Even Geniuses Miss Deadlines . . . And Frolic Nude

By John Kelly
Monday, July 9, 2007

There was a hint of desperation in an e-mail I received last week begging for a little coverage.

A local organization is eager to give out some scholarship money, but its members dozed on the deadline to be included in the publicity done by the national group. Having missed the cutoff, they were afraid no one would know about the $3,000 that's burning a hole in their pocket.

The group that missed the deadline: Mensa.

That's the organization for geniuses.

"The point is, nobody's perfect," said Toni Smiley, treasurer of Metropolitan Washington Mensa.

"We think we're very smart. On the other hand, we make mistakes. We miss deadlines just like anybody could."

While being a member of Mensa must surely have its attractions -- doing the hard Sudoku, knowing when to use "lie" instead of "lay" -- it probably has its pitfalls, too.

I'm thinking of digs from non-geniuses: "Well, Mr. Mensa, who forgot to pick up the milk on the way home from work today? Hmmmm?"

You rocket scientists and brain surgeons out there know what I'm talking about, right?

But Toni has a sense of humor about it. And she tried to make the scholarship application interesting. No spelling errors allowed, of course, but applicants are also required to include one sentence that "uses two or more of the following words: CAPITAL, ROUND, TABLE."


"I thought about Washington and what makes it special, and of course it's the capital," Toni said. "I wanted words that could have many different meanings. . . . 'Mensa' means 'table.' In the larger sense, it means 'round table.' "

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