Thomas Rekem was declared a genius when he was ten years old. He was in fourth grade at the time, and his performance on standardized testing was so good that his IQ measured 150.
But he insists he isn’t that smart, and that IQs are grossly overrated. “You know what they say, don’t you?” he asks. “If you’re one step ahead of everyone else, then you’re a genius. But if you’re two steps ahead, you’re a crackpot.” In spite of his apparent intellectual skills he had only fair grades when he completed high school. He enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and breezed through four years of study there, majoring in History and English Literature. He later became interested in computers, in particular designing websites, which he now does professionally.
As for his early designation as a genius, he shrugs it off. “The really great accomplishments in the world – most of them aren’t done by the smartest people in the world. They’re done by people with so-called normal IQs, or maybe just a little above that. Those really super-smart people are usually pretty messed up, anyway.”
Most authorities, he says, say there are many different types of intelligence, and that traditional ways of trying to measure it are not all that accurate. There are many variables involved in human intelligence, not the least of which is emotion. “People who get uptight about taking tests don’t usually score well on them, especially tests where short-term memory is important,” he says.
Thomas Rekem is a web designer who does business as Rekem Designs.