As a kindergartner, my IQ was tested for the public school “gifted” program because my older brother was blessed with an amazingly high IQ and categorized gifted, so I was earmarked for the program. Eligibility was one simple criterion: an IQ of 130 or above. Social adeptness, common sense, and hyperactivity levels were not considered, and this left the program with super strange serious kids like me wondering why we were asked to work on bizarre projects like making movies and performing plays with the weirdest outcasts in the school. They told us it was because we were gifted.
Unfortunately, the program was called Mentally Gifted Minors or MGM for short. That went over well on the playground… we were somehow permanently linked with Special Education and commonly known as the Mentally Gifted Morons, which we probably were. Some of us grew to be doctors and lawyers, and many of us battled drug and alcohol abuse, too. We were a mixed bag of gifts tossed together and learning from one another kept apart from the other students somewhat by always being in the same class of 30 students year after year.
Out of the bunch, two students stand apart in my mind. One decided to get his MD after finishing his PhD and is currently a specialist in immunology at a prestigious East Coast university. The other, he is a recovering heroin addict that was maybe the most talented kid I knew and is now trying to be a regular guy working a regular job. Did being gifted escalate these two young people to extremes? Do gifted people pass through normal never to return but to ultimately hit one of the two extremes of expressing their talent or being crushed by the world? And the personal question is: where do I fall in the continuum? I am in the underachiever constantly amazed by the world category that is weighted down by society but lucky enough to not be genetically predisposed to addiction. So, pretty much normal.