I Am Not Crazy
I had the thrill today of enduring a psychological evaluation for the purpose of a job application. And come to find out, I’m not crazy, at least by their standards. And the thing is, their standards are somewhat strange. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
About eight months ago, I applied to a nearby metropolitan police department as an officer. In fact, I applied to several. I was shot down for all of them, save one, and I assumed that it was only a matter of time before they, too, politely showed me the door.
Yet amazingly, they did not. After nearly eight months of little to no interaction, I was contacted and told that the next phase would be the scheduling of a psychological evaluation. Somehow, which still remains a mystery to me, I passed the initial testing, the physical fitness test, and even the polygraph examination. Amazing.
The idea, I assume, is that the police force not knowingly hire somebody who is convinced that he sees talking bats that invite him to tea every afternoon. We all know bats don’t ever sit upright, so there’s no way they could drink anything from a cup. And somehow, despite years of military service, some rather inane behavior as a teenager, and rather insane behavior as a young adult, I landed a psych eval.
I scheduled the meeting and firmly resolved that if I were to be deemed too crazy to be a cop, I would immediately march to the local VA office and inform them that I am evidently crazy and see what they have to say. Perhaps unfortunately, I was denied this self-satisfying little excursion.
The shrink talks more than I do. If I was being evaluated on my listening skills (or at least pretend listening skills), I think I would have scored high. I patiently sat there, hands folded in my lap, and listened to the trained professional tell me about his extensive gun collection, his daughter’s guns, his hunting trips, and his thirty foot sailboat that he only took out a few times this past year. Very interesting stuff. Maybe I was being evaluated for my eye contact. It’s hard to say.
Then there were the perfunctory questions about my character, my strongest aspects and my weakest, my drug history and my proclivities to get drunk and steal underwear off of strangers’ clotheslines. I presume I answered these appropriately. But the final phase was decidedly strange. A 570-point true/false questionnaire that somehow is used to gauge my sanity. The questions are hilarious, and repetitive.
True or false:
I hate my parents. False
Sometimes I just feel like I’m going to break down. False
I love my father. True
I hate my mother. False
I love my mother. True
I like to read sports magazines. False
I like to read science magazines. True
The only part of the newspaper worth reading is the comics. True
I hate people. False
Somebody is hypnotizing me and controlling me. False
I am possessed by demons. False.
I deserve absolute condemnation for all my sins. False.
Sometimes I want to just hide and never talk to people. False.
I wish I was born a girl. False.
I believe most people deserve what’s coming to them. True
I want to be a journalist. True
I always read the editorial section of the paper. False.
I am being followed. False.
I hear voices and see people nobody else notices. False.
Sometimes I just need to hit somebody. False.
I like to fix a door latch. True.
If I was an artist, I would paint flowers. True.
I am completely afraid of water. False.
I am afraid of dirt. False.
I have a “full” feeling in my head and sinuses most of the time. False.
I think I am useless. False.
I want to run away. False.
I think most people will break the law to get ahead. True.
I hate my parents. False.
And so it went for 570 questions. I probably answered some of them wrong, but according to the shrink that speaks more than he listens, I’m normal, hirable, and fit for duty.
After close analysis of these Freudian-style questions, I have reached one conclusion. If I wish to be deemed crazy, I must tell people the following:
I wish I was born a very naughty female door latch who is not being mind-controlled by demons and who does not consider herself a colossal failure.
In some ways I’m somewhat disappointed to be deemed “sane.” I no longer have any excuse. What a pity. But at least I’m fit to carry a gun, a club, handcuffs, a Taser, and have my word taken above the average citizen’s.
What the hell do door latches have to do with sanity?
Copyright © 2008, Ben Shaw
All Rights Reserved