I Warned You Not to Touch That

Tag: IQ test

I Queue

by on Dec.07, 2009, under Essays

I found myself seduced online recently.  I had no intention of getting so deeply involved.  It all seemed so innocent at first.  Just a few laughs and, perhaps, a chance to get to know myself a little better.  I was researching something when it happened.  An innocent looking box offered to tell me my IQ.  All I had to do was answer the following question: 

            If there are five apples on a plate and you take away three, how many do you have?

What a great question.  They gave me six choices, ranging from zero to five.  The answer was so easy even I knew it.  I imagined the results going directly to Mensa.  I felt a sense of pride swelling within me.  My parents had spawned a genius. 

The more I thought about my answer, the more I wondered if this was a trick question.  I’m leaning toward one of the six numbers I’ve been given.  Still, it could be a trap.  As I thought about my options, I came up with the following: 

  1. Answer the question to the best of my ability and see what happens.

  2. Select an answer using the eeny, meeny, miney, mo method.

  3. Give up on this rare opportunity to learn my IQ.

  4. Use a lifeline and phone a friend.

  5. None of the above.

I gambled on “a.”  I picked my answer and clicked.  To my amazement, there were only more questions.  No virtual parade.  No downloadable certificate of mental acuity.  Not even an indication of whether I’d answered the question correctly.  What a letdown.  I wanted results.  Something specific.  An IQ number.  Preferably over fifty.

As I feared, the questions got harder.  Consider the next one:

A rancher has 33 head of cattle standing in a field, when suddenly a bolt of lightning kills all but 9 of them.  How many head of cattle are left standing?

I wondered how a lightning bolt could kill twenty-four cattle at once.  I suppose, if all twenty-four were touching each other, lightning could hit the first one and travel through the rest.  The question was growing on me.  What were the nine survivors thinking?  Perhaps one murmured, “That was a close one Lou.  Lou?  Are you there, Lou?” 

There were seven more challenging questions on the page.  I wanted to skip the last one but it wouldn’t let me.  My choice of answers required me to disclose whether I was a man or a woman.  I wondered what that had to do with my IQ. 

As I reached the bottom of the second page, I found myself faced with another odd question.  To determine where the smartest people live, it asked for my zip code.  Compared to some of the questions, this was within my reach.  I didn’t mind divulging personal information if it would lead to a higher IQ. 

When I reached the bottom of page three, it asked, “Do people get smarter with age?  How old are you?”  What a great question.  Best of all, I think I knew the answer.  It looked like I was one step away from getting my personalized IQ results. 

It coaxed me saying, “Almost done!  We are generating your results.  Here are some optional offers while we process your information.”  Since I told them I was ninety-two, they asked whether I wanted to receive diabetic supplies.  I’m not a diabetic but who am I to turn down such an offer?  I wanted to impress them with my intelligence.  In small print it said, “No thanks, skip this offer.”  That would be the dumb thing to do.

The site went on with page after page of additional offers.  I started to feel listless and sallow.  I clicked “continue” hoping finally to learn how smart I am.  I reached a page telling me “Internal Error 404.”  404 seemed high for an IQ number.  After nine grueling hours, I concluded only an idiot would go through this torture to find out their intelligence.

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