Telling Tales – What’s In a Number

Written by Angel Kane   
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Like many tragedies…this one started so innocently.

It was Christmas night. We had spent a few days with my family out of town and were winding down after many days of visiting. The fire was cracking behind us, those in the room over the age of fifty-five were deep in discussion about their latest ailment, grandmas were picking up the last pieces of wrapping paper and the kids were all over the house being entertained by their Santa gifts.

That left the rest of us, who after several days of being together, were getting restless with the usual Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Jenga showdowns. As luck would have it though, my brother came across his father-in-law’s blood pressure cuff. Rick is retired but likes to play the stock market. Problem is, this has not been a good year to play the market…which has left Rick with a rather elevated blood pressure reading.  

Who would have thought…his precarious health situation… would lead our family into another competitive round of games. But being depraved and deranged when it comes to anything competitive…within minutes of finding the cuff we were passing it around to determine who had the best reading. With each low reading, Rick became more agitated.

It’s not a toy…wait until you are my age…Kathy, bring me my medicine.

As usual, I dominated the game with the lowest reading. And as usual, my family was incredibly unsupportive.

Geez…are you dead… I always knew you were cold-blooded…I bet she cheated.

That last snipe came from my husband, who hates to lose at anything, but especially to me!  When we returned to Lebanon, he was determined to beat me at something to even the playing field.

And then two days after being home, I received the following email from him…Do you know where I can find a local Mensa meeting? I just took an on-line IQ test and scored a 140 – beat that!

My father is one of the smartest men I know. He has “words of wisdom” for every situation. When it comes to winning – he likes to say  – a smart winner never allows a rematch!

So I emailed back…I don’t have time for your games.

What…are you afraid you are not as smart as you think you are?

Like all tragedies, you can clearly remember at exactly what point the downward spiral began. My fatal mistake was not listening to my father.

I took his silly little IQ test – if that’s what he wants to call it. And for the record, I don’t believe on-line IQ tests are accurate.

Since that fateful day, the IQ test results have been the bane of my existence.  No matter what we are doing, somehow Mr. Genius works his IQ score into how he could do it better. From folding the laundry to unloading the dishwasher, he has been instructing me on a “smarter” way to do things. I refuse to listen to him and instead tell him to take a hike…but often use much more artful words.

Maybe I should be a bigger person and just congratulate him. But as my Dad always says… a good loser is still a loser, so what’s the point.    

Angel Kane can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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