Laddie scarfed down two English muffins with scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and slices of crisp bacon. He grabbed the sharpened pencils, enormous calculator, and his per-printed registration ticket from the kitchen table. He made a snide remark about the choice of photo that appeared in black and white at the upper corner of the ticket. I insisted that he pack a protein bar in his pocket despite the fact that he doubted he would be hungry. I reminded him to leave his phone in the car. Coach and I wished him luck as he drove away towards the high school where he would take the A.C.T. test.
It reminded me of the last time that I took the S.A.T. test. I was a senior in high school. My brother, Shane, was a junior. Stupid over achiever. He had registered for the same test. I know there was another teenager with us, but I don't remember who it was. I think it was one of Shane's friends.
I drove to the test in the next town. We approached the check in table and Shane moaned a little. "What?" I asked him. "The sign says you need to have your drivers license. I left mine at home, because you were driving," he explained. My mouth dropped open. How does a kid show up to a college entrance exam without his I.D? "And you are supposed to be the smart one?" I muttered. He flashed a nervous smile. "Follow me," I ordered.
When I reached the table, I showed the woman my I.D. and my little slip of paper that had come in the mail. I smiled at the woman as she checked me in. "I'm hoping that you will recognize the family resemblance that my brother and I share, and allow him to take the test. He forgot to bring his license because he wasn't driving. Here is his entrance ticket." The nice woman looked at the addresses on our tickets, she glanced at my license. To my surprise, she directed us to the testing room. Bullet dodged. Phew. I gave Shane a you-owe-me look.
Shane chose a seat behind me. Shortly after we sat down he tapped me on the shoulder. "Can I borrow a pencil?" he whispered. I thought he was joking, but since he wasn't I handed over one of my #2's. Unreal.
As I loaded the dishwasher this morning with the egg-crusted frying pan, I tried to imagine this scenario happening under present day test taking regulations. It wouldn't happen. No matter how awesome and creative the extraordinary older sister acted. The over-achieving, clueless younger brother would be denied entrance to the exam. Of course in the present day version of this same situation there would be a panic stricken kid texting his parents to request that they drive over to the testing location with the necessary I.D. Isn't there a joke about how a student would automatically score a certain number of points just for putting his name on the answer sheet correctly? How about points for arriving with the necessary paperwork, I.D., and calculator?