If you're looking for Bartleby.com (formerly Columbia University's Bartleby Library, and before that, Project Bartleby), you've come to the wrong place.

Bartleby is my cat, and his IQ is 151. Here he is selecting some light reading material:

Bartleby examining a shelf of books while twisting himself up from the shelf below.  Adorable, really.
"Tolstoy or Twain?"
(Photograph by K.M. O'Craven, used with permission)
Click for larger image.

How, you may well ask, does a cat get his IQ measured? More easily than you might suppose. A few years ago, a popular magazine, which I will not name except to say that it was Omni, invited its readers to participate in a mail-in IQ test for the "super-intelligent". The test, which I will not name either ("The Quest Test"), was based upon a laughably absurd methodology. To counter absurdity with absurdity, I decided to have Bartleby take part. The answers were his, although I had to transcribe them for him; I also helped him with turning the pages of some large reference books. (If you're interested in the Quest Test, the questions, the answers, and the name of a single reference book that can be used to find most of them can all be found in the rec.puzzles archives.)

A few weeks later, Bartleby received a letter informing him that his IQ was 151, and that on the basis of his performance he was qualified to join T.O.P.S., the Top One Percent Society.

Image of the form letter Bartleby received

Bartleby declined to join, preferring to spend the membership fee on cat toys. However, he has received some interesting mail since.

Bartleby's Mail Bag

It's surprising how many pre-approved credit card offers can be received by a cat who doesn't even have a Social Security number, much less a credit history. Here are some other selected items from his mail.
From Natural Choice-USA:

"Dear Friend:

For all the years of your life you put into making money for someone else . . . For all the days and nights and weekends you've sweated trying to make ends meet . . . this letter is for you."


From Buyer's Choice:

"Dear Consumer:

Your household has been carefully selected to participate in this survey."


From Great Expectations:

"Dear Single Friend,

You know it the moment you meet.
There's a certain something.
You can't explain it.
But you sense almost immediately, "this is the one"."


And there was the time Bartleby received an offer for a discount subscription to Playboy... But through some inexplicable oversight, he still hasn't been invited to subscribe to America Online.

More mail for Bartleby

(added 19 Feb 1997)

I'm beginning to think that he has a better credit rating than I do:


From First USA Bank:

Dear Bartleby Helenius:

Your outstanding financial management has earned you a very distinct form of recognition: An Invitation to carry the First USA Platinum Card.

The First USA Platinum Card gives you the purchasing power and services you deserve:


From America One Communications:

Dear Friend,

We know that everyone in your family has very different schedules these days.

That's why we are offering you Personal Advantage cellular service from America One, a simple, affordable cellular phone service.

Wherever they go, you go too!


Back to main page