I took a bunch of brain tests today and the worst one was the simplest.
It is called the T.O.V.A., which stands for Test of Variables of Attention and Google tells me it is usually used to diagnose Attention Deficit Disorder. In my case Ona Graham, a neural psychologist in Columbus, Georgia, used it to see why my brain is all mixed up after a bad parachute landing five months ago at Fort Benning.
The test is remarkably simple. I held a clicker and watched a computer screen where a bright, white box would flash. I clicked if a black square was in the top of the white box.
My problem was the flash of light hurt my eyes and brain as much as it would hurt a vampire staring into the sun. I had to wear my darkest sunglasses and the flash was still painful.
The drawing above shows what I looked like. No, I didn't draw it during the actual test, though Dr. Graham said my score was so bad I suspect she might think I took a nap during the test.
Who can nap when an atomic bomb flash pops off in your face every three seconds? And I know my drawing looks like I'm crying. I didn't. I haven't been able to cry since I hit my head.
No, I tried to do my best, but my excellent rhythm got the best of me. When the flashes got faster and faster and had a six-one beat of clickable to non-clickable flashes, I clicked on that one non-clickable about every time.
I even said, in my head, “This box is trying to lull you into a steady beat, don't be fooled, don't be fooled, don't be fooled, oh dammit.”
That trickery went on for ten of the twenty-one minute test.
Dr. Graham gave me a bunch of other tests. I did well on some, but horrible on the math. The math center in my brain wasn't that big to start with. Must have shaken loose on the drop zone when I performed a flawless feet, butt, head three-point landing on my airborne jump.
Since the bell ring I need my wife's help to calculate tips. Without paper I have difficulty adding ten percent and ten percent. To compensate, I over tip. I think.
Some other knowledge got left behind on the drop zone, too.
“Who wrote Hamlet?”
“I don't remember.” I'm too embarrassed to look it up now. Feel free to mock me in the comments. I don't get mad since I hit my head, either.
“Who wrote Sherlock Holmes?”
“Oh, I should know this. I read Sherlock Holmes books when I was a kid. Oh, oh, Arthur Conan Boyle.”
I felt triumphant. Yeah, she told me it was Doyle, not Boyle. As an Army officer I deal in hand grenades and I say Boyle is close enough.
Joshua B. Good