Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The IQ Test

We barely had time to pick out a bunk after arriving at Camp Polk in 1952 before the subject of intelligence came up. Those who believe intelligence cannot be found in an infantry rifle company are mistaken. True, seven of the more than 90 men who had made the trip from Akron were illiterate. They were sent to what the Army in its sensitivity called Blockhead School.
The rest of us were told that in a week we would take an IQ test. This set off an argument between Fleming and Goulding. Both had been in college when our National Guard division was federalized. Fleming claimed he would finish first, Goulding said he would. Bets were placed, money was laid down. Day after day it continued while I listened and smiled, knowing I was good at taking tests.
Attaining a high score does not necessarily mean you know anything other than how to take tests. First, you skim quickly over it, marking the answers you know. Math problems are ignored. Then you go over it again, picking the most logical answer on all multiple choice questions. Eventually you get around to the math, still looking for logic or falling back on guessing. Just make sure every question is answered. This way, when the time limit is up you have used the minutes to their peak advantage.
I had first taken an IQ test at Camp Wheeler in 1943. My score was 137, not remarkable but enough to make them think something was wrong, considering who I was. I took it again and improved to 138. This, I decided, proved only one thing, I had figured out how to take tests.
So we took our tests at Polk and the running argument between Fleming and Goulding continued. A week or two went by, then after a day out in the field someone came into the barracks and said the IQ scores were posted on the company bulletin board. Fleming and Goulding dashed out to see who had finished first. I followed at a more leisurely pace, arriving at the board in time to see them staring at each other in disbelief and both saying, "Stodghill!" as if they were announcing a mistake had been made and Germany actually was the winner of World War II.
They repeated my name several more times while I checked the list and saw that one of them was second, the other third. Both had finished well above 130 but I led the way at 139. It seemed I was continuing to grow more intelligent.
Knowing I was a conniver, a guy who worked every angle and when I ran out of them made up a few new ones, neither Fleming nor Goulding ever trusted me again. With good reason, as the passing of time would reveal.


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