Sunday, November 24, 2013

#176. or, Tested

  It has been a cumulative effort, for the entirety of my life, studying for, and trying to pass tests.

  Ok, I realize that not all of those tests were administered in situations where I was given ample time and opportunity to sufficiently refresh my knowledge base, to be as fully and completely prepared as the limited amount of grey matter, I have left in my brain reserved for those type of things, would allow. And believe me, that space is indeed quite limited, because nobody bothered to tell me, when I was a kid, that filling my hard drive with useless Star Trek and 70's sitcom trivia would be a problem down the road when it came time to learn multiplication of fractions or algebra.

  But regardless of the state of my mental preparedness, I've done a lot of tests.

  The first test I can ever remember doing, was some sort of aptitude test at the health unit, to determine if I had the mental capacity to be registered into school. The only reason I remember this test is because at some point during the testing, I was asked to pull the wings off of a giant holographic fly.

  I'm going to repeat that. GIANT HOLOGRAPHIC FLY!

  I think I failed that test. But not because it was a fly. Hell, as a kid growing up on a farm in 1973, I was no stranger to flies. In fact, at that point our bathroom was still a room with a bucket in it that had to be periodically taken out and dumped. It's a pretty safe assumption that I was familiar with flies. Now that I look back on it, at 4 or 5 years old, I was also significantly smaller than I am now, so the giant holographic fly might not of been as large as I remember it. I'm pretty sure what freaked me out more than anything, was the hologram, which had to be relatively new technology back then. Certainly not the thing a kid living with two TV channels, back in the days when a simple calculator still cost $700, had ever seen before. And even if that test had no scientific basis, to measure whether or not I was fit to be turned loose in the real world, if science has blessed you with the ability to create giant holographic flies, what better sector of the population to unleash that horror on, but sweet and innocent preschoolers.

  Yay science!

  So, I may have failed the first test I ever did. Or not, because they let me got to school, so I'm not sure. My scores probably read, plays well with others, scared shitless of giant holographic flies. But since that time, besides the multitude of testing I did in school, my life has been about passing tests. I've been tested to drive a car, an 18 wheeler, a motorcycle, a boat, and a school bus. I've been tested to own firearms. Seems to me, my wife and I even had to take some sort of test to see if we were fit to get married. All those were specific course tested situations. There's a whole other facet, where I've just been tested by life.

  It's all about the tests.

  Now, over the last month or so, my wife and I, along with her sisters and their families, have been in the process of moving her parents out of their home and into a retirement facility. Because my wife's mother is not in the best of health, she's been given a room with relative ease. Her father on the other hand, while not in the best of health, is still not in bad enough shape to be admitted immediately. He has to go onto a waiting list. In order to get top billing, you have to fail a test the doctor gives you to determine your mental and physical health.

  After a lifetime of being conditioned to pass various tests, it would seem there comes a point when it is in your best interests to start failing tests.

  I fully expect to spend the golden years of my retirement, in a home, eating mushy food and playing bingo. Not to mention, I have heard, the old ladies out number the old guys in those facilities by something like 10 to 1. At those kind of ratios, an average guy like me is going to immediately get bumped up to an 8, or a solid 7 at the very least. There's gonna be old blue haired women all over this wrinkly sugar!

  But, in order to get in there, I need to fail the test. And I suspect there's a pretty fine line between a room with a window or one with bed restraints and a drool bucket. You can't just walk in there and completely blow the thing.

  .................I think I had better start studying to fail that test as soon as I can.

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25 comments:

  1. That giant holographic fly test is too weird for words. Were they testing you for psychopathy? Yikes.

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    1. Hi Debra,

      I was hoping that somebody from my childhood would chime in and validate me on this one. There's a wee tiny speck of doubt in my brain saying that I dreamed this whole thing up as a child. But I'm 99.9% sure I did the fly thing.

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  2. This is a great post, Ken. I always enjoy your thinking. That "mind wandering at 6 mph" works well for you!

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    1. Thanks, McGuffy Ann!

      It makes me very happy that my though process actually works well for something. :)

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  3. Well... at least it wasn't a giant holographic spider?

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    1. Hey Holly!

      ....or a bat! *shudder!*

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  4. Ken, your posts always provide a refreshing breath of fresh air. "Wrinkly sugar" - that's quite a visual.

    P.S. No one ever made me pull the wings off of a holographic fly when I was in school. I went to Catholic School, and we didn't have that kind of technology. We had nuns with rulers though, and they were waaay scarier than holographic flies. Karen

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    1. Hi Karen,

      I hope that visual hasn't scarred you forever?

      I think I might agree with you on those nuns. The visual you left me with was from The Penguin, from the Blues Brothers. Her ruler was certainly well used! :)

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  5. I like reading your stuff so much Ken. It's always food for thought and perspective. I have always had a tough time with tests. My husband and I were just talking about that actually, as our youngest son knows his stuff but freezes up during timed tests - as I'd imagine just about any 7yo would do. Why do they do that to second graders anyway? Oy. Great post as always.

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    1. Thank you Linda,

      I always did much better in practical type exams when I could get in there and work with my hands. Even if I wasn't sure of the theory behind it, somehow moving parts have always made sense to me.

      Timed tests were the worst. I'm convinced that those Mad Math Minutes in elementary school, put me off of arithmetic for the remainder of my school years.

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  6. You are already an 8, at least, buddy...those blue haired old ladies will think you are an 11 :)

    I would like to fail the test that allows me to no longer be fit to work. I say, why wait until we are old to reap the benefits of test failing?!

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    1. Naw Kianwi, maybe a 6 on a good day, but thanks for saying. :)

      It would be nice to fail a test where the doctors tell you that extensive travel in tropical locations is required. I need to look into that.

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  7. Dropping by your blog today and I agree on the whole test thing. To me tests were bad enough in school 30 years later and I don't do well with tests. Interesting bit about the testing to go into a retirement facility though. Makes me realize that growing older is just a catch 22 isn't it! Enjoyed reading

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  8. It seems like most things in life come full circle. The most we can hope for is to annoy our children as much as they have us....oh the golden years! I can hardly wait!

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    1. I'm pretty sure that I have good start on the annoying our children part. :)

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  9. HOLOGRAPHIC FLY??? Weirdsville.
    And I hope you fail that test with flying colors. ;)

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    1. After consultation with some of the people that shared in my youth, it seems that the fly might have been more 3D than holographic. Some of them remember wearing glasses. I can't remember that.

      Or maybe I do remember it, and just want you to think I've forgotten.

      .........I've got this senility stuff in the bag! ;)

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  10. Sounds like the test makers were trying to fail kids when they entered the holographic fly question. Tests are one of the most asinine things our society does to assess aptitude! As a former elementary school teacher and a mom to a kid who is about to enter public school next year, I can say emphatically and wholeheartedly that I loathe tests! I hope you fail your assisted living test in all the right ways:).

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      I'd have to agree with you, but tests have been such a part of how we are judged, for so long, I don't think it's going to change any time soon.

      It's my suspicion, that when it's time for me to enter one of those facilities, I'm probably not going to have to try all that hard to fail that test. :)

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  11. The retirement home thing reminds me of what we have to tell clients at my office about applying for Social security Disability. After a lifetime of puffery and trying to make yourself seem better than you are, it's tough to admit you have no skills and can't do anything. We say, "Remember, this is not a job interview!"

    I don't know what your hologram test was for, but I'm going to have my kids start practicing by pulling real wings off real flies, just in case...

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    1. Hi Katy,

      I think that's excellent advice. It's not a job interview. I've watched so many of my older neighbours keep working and try to stay on their farms for much longer than they should have been. I know it's what they love, but I also can't help but think their quality of life would be so much better if they had let go sooner.

      Good call, they'll either be prepared for life, or become serial killers.

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  12. There is something about your writing that always catches me by surprise. Somehow at the start of your post I'm never clued in to where it's going. Very neat the way you do that!

    When I started in kindergarten I remember them taking us one by one to look into a box that was sort of like a view master - they said it was an eye examine as we had to identify the pictures that were shown. I now have a doubt if it was really our eyes they were testing ;-)

    On other topics, how have you been? :-)

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    1. Hey Froggie!

      Sometimes I worry that that's bad writing, for jumping all over the place. But I know you meant it as a good thing, and I like that.

      At least there wasn't giant flies in your view master box! Or was there? :)

      I've been well. Busy, but well. I'll send you an email as soon as I get the chance. :)

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    2. No.... I don't think bad writing at all... and it's not so much that it's jumping all over the place - what I find is that you have a unique way of thinking. You don't follow the regular cliches and so the outcome is usually unexpected.

      As for the view master. All I can remember is a very pretty pink cake... there was lots and lots of icing on it. Most definitely no fly! ;-)

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