“You will hear instructions for each picture I show you. Listen to the instructions given to you by the voice on the audio tape; you will only hear them once. After you have been given all instructions, the voice will say ‘Go.’ At that time, please point to where the instructions have asked you to.”

“Before you point to the lamp in the corner, point to the child kicking the ball, but only after pointing to the clock. Only do this if there are two cats and two dogs in the picture. If there are not, then point to the picture on the wall on the right side of the room. Go.”

Today was day four of “aptitude” testing. I am now over-critically conscious of the way I perceive and organize information, the way I count hours, the way I say things. This is my second year of college, and I have agreed to enroll in ACCESS to see if I have a learning disability or “processing problem.” Algebra and I don’t get along, regardless of my work ethic (that’s not just what I told my teacher). Incidentally, I’ve spent four days pointing at things I’m asked to, completing patterns, and defining words like breakfast aloud. Which I did incorrectly, by the way, despite my best efforts to eat it daily:

Counselor: “I want you to read the words in front of you aloud and then tell me what they are, begin.”


Myself: “Breakfast. The most important meal of the day.”
It was at this time the counselor had to pause. I could see her squinting intently at pages of a blue book, pages I cannot see, pages that tell her who I am. Pages with the cure for the common cold. Pages with the meaning of life itself. And guess what she says next:

Counselor: “Okay…can you tell me more about Breakfast?” Fucking hell.

In the picture mentioned above, I can still hours later itemize the contents of the room with 98% certainty. I’m a pro at remembering useless shit, basically. Among these things was a little blonde girl with a ponytail sitting on an amber rug in the center of the room, doing a puzzle. I don’t think the puzzle had a box. You can’t do a puzzle without the box and the picture on it, right? Please tell me there was a box in the picture and I just didn’t notice.

And I don’t know what breakfast is.

“I’m sorry. Breakfast. The first meal of the day, in the morning.” Perhaps a few glasses of wine. Or, perhaps, all of your waking realizations about your life thus far have sufficient nutritional value.

Does a shoe go on your ear? Y/N

This is what I must do to cooperate and feign interest in my education here at Moorpark Academy of High Achievers. I shouldn’t complain much, it could be worse, but like everyone else I just want out. Any monkey with his thumb up his ass can point at a picture and hazard a guess at what balloons are. Speculation as to whether or not I could have done more to help my education is at this point, fairly painful and counter-productive. The Academy has a way of slurping your soul up through a piss flavored crazy straw. Does pot cure cynicism? Y/N. No. Placates it, possibly.

I told my boss at the auto shop, Jim, about this testing process. His response was something along the lines of them being “fucking over-liberalized geniuses” if they suspect a learning disability NOW, after over 12 years of public education. I love him, not exclusively because he pays me. We are the hot blood of the country, the “honest” work force; we have Doctorates in physical labor, dirty hands, we say “fuck” every other word. I’m trying to balance throwing on a suit too, but incidentally one size does not fit all.

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day, the first meal of the day, the one in the morning. It, like a shoe, does not go on my ear. Unless you want to get technical and philosophical.

I feel like I heard somewhere once there are people in the world who get off on dumping food on each other. Mud wrestling? No sweet heart, I was thinking of just getting a giant tarp and pouring pea soup, spaghetti, and cake on it and then rolling around in it with you. Isn’t that sexy?

Are pea soup, spaghetti, and cake breakfast foods?

Do flowers grow in the sky? Y/N

Pancakes are breakfast food, for some people. I don’t like pancakes. Don’t hold me to that though, there is a waiter at the Thousand Oaks Denny’s with a graveyard shift who will tell you I always used to order pancakes. I told him once that pancakes at 2 a.m. unconditionally is a very serious tenet of mine. Please tell me the girl doing the puzzle had a box to look at, and I just didn’t notice.

One week from today I have my last day of testing (for what?). Exactly one week following that, I will know the results (of what?). But I am not interested in these things, really. Where I measure, on paper, statistically, point wise, these things are not paramount to my personal philosophies. I value intuit senses, vibes, endless reasoning. “Yes” and “No” are answers for the limited and unimaginative people. And probably, the truly happy people.

I’m sitting in my Humanities class now, rushing to say something profound. The girls next to me, who are currently rushing to complete the take home quiz due in one minute, just asked each other who Plato was, who St. Augustine was. Who are you? I wish I could be you, sometimes.

Is green a flavor? Y/N
Do pigs fly? Y/N. If you catapult them, yes.

(Socrates: Yes Glaucon, but observe further: What truly is a pig? What does it mean to fly?)

I’m 19. I have erased the paragraph that summarizes me in clever short sentences six times, I just realized I don’t care about it. I’m too busy being irritated that I learned what feudalism was in elementary school, and my humanities teacher is going over it for the fourth or fifth time. If you want something interesting, try deconstructing the mind of the classmates who surround you based off their mannerisms and speech. I can’t give you intimacy, but you can sit in your car in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain, and just listen–there’s nothing like it.

We are our first words. Next, the pledge of allegiance. We are then our golden stars. We are our report cards. We get vaccinated, just like animals, so we can be in school. We are the Career Aptitude Test. The Meyers-Briggs personality type. Christmas bonus, John in Accounting, My Kid is an Honor Student at Franklin Elementary, he was a loving Bother, Husband, and Father. Inheritance.

That’s all good and fine I suppose. Really, though, to hell with aptitude and processing and averages and answers. I can’t wait to go work tomorrow and help Jim Itemize his taxes while inventing new sexist jokes and downing Red-Bull. I can’t wait to cruise PCH just to think about everything. I’ve got a baby sister who calls me “the blue ballerina” and really loves cup cakes. This is over, anyways.

Do butterflies have ten wings? Y/N Sure, why not.
“The voice on the audio tape will tell you a story. One beep will sound to let you know it has started. Two beeps will sound when it is over. When it is over, repeat the story back to me.”

“Mary likes to catch butterflies.”
Good for you Mary, good for you.