When I was a kid my parents wanted to raise me so I’d grow up to be a good person. Poor parents...they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
To help turn me into a good person they enrolled me in a youth program at our church called “Bible Quizzing” to help socialize me and give me a solid moral foundation.
Bible Quizzing involved getting a whole bunch of awkward teenagers together and interrogating them on facts about the Bible. Seems simple enough, right? Problem was I had no desire to learn stuff about the Bible. Or talk to people. Or be put into situations that were in any way anxiety provoking.
And quizzing provoked all kinds of anxiety in me.
The way quizzing worked is that you’d be put on a team of four people (all the same gender) and you’d be pitted against another team to find out who knew more stuff about the Bible. When you were being quizzed by the Quiz Master, you had to sit on a motion sensor pad which would trigger a button if you moved. If the button went off you had to immediately stand up and answer whatever question the Quiz Master asked. If you got the question wrong they penalized the entire team and everyone hated you.
My winning strategy involved a lot of sitting and sweating.
Given the fact that no one on my team ever studied, the average match looked something like this...
1) Quiz Master asks redonkulous theological question.
2) I have no idea what the answer is to said redonkulous question.
3) I wait for someone else to answer.
4) No one does.
5) Time is running out. Anxiety is eating away at my eyeballs. I am on the verge of a mental breakdown.
6) I panic and shout out the only answer that could not possibly be considered wrong.
But it is wrong. It is always wrong.
My church took quizzing very serious and every couple months our quizzers would pile into the church bus and drive to another state to compete with other quizzers from other churches.
It was as fun as it sounds.
What made this all worse were the few extroverted personalities on my team who insisted we have some kind of jazzy team theme to make things more interesting. While other church teams had uniform shirts or wore fedoras to instill team spirit, our team settled on a theme with a little more flair.
A few pink feather boas later we became the...
Somewhere in-between peeling off my zebra skin pants and yanking out my pigtails I realized I needed to get out of the quizzing lifestyle. Even if it meant taking drastic action.
To my credit, I actually did try the practical, intelligent approach first. I went to my mom and begged her to let me quit before the last big meet. But she told me I needed to stick it out until the end of the season so I could learn the importance of work ethic and good moral fiber.
I was screwed…or so I thought.
But then, something occurred to me. The most fabulous of schemes. Something I'd accidentally done to myself when I was eight years old and it'd gotten me out of school for three days. I knew if I were to do it again, it just might get me out of quizzing forever.
So I sauntered into the kitchen, casually grabbed a big plastic cup from the cupboard, ran up to my room, shut the door, put the cup over my mouth, and took a deep, deep, DEEP breath.
The cup created a tight vacuum seal over my face. And, breathing through my nose, I kept sucking.
When I no longer had any feeling in my lips I finally released the suction and hoped for the best.
I looked in the mirror I couldn't believe my genius. It was…
I’d created the most atrocious purple hickey that covered half my face. It was awesome.
With all the confidence of Fred Flintstone I waltzed into the kitchen and let the chips fall.
My plan couldn't have worked better. Instead of going to the quiz meet I got to stay home and revel in my antisocial tendencies all weekend by eating ice-cream and building a TV in our basement by myself.
And this is why if playing hooky was an Olympic sport they’d have to hand out crowns instead of medals because I would be the queen of champions.