“You have thirty minutes to complete the performance evaluation on your comprehension level of the ameba as outlined in the final chapter of ‘Earthworms and their Friends,’” the voice droned on and on. “Because you have a limited time to complete the assignment, please fill out each question as completely as possible in the time allotted.”
I stared at the back of the test - a clean white slate, temporarily devoid of those ugly red marks that always seemed to mock a chanting rhythm, “Failure, failure…”.
“When you’re finished please gargle with pickle juice and cluck like a chicken…”.
What had he said? Chicken’s juggling pickles? Maybe I hadn‘t heard right.
“Begin.” A simple yet fear inducing word echoed and reverberated.
Begin? So many words and lines all blurring together to look like an interstate from a helicopter flying toward the latest accident. Eye-in-the-sky reporter Clay Moore reporting as a deep-voice radio guy, “Traffic on the beltway will be slow going for the next hour or so, a fender bender caused by a stalled vehicle that didn’t make it completely off the Interstate is at the root of the snarl. Keep it tuned to Wow 97 for updates. Keeping you up to date and on time I’m Clay Moore.”
Time? What am I thinking? Obviously nothing to do with single cell organisms. I shake my head as I fill out my name and look at the first question.
Explain the inherent difficulties associated with Amebiasis most often linked to inhabitants of tropical and subtropical regions.
“Amebiasis? How in the world should I know what difficulties are associated with Amebiasis?” My mind contemplates the conundrum for a moment, “Let me sound this out -- Amy- bias - is. Amy is biased? I don’t even know an Amy.” I suspect this is a disease caused by rogue amebas wreaking havoc with the digestive systems of the indigenous population in tropical and subtropical regions but the thought flees to unexplored regions of my gray matter. “Where’d that come from?“ Suddenly I find myself scribbling: The inherent difficulties of Amebiasis is that people feel picked on by Amy who spreads her partiality throughout the land. The people need to be free of such a parasite - in fact intervention may well be needed to eradicate the spread of this disease.
Suddenly visions of dancing raisins, mutant chickens and cookie making elves sat in the waiting room of my mind as I contemplated a merry band of amebas cavorting with wrinkled grapes, chickens on steroids and vertically challenged little people.
Songs storm into my head begging me to take the stage where I wowed even Simon with my vocal abilities and stage presence. Video games then beckoned me to higher and greater achievements. I was a willing participant in all these crazy mind games.
The rest of the test is a blur, but when he finally called, “Time,” I had already finished writing everything I cared to guess on. The one major consolation was that I had actually filled in my name this time. School was about as tasty as orange juice at a toothpaste festival. I hadn’t studied for the test - I knew it - HE knew it - the whole class knew it.
I had wanted to study - I really had, but the words blended into a form of alphabet soup and refused to connect with my brain. Besides there were so many things screaming for my attention. Ultimately I gave up.
Maybe next time - maybe then I won’t see those awful red marks. I’ll work hard and practice - I’ll study and I’ll ace it next time.
Somehow, even I am not convinced.
“It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin” (Romans 7: 21-25 - NLT)