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Joel Kaplan


   I am happy and proud to serve as Member-At Large for the Metropolitan Washington Mensa chapter.

   I moved to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area when I was 6 years old. That was 61 years ago. (I believe everyone can do the math). I graduated from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School and went to the University of Maryland, where I studied Business; but majored in playing hearts and poker at the student union.

   It may be hard for some of you to believe that as a teenager and as a younger adult I was somewhat introverted and “nerdy”.  Certainly not the “Party Boy” and “Clothes Horse” you know now.  My joining Mensa some 20-odd years ago helped with the shyness, and a great deal of credit goes to my wife Teresa for “cleaning me up” and teaching me how to dress.

   In 1964, after the University of Maryland, I decided that it would be in my best interest for me to quit taking up space; I tried to enlist in the armed services. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I was rejected because I was legally blind in my left eye. I then went to work in the family scrap iron recycling business. After 40 years there I retired as owner/president, sold the business to the employees, and retired in 2005.

   I met my wife Teresa over twenty years ago. She was attending her first Mensa event. I heard her laughing in another room and I just had to meet this woman with such a wonderful laugh. I discovered her sitting on some steps surrounded by a few ardent men. Somehow, I was able to wrest her from their lecherous grasps, and amazingly, over the next few months, she let me pursue her until she caught me. We now have 5 children (all very bright of course, including Mensa member Michelle Kohler) and 12 grand-children (all bright and grand of course). Oh!, and 5 very bright cats. Truthfully, our 14 year old cat has gotten a bit addled as he has gotten older. (Unfortunately, I can say the same for myself {wait - what was I saying?}) All of them provide great joy and great chaos in my life. NO TERESA DEAR, OF COURSE I DIDN’T MEAN YOU.!! (The chaos part).

   Since retiring, I have become active in the community in which I live. On January 1st, I will begin my second term as a director on the Home Owners Association Board. I am also the Neighborhood Watch captain. I usually make 3-4 patrols each day in my Fire-Red Mustang convertible. I like to think I am keeping everyone safe, but in truth, nothing much untoward happens in my neighborhood.  Actually, part of my duties while on patrol involves keeping the alligators away. Since I haven’t seen any alligators, I guess my patrols do serve some use; aside from providing me an excuse to get out of the house, smoke a cigar, and gossip with the neighbors.

   As active members, my wife and I thoroughly enjoy attending  Mensa events including New Member Open Houses, Saturday Night Parties, the Sunday Northern Virginia brunches, the S& P events, Gourmensan dinners, Coffee Talk, and the Salon of Majestic Enlightenment, just to name a few.  In May 2010, I successfully chaired the Hospitality Committee for MWM’s Regional Gathering; we have also hosted several Saturday Night Parties throughout the years, including the annual Halloween Party.

   I would like to thank all of the Mensa members whom I have met over the years.  Attending Mensa events has been, and continues to be, a wonderful way to enjoy great conversations, to have lots of fun, interesting experiences, and best of all, to have met new and lasting friends.

   I would like to think the best thing I can bring to Mensa (besides my rugged good looks) is the way I can bring a calming and often conciliatory influence to difficult or controversial situations, having had lots of practice with the above mentioned 5 kids, 12 grandchildren, and 5 cats. NO TERESA DEAR, OF COURSE I DIDN’T MEAN YOU!! A positive and harmonious organization is something we all can enjoy with pride and joy.

-Joel
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