Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Holes, Tests, Wet Spots and Cheats
For my birthday I got a box full of air, vapors and possibilities. It doesn't sound like much, but it meant an awful lot to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it- at least until the wet plaster started landing on my head.
See, I also got a hole for my birthday. Not the kind you find on craigslist, either; this was the kind of hole that is created by a combination of water, gravity and a ceiling malfunction. Apparently, my bathroom floor- which is directly above my kitchen- has a slooooowww leak. It's so slow that it took eight years to puddle up and rot away the sheetrock, which gave way while I was at work Monday- this is what I saw when I got home. I had previously thought that the old paint was just peeling-I had no idea that I had an indoor pool in the crawlspace between floors. Happy Birthday to me!
Tuesday I had another Census Bureau test. I was disheartened to learn that the initial round of jobs that I had applied for have been filled, but there are more on the way- in fact, the job I tested for was one of the jobs I had in 2000. The test, which was supposed to start at 12:30, didn't get started until after 3PM, so I had a lot of time to discuss the wonderful world of job-seeking with my fellow test-takers...if you hadn't already heard, it's almost impossible to get a "real" job anymore, many of the applicants were much more qualified than myself and were working at places like Citgo and J.C. Penny to make ends meet. In a way, I'm glad that I have no formal education because it must be a real bummer to have a college degree and still be forced to work the late shift at 7-11 just so you can pay for your kid's ringtone bills.
I was talking to my twin Monday and we are both afraid that our birthday will henceforth be known as Black Monday, a reference to the stock market tumble of the same day.
His company (a three-letter acronym that starts with 'A') is in deep financial shit- you may have heard about it on the news.
You probably haven't heard anything about the Keating Five, what they did and the participatory roles of John McCain and his financial guru Phil Gramm, but if you are even considering voting Republican, you need to look it up.
Short version: McCain has just stated that he wants to establish a "9/11-type" commission to determine what went wrong with our economy, which is ironic for at least two reasons:
1) John McCain damn sure knows what went wrong- see Keating Five- he had a very active role in creating the mess, after all.
2) Bush totally ignored the 9/11 Commission, it's findings and it's recommendations. Bush was even against the formation of the committee...the Saudi Arabians killed thousands of citizens on our soil and BushCo wasn't even interested in the hows and whys...why would McCain pay attention to an "economic 9/11 commission"?
I like Obama's call for stricter government regulation and oversight better than the GOP "free market" license to steal- the government should protect the citizens from the corporations, not the other way around...remember when the gubbermint passed "bankruptcy reform" to protect the predatory lenders from people who borrowed more than they should have been allowed to borrow? I bet a lot of newly-bankrupted Lehman Bros. shareholders were wishing that those strict reforms had never been passed...too bad, motherfuckers, you asked for it.
I have always done really well on any kind of test that doesn't involve urine. Years ago, I was given a skills test while I was temping at Fate Starm Insurance. I was given two hours to finish it- it was part PC skills and part basic reading/math- and I finished in about fifteen minutes, with an "outstanding" score.
Whoo! I was sure they'd hire me.
I got called into HR and asked "how I did it".
No one had ever finished the test in 15 minutes, therefore I must have cheated. I had to re-take the test, only this time HR Girl stood watch as I did it. Same result. The whole thing pissed me off and I guess I didn't conceal it very well because I didn't get hired, despite my record-setting results...today we had a 'contest' at work. Usually these are of the "how many paperclips in this jar?" variety but this week's was a word puzzle, the challenge being:
How Many Words Can You Form From The Phrase Below?
"WELCOME FALLING LEAVES GOODBYE SUMMER BREEZE"
I treated it as an anagrammatic exercise, forming words from the letters provided in whatever order was needed...after 20 minutes I had over 350 words, which I was sure was more than enough, so I turned in my sheets...Contest Girl looked at them in disbelief.
How did I do it? She even asked me directly if I had cheated.
I did not cheat, I said.
There is no way you could have come up with "leafblower" or "universe" without cheating, she told me.
Was I trying to be funny by putting down "insane"?
Yes, I was.
I wanted to cry. Instead, I challenged her- just pull a relatively lengthy and diverse phrase from any book and give it to me- I'll give you dozens, maybe hundreds of words while you watch.
No. No cheating allowed, she repeated.
I almost got fired for almost hitting her.
When I got back to my desk, there was an Outlook memo: the contest had been cancelled because "someone" had found a way to cheat. There was an admonishment "to all" telling us to "respect fair play" so that everyone would have a chance to win.
Everyone except for me.