I have hazel eyes — green with flecks of gold and sometimes blue. According to published statistics, only 8 percent of human beings have hazel eyes, which can change with mood and surroundings. Since they often change color, people with hazel eyes are said to be unpredictable and fun loving. Of course there’s no scientific proof, but I’ll go with that.
I have AB+ blood type. Again, you can believe these statistics or not, but only 3.4 percent of human beings have AB+ blood type, which is informally known as the universal blood type because those with AB+ can accept any other blood type in transfusion. At one long ago blood drive, I was introduced as the “donor with the mink coat of blood!” The good news is AB+ plasma can be donated to anyone with any blood type. I do get a lot of Emails and letters from Red Cross.
I’m also a 35-year member of Mensa (the allegedly “High IQ Society.”) Supposedly, only 2 percent of human beings can qualify for Mensa, which required a minimum of a 148 IQ, as determined by an eight-hour closely proctored IQ test.
Interesting side facts about Mensa: It was founded by a couple of strangers on a train in 1946, who evidently decided it would be more productive than killing each other’s wives. (For those who are unfamiliar with 1950s era movies or vintage movie channels, this is a reference “to Strangers on a Train.”) One of the Mensa founders, a Brit, quit the organization four years later after becoming disenchanted that so many Mensa meetings consisted of puzzle solving and scrabble tournaments, rather than, you know, trying to Change the World with their collective intelligence. To be honest, I joined up to meet men, not to change the world. I did win a lot of scrabble tournaments, though. And years later, I attended the 25th anniversary of Mensa in London where I hilariously got lost after being dropped off the tour bus near Piccadilly Circus for a Solve-the-Clues and Get-a-Tour-of-London challenge that ended badly.
One fine day in June, I met three (THREE!) people in one day who had hazel eyes. My sister was one of them, so that shouldn’t count. Then I saw a Facebook post proclaiming that Stephen Hawking said “People who boast about their IQ are losers.” I admired Stephen Hawking and he was definitely at the top of the genius registry, so I took that to heart.
When I signed up to donate my rare blood recently at the Red Cross drive, the technician taking down my statistics and pin-prick sample shook her head and asked to do a pin-prick on the other hand. More head-shaking. It turns out that after many decades of donating blood by the gallons, today’s version was unacceptable due to iron insufficiency and I was rejected. Talk about a loser!
I was beginning to feel a lot less exceptional. I pondered long and hard about a fourth characteristic that would make me unique. And finally, serendipitously, I hit upon one: I’m the only person I know who still uses shorthand, which I learned in high school because I wanted the ability to write fast. That definitely makes me stand out in a crowd, or at least around the conference table at meetings. And believe me, if you’re hemorrhaging from not scoring a 148 on your closely proctored IQ test, you will want my blood type, or at least my plasma. Hazel eyes are optional.
And I am special because my mother thought so, my husband wholeheartedly believed it, and up to the point they became teenagers, my three beloved grandchildren thought so too.