The Bright Man’s Burden

Chuck Richards sat across from the doctor. He fidgeted nervously with the tie his wife had made him wear for the occasion.

“Well, Mr. Richards, we have the results here,” the doctor said, pulling a file out of his drawer, “And I have to say, congratulations.”

Chuck looked at him expectantly.

“No offense, Mr. Richards,” the doctor said, “But I have to say I’m rather astonished. Your IQ is 185, putting you at extreme genius level.”

Chuck’s face sank. “Doctor, say it ain’t so!” he shouted.

“I don’t understand,” the psychologist said, taken aback, “You should be happy, you’re one of the smartest people on the planet.”

“That’s exactly the problem!” Chuck groaned. “Do you know what kind of responsibility that is?”


“Before, when I thought I was just a normal guy, life was good! All I want to do is go to work, love my wife, raise my kids, drink some beer, watch the game on TV…I only took this stupid test because my wife wanted me to!”

“I still don’t understand,” the psychologist said. “Having a higher IQ doesn’t limit you, it only increases your possibilities in life!”

Chuck shook his head. “You said it yourself, I’m one of the smartest people on the planet. I can’t just waste that. I have to go be some kind of inventor or miracle doctor or president or something. Hell, I haven’t even been to college, this is going to be a lot of work.” He put his head in his hands and started sobbing.

A secretary poked her head in the room. She shuffled over to the doctor, whispered something to him, and handed him a sheet of paper.

“Mr. Richards,” the doctor said, “I’d like to apologize. The computer mixed up your results with someone named Charles Richardson. I have your true results here.”

Chuck stared at him, fear in his eyes.

The doctor glanced over the sheet. “It turns out that your real IQ is actually 71.”

“What does that mean?” Chuck asked suspiciously.

“That’s the lowest possible IQ you can have without being considered mentally retarded.”

It was the best news of Charles Richards’ life.