Since most of my credentials seem tenuous, if not borderline bullshit, do credentials even matter? Shouldn't we just consider what we're good at?
*Totally got this job because of nepotism.
**My friend published this and printed it at kinkos.
Several years back, my whole fake-famous,/attention-whore schtick turned on me and suddenly the idea of people out there in the world and internetland knowing about me, combined with the fact that so much of my persona was a fragile maquette constructed to impress other people, made me turn super paranoid and reclusive. There were times when I would write something and be afraid to post it because "people will read it and think things about me." This was a bad time.
Anyhow, after lots of therapy, I am emerging from my lair. But emerging with new boundaries and new intentions. I want to be real with you internet, so let me lay it down for you:
1. I no longer want this to be the "look at me and how lovably eccentric I am!" journal.
I will not be trying to impress you with how quirky and "interesting" I am. I'm not going to post photoshopped pictures of myself in hopes of being told I'm hot. I am not trying to prove anything to you. If I get called "quirky" again, someone's getting slapped.
If you enjoyed my LJ of yore for my tales of partying and promiscuity and hipster shenanigans, well, I'm sorry, but that shit is played. So unless you want to read posts like: "whoa dude, that game of Cranium was fucking INsane! I had to sculpt a frying pan out of clay!" that's not likely to be happening anymore.
No more games, baby. I don't need the cool kids to be my pretend friends anymore. I know that this disappoints some people who think I'm too boring now and would feel more comfortable liking me if I just wore flashy outfits and did kitschy hipster stuff and fronted that I was always at glamorous events. Sorry kids, but I'm 35 damned years old. At a certain point, my life had to stop being performance art and start being a life. Also, the tragic irony was that in order for my life to appear to be that exciting, I had to spend, like, 7 hours a day in front of a computer making it look that way.
2. No Drama
Look, I apologize for being a drama queen in the past and making everything into a huge deal. I'm getting over my crippling insecurity, I'm on medication. We're cool now. I don't mind if you friend or unfriend me. If you get sick of me, I ENCOURAGE you to unfriend me. If I hate something you like or like something you hate, it's not the end of the world. It's just the internet.
If someone gets uppity or an argument breaks out, I'm just going to ignore it. I know that I will never convince anyone of anything. When I get obnoxious, dumb comments I'm not even going to waste time on snarky replies.
So what is my intent?
I've been contemplating my life for awhile, dear reader, and trying to figure out what I'm actually good at so I can do more of it and be genuinely good at something. I feel like much of my life has been an exercise in wasted potential. I am a knife in need of sharpening.
I am fairly good at writing and fairly good at writing funny things, so I want to polish and hone those skills. I'm taking back to the internet like some kind of writing Rocky running up writing stairs to get in writing shape for a writing boxing match...or, you know, just writing. Since I've never really studied writing or written "for real," I figure I still have stuff to learn about style and editing and structure and discipline and whatnot. I also want to be dilligent and quicken my wit until humor flows from me like urine from a hobo! Then maybe I can "do something with it."
Your job is (hopefully) just to be entertained. You can help me just by telling me when you think something I write is interesting and amusing so that I know what's working. Also, if you know anything about "real writing" maybe you can tell me what's what, because I really don't know much of anything about it.
I'm going to start off slow because I have other work to do setting up a congruent "real blog" since, well, as much as I like it, most of the internet thinks LJ is amateur hour and you can't really monetize it (these cocktails don't pay for themselves!) and one young friend recently mocked me for being on LJ, by saying "get with the times, grandma!"
I expect things to get seriously rolling by mid-september. Glad you're still here!