Exam Nightmare

That nightmare where you have an exam but forgot to buy the textbook? That was my reality today, when a test on rigging was announced and delivered within an hour. Rigging is the part of construction that deals with chains and cranes and the protocols for moving heavy stuff—hand signals and whatnot.

I failed the test.

“Is this something that is going to cause someone to die someday?” my husband asked. Reasonable question. After all, the Building Construction Technology program that I recently joined is not like my liberal arts college experience, when no one was going to bleed out on a concrete pad due to my failure to comprehend the political and philosophical underpinnings of 18th century British garden design. I felt guilty and negligent for a second. Then I thought, Hell No, no one is going to die because I failed to memorize the rigging chapter in the Introductory Craft Skills textbook. On the contrary.

I failed the test, in part, because when asked how often hammer-forged steel eyebolts should be inspected,  I answered: Every Day. You should inspect those eyebolts Every Damn Day, because moving stuff with cranes is no joke. My natural overprotective tendency to worry about things like eyebolts, trampolines, and Zika—just to name a few topics that keep me up at night—is precisely the kind of irrational paranoia that keeps people alive! (For more on my well-documented maternal anxiety, read this.)

The correct answer: Once a year.

And when asked about who is allowed to reject rigging equipment due to defects or poor condition, I answered: A supervisor.

The correct answer: A qualified person.

A qualified person? How qualified are these people if they’re inspecting hammer-forged steel eyebolts just once a year, when clearly they need to be inspected Every Damn Day?

Well, anyway, there was a retest. I don’t expect ever to be in charge of rigging on a construction site, but I studied my ass off and passed with flying colors, just in case. You can never be too careful.

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