The Peripheral View - Scott Rainey RVC-8
"You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here"

There is an old Frank Zappa tune, whose title and chorus goes: "You're probably wondering why I'm here."

That might seem as good an introduction as any to my first column as your regional representative to the Board of Directors of American Mensa Limited. We call that body "The American Mensa Committee" or AMC for short, and my official title is "Regional Vice Chair, Region 8" or RVC-8.

Here then is the tale of how I got to be here.

If you watch these things, I'm sure you were less than amused to learn that your new RVC-8 was sufficiently "Densa" to blow an uncontested election. The new AMC decided that the most suitable punishment was to appoint me to the position anyway.

Somehow that isn't as funny in print as it is when I say it to someone face to face.

My procedural error is a great embarrassment to me. I promise you that I shall work hard to accomplish many great things for you and American Mensa over the next two years as my penance.

To review this past AMC/RVC-8 election: One requirement for a candidate to run for a position on the AMC is that your dues are paid to current. That is of course pretty reasonable, but there's one "gotcha" and well, it got me. The deadline for to renew your membership if you wish to be a candidate for national office happens to be 30 days sooner than it is for the rest of the membership. That is mainly because of the schedule for printing ballots. This is a clearly stated rule and I was given a copy. My mumble that it's on Page 8 of a 16 page document and that I paid my renewal 3 days after the deadline cut me zero slack.

The election committee discussed the situation among themselves and took it up with the then current AMC. Their considered consensus was: "better safe than sorry." We Mensan's are a rather picky lot, after all, and deviations from established processes are generally viewed with considerable disfavor, so the elections committee decided to go with a strict interpretation of the rules, even though I was running unopposed. Since there was no legal candidate for the election, the sitting RVC-8 John Cumming keeps the job for another 2 years according to our bylaws.

John didn't want to serve another two years, so, he announced his intention to resign, and did so, recommending me for the job. In the fullness of events, appointing me to the job for which I had originally been expected to campaign unopposed, was the first official act of the new AMC. It is a bit twisted, but there is symmetry.

I am duly humbled. I hope to prove myself worthy of the AMC's confidence, and yours.

All the best,

--Scott Rainey