In a previous post, I wrote about a college student who stocked his room with bottles of his own urine. Here, I document my friends strange story of a test-taker who redefines “commitment.”
It was supposed to be a routine test. Register online, pay the $130 fee, bring a No. 2, and fill in bubbles. Dan had spent months preparing for the Physics Graduate Record Examination, but nothing could prepare him for yesterday’s test.
He had signed up for the October 10 physics GRE. But Dan’s a prudent planner and wanted to be certain he had another chance at the test before submitting his scores to schools. Unfortunately, since the registration deadline for the next test ended before he would receive his score for the first, he was pigeonholed into registering for both. If he did well enough on the first, he would’ve paid an extra $130 for nothing.
Luckily, that money came to good use. Dan wasn’t ecstatic about his first score. He hit the books again for the second test on November 7. The day before the exam, Dan decides to check his seldom used campus mailbox. Educational Testing Service, the test provider, had thoughtfully sent him a letter notifying him his testing location had changed. Instead of a simple, 24-minute subway ride on the 1 train to George Washington High School near 192 Street, Dan now faced a 2 hour commute to Carnarsie High School in Rockaway Park at the bottom of Queens.
The test began at 9am, so he had to arrive at 8:30am. To do that he had to take the 1 train to 14 Street, walk to the L train at 6 Avenue Station and ride to Rockaway Parkway – Carnarsie Station. Dan changed his alarm from 7:30am to 5:30am. Carnarsie High School was a “litte bit ghetto,” according to Dan. Metal detectors stood sentry at entrances, and bathroom doors that were usually locked had their latches taped open.
“The proctor lady was so retarded,” said Dan who pointed out that she told test takers an incorrect test center code (she corrected it halfway through the test). There were 25 chairs and only 14 people, but that didn’t stop the proctor from cramming everyone on one side of the room.
As Dan filled began the test, he took note of his competition. A skinny, Indian male with glasses caught his attention. Wearing a poofy jacket and blue, polyester athletic pants, he sat two desks in front of Dan. He began sipping his 32 oz Gatorade bottle filled with black tea.
Two-thirds through the test, Dan saw this kid getting up to go to the bathroom only to run back to his desk immediately. The Gatorade bottle was half empty. That’s a pound of liquid down the gullet. Forty minutes later, “everyone hears a gushing noise.” Dan thought the radiator was heating up, but he then saw water trickling down the legs of the kid’s chair.
The test no longer holds any attention for him. He stares at this individual whose lower pant legs were becoming damp. He looks around for other people’s reactions. No one else noticed. For the next five minutes, Dan continued to stare at the puddle forming in the seat of the chair and the ever-darkening athletic pants.
By the time a small pool had started to form on the linoleum floor, Dan couldn’t hold back a little chuckle. “I began laughing because I knew I was doing better than at least one person in the room.” For 40 minutes, this college student computed harmonic oscillators and solved thermodynamic equations in his own urine. Luckily, the urine was diluted enough to not be aromatic.
The test ended, and Dan got up to leave. The last thing he saw of the guy who pissed his pants was tightly crossed legs and fingers frantically texting.