I had a particularly delicious bowl of pho with Melanie today, thereby inaugurating 2009 as the seventh different calendar year in which we’ve enjoyed Viet Huong together. Burned out on Vietnamese food? Who, us? Not yet.
I threatened to tell a story on her today, and I don’t think she believed me, so here goes.
I’ve mentioned that Melanie was my mentor before she was my close friend. Way back in 1994, she was an experienced writer, and I was the green bean out of school, and I watched her very closely. The convergence of her deep focus and her competitive nature was, and is, almost savantlike.
This pays big dividends in software development and associated activities. She’s still the best diagnostician I’ve ever known. However, for leisure pursuits, it can be a heavy burden indeed.
Five or so years ago, I received a link to an online multiple-choice IQ test, and being a competitive sort myself, I started taking it. I got to question 150 or so, and noticed that the questions I was getting were reworked versions of earlier questions I had already answered. I pressed on, thinking it was evaluating me for consistency.
At question 250, I’d had enough, and closed the test. A pop-up informed me that the whole thing was having me on, simply seeing how far I’d go before throwing it in. It told me I hung in longer than 70% of the population would have. I felt like a dolt.
Then, of course, I sent it to Melanie. She’d want badly to “win,” and of all the potential “victims” that passed through me head, I thought she’d be the one most likely to go as far as I had.
When I went down to see if she wanted to have lunch, she was on question 971.