Do you feel a little left out because your IQ isn’t approaching 200? Wondering why you got short-changed on the genius gene?
Never mind — those standard IQ tests don’t have much practical application. Some people whose IQs blow the needle off the meter have trouble walking without bumping into walls.
What really counts is your functional IQ, the way you handle the challenges of daily life.
Measuring your functional IQ is mostly a subtractive test. We start with the assumption you are of above-average intelligence — after all, you are a reader of the Times Colonist — and deduct points for certain actions.
You are a pedestrian approaching that intersection where Douglas Street, Gorge Road, Hillside Avenue and Government Street come together (sort of). If you are normal or above, you push the pedestrian-signal button once. You can push it again, just to make sure it connected. After that, deduct five points for every time you push the button.
Same with elevator buttons. Some people must think that little lighted square is an accelerator — the more you push it, the sooner the elevator will arrive.
(If you have trouble negotiating the pretzel-like traffic circles that theoretically lead you to the airport, don’t worry. That one is clearly a test of the designer’s IQ.)
You are driving west on the Trans-Canada, constantly zipping in and out of lanes, trying to get past everyone else. Deduct five points. You pull up to the red light at Tillicum Road. If the car that pulls up beside you is the one you passed 10 blocks back, deduct another 10 points. While waiting at the light, if you keep creeping ahead until your front wheels are well into the intersection on the assumption that this will somehow get you where you are going sooner, deduct another 15 points.
Parked cars are also excellent indicators of functional intelligence, or lack thereof. After you have parked your car in a parking lot, check the parallel lines. If you are roughly centred between the lines, you’re fine. If you have wheels on either line, deduct five points. If your car is straddling a line, deduct 10 points. If you have a new car and park it diagonally across two spaces to keep someone else from parking too close, deduct 15 points. After all, your brand-new BMW or Lexus has no more rights than my ancient Nissan. My rust spots are just as precious to me as your shiny paint job is to you.
You carry on long and loud conversations on your cellphone while riding public transit. Deduct 10 points. We want your phone conversations to be private even if you don’t.
You are walking along a path lined with beautiful trees. Among the blossoms, birds are singing. Above the trees, the sky is an amazing blue. You are wearing earbuds and are staring at the electronic device you are carrying. Deduct 15 points and get a life.
You work in a restaurant. My wife and I come in. We are at least a generation older than you are. You call us “You guys.” Deduct five points and forget the tip. If you are uncomfortable with “sir” or “ma’am,” forget the honorifics. A smile will do just fine. We do not need to know your name. We go to restaurants for the food and the service, not to form lifelong relationships.
If you have teenage children, deduct 10 points for each one. But don’t worry — in this case, your diminished intelligence is temporary. When your kids leave home and strike out on their own, you get the points back. You (and they) will find you are not so stupid after all.
If you have watched one episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, deduct no points. Idle curiosity can be forgiven. If you have watched more than one episode, deduct five points for each one you watch. If you talk about it for more than 10 minutes daily at work, deduct another five points. If you record episodes to watch them again later, don’t bother deducting anything — just check yourself into the nearest institution that offers some hope of a cure.
As you can probably tell, a functional IQ has little to do with intellectual horsepower and everything to do with intelligent choices. It is my belief that most stupidity is purely voluntary.
By the way, if you think this column has any scientific validity whatsoever, deduct 25 points.
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