Butterflies on Merrion Square

Ah, writing prompts. It’s fun to see what can pour out of you when a prompt picks at your brain and miraculously loosens material long forgotten.

A friend posted a story of his childhood as a gifted kid (he scored a reported 165 on an IQ test), bullied, and sensitive. It inspired my reply:

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Your story is my story. Except for that showy 165. I never received an IQ test until the seminary in Ireland insisted I undergo a full psychological evaluation. Until then, throughout grade school, all I had was the Iowa test results that kept coming back year after year in the 98th and 99th percentile.

When the seminary took me to a psychiatrist in Merrion Square (famous for the “Doors of Dublin” poster you may have seen), the psychological evaluation included an IQ test.

I thought at the time the evaluation was intended to weed out pedophiles, or other deviants. But this was 1984 — Before most of the scandals broke. Before the public knew, beyond the bounds of any one abused family. For all I know they used the test to weed them in.

What WERE they looking for? Obedience? Compassion? Math skills for counting collections? Sophists, capable of writing even more twisted theological apologies? John the Revelator sized hallucinations?

Anyway, the report came back. I scored an IQ of 144. The exam also included a lot of Rorschach blots that looked like vulva.

It’s a trap! All I could think of at age 18 was that a new Seminarian, intent on becoming a celibate Catholic priest, should probably not know what a vulva looks like, OR see them in ink-blots.

So I said “butterfly”… so many butterflies.

Probably lowered my IQ score by 21 points.

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