President Donald Trump wishes to compare his IQ with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who reportedly called his boss, the leader of the free world, “a moron.” This makes many people think of empty schoolyard boasting. It makes me think of something called FLUIQ, which I will explain momentarily.
There are variations of the Trump-Tillerson competition. In one version, an unprintable adjective is attached to Tillerson’s “moron” slur. In another version, Tillerson never made the remark at all.
But it annoyed President Trump enough that he told Forbes magazine, “I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”
Some considered this an odd boast from Trump, coming on the same day that he sent out a tweet which misspelled the word “little” as “liddle.”
To compound the absurdity of such an argument between two grown-ups, a White House spokesperson was forced to explain that Trump was only joking and not intending to denigrate the secretary of state’s intelligence – following which, a State Department spokesman felt compelled to explain that, in fact, Tillerson’s IQ is “high.”
At moments such as this, I recall my old friend from high school, whose last name was Fisher and whose first name will not be used here in case the statute of limitations has not yet run out. Fisher’s last name gives us the first letter of the acronym FLUIQ.
And if he were around today, he could no doubt help us in this “mine is bigger than yours” IQ competition.
In my days at Baltimore City College, those of us working on The Collegian stayed late into the evenings putting out the weekly school paper. Everyone else had departed the building, including the principal, Henry T. Yost. His office was always unlocked. It was a far more trusting time. My friend Fisher took this as an opportunity to peruse all available files, which included lists of IQ scores. Fisher had everybody’s.
Thus, the secret acronym FLUIQ. It stood for “Fisher Looks Up IQs.”
Fisher had so many students’ IQs that he once turned in a feature story on one of City’s athletes that began, “Not only is [so-and-so] a great ballplayer, but he does it with an IQ of only …”
That lede was killed.
Among the IQs Fisher looked up was mine. I don’t remember the exact score, except that it turned out to be one point lower than Jay Berzofsky’s, whose report card led the school one quarter with a grade point average of 99.2.
The Collegian ran a big story about Berzofsky’s 99.2. My mother saw the story and noticed that my own grades were not even close to Berzofsky’s, our IQ scores notwithstanding.
“Why can’t you get a 99.2?” my mother asked.
“Mom,” I replied, “I can’t even get my temperature to go to 99.2.”
But I’ll put Jay Berzofsky’s IQ – or at least his grades – up against Donald Trump or anybody else.
Top photo: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at an event in the Kennedy Garden of the White House May 1, 2017. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
A former Baltimore Sun columnist and WJZ-TV commentator, Michael Olesker is the author of six books. His most recent, “Front Stoops in the Fifties: Baltimore Legends Come of Age,” has just been re-issued in paperback by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
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