Thursday, December 18, 2008

That Time of the Year Again

Now, when I was younger I thought it safe to blurt out the very open ended yet cliched seasonal slogan "It's that time of year again" and expected that it would ring the same nostalgic bell in everybody's brain and wallet that it's Christmas; but 10 years, 1 puberty stage and a Niagara Fall's worth of cold showers later and I realize that it could mean other, less pleasurable things, and end up ringing bells in other people's lives that would make faecal matter fly out of their back ends faster than the elf Santa caught groping Mrs. Claus.

Examples of such events would be child support collection date, annual couple's time at the state prison or the one time of the year the menstrual fairy visits that special girl with the very irregular cycle.

Fortunately none of those apply to me, but the one event that does is worse than all three of them put together, pressed down, shaken together, put in a shotgun and shot with it. This device of evil i'm talking about is exams. Funny thing about exams is that if you use chat speak, you could actually get the word "xams" out of "xmas", unfortunately that's about the only thing funny about them. To most they're the minor hindrance on the fun times. To me, they're like herpes - everybody has them, one form or another and they come out at least three time a year with minor breakouts in-between. You can apply all the cream you want before they arrive but as surely as the sun rises from the north, they come, and you MUST go through your time of pain, itchiness and unmitigated unattractiveness before they clear up and you feel comfortable around people again.

I'm not saying that exams are a bad idea (well actually, I am) but i'm sure there are other ways of proving that you know stuff. Take my ex girlfriend for example - we'd start off well enough on an argument but from the time she realises she's losing the hits the clutch and kicks in panic gear and goes on to babble on about ancient Mayans and why China didn't invent the steel pan and other sociological hob nobbery. Meanwhile I stand there, listening (strangely) and by the time she's done I give her the win and in my quiet time (post conflict) I reflect on just how knowledgeable she is about... that stuff and how perfectly right it sounds. While this fills my head, I totally forget the fact that that we were arguing about why it's wrong to randomly poke people in the rectum.

Which brings me to my proposal. Instead of stretching the fabric of human sanity by forcing us to regurgitate the integral of x divided by used toilet paper, give us a podium, a glass of water and let us ramble on before a panel of University professors who wear fuzzy sweaters and find everything terribly fascinating. If our yapping sounds like we could convince a crowd of natives to plant poisonous plants in their children's play area or use a hand grenade to knock out that shaky tooth or give their senior citizens nuclear powered Gundam suits, then let us proceed to the next semester. If not, and by not, I mean if a person sounds like they've sneezed out a chunk of brain while guzzling down a pint of Vat 19 on a Dentist's chair in the middle of a root canal, then give him the failing grade and tell him to come back when he's learned not to go to dentists ;).

Politicians do it, and look how far they've reached.

If you don't want to do it that way, then give us a check list containing all of the topics we've covered for that course and let us tick off the things that we're sure we know how to do. I promise we'll be honest :D. If we lie, then rest assured that our employers and our wives would teach us a lesson when we get older, get a job and something goes wrong at work and we don't know whether to integrate by second order or run like hell. Subsequently we lose the job and come home to find our belongings keeping the lawn furniture's company and a man named Ted with a rather hairy chest standing in our doorway with our wives wrapped around him like a hot towel. The metaphor of my life... sigh... Anyway!

We better find another way of testing our knowledge in our respective areas of study before I put the gun to my head and the hammer slams down on the only chamber with the live round in it.

Take me as an example of what human sanity looks like when it reaches its elastic limit - my first exam is on Monday and I have completely lost my compass of priority and where the toilet is. I spent the entire day stacking my DVD collection and peeing in shoes. This is the result of a pretty hard semester; a semester where my lecturers crammed so much work up my tailpipe that any thought I had of having fun had to tiptoe past my lecturer's laser pointer. My brain has completely shut down at a rather inconvenient time I must admit. Is this what genius is all about? I could do those things if I were selling blue crabs to tourists on Red square or vying to become the world's best scab collector. Mind you I don't want to stop pursuing my fancy-pants degree as a Computer Engineer to do either, but me and the other heathens in the world have the same worded question on our minds - there has to be another way (mine pertains to an alternative to exams, theirs pertains to avoiding partying with the guy downstairs).

Look, at the end of it all, exams are something that we have been faced with since the age of three or four (I don't know about you but my prep school had finals) and it hasn't harmed us till this day (except for the guy that jumped off of UWI or the dude that hung himself over CAPE. That wasn't a joke by the way). The point is we all have to do them and score really high, so that our "intellectual superiors" can sleep well at night knowing that their past postponements of suicide wasn't in vain. The only way to get through them is to develop discipline and work hard at it, and in the end we only turn out better and slightly more eccentric individuals with twitches, paranoia and/or other slight mental defects. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stranger, right?.

It still doesn't change the fact that finals and the concept of school are still worse ideas than a sleepover at Freddy Kruger's, though.

Good luck in exams everybody.
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