January 21, 2007

A Play A Day #283



Setting: A bare stage.

(Lights up, Max and Nika, in shorts and t-shirts, are walking all across the stage throughout the whole show, ocassionally stopping and changing direction entirely, play would work best on a very large stage. Max usually walks ahead of Nika.)

Max: So, I was thinking about how smart I am, like, how mind-bogglingly brilliant.

Nika: Hmm.

M: You do realize this?

N: That you're smart?

M: Way beyond smart, Nika. Way, way beyond.

N: I mean, yeah, I guess I know that you're smart, Max.

M: When I was 10, I tested as having the IQ of an adult.

N: Great.

M: Meaning, my IQ was, and remains, around 200.

N: That's... yeah, that's high?

M: You better believe it, Nika. A 200 IQ means that you are nearing seven deviations from the mean.

N: Seven.

M: Average IQ is 100, one standard deviation is accepted as fifteen points, so 190 is six standard deviations, 205 would be seven from the mean.

N: Meaning?

M: That, of the human population, I am smarter than nearly everyone else.

N: Yeah?

M: There are maybe ten people in the world, statistically, who could have a higher IQ.

N: Out of that many people?

M: Yes, out of everyone.

N: Not really fair though, is it?

M: There isn't a need for fair or unfair, it just is.

N: I mean, what's the big deal being smarter than babies and old senile people?

M: It's a percentage.

N: Not to mention the mentally handicapped and the clinically insane or otherwise-incapacitated people.

M: It's fair, really.

N: Would you go around bragging that you just beat some guy on an intelligence test, oh, and, by the way, he was in a coma at the time?

M: That's not what the numbers mean.

N: What do they mean, Max?

M: They're a sign of how smart I am. If you take out the babies and the comas then I'm probably smarter than all but nine people in the world.

N: But, Max, aren't there other ways to measure someone's intelligence than the test you took?

M: I'm still taking tests.

N: And these tests you take, they are the sole interpreters of how smart someone is?

M: I... well, no.

N: So how do you know that you are really as smart as you claim?

M: I take the test once a month, and my psychologist scores it for me.

N: And?

M: And I still score around two hundred every time.

N: Maybe you're just good at taking these tests; you've obviously had a lot of practice.

M: No. The test is different each time.

N: But what it measures is the same.

M: Yeah, it measures IQ. It seems that would be the rational thing to do: take an IQ test to measure IQ.

N: Right, but what is IQ?

M: It is your mental age divided by your chronological, your actual, age, then multiplied by one hundred.

N: So, you're twenty-nine, that means that you're as smart as a fifty-eight year old?

M: I...

N: Congratulations.

M: That's the standard definition, but there are tests and formulas for adults.

N: Max, why do you keep taking the tests?

M: I like to keep track.

N: Like on a chart?

M: No.... well...

N: You have a chart of your IQ over time?

M: Sort of.

N: Max, why do you keep taking the tests?

M: It helps me feel better about my place in the world... like a contest.

N: Okay, so you win, Max. You win, and no one is paying attention.

M: Well, no... but...

N: (stops him) Max. I came here today to drive to the state park with you, not listen to your claims on the title of smartest person in the world...

M: I'm not the smartest, there are...

N: I don't care where you rank, Max, but I wanted to go to the park, walk the trails, sit down, have a little picnic, relax... with you. I was hoping to get you out of the house, hoping you would get some exercise, hoping you would stop talking about your brain.

M: I don't talk about my brain.

(Nika just stares him down)

M: I don't... not all the time.

N: Max, you're smart, yes, you're a genius, maybe a super-genius of some sort. You are also socially awkward, can't hold a job for more than a year, lack in physical grace, and still live above your parents' garage...

M: Well, I...

N: You have the mental abilities, sure... but you're also kind and gentle and completely lost inside your own head. (Pause) I wanted to go to the park and pull you out of your head, maybe help you into your heart. You're in mine. I love you, Max. I'm in love with you.

M: I thought...

N: That I was just your friend. I know, but I stopped being your friend a year ago. It's hard to be your friend, Max. But I couldn't stop visiting, couldn't stop thinking about you, and then one day, I knew I wasn't your friend anymore.

M: Ohhh...

N: I needed something more, way beyond friendship, Max.

M: You love me?

N: For no known reason, I love you.

M: Oh... I... ummm... I wasn't expecting this.

N: Expecting it would have changed nothing.

(Max just stares)

N: Max, maybe, in the whole world, there are nine others ahead of you, but half of them are women, and I've given up searching for the other four and a half men.

M: Yeah, four and a half... like four or five...

N: Max, I want to go to the park. You want to drive. Can we finish finding your keys now?

M: (pause) Oh! Yeah... the butter.

N: Butter?

M: I put them in the butter dish, so I never forget them.

(Max exits)

N: Of course.

(Max returns)

M: Nika, I have to clean the keys, there was actual butter in the dish this time.

N: Max? Use hot water, okay?

M: Why?

N: Just trust me.

(He exits, Nika chuckles, sighs, and slowly exits as the lights fade)



ShOI said...

Wow, so one of the nine smartest people in the world is a hermaphrodite?

Anonymous said...

Cool. That's the one I want to date ;).