Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Call Me Crazy, But I Do Not Like Mechanics Magazines

Danny and I had to do an MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) as part of our adoption process. I suppose to make sure we are no crazier than any of the other people who decide to have kids.

Several people in the field advised me to not try to “trick” the test. “Just answer honestly,” they said, “the test is designed to catch you lying.” The Dr. who administered the test said the same thing. He said the test was designed to pick up any “tomfoolery.” Coincidentally, I am immediately smitten with any person who uses the term “tomfoolery” but that wasn’t a test question.

When Danny and I walked in, the receptionist gave us each two number two pencils and a large cardboard booklet with five hundred and sixty seven true or false questions inside. She told us we were not to talk to each other about the questions and put us on opposite ends of the waiting room. Which was good because every ten questions or so one of us suppressed a giggle and as the room filled with other patients I had the strong urge crane my head over the others and stage whisper to Danny, “Hey, what did you put for the one about unusual sex acts?”

Afterwards Danny and I were so wasted we got ice cream and took a long nap. It was quite an experience. It was a little like those women’s magazine quizzes but longer and more disturbing.

I’ve included some of my favorite questions here, so you can get a small taste of what this test is like, in case you never get the privilege to take one.

1. I like Mechanics magazines T/F
2. I wake up fresh and rested most mornings T/F
3. I think I would like the work of a librarian T/F
4. I get angry sometimes T/F
5. If I were a painter, I would like painting flowers T/F
6. Evil spirits occasionally posses me T/F
7. My mom is a good woman T/F
8. I think I would like the work of a forest ranger T/F
9. I always tell the truth T/F
10. I never do not return incorrect change T/F
11. I’m pretty happy with my life T/F
12. I’m certain I’m being followed T/F…
13. I usually have less fears than most of my friends T/F
14. I have no fear of earthworms T/F
15. I usually do not have nightmares every other night T/F

It starts off easy enough, but after the first couple hundred or so the double negatives are making my eyes swim and I start to sweat, wondering about the test maker’s idea of words like “usually” “often” “certainly” and “most.” And I’m tired of comparing myself to my friends. As in, “I certainly often feel better about myself than most of my friends.” Questions like those were difficult. I think most of my friends feel fine. Do I feel better than them? No. Do I feel worse than them? No. So where’s my number two pencil to go?

I kept thinking, trick the test? This test is trying to trick me. Trying to lull me into happily marking true, true, true until I finally admit that I think someone is controlling my brain. A run of questions might look something like this:

I think puppies are cute T/F
When I was little I played games T/F
Sometimes I like hanging out with friends T/F
I occasionally feel like ripping someone's face off T/F

Honestly toward the end I was getting so tired I probably answered, true, that invisible aliens follow me around and climb in my butt when I fall asleep (which only USED to be true.)

I’m trying not to obsess about the test results, which would be easier if there weren’t so much riding on it. I’m sure it will be fine. I’m a normal person who does not (currently) hear voices or feel like ripping anyone's face off.

After the adoption is final though, I’m thinking about getting a group together to take an MMPI, just for fun. It’ll be crazy good times.


David said...

This would be a good test to use as a Dating Exam. - David M.

james ford said...

sweet baby jesus, i want in on this!

these questions are hysterical and now that you say you can't beat the test, i only want to beat the test. i am also the same person who's pretty confident i can land a plane and could beat joshua, wopr computer from wargames, in tic tac toe.

and for the record, the only alien climbing in your butt when you're sleeping is danny.

Steph said...

You would find the test HILARIOUS. Also, right after I read a question like, I hear voices and see things others cannot. On cue, a girl in the waiting room said, "Mom do you hear that? Is there a radio playing or something?" There wasn't.

S said...

We took a shorter "test" like this in Russia on our first visit. In the offices of the MOE. Only the questions were read to us, we sat next to each other writing T or F, and the questions were posed in what can only be described as badly translated English from what we assumed was originally Russian. "I take care when standing on a train platform that I might fall onto the tracks or that I might fall out of a window when I am in a building." ??? We all read it twice and we decided maybe they were asking if we were careful about personal safety. Maybe. The whole 60+ question test was like that and weirder in places. No questions about sex acts, though. Or mechanics magazines.

Then we had to take the Lasher color personality test. Oy.

Jocelyne said...

Sounds like someone had "fun". Not sure which I like better, those or the ADHD tests. Yes, believe it or not, I do have ADHD, but not the bounce off the wall, can't sit still kind.

Come on what can they possibly find wrong with someone with purple hair who's starting a clown construction college? You do still have the purple hair don't you, come on tell me you do!

Kornopolous said...

"I never do not return incorrect change?" ???? Really??

Kornopolous said...

oh...and my livejournal

you can start at any point