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Who Would Have Thunk It?

Many, many years ago, there was a popular television program called, “Candid Camera”.  Those of you who are “in your prime” will remember that show.  As you recall, the purpose was to have a prank set so that an unsuspecting person would be encountered by a situation or a person acting as if something appeared to be real but amiss.  Some quirky aspect was added to see how the unsuspecting “victim” would respond on camera.  At the end of each “prank”, the actor would point to a camera with the words, “Smile. You’re on candid camera”. 

That same scenario is played out often on social media so that the world can laugh at the dilemma that others face.  It is much funnier when we see “that other guy” in consternation than when we are caught in the web of something that is disconcerting.   It is so frustrating when we are pressed for time and cannot get through traffic, or find the right address, or fail to have what we need at an appointment.  Each time that happens, it is a “personal pop quiz”.  It reveals how we respond to unexpected and stressful moments that are “life”.  You know when that happens to you, you immediately rejoice in adversity, laugh off the tension, and immediately give thanks for the challenge.  Right????  Maybe not….  Remember, pop quizzes in school?  They come daily in a day’s schedule.  Would you say you are on the Dean’s List?  Remember, this is only a test!

In the late 1980’s I was interviewing at various corporations in the San Francisco Bay Area for a position in one of the fast track executive programs that were being offered to recent college graduates, of which I was one. In many of these corporations I would go through a series of interviews before a decision was made to let me into the program or not, but at a few corporations, I had to pass a series of exams before even being interviewed.

Late one afternoon I arrived the prescribed 30 minutes early at the location given to me by the Human Resource Department to take the third exam in a series of six exams. The receptionist told me the location of the exam, she gave me a map, she even explained where I was to park and what entrance I was to use. I easily found the building, parked and proceeded to the entrance I was told to use, I had about ten minutes to spare at this point before the exam started, that would give me plenty of time to get ready for the exam.

However, when I tried the doors, I found they were locked. I tried the doors again. Double checked the address – I was at the right place. I peered through the glass in the door and couldn’t believe my eyes – the building was completely empty, all I could see was a wheelbarrow, a shovel and a broom. I turned around there were several other people milling around the building now, appearing very confused.

I got in my car and drove back to where I started. The receptionist apologized for the mistake but had no idea where the exam was. So, I asked a security guard at the entrance of the building about the exam….and he pointed out the building where the exam was. I got into my car and found the room the exam was to be given in, with two minutes to spare!

It turns out that the exam was to see if I could get to the exam. About 20 out of 100 people made it to the final destination. (