Ah, Test Anxiety, my old college friend, I say. There you are, big guy. I kinda was expecting you to show up. But really thought I’d run into you on drive over here. (Or perhaps drive over you, says the inside voice.)
Yeah, I was running late, he says, slipping into the passenger seat. Sorry about that. I know how much that freaks you out.
Yep, you know me well, I say. Hey TA, it’s nothing personal, of course, but I’ve trying to avoid you. How did you know where to find me this morning?
I’m a savvy fella, he says with a wink. But you told just about everybody and their second cousin at work. And posting it on Facebook kinda cinched it.
Gotcha. That makes sense, I sigh, making a mental note to unfriend this guy. Oh man! You didn’t tell the Jinx about this, did you?
Test Anxiety laughs, Of course I did, you silly, quivering thing. What’s an event like this without a little Jinx? And you’ll love this! I called Lack O’Grace as well. We’re like a team of super heroes, the lot of us. Glory cannot be won without a challenge or two, my girl. Without us at your side, life is just an easy A, now isn’t it?
Right, I can always count on you guys to tie my shoelaces together. I say. Hey TA buddy, I’ll just be a few minutes here. How ’bout you sit back and relax in my comfy Toyota. The Car Talk guys should be on NPR now, so I’ll turn the radio on for . . .
Oh ho! Not a chance, chickie. TA declares in his booming voice. You’ll need me at your elbow the whole way. And oh, I nearly forgot to remind you that you shouldn’t have tanked up on that last cup of coffee. Oops, you didn’t notice how much you needed to go until I said that, right? Ha, ha, you should see your face! You always make me laugh.
Micron is in the back seat observing this exchange and is left wondering why I’m talking to myself. People are weird, he thinks. But I like how their toes taste.
You know, I’ve always wanted to believe I would do well on the trivia game shows. My sad little noggin is filled with so much useless knowledge that trying to have a deep thought requires an air hammer to pound through that concrete layer of trivial nonsense.
My brain cells are kicking around chunky detritus like daddy-long-legs are not spiders and the brontosaurus was a case of mistaken identity. You’ve heard of a murder of crows? How about a conspiracy of ravens? It’s said that Paul McCartney referred to his muse as Martha and named his dog after her. Which led to the song Martha, My Dear. Oh, this can go on and on. I’m damaged goods, to be sure.
Right, but put me in the hot seat of a trivia contest and then ask my middle name. Cue up Mr. Test Anxiety. I would stammer until the buzzer sounded and then shout out in panic something random like, Abby Normal! Which would be helpful for Young Frankenstein trivia. By the way, did you know Aeromsith’s song Walk this Way was inspired by a line in this classic movie? No? Well, then tell your brain cells to move over and make room for this factoid. It’ll likely stick with you for awhile.
So anyway here we are, Micron and me. Walking up the ramp into Gem City Dog Obedience like the pirate’s plank over the great murky depths. You’re going to do great, I say a little too shrilly. [ahem] You’ll be just fine, my handsome fella.
And we’re ready for our certification test to be a Pet Therapy Team. Over the past ten weeks, we’ve trained and practiced and desensitized ourselves to the kryponite of stuffed toys. Nothing left to do but take a deep breath and . . . ack! can’t breathe . . . can’t breathe.
Holy cow, I gotta relax. What is the matter with me anyway? This is a cake walk. Micron’s got it down cold. Oh great, now I want some cold cake. mmm Chocolate cake with fudgy frosting. Oh hi there, Miss Stress Eating, you’re back already. I thought we took care of our business this morning?
|Got me a job!|
We follow the directions as given by the evaluators. We demonstrate the walk on lead, sit, stays, downs, handling and then other challenges unique to a successful pet therapy team. A couple of burps along the way mostly involving me holding the leash too tight (relax, chick. . . ) and then that one heart-stopping moment as Micron does what he does best. He does a Micron.
That dog never met a stuffed toy he didn’t like.
But a quick verbal correction by me and . . . we’re done.
Talk about the hot seat. I’m directed to a metal folding chair to await the verdict of the evaluators. A delightful lady takes the seat next to me and strikes up a conversation. Micron? That’s an unusual name, she says to me. How did he come by that? Is this part of the test, I wonder? I feel panicky. Is there a wrong answer? Relax, chowderhead, and breathe. She’s just being friendly. So we pass the time of day until the decision is announced.
Donna? Congratulations, you two passed.
We did? We did! whoooot! Micron, my love! mmmwah!
Take that, Mr. Test Anxiety. Go lumber back to your dark cavern in the back of my noggin. I don’t want to see you again until, well, never. But just so you can mark your hellish calendar, take note that we’ll need to take the re-certification test in two years.
Micron and I will be graduating at the Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association’s ceremony on Friday, May 18 at Delco Park in Kettering, OH. Free and open to all. Come celebrate with us if you can.
I hear there will be cake.