I’ve never tried ‘Live Blogging’ before, so here’s something altogether new for the CDP: The following minute-by-minute log was written by yours truly yesterday, while doing administration duties for a particularly cumbersome and nerve-wracking examination at a nearby hotel. It’s a bit lengthy, but it’s worth the read in my opinion. Enjoy.
8:15 AM – I leave home at 7:05 am, and after getting lost twice and hitting road construction thrice, I arrive to the Rodeway Inn at 8:05 am, just in time to set up my equipment for the Pharmacy exam and obliterate the free continental breakfast.
8:29 AM – I eat two doughnuts, a bagel drowning in cream cheese and two glasses of orange juice. I ask for milk, but the concierge never comes back. I think he thinks I’m homeless, and I offer no explanation as to why I am not.
8:48 AM – Due to new testing protocol, the amount of work that I’m supposed to do today has gone from ‘entirely too much’ to ‘don’t bother showing up until noon.’ I’m needed for five seconds every 10 minutes, and quickly realize that I brought along no acts of subterfuge to break the monotony. It’s going to be a long day.
8:51 AM – I just ate a rhubarb muffin by accident. I swear to God, that crap tastes just like pennies and battery acid. Who enjoys this stuff? I take my first of what will assuredly be hundreds of bathroom breaks throughout the day.
9:35 AM – We have our first exam failure of the day, and it’s a spectacular one. In fact, the girl in question only scored a few points more than I did. Bear in mind, I didn’t take the test at all. I feel sort of bad, but I can’t help but chuckling when determining the pass point. She has a better chance of winning the Gold in Men’s Javelin than becoming a licensed Pharmacist.
10:00 AM – Bored already, I call my wife at work. She’s less than sympathetic. There are about 35 people on staff today that are running around and making sure things go smoothly, and I’m sitting in the corner, brushing up on my Excel formulas and eavesdropping on stories about meth labs and children named Walker and Mackenzie.
10:21 AM – I’ve just been told that we’re running way ahead of schedule, and there will be about two hours of total downtime between the 9:45 and 12:45 group. I silently contemplate what I will do during this time; either walk to the nearby Denny’s for a halfway-vegetarian lunch (the hotel catering staff stuffed everything with meat), or take in the scenic views of the Madison Beltline. In the end, I decide to kill myself.
10:28 AM – Someone walks past me with a glass of milk. Where did that jackass get milk? Intrigued, I decide to take a walkabout.
10:32 AM – No such luck. From what I can gather, that dude poured himself a glass of milk in his car. I change the wallpaper on my cell phone, and try for the billionth time to connect to a wireless network through this laptop. Not happening. I saw a kid in the lobby with a MacBook; maybe he’d be willing to trade for a 10 year old ThinkPad that’s property of the State of Wisconsin and weighs a shade under 30 pounds. At the very least, he could use it to beat potential muggers to death.
10:45 AM – I take a walk around the hotel. No pool, but an arcade that features such classics as Lethal Enforcers and Cruisin’ USA. Their candy machines are all but empty, and their soda machine still carries Slice. I haven’t had a can of Slice since the last time I was at this hotel; they may be the last place on Earth that still stocks it.
10:47 AM – Man, this electric stapler kicks ass.
10:49 AM – I read a USA Today article on George Carlin. I find it a shame that the media typically focused on nothing but his obscenity trial and ‘Place for your stuff’ routine. I mean, that was all fine and good, but come on; the guy recorded 23 albums and performed for over 50 years. When Jerry Seinfeld dies, will they eulogize him with the headline, “The comedian about nothing?”
10:55 AM – Actual critique from one examiner’s grading sheet: “Candidate wasn’t wearing socks.” I’ll make a note of that; thanks.
11:06 AM – Got busy there for a second. Coffee smells really good right about now. They’re bringing lunch in, and I’m eying up that mixed green salad like you wouldn’t believe.
11:20 AM – Someone just asked me if I carpool to work. I told them that I like singing in my car far too much to share a morning commute with strangers. They laugh heartily, but they don’t realize that I’m serious.
11:30 AM – For the first time this year, it’s amazingly hot outside; maybe 90 degrees while standing on the blacktop. A nearby cottonwood tree covers my clothes with its deposits, while I stand in the parking lot and carefully examine the decisions I made in life that got me to this point in time. I start to get all burny, so I head back indoors.
11:41 AM – A group of people behind me are sharing a very specific set of stories: times that they got caught in traffic on their way to Canada. As weird of a storytelling genre as this is, most of the people have halfway-entertaining tales to tell. I have a couple, but I’ll keep it to myself. I don’t give things like that away for just anyone.
11:50 AM – Catering took the coffee pot away in the main ballroom in anticipation for lunch. This pleases nobody, as I’m once again reminded that caffeine is an addictive drug that turns people into assholes when they’re neglected of it. Grow up, kids.
11:52 AM – Man, I could go for a cup of coffee right now. I broke my eight year caffeine strike a couple of times while me and the Missus moved into our new house. Since then, the thought of consuming more has been in the back of my head for days now. Weird how that happens. Oh, and don’t bother with the ‘drink decaf’ discussion. That is sheer pointlessness.
12:00 PM – A cheese sandwich and potato salad for lunch. Better than I assumed it would be. Miracle Whip instead of mayo, white instead of wheat and Sierra Mist instead of 7up. I feel very proud for being able to make such sacrifices without causing problems. The things I do for the betterment of the state of Wisconsin is staggering at times.
12:05 PM – As the elderly examiners and proctors file into the ballroom for lunch, I’m reminded that senior citizens love nothing more than to talk about their various ailments, surgeries and friends that have died of one horrid disease or another. I suppose there comes a point in your life where you dedicate it to merely staying alive on a day-to-day basis; therefore you’d probably have a lot to say on the matter when it comes up. I should be so lucky.
12:07 PM – Colon cancer. Chemotherapy. A neighbor kid slashed the tires on my boat trailer. My feet hurt. I can’t eat with plastic silverware. I can’t live without meat. And so on, and so forth.
12:09 PM – I miss the Internet. I miss the CDP. I miss the Earth so much; I miss my wife.
12:19 PM – I’m two-thirds of the way through this examination. Even though this is the smoothest year of administering it that I can remember, I sometimes miss the disasters and candidate freak-outs. We once had a girl that refused to get off of her cell phone to answer questions or speak to anyone. Another girl threw up. This is a big damn deal to a lot of recent graduates, and they sometimes handle the pressure with less than grace. Women, mostly; although I’m not making a statement of any kind. Guys typically just up and leave when they’re frustrated, as is their nature.
12:23 PM – I’m sweating straight through these khakis. Whoever invented the term ‘business casual’ needs to have their ballbag pounded flat with a rubber mallet.
12:34 PM – Tragedy strikes. The electric stapler runs out of bullets, and I’m forced to go back to manual. This is like going back to dial-up when you’ve been conditioned to cable. I do some brief wrist exercises and stretches. Should have brought sweatbands.
12:40 PM – I wish I could listen to the new Girl Talk album right now; it’s pretty terrific. I’d say that it’s right on par with Night Ripper, but as is the case with both albums, the profanity and disgusting lyrical content of some modern hip-hop samples keeps me from blasting it when the Missus or my friends are around. Maybe I should remix a clean version. Sort of like a fan edit, only for something that was already good in the first place. Fan edits keep fans of crappy directors naïve and ignorantly unaware that their favorite movies suck.
12:45 PM – Entertainment Weekly proclaimed that Pulp Fiction was the greatest movie of the last 25 years, and I agree wholeheartedly. But they went on to say that the Purple Rain soundtrack was the greatest album of the last 25 years, which couldn’t be more wrong.
12:54 PM – I guess men aren’t doing too well on this exam, as there is a question involved in the interview which may imply that the female subject is pregnant. I guess none of the men are catching on to this, which surprises me none. Guys tend to overlook things as subtle as a pregnancy.
1:00 PM – Somebody puked. I eat an oatmeal raisin cookie. It’s pretty good.
1:08 PM – For as prim, proper, professional and formal as some of these female board members are, I bet they’d get a real kick out of me talking dirty to them. Some of them are just begging for it, what with their pantsuits and handbags. I try my theory out on a girl in particular that has been keeping an eye on me for most of the day. I make a crack about guys not recognizing subtle hints (see above note), and mention that ladies need to lay the flirting on pretty thick for a typical guy to take notice. She laughs deeply, brushes her hair back and puts her arm on my shoulder. She totally wants me.
1:11 PM – The girl in question continues to ask me questions. Even though this is, without question, the most fun I’ve had all day, it’s probably best that I excuse myself. “Will I see you next week?” she asks, in reference to an upcoming meeting at our office. “If you’re lucky,” I shoot back without skipping a beat. Her eyes light up in a nearly giddy way, and I’m reminded that older women need excitement, too. That was fun.
1:16 PM – I’d call the Missus and apologize for flirting if I could get any reception in this hotel. I’d go outside, but it’s got to be 120 degrees out there right now. Besides, she couldn’t care less.
1:28 PM – There’s not even Solitaire on this computer. No Minesweeper; nothing.
1:37 PM – If the dude with the aviator glasses asks me one more question that I don’t know the answer to, I’m just going to tip over backwards in my chair and start kicking wildly into the air. It used to work for me to get out of jams; I haven’t tried it in awhile.
1:40 PM – The last time I was here, it was for a training seminar where they catered us with a punchbowl full of apples. If you’ve never heard what it sounds like when 30 people silently eat apples in unison, it’s damn near impossible to keep a straight face.
1:42 PM – I sure could go for an apple right now. When I get bored, I eat like Kobyashi at Coney Island. I’ve also ingested enough fiber and grains today to keep me regular until Halloween.
1:55 PM – Another note from an examiner; “Candidate was wearing a lab coat.” Poor bastard thought he had to show up in uniform; I wish I could have seen him.
1:57 PM – I wonder how long I could walk around my house wearing a lab coat before the Missus started with the questions. I sometimes think about stuff like that; just yesterday, I was fantasizing that when people donated their hair to Locks of Love, the sick kids were to get the exact same hairstyle as the people who donated. I then laughed myself to tears thinking about various kids in wheelchairs, sporting haircuts by the likes of Busta Rhymes, the Nelson brothers and the guy with the flattop from Kid-N-Play.
2:03 PM – Eighteen seconds. That’s how long I could wear a lab coat before the Missus would inquire.
2:05 PM – If I could have any famous person’s hairstyle grafted onto my head, it would probably be Mike Ness from Social Distortion. I think widow’s peaks are amazing.
2:21 PM – Current background conversation: “My husband got his vasectomy reversed so we could try to have a baby.” Song that I’m humming in my head to drown out such unpleasantries: “Superstar,” by the Carpenters.
2:22 PM – “He wanted to have sex, but I told him it was too soon, and he’d pop a stitch.”
2:23 PM – Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh baby. I love you. I really do.
2:26 PM – Looks like I’m going to get out of here early today; maybe as early as 3pm. In past years, this exam was like…the opposite of Christmas in terms of excitement and fondness, but in recent years, I’ve been a credible hand in streamlining it out of existence. Hell, if I’m lucky, maybe they’ll fire me.
2:31 PM – Aviator Glasses Guy just asked me another question. I didn’t have a tantrum, but I threw an imaginary throwing star into his back as he walked away. Take that, Tom Clancy!
2:38 PM – I was having an e-mail conversation with Pointless Banter’s Kevin Palmer the other day, and we were talking about what we’d do if we suddenly became billionaires. My first order of business was to install a tap in my kitchen that emitted a steady flow of Butterscotch Snack-Pak pudding. I’m unaware of the logistics behind such a project, but I’ll see to it that it reaches completion.
2:43 PM – I could go for some mini-golf right now. Maybe a Tuesday night in Wisconsin Dells is in order. We could survey the flood damage and give back to the community in the form of Shipwreck Lagoon Adventure Golf.
2:48 PM – The exam is waning now, and it’s been more or less flawless. My job has gone off without a hitch, and I’m about 30 candidates away from calling it a day. I want to get home early and surprise the cats. I sometimes think that while we’re gone, they cook meals and take cans to the recycling center for spare change. Today, I’ve got the jump on them. I’m on to you, cats.
2:55 PM – After nearly 7 straight hours of back-breaking labor, my work day is done. See you next year, Rodeway Inn; keep a supply of Slice on hand for yours truly.
Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. The CDP’s Top 30 Atari 2600 Games Of All-Time is on deck.