I really can’t remember what I was doing when I was three years old. My mother told me that I was an incredibly lazy child (a strength I have carried into adult life) and was nearly two before I was walking. My parents were so worried about my late development that they took me to specialists to find out if there was anything wrong with my legs. My mother also told me that I was speaking at six months which explains the whole mystery as far as I am concerned. If I could speak at six months and tell Mum to go and fetch the push chair because I wanted to go to the shops what was the point of learning to walk until I absolutely had to? However I was walking by the time I was three and was well practiced in speaking. What I certainly wasn’t doing was flicking through Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” and making critical notes in the margin.
The London Daily Mail carried the story last week of three year old William Potter who has an IQ of 140. He still travels by pushchair according to his Mum but he sits there memorizing car number plates; a useful skill to develop should he wish to become a traffic warden when he grows up. “He does all the things other little boys like to do” coos his proud Mum, “he loves slides and going to the park but sometimes he gets bored and says to me, I’ve had enough play now, I want to learn”. And therein lies the problem.
Young William may do some of the things that other little boys of his age do but very few three year olds would swap the playground for a correspondence course in quantum physics. So as William grows older my bet is that he will do fewer and fewer things a boy of his age would do and just become monstrously clever. That’s the sort of thing that happens when you have an IQ of 140. He will be playing all of Beethoven’s piano concertos perfectly from memory at the age of ten and by twelve will have developed a nuclear weapon in his father’s potting shed. All very exciting unless you have to live with the blighter.
If the parents of young William Potter don’t have IQ’s that can match their son’s he’s going to find them pretty dull company. A typical family lunch will have him discussing Wittgenstein’s Tractatus while his Mum and Dad are debating whether to take a drive out to the garden centre that afternoon. He’ll be exhausting company because he won’t want to sit down and watch a football match. In fact he won’t be able to because he will want to add up all the numbers on the player’s shirts and work out the square root in his head.
When he’s a teenager he will have to find a girlfriend with an IQ of at least 130 if he is to make himself understood. Then when the time comes to find a job what can he do? He can’t become a banker because he’s far too intelligent to lend unemployed people 125% of the value of their properties. He is doomed to a poorly paid job as an academic, writing papers for similarly highly intelligent people.
The problem with having a high IQ is that nobody really likes a smartarse. So if young William Potter is really clever he will get onto Facebook or start blogging. That way nobody can possibly think he’s highly intelligent.