INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Mensa is brainpower, a worldwide society of high IQ heirs who convene once a year to participate in a curious mix of games, contests, socializing and sightseeing. They are, I might suggest, the most interesting, up-beat, idiosyncratic bunch of fun lovers to ever join together under the sun.Two thousand of these gifted savants descended upon Tahoe-Reno-Virginia City last week to commune and see the sights, while for the most part forgoing drinking and gambling. I was invited to accompany them as the Ghost of Mark Twain.Our first stop was Mound House, home of four brothels, and present day terminal for a Vandamp;T railroad trip to Virginia City. There were several passenger cars hooked together and the conductor gave stern instructions to not cross between the cars when underway. Well, no sooner did we lurch forward than a Mensa lady popped up and disappeared into the adjoining car, whereupon the conductor shouted into the microphone, “I thought this was MENSA!” A voice in the crowd shouted back, “We’re on VACATION!”We toured Virginia City where they asked so many convoluted questions of me that I had to be wheeled home on a gurney.In celebration of Independence Day we cruised Lake Tahoe on the M.S. Dixie II. Once again I was pinned to the bulkhead with questions that felt like pins in a voodoo doll.“So, Mr. Twain, you know Higgs Boson was discovered today, what do you have to say to that?” As luck would have it, I had read-up a little on the discovery of the subatomic particle that is supposed to explain the origin of mass, and though I was not equipped to speak to the gravity of the matter, I was able to proffer a lighthearted riposte that I had overheard an hour earlier.“Higgs Boson walks into a church. He is greeted by a man in cloth who informs him, ‘Sir, you are not welcome here.’‘Not welcome? Why, you cannot possibly have mass without me.’”This nascent joke, not yet one day old, was already a chestnut with these people, but it got me off the hook for the moment and actually caused one of the congregation to smile a thin smile.At the end of three days of traveling with this eclectic tribe, I turned to a gentleman next to me and said with a bit of an edge in my voice, “Okay, now it’s my turn to ask a question.”“Fire away.”“What exactly is that Theory of Relativity, anyways?”He smiled a knowing smile, slipped his little finger into my buttonhole, drew me close and whispered, “The Theory of Relativity is very simple indeed. I love my relatives ... three days at a time.”I came away a much wiser and humbler man for having floated in the rare atmosphere of Mensa for three memorable days, and only hope they choose to return to Tahoe-Reno-Virginia City for their unconventional convention sometime in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, I shall continue to contemplate traveling at the speed of light with Higgs Boson some day “relatively” soon...— Learn more about McAvoy Layne at ghostoftwain.org.