My Week With America’s Smartest* People

Eve Peyser in Intelligencer:

In the designated game room at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, which was open 24 hours a day during this year’s Mensa Annual Gathering, I sat at a table with a woman named Kimberly Bakke, a 30-year-old purple-haired pastry chef and teacher from Las Vegas. Bakke is basically Mensa royalty. A 1996 Orange County Register article about her admission to the high-IQ club revealed that she was conceived at a Mensa convention, and she hasn’t missed one since; she became a member when she was three. “I have a big brain,” she told the Register reporter, who noted that her IQ was 143, about 50 points higher than the average among people of all ages. Bakke was hanging out with Christopher Whalen, a 35-year-old defense contractor from Omaha, Nebraska, who was admitted to the club in 2016. They met in a Mensa Gen-Y Facebook group shortly after, and became fast friends, texting each other every day. The 2022 Annual Gathering (AG, as Mensans call it) was Whalen’s first and marked the first time the pair met IRL.

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