Just kidding. It's a valid question and one I think many people are confused about. Most people, I think, believe they are above the average intelligence. After all, 18 percent of United States Citizens believe they are in the top one percent of people who possess wealth. Simple statistics prove them wrong. Some of those people who think they are in the top one percent just don't understand what wealth is. To paraphrase Chris Rock, Shaq is rich, the white man who signs his check is wealthy.
I remember sitting in Lazlo's apartment one night. This was back when he lived with O in Tangle Town, and there was a poster of Einstein on the wall. I said, "Man, was he a smug bastard or what?" It was his eyes, not his smile. Einstein that is, not Lazlo's. The eyes, always watch the eyes, or so my friend Patrice taught me. She was an artist; the eyes give it all up. Einstein probably understood that intelligence like most matters of quality can't be quantified. Those who think that stuff like that can be quantified and measured are, well, not all that intelligent, and I'm sure they were shot the smug look from old Einstein.
I think very few people are above the average intelligence. For example there are a lot of people who take tests well. That doesn't mean they are intelligent. It just means they take tests well; they either can remember information for a short period of time, or they understand how T/F, multiple choice exams work.
Intelligence is something else...entirely. It's the ability to read into things, the ability to see a tree and understand the tree, it's place in the world, and so on. You understand what that particular tree means, and then you can communicate that understanding later in the exam; the best way to test for intelligence is to make someone answer one question for 50 minutes or for 110 minutes. One question. See how smart they really are. Find out how much of that tree they really understood.
Of course it would take an intelligent person to grade the written, one question exam and that's why they aren't the staple of state colleges and universities. But those exams are staples at private, liberal arts colleges.
I've experienced both systems as a student; one learns a lot more when one is expected to give a 50 minute answer to one question. Even if one is extremely wrong, one learns a lot more than one would have memorizing a bunch of crap for a multiple choice exam. Or if one just guesstimates the answer because it's one of the four choices, unless one of the four choices is "none of the above." And how hard is it to pick out the correct answer among four choices? Not very.
Paul Davis stood out to me while we were at UCI. He once said to me that he didn't bother to memorize what he knew he could look up. He wanted that room in his brain to think about things he didn't know, or that he didn't know he knew. Paul was one of the most intelligent people I've ever met, and I miss him almost every day.
One of the other really intelligent people I've met was a guy named Philip Baruth. Old Philip was just a regular guy from New York. He was very unassuming; in graduate school that's as rare as a purple diamond. Philip would shoot pool with me in a biker bar, which was my "acid test" in for graduate school types who were fundamentally okay.
Other people would disappear for eight to ten months before their qualifying exams in the Ph.D. program. Philip was out shooting pool and writing a novel two weeks before his. He was that rare breed who was intelligent and who also took tests well. Philip really pissed off a lot of folks in the Ph.D. program. He was also rare in that he actually wrote fiction as a Ph.D.; most of them don't, but they will tell you what it means. Ho ho.
Thank God, I was in the M.F.A. program and I wasn't subjected to that sort of jealousy like Philip. I was one of the fiction writers. We were largely shunned or ignored until we made a splash on the Literary scene. That is we were birds and the folks in the Ph.D. program were bird watchers. They would eventually tell high school and college students what us birds meant by what we wrote; those of us birds who made a splash, that is, and there, but for the Grace of God, go I.
Those last two sentences should give you a clue as to what I think intelligence is all about. If they don't, there's an old Fleetwood Mac song that comes to mind:
Don't ask me about the shape I'm in,
When I talked to God, I thought He'd understand