I'm 16, still in highschool. I consder myself pretty smart, but today I think I met one of the smarter people in my life. He's 14 and rides my bus. He scored ~10 points higher than me on a math test (i got 273, he got 285 I believe, not sure). I knew this, so I mentally ackknowledged that he was a little smarter than me. So, being quite the experimentalist, I ask him to square 27...nothing to big. He answers pretty easily, 729. So I ask him to square 191. He looks up and thinks about it, says a few numbers to himself, then says 36,641. I thought about it, and he was right. Now, I can square numbers like that pretty easily...but i've been pushing myself to that ability for a month or so now; I had to 'teach' myself little tricks to remember the numbers while computing. So I ask him if he had ever done that before, ever squared a number in the hundereds without a calculator. He says no? I was absolutely shocked! I cannot even come to comprehending that...to simply 'synthesize' how one would go about answering a problem like that, applying a method, then finding an answer in a matter of seconds..infact, he did it pretty easy. When I do it, i still feel pretty strained...but the thing is, no-one seems to understand why I'm so amazed by this! I mean, to just be able to do that so easily, he'd half to be like two or three times smarter than me... I have a tremendously easy time in math. I had a calculus class at my local university, and I was able to ace it without ever doing the work or paying attention in class, while I had 20 year olds scratching their heads...and this kid could be twice my mental ability? I can't comprehend how easy math must come to him.. He'll be opening calculus books and going,"well, duh" to things people twice his age struggle to learn. That is amazing! I feel like malcolm when he meets that eight year old with an IQ of 280 on Malcolm in the Middle...Im in absolute awe of this..please tell me someone understands? Oh and two things..sorry this is so irrelevant to the purpose of this forums..and sorry if I seem a tad pretentious. In actuallity, I'm really not that smart...early on I was very unorganized, so I never had a calculator. I think that has tremendously helped me in understand the relations of numbers.