The day I graduated from High School was the happiest day of my life, because though I was a nerd, I was a nerd of words.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, that’s not toast I’m surrounded by, it’s poorly drawn books.  The color’s in squiggles because it’s the past.

ANYway, it was the happiest day because though I was a wordnerd, I was not a test nerd and though I could write a killer essay, I sucked at taking tests.  Especially in math.  Or science.  Or SATs.  Or multiple fill in the blank choices.  And when I graduated High School I realized


But um, wait, AG, what about college?! I can hear you say.  Didn’t you have a post where you claim to have an MFA in Theater?

I do have an MFA.  And I did go to college.


Where sciences were a joke and math was exempt.  Sure, we had tests, but our tests looked like this:

Actual test.

What about the GREs, I can hear you ask as you all contemplate a career in theater, Didn’t you have to take those life sucking exams of torture to get into your fancy MFA program?

No.  I didn’t.  See above test.

What did I do at MFA school?  The following:

Actual schedule.

So you can imagine that in the time that passed, my test taking brain, which was already mush, had slowly disintegrated into soup.  But what had I to worry about?  Life is filled with philosophical tests, tests or moral character and feats of strength, not actual sit down at a table with a number two pencil and fill in a bubble with the choice closest to the correct answer tests.


So I mentioned on the twitter the other day that I was having a reading of another play of mine.  I rented the theater out way back in January, where I went and tearfully handed over a check for too much dollars, signed a few X’s and crossed a few I’s, found out I had to pay for audience insurance which also made me cry a little, and was told by the nice Theater Matron,

A fire what? I exclaimed, wiping away my tears with a soggy contract,

A fire guard, so in case the theater gets set on fire we have someone to blame I MEAN help usher people outside and call the fire department and all.

I shook my head and gnashed my teeth and sighed, How much is it going to cost me?

WELL, you can either use one of ours for THISMANYDOLLARS

No, please No

OR you can go get certified yourself.  All you’ll have to do is pass a simple 25 question multiple choice TEST

She made it sound so easy.

And so did all my friends.  In the weeks leading up to the test, I heard:

Oh yeah, don’t worry about it, I passed it in like .35 seconds

 Who isn’t a fireguard knowhati’msayin’?!

Is it easy?  Are cheeseburgers AWESOME?!

So I entered the exam room, having not really studied, believing that I would be out in .35 seconds, eating cheeseburgers with all the other fireguards of the City.


It was 25 questions of me going ?!?! for each.  The same test taking issues I had back in the day came rushing back to me.  I get so nervous when I sit down to take a test that I don’t really read the question (because my eyes are covered in sweat) and I wind up stabbing answers at random.

Is it my own fault for assuming it would be so easy and for my common sense to take hold and my old test taking issues to disappear? Yes. Yes it is.

Did I fail?  I needed a 70% to pass.


Shame welled up inside of me like a rotten balloon.  I was suddenly transported way back to tenth grade chemistry, where I had gotten a zero on a test.  I hadn’t failed anything in years YEARS, and this number was mocking me from the computer screen,

64% had bad manners.

Anyway, I walked out of there feeling like a failure.  And I realized something.

Feeling like a failure SUCKS. And is completely unnecessary.  There’s no reason to feel like a failure, even when things suck.  The only time you actually fail is when you stop trying.


So I am now a full-fledged fire guard which means I theoretically know how to use a fire extinguisher and pull a fire alarm!

My point is, never stop trying. Never give up.  Because when you finally pass, all that failure really means nothing.  Enjoy the road, as bumpy as it might be, because you can get a good story out of it – and some fun stick figures.


21 comments on “Failing

  1. Richard Wiseman says:

    It’s possible that you are the most awesome human being on the planet!!! I was going to add to that… but I wont… except.. YOU’RE BRILLIANT!!! (Glad you’re back.. missed your blog entries a lot).

  2. Adeel Salman says:

    thanks AG loveddddddddddddddddddddddddddd it ;D U MADE MY DAY

  3. Krystal Wade says:

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re back! Iissed your stick figures. So do you get to wear a cool fireman’s hat? Just kidding!

  4. OpinionsToGo says:

    So sweet and uplifting and, I now look at “fail” in a whole different light and, also stick figures!

  5. melynda says:

    Good for you kiddo! I have test taking issues too. I have some mirror image visioning that causes me some massive drama at the testing table. I’m proud of you for trying again. I agree. You only fail if you quit!

  6. minlit says:

    See! There you go. Cracker!

  7. fishducky says:

    I believe–at least 80% so–that you could get 80%!!!

  8. Oh, man. See, I see those fire extinguishers and just start yelling at them, “PUT OUT THE FIRE! PUT OUT THE FIRE!” Is that not right?

    Well, congratulations. And awesome graphics.

  9. I….really enjoyed this post!

    I liked your drawings! I think that MFA school sounded like a magical fairyland that I would love to attend (though my answer for “Who is waiting for Godot?” would, at current, be “two French dudes” as I have forgotten their names, but did read the play. Or perhaps “Deux hommes de francais.”)

    Congrats on being a fire guard. I wonder if you could like, combine that with color guard and have a baton?

  10. sallysmart says:

    Reblogged this on Sallysmart's Blog.

  11. Writerlious says:

    OMG. You are so funny!! You’re blog is amazing –on footing with the likes of Hyperbole and a Half. So fun.

    I “liked” this post. XD


  12. As long as you can get a good story out of it – failure is totally worth the try!

    Excellent post!

  13. See??? There are people in the world, like us, that can’t take a test to save our lives. I, too, only survived through high school by my essay writing skills. If you’d said, “Paige, what’s science?”
    I would’ve said, “Science who? Is he related to that Math guy I’ve been hearing so much about? They should hang out because I bet they’re lonely from me never hanging out with them. Perhaps they should also invite the ACT, because I still can’t figure that guy out.”

  14. Elisa says:

    You are awesome. I’m so glad you didn’t give up.

    P.S. I suck at taking tests too. They are sooo hard though. I’m super empathetic and I feel bad for all of the wrong answers. Then I start rationalizing how they might be right too. I know–silly–but that’s how I am 😉

  15. Please come to my poetry reading and be a fire guard so that I don’t have to take a test. Thank you. 🙂

  16. brennagee says:

    Oh man! I didn’t get an MFA because I thought it would be hard work and test taking. I’m good at writing and reading stuff.;)

    This post made me laugh all over the place. Thank you.

  17. […] Riter is back. Has been all month, as a matter of fact. And he’s a Fire Guard. Share this:TwitterLinkedInFacebookStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  18. Your tales of triumph are inspiring. And your pictures make me laugh.

  19. Debra Kristi says:

    I can know all the answers, but when someone asks me I completely black out. It’s a gift. LOL I hate tests.

  20. zencherry says:

    ROFLMAO. That. Was. AWESOME. No worries hon, I’ll print you off a cheat sheet if you ever need it for any sort of test. We’ll scout the web or bribe a fire hydrant or whoever needs it. 😉

  21. Isis Rushdan says:

    I’m participating in a I Miss You Blogfest. Wanted to let you know that you are the one blogger I truly miss: Post goes up tomorrow.

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