This is the 3rd installment in my Bad Luck Cadet Series.
I was scheduled for my psychological examination in Phoenix on Thursday morning and the polygraph test on Friday. It’s a bit of a drive so I decided to stay Wednesday night in the city. I loved visiting the city and the biggest reason was Starbucks coffee. Venti hot mocha, non-fat, with whip, it’s the only thing I order.
My Starbucks and I arrived early for the exam. I finished my caffeine chocolate combination and hid the evidence. I didn’t know what the psychological exam entailed but I didn’t want them to know I needed the caffeine to feel human every morning.
I was shown to a small room with four tables and two chairs at each table. I took a seat. Miss Ponytail and Mo came in a few minutes later. Miss Ponytail took a seat with a good looking military type guy and Mo was forced to sit by me. He at least said hi. Miss Ponytail and I were the only females.
A woman came in and told us we would start with basic timed tests. We were each given a bubble page and then our exam. We were told not to begin or look at the test until told and then the ten minutes began.
This was easy.
Question 1: 1,3,5 – what number comes next?
And on it went. The questions were basic sequencing problems. They weren’t all as easy as number one, but I actually enjoyed doing them. Before the ten minutes were over I had finished, but Mo was having problems. He turned to me and whispered, “What happens if we don’t finish? Will they make us leave?” His voice held absolute panic.
I told him to take his time and finish what he could. I was beginning to understand what the tests were about. When you’re forty you’ve taken so many tests in your life it doesn’t throw you to be under pressure or not know an answer. You just go to the next question. Being young, you return to those dreaded achievement tests in high school. Just how smart are you?
For once it was nice to be older. I might not be in the best physical shape compared to others in the room but I had it made when it came to these questions. Five more timed tests were given. I didn’t answer every question but overall I knew I had done well. Poor Mo was dripping sweat and feeling the pressure. Miss Ponytail was flirting with her table partner and didn’t appear any worse for wear.
After the sequencing and math tests we started the hard part. I’ve always felt I had a strong head on my shoulders and was pretty self-assured. At the end of four hours I was feeling pretty disturbed. We were given three main tests, each with 200 questions. The questions on all three were only slightly different. I could see if you lied in any of the first test questions you would be in trouble. I don’t know if my answers were correct but I answered honestly.
I was asked over ten times if I loved my mother or if my mother is deceased, did I love my mother. I answered yes every time. Next, do I love my father and if my father is deceased, did I love my father. Every time I answered no.
Now I was starting to sweat. Was I a horrible person because I didn’t love my father? My father was a no good jerk. He left my mom and his three children when we were young. He needed some space and wanted a different life. He died when I was in my twenties. I never really knew him. I didn’t hate him any longer but I don’t remember ever-loving him. I was such a terrible person! I knew they wouldn’t want me as an officer. What a stupid test.
We were called one by one into the room with the psychologist. No one ever came back into the testing room after being called. I was last. This was an omen, I knew it. When I was finally called I went into another small but quaint room with a couch and chairs. I sat on the couch and the Doctor sat in a chair. He went through my evaluation and asked me questions. He never questioned the dislike of my father he just asked about general life questions. I left feeling crazy.
I slept poorly but had to be up early for the polygraph. I checked in and was given a questionnaire. It covered everything from juvenile shoplifting to drug use. I don’t remember ever shoplifting myself. My mom would have killed me but I remember my best friend stealing a purse and the guilt I felt because I was with her.
Drug use was another no brainer because I didn’t know what most of the drugs were. Marijuana, cocaine, yes, but mescaline, crank, and meth, I had no idea. I guess it didn’t matter because the bottom line was I hadn’t ever used any. I guess I was just boring.
I finished and was shown into the testing room. Rob Thomas introduced himself as my polygrapher. He began by hooking me up to electrodes. On my chest, my finger and he explained I was sitting on butt plates and they measured how my butt clinched. I was mortified. My butt cheeks were getting firmer but they still had wobble. I knew they would give a false impression. This was not going to be good.
Rob asked what police department I was testing for and what academy I was going to. I told him Small Town and PAFRA (Police Academy For Rural America). He told me he was also attending PAFRA in September. I told him I would be starting in August. Rob was not aware there was a class starting in August and I knew he felt I had told my first lie. I think the ad said August. I had looked up PAFRA online but it didn’t give very much information.
The test began. I was asked the same questions from the questionnaire I was given earlier. Rob stared at his computer screen while the test continued. I answered every question honestly and began relaxing. It was finally over. I was waiting for Rob to re-question me because on the testing information it stated any questionable answers would be re-asked. It never happened. I told Rob I would see him at the academy. His answer, “We’ll see.”
What if every question showed I was lying? I drove home feeling sad. I knew it was my jello cheeks.
Whoever thought they’d measure butt clenching on a polygraph test?
To follow my adventures at the police academy after my mid-life crisis it is best to start at the beginning Bad Luck Cadet #1 – Accidents Happen. It’s all about fun, laughter and pain. To be honest, at the time it was more about pain, pain and pain! — Suzie
My story continues with: Bad Luck Cadet #4 – Good News!