Sunday, January 11, 2009

Judge Not, Lest Ye Not Get a Cocktail

If there were any justice in the world, then the punishment for war crimes, genocide, or any other truly heinous acts would be . . .having your junior high yearbook photo published worldwide.

Because junior high is the most cringe-worthy and soul-crushing of all the ages of our species.

My junior high was called West Hollow,
which I suppose was meant to sound bucolic.

As though we were but a bunch of voles frolicking along the grassy vale.

When in fact we were a bunch of pimply adolescents torturing ourselves and each other through three years of hormonal hell.

And what humiliation and indignity we couldn't inflict on ourselves or each other, the school system as a whole was good enough to serve up for us, deep-dish style.

Like the time they had us take a D-cell battery of standardized tests to determine our professional aptitudes. Every homeroom period for a week was spent applying our #2 pencils to sheet after sheet of dots, assessing our abilities with analogies and spatial relations and multiple-personality questions — oh wait, I guess I mean multiple-choice personality questions.

And then, three weeks later, came the day they handed the results back.

I remember very distinctly a cherubic-looking kid whose last name was alphabetically near mine but whom I barely ever saw in school, because we were already being tracked based on our innate intelligence. That is, those of us smart enough to be born to really pushy mothers were put into "enriched" classes.

The cherub, alas, was the offspring of a not-pushy mother. He was sitting in the back of the room when the packets with the test results were passed out. As we each read through our packet, he raised his hand and asked, What's a worm farmer?

Seriously. Someone, somewhere in the world, saw fit to give a twelve year-old the summative evaluation that he should be a worm farmer.

What could be sadder than that?

Aside, of course, from someone having to ask what a worm farmer is.

So, yeah, I guess the cherub didn't do so well on logic section of the test.

I know you are wondering how I, macaronimaniac, did on the test.

Well, suffice it to say, I was recognized for my fabulous fashion sense, which does run to floor-length black gowns, and my penchant for telling other people what to do.

Unfortunately, the aptitude test thought this meant I should be a judge, rather than the wittiest of guests at a really swellegant cocktail party.

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