How I Aced the “Food Handler’s Test for the Illiterate” (And Other Stories for Fail Friday)

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well, ladies and gents, it’s been a FAIL FRIDAY here. Went to what was supposed to be my security screening today only to find out that the TSA has put a freeze on processing background checks. What does that mean for me? Well, that means that I’ve already passed a background check for my employer. That means that I’ve paid for parking THREE (more to come on that…) times at the Airport because I can’t get my security badge that will allow me to park in the employee parking lot until after the TSA lifts the freeze. That means I’ve spent gas money THREE times to get TO the airport to do things for a job that I already GOT, but have no idea when I’ll be able to START. That means I’ll have to pay for parking and gas at least one more time before I actually start making any money from this job. This ALSO means that I have NO CHANCE of getting paid before my house payment and every other bill is overdue. This, in short, means the government has screwed me AGAIN.

Truth be told, it was my own fault I had to pay for gas and parking three times instead of just twice. My fault because I didn’t realize until we moved down here that I never had the name changed back on my Social Security card after I got divorced. (Stupid ex screwed me again too, and we’ve been divorced for 8 years!!!!!) But when I told my employer that, they said it would be fine to go through the Port screening…they were WRONG. So I had to drive ALL THE WAY back home to get my birth certificate so that we could even start the TSA background check process… Fingerprinting is pretty cool, by the way. Since I’m a good girl (hahahahaha!!) and have never been arrested, it was a new thing for me. That whole computerized system they have going on is pretty fancy.

But I did get a giggle yesterday. Because I unknowingly made myself illiterate. Ohhhhh, good times 🙂

I went to get my Food Handler’s Permit. Having never got one in Oregon, I figured it would be safer to just go in and do it in person, because I didn’t know if there would be problems doing it online with an out of state ID. That was the first greatest thing I did yesterday.

See, in the little town I came from, we do things a little differently. I’m not used to all these new-fangled, big-city ways of doing things. In my hometown, you get ONE food handler’s class per week, with about 30 students in it, you watch a video and talk a bit, and take a test. Easy peasy, you’ve got a card. (They did just implement the online test in Washington as well, but I had never taken it that way there. Haven’t had a card in five years…)

So I go in to the testing office, and sign in. Individualized testing, not a class (YAY!!). The clerk asks me if I’m ready to take the test…and I haven’t prepared for it AT ALL. (I know it can’t be that different from Washington, but can’t afford to fail the test because I didn’t at least skim the material!) So I mention that I saw online that there was a video I could watch, and she hands me the video to go sit and watch at my leisure. (SECOND greatest thing I did yesterday!!)

This video was AMAZINGLY dumbed down and CHEEEEEEZY! I literally had to stop myself from laughing out loud numerous times. (What the hell do the actors in those things get paid? I could totally act ridiculous and nod my head with a cheesy smile for an hour if they were paying me!!) Let me just say that they started with the scariest (hahaha) part of the video first: “YOUR FOOD HANDLER’S TRAINING REQUIRES THAT YOU RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHOKING AND KNOW HOW TO REACT!!!” booms the voice – promptly followed by a cheesy couple eating apples, and she’s SMILING as she puts her hands on her neck in the universal choking motion!! After this shocking beginning, the narrator repeated everything a MILLION times. Like there was NO WAY you could come out of this video not knowing that veggies and milk go on the upper shelf in the fridge, and MEATS GO ON THE BOTTOM.

So I finish the excruciatingly cheesy video, and take it up to get my test paper. They had switched clerks on me while I was watching the video. The new clerk looks at me, and goes to hand me my test paper, and then stops. This is what she says, and I wish I could convey the tone of voice here. *looking at the video tape* “Oooohhhhhhh, there’s actually a DIFFERENT test I need to give you if you watched the video. It’s an AUDIO test.”

Audio test? Ummmm…. I look at the hispanic woman and the truck driver looking guy behind me with their regular test papers, pining over three sentence long questions. I turn back to the clerk and shrug. “OK…?”

She hands me the test and the CD and points me to the boomboxes against the wall. I sit down at the desk, look at the test, and about choke myself trying  to hold in my laughter. There, printed on the paper, are 36 response spaces, each numbered. BUT, along with a number, they each have a PICTURE that goes with the number… One is an airplane. Two is a bomb. Three is an apple. So on, so forth. But that is not the best part. On this test paper, there is nowhere to write in a response. Nowhere to circle true or false, or choose a multiple choice answer. On this paper, after EACH number/picture, there is only a circle with a happy face in it, and a circle with a sad face in it. As I look up at the instructions on the wall (mark an X through the happy face if the statement is true, mark an X through the sad face if the statement is false – with MORE PICTURES), it dawns on me. The video and corresponding test are meant for those that can’t read. THESE CLERKS THINK I’M ILLITERATE!!!!!

Oh. My. Gawd. I am completely embarrassed and rolling laughing on the inside all at the same time. So I sit. And I take the test. I giggle every time the monotone lady on the CD says the symbol after the number. And she repeats every single statement three times. SLOWLY. This true/false test that would have taken me five minutes tops in printed format took me THIRTY FOUR MINUTES.

Finally, it was over.  I give my test to the clerk, and she puts her laminated answer key over the top of it. She says, in a rather surprised voice, “WOW!! You got ALL of them correct!” and I realize she is genuinely surprised. Oh, lawd. In my head, I say “OF COURSE I DID, YOU DUMMY! IT’S A FOOD HANDLER’S TEST, NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!!” but out loud, I say “Oh, really? That’s GREAT!”

She prints my card, and I shuffle out of the office head down. I get out to the car, and honestly think about going back in to take the written test because I really feel like I cheated. On the FOOD HANDLER’S TEST. Geez… What have I become?!? But I don’t go back in. Because then I would just look like an ungrateful human being. I just drive off in my car and thank the heavens that ONE thing – out of a million – went easy. Please don’t think less of me….

They looked just like this. JUST. LIKE. THIS.

OH! Also, I’m going to start a feature on Saturdays. I really think you’ll like it. And if you don’t, that’s OK, because I’ll like it. But I’m sure you will, too. Just tune in tomorrow, then you’ll know for sure. 😉


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