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Sunday, September 09, 2012

Exploring the "super intelligent" world

Today,  I went on a quixotic quest.  Could I learn more about where the person I spent three months in a tent, traversing Africa, ended up in life?  I discovered tantalizing clues on the Internet -- I won't publish his name until I verify their accuracy -- but, if true, my tent mate belongs into a rather exclusive club. He is a member and perhaps is the president of the Omega Society.  To join, you need to verify that your intelligence is "at the 99.9999th percentile (one-in-a-million level) on a test of general intelligence."

Obviously, individuals with this intelligence level travel on a much higher plane than most of us.  I remember the guy as being the other "nerd" in our overland African tour group who managed, upon arriving in Nairobi, Kenya at the journey's end, to head to Uganda at the time of Idi Amin's rule.  I considered joining him on the trip but, on listening to advice from Canadian consular officials, decided to travel a safer route.  Shortly after he departed, Amin announced he would detain all Americans on Ugandan soil.  Realizing my travel-mate had been planning to go to the dictatorial country on his own, I thought it prudent to visit the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to report his risky travel plans.  A consular official there quickly invited me into a conference room, where he told me indeed my travel-mate had managed to sneak a note out of his prison cell.  Much to my surprise, I met him, one final time, in Lamu, Kenya, as I prepared to journey overland to (then) Rhodesia and South Africa overland.  We haven't communicated since.

I'm not sure what I will learn when I pick up the phone tomorrow.  There are tantalizing clues about his post-Africa life -- including a six year odyssey through some of the most dangerous parts of the world, but what he is doing (if it is him) in Oklahoma, is beyond me right now.

Why search out someone from my distant past, where our lives have traveled entirely different directions since?  The answer, to me, is in the questions I can ask -- the puzzle pieces I can solve with journalistic inquiry.  I know I am not intelligent enough to be a member of the Omega Club, of course.  But I know for several weeks we shared the experience of observing the shooting stars and the Saharan silence -- so silent that you could hear your own ears.

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