After almost a full week without a computer, my laptop is back. It's been so lonely...
Another money-making opportunity came our way not long ago and neither Mary or I could resist.
This time around? A four-hour nursing certification test.
That's four hours of silently watching people take a test.
Normally these tests are taken by anywhere from 15 to 30 people. Today's attendance?
That’s seven people in a silent room for four hours.
Judging by the general attitude of the test-takers, this is about the right amount of time to take these tests. For the people that are there to distribute, explain, watch, time, and gather these tests, however, it is four hours of reading and free-rein imagination.
Four hours is a long time.
I’ve come to find that I naturally check my watch every 30 minutes or so. I’m not particularly proud of this and sometimes make an effort to go longer, just to see if I can.
In my experience, the first three half hours float by rather easily, especially if you’ve brought a good book. It’s that fourth half hour that’ll get ya.
I was grinning absentmindedly after having come to the somewhat dreamy realization that I had been the recent recipient of a “rash” of butt-dialings – cell-phone calls from friends who had not intended to call but had done so unwittingly, perhaps by sitting on their phones – when Mary started it.
Mary always starts it.
She pushes a legal pad toward me.
“This is a little dull. My next career will be in the exotic dancing arena. I hear they do well.”
It is important to note here that we had been, just two hours earlier, discussing the horrors of beachwear and what it would take to get us to come out of a dressing room in less than our full complement of clothing.
“I have my stripper name all picked out,” she continued.
I wrote back: “What is it?”
I smiled as quietly as possible.
“I’ve been thinking of picking up a little cash myself,” I write. “You know that e-mail that went around a while back? The one that says your stripper name is the name of your first pet followed by your mother’s maiden name? WB.”
“I’ve got it made. My stripper name is Puss-Puss Bloom.”
Mary snorts and then chokes. There is a brief pause as she pulls herself together.
She picks up the pen.
“Would people think I was copying Prince if I changed my name to a symbol? Because that would not be my intent.”
It is my turn to snort.
Five earnest nurses scribble furiously against the timed test.
Mary hands me the pen.
“I’ve been thinking of changing my name to something more ethnic,” I wrote. “What do you think? WB.”
Mary sips her coffee carefully, her smile ear-to-ear.
“I think you can pull it off. WB.”
I write, slide the pad back. “I’m thinking of changing my name to Mary Elizabeth Blankett-Hogg.”
Mary spit her coffee out.
As I say, she started it.
Please note that no test-takers were harmed during our note-writing frenzy and that the exchange above took no longer to occur than it did to read. We respect, admire, and field more than a few questions from said test-takers - some of them quite silly - and always wish them well in their quest for certification.