I sat in the waiting area (it wasn’t exactly a waiting “room” since this technically wasn’t a “Dr.’s” office) picking frantically at the cuticle around my pinkie finger - a wretched habit I’d inherited from my mother. How could I have failed? They told me to answer honestly and that’s precisely what I did after reading each concocted scenario. The situations were completely contrived and I could hardly imagine myself as one of the characters.
Drips of red trickled down my pinkie and I fished in my pockets for a tissue. Locating that tissue was harder than catching a hungry fish with my leftover chicken nuggets hooked on the end of a fishing line. Popping my bleeding finger into my mouth, I went in search of a box of tissues. If tissues should be stocked anywhere, it should be this office.
I again sat and waited, this time with my pinky unceremoniously wrapped in white. I knew I was going to lose my job over this mistake. I couldn’t comprehend being fired, let alone from my first real post-college job. It’s not that I’m such a fabulous person, but I know how to work and I enjoy the perks of being employee of the month.
Pride would not allow my mind to continue this direction of thought. I would not be fired for failing a psychological test. The potential embarresment was unthinkable, not to mention the jokes my family would tell for eternity.
My nervous energy turned to curiosity as the “Doctor” stepped from his office and beckoned me into the inner sanctum of mind control. I’d never been in a shrink’s office and actually perked at the possibilities this visit held. I always wanted someone to sit and listen to me without belittling me, poking fun, or telling me to shut-up. I held a great desire to lounge on a couch while I regurgitated the past twenty-one years of my life.
Disappointment was quick and cutting – no couch. My visit was going downhill fast.
After a casual greeting and perusal of my file (I had a file! That alone made me feel important.), the fatherly looking gentleman with the outdated glasses asked me why I thought I failed the psychological test.
The story of my mother dropping me as a baby popped into my head along with a million other scenes from my childhood, school days, and college experience. Should I start at the beginning? How much time did I have in my meter?
I heard the desk clock tick. That’s a sound you only hear under extremely difficult circumstances. Clocks tick away in silence until the earth is about to shatter underfoot. Suddenly they become sirens of doom clicking away the final seconds of life as you know it.
“I really don’t know why I failed. I just answered the questions honestly.”
Did four years of college really not prepare me to give an educated answer to a simple question? Apparently not.
There’s no telling what secrets I revealed that afternoon. My lips were loosed and I was ready to pour my life into the good doctors hands like a waitress pours a bottomless cup of coffee. After our short dialogue, the doctor cocked his head and look at me inquisitively.
“Have you had a head injury recently?” He inquired.
Sparks of light flamed in my brown eyes and I became alive with excitement. How could he know? I thought he was a shrink, not a fortune teller. Perhaps the jobs are not so different?
“I was in a car accident last week. I ran straight into a tree, totaled my car, and bashed my head on the steering wheel. Don’t worry, I just had a little lump.” My words stumbled over each other in a race to the finish line.
Nodding in confirmation of his suspicion, the doctor determined that my failing grade was due to the head injury sustained just a few short days ago. I’d be fine in a week or two.
“Fine in a week or two!” I nearly jumped from my seat.
“I’m fine now and I was FINE when I took that test. If you give me that test in two more weeks, I’ll answer the questions the same way.” I argued.
I don’t think it’s wise to argue with a psychologist. They are cunning enough to make you think they’ve won.
Case closed in his book. His signature guaranteed continued employment for me, it confirmed my sanity, and it should have made me happy; however, my self-esteem was permanently damaged that day. Imagine someone thinking that I was not ok because I bumped my head. If that were the case, most of my childhood would have been lived in an fog of temporary insanity.
Somehow I blew my one chance to reveal my inner-self, share my woes, and spill my guts. That doctor missed out on many good stories. He should read my blog. I lie on my couch as I write these posts – a cold compress across my forehead and a box of tissues nearby.