I’ve mentioned before that after Ben was born, I was struggling mightily with what to Do (with a capitol D) for the rest of my life. Whomever thought that the 18-20 year old bracket was the appropriate age for people to decide what to Do should be strung out and shot somewhere, because, hi, at 20? I was still a blithering idiot.
Difference was, now I was pregnant. And looking to make paychecks larger than so-and-so-measly dollars every week so that Ben and I could (gasp!) move out of my parents’ house. My standards weren’t particularly high, but my options were limited.
Before I decided on nursing, my mom shelled out 20 clams for me to take some sort of career figurer-outer class at the community college. Perfect, I thought as I left my screaming child behind. I just KNOW that the people running this class will see my inherent star quality! Perhaps they will just HAND me a diploma and maybe even put me on Star Search! I just KNOW I’m miles ahead of the rest of the knuckle-draggers in this class!
I showed up to a motley band of scraggly people all sitting rather reluctantly in a small classroom. I was instantly confused. I mean, why would someone PAY to voluntarily subject themselves to this and be unhappy about it later?
I took a seat at a table by a large no-nonsense looking woman with extremely long fuchsia fingernails. Each had a nice sunset scene carefully painted upon it and I was semi-jealous. I’d never considered my fingernails as a medium for such wonderousness. I thought about telling her how much I dug her nails, but one look at the beady mean eyes peering out of her doughy face told me that I should keep my goddamned mouth shut.
Undeterred, but still sort of unsure if I was in the right place, I carefully pulled out some scratch paper from my backpack and waited patiently for the instructor to come in and recognize my obvious superiority.
I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, about 20 minutes after the class was set to begin, our instructor breezed in. Rather than scan the room to find the superstar among the drones (that would be me. The superstar, not the drones), he simply began passing out a big fat folder crammed with papers.
Once the folders were all passed out, he simply told us to begin filling out the test within the folder. Use the pencil, he warned us, or the Scantron machine wouldn’t be able to score it.
Well, okay, I said to myself. I like tests. I’m really GOOD at tests. I bet this TEST will tell me that I rule and that I should just bypass school entirely and become an heiress. Fucking SWEET.
I happily opened the test up and prepared to meet my destiny (or density. Whatever).
I noticed unhappily that the test was one of those gradient ones where I had to say from 1-4 how interested (one being least and 4 being most) I was in the statement. Like this:
1 2 3 4 I am interested in becoming a ditch digger.
Okay, I thought, brow furrowed in concentration. Is this a trick question? It sounds like a trick question. I mean, who would want to become a ditch digger? And wait, aren’t they called something more PC now, like a Hole Management Expert?
I looked around the room, expecting to see a sea of confused faces and to my dismay, everyone else was studiously filling out the form.
I furiously scratched a line into 1, praying this wasn’t a trick question, and went on to the next question.
1 2 3 4 I am interested in tracking statistical marketing data.
Uh…uh…uh, I thought frantically. Are they talking about the people who stalk you at the mall, begging you to do taste tests and surveys? EW. No thanks. That’s one of those jobs you just sort of fall into, not something that you aspired to.
1 2 3 4 I am interested in hosting parties.
Finally, I cried to myself, FINALLY! Something I could totally do! I LOVE hosting parties! Hooray!
I furiously scribbled a 4 and went on to the next.
1 2 3 4 People would call me a methodical person.
Hmmm….I thought. Is this a trick question? I don’t know that anyone that would think of me in those terms. I scribbled a 3, just guessing what people might say about me and moved on.
I spent the rest of the test, all 232 questions, in much the same vein. Finally, it was over and we were instructed to go on break. I took that opportunity to visit the computer lab and check my email. I laughed my way through a couple of those forward How Well Do You Know Me emails (which turned, I must add, into meme’s years later) and when it was time, slunk back in to the room.
My star quality was no longer sparkling.
The instructor passed out sheets of paper with our results on it, a certain combination of letters. Those letters, he explained, would correspond to a set of jobs that I was uniquely qualified for.
I frantically searched through page after page of letter combinations until I got to mine. My eyes rested on the job I would be happiest with:
Yes. A chicken doctor. Wow. The possibilities. Wow.
That must be a glitch, I said to myself. On down the line I went.
Mosaic Tile Layer.
Uh. Jesus. Uh. Yeah.
*blink, blink, blink*
I was uniquely qualified to become Becky Sherrick, Doctor Of Chickens or Becky Sherrick, Layer of Bricks. Fucking awesome.
I was not even REMOTELY of Star Quality ™. No one was going to beat down my door to be on Wheel Of Fortune or American Idol. No one was going to have me bikini model cars or become a sexy astrophysicist. No one was going to beat down my door: period.
Unless they happened to wear feathers and cluck a lot.