Tuesday, July 26, 2022

(Cut Chapter) Day 8 Continued: Another Wingflap

(I hope you have many hours in Csikszentmihalyi‘s “flow state.” Writing this book so far has provided that for me.)

One of the reasons I met my soulmate was that I got the Department of Energy Fellowship, instead of Phil and his better grades. In part, I won because of my near-perfect GRE scores, and in part because of my greater extracurricular activities. (No, not those. Get your mind out of the gutter.) The test scores were, in turn, because I had studied for the test beforehand and he hadn’t. (Oddly, my English score was 99th percentile but Math only 98th, even though I had so much math.)

One of my GRE prep books guaranteed improvement. It had a test at the beginning, which you were supposed to take before reading the book, and then a test at the end of the book for when you had concluded the course. The difference in your scores would show your improvement.

Being as smart as you are, you’ve probably guessed what’s coming.

I took the first test and then immediately took the second test. I did much better on the test at the end, showing just what a scam that books’ “improvement” promise was.

I was doing these practice exams at Diane’s parents’ house. Her folks were out of town so we were staying over there. I vividly remember one conversation from that weekend. 

I don’t know how the topic came up, but I was saying that I thought it was crazy to go skydiving, to willingly jump out of a perfectly good plane. Diane said, “Hang on a second,” and then called me into the family room. (You probably also know where this is going, too.) The TV was on and she was holding the remote for the VCR. She pressed play and there she was, jumping out of a perfectly good plane.

Photo from this story.

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