I took the GRE early yesterday morning. Strangely enough, the test center was downtown, about two buildings away from where I served jury duty about a month ago. But this time, I would be doing no judging. Indeed, it was *I* who would be judged.
I entered the building, and the attendant in the lobby told me I was required to check in. I signed my name to the log in the appropriate place. “You may proceed,” announced the attendant. Behind him, vast sliding doors opened, and I stepped onto a large platform which began to rise as soon as I stepped inside.
After a few seconds of upwards inertia, I stepped out into a rectangular white room filled with people from all walks of life. I stepped over to the receptionist, an attractive Latina wearing a red polyester space suit with a butterfly collar.
“I am here for the GRE,” I said.
“Excellent,” she replied.
She handed me a clipboard with a form which I was to complete, to verify that I would be the one taking the test, and not some partner-in-crime masquerading as me. To this end, there were blanks on the form in which I was to include my date of birth, my social security number, my thumbprint, blood and urine samples, and the cup size of the first girl I ever kissed.
Eventually, I finished filling out the exhausting forms, and returned them to the receptionist, whose suit was unzipped to a few inches lower than where it had been previously. Catching me eyeing her, she said defensively, “This material doesn’t breathe.”
I returned to a seat alongside all the other people who were there for testing. I learned by overhearing various conversations that the GRE was far from the only test being offered that day. This was verified by the fact that one by one, various official-looking people in red polyester space suits identical to the receptionist’s came out and called people’s names. The people were to get up, put their things into lockers, and follow the official-looking person down the hallway into a room containing lord knows what.
Finally, my name was called along with those in the last group. I was instructed to remove my wallet, watch, keys, and belly chain and put them into a locker. There were about five of us in the group, and we were led down the hall into a large metal chamber, which appeared to be some sort of airlock or decontamination room. Along one wall hung five silver jumpsuits. Suddenly, we heard a voice over a loudspeaker. It was that of the official who had led us down the hall, who, we realized, was not alongside us in the chamber. “Please remove all of your clothing and put on the test-taking apparel,” the official said. “Remember, every move you make is being recorded, so we will know if you leave on your underwear.”
The five of us stood there, briefly wondering for a moment if there would be any separate-gender locker rooms available. But no, it was intended that we would change together. “The GRE is not a time to be bashful,” we reasoned, as we doffed our casual attire and donned the futuristic testing garb, which, as it happens, was made by FUBU. “Nice tattoo,” whispered the cute brunette who changed near me, obviously referring to the stylized Bronson Pinchot head on my left buttock. I nodded in acknowledgement of her remark. It occurred to me later that she may have been flirting with me, but at the time I was too nervous about the test.
Finally, clad in our silver jumpsuits, we were led into a room with five computers. We each took a seat at the computers and for the next four hours were subjected to several series of questions dealing with matters verbal, quantitative, and analytical. After I completed the battery of questions, my final results were displayed, and a broad grin crept across my face.
That which I had questioned had now been proven: I am smarter than you.