Am I too big for my britches?

Enough Christmas posts already. You’re probably wondering whether I’m really Jewish. I hear you. Of course I’m Jewish, although I’m not sure the Pope is Catholic.

Today, let’s move on to weightier matters. Despite what this post title might suggest, I do not plan to talk about the size of my tuchus in this post, however. I’ve done enough of that in recent weeks. Rather, I plan to talk about my intelligence.

As part of our training, psychologists learn to administer intelligence tests. Whether or not you believe in the validity of such tests is a matter for another day. I used these tests extensively in my work with both children and adults. I’d like to believe that many of my assessments provided useful information and even insights.

Because I have administered IQ tests extensively, for many years I lived with the fallacy that I was smarter than everyone around me. I know the answers to every question on those tests, don’t I? Forget the fact that the answers were right in front of me whenever I administered the tests, allowing me to score the client’s responses correctly. Yes, I falsely assumed that I would have gotten every item correct whether or not I had access to the answers. As a result, I was sure that I was brilliant.

The test constructors burst my bubble several years ago when they came out with a new version of the most commonly administered adult IQ test. I knew all the answers to the old test, but not to the new one. In fact, several questions stumped me. I may have known the correct answers, yet I had no idea why they were correct. I remember discussions with my fellow psychologists when this test first came out about the items I didn’t understand. What a blow to my aggrandized sense of self.

But I’ve had an even more recent reminder that I am not the smartest one in the room. J. and I have been completing our annual jigsaw puzzle. Yes, another activity that I can do while I am firmly planted upon my tuchus, because I don’t spend enough time sitting as it is. No wonder I am getting too big for my britches.

But we’re not talking about britches. We’re talking about our respective approaches to said challenging puzzle. J. learned years ago to leave me all the easy parts while she completes the hard ones. I always do the puzzle frame, for example, while right now, J. is working on the sky. In this puzzle, the sky is various shades of white. Good luck, honey.

This division of puzzle labour allows me to retain the last vestige of self-esteem that I cling to. I feel like I am making progress on tempo with J., even though the sections she is working on are much harder than mine. Yes, she is by far the superior puzzler in our relationship.

Come to think of it, I’m sure she’d have understood those really hard IQ test questions that I couldn’t solve. But don’t tell her that, okay? I’d hate for it to go to her head.

Pie with crust that says "humble" on top


4 thoughts on “Am I too big for my britches?

    • J: You too are very wise. What could anyone do with just a bunch of pieces? I’d be lost without the wisdom of my highly intelligent followers. Still, J., it is by the grace of God that you are there to complete the hard parts of any puzzle. We are an excellent puzzle-making team. XOXO


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