Mystery of the Mensa LYMP

Mensa International
Mensa International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


LYMP Little Yellow Map Pin – A pin with a yellow globe on the top, previously sent to new members upon joining Mensa.

I was about 15-years old when I took a Stanford-Binet exam and received a fascinating 169 score at the time.  Since I didn’t actually know it was a ratio of mental:chronological age, which meant as you get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a high score ratio for this type of IQ test, normal distribution of intelligenceI was lucky that my school counselor chose to administer one to me at a young enough age where being “bright” enough to know words at a 25-year old (college post-graduate?) level would qualify you to join some kind of society. Eventually I even got around to purchasing10-year Mensa Certificate my official membership certificate (10-year in this example), and joining as a Mensa Lifetime Membership CertificateLifetime Mensa Member (doing the actuarial math, it makes sense when there’s a 10-year breakeven point on membership dues.)

But when I think about it, the LYMP was an original membership concept at a time when members numbered a little over 100,000 nationally (I’m something like Member No. 106,xxx).  You would usually have a world map and be able to place your LYMP on it and see the sparse population of like-wondering individuals around the world, and see that the distribution was limited only to the reach of where intelligence tests were proctored.  As new areas of the world were touched, new LYMP’s showed up and gradually reflected the same metric of the geographic populations.

Mensans still have Regional and National Gatherings to meet collectively and talk and learn about more geeky topics, but also just to be part of a greater whole – the subset of the population that becomes a minority because of how (or how much) it thinks. Many would wear their LYMP pinned onto their name badges, or accoutrements and that little pin became a subtle and almost invisible symbol of honor. It’s a minority that crosses color, gender, preference and all the other Title IX vectors.  And it’s still a pretty cool one to be a part of after all these years.


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