All The Awful Things That Ever Were

In response to the previous post on The Boy’s college career, Knox linked to the Glenn and Helen show where they interview Robert Epstein on adolescence, and a test designed to measure how adult one is.

I got an “"Adultness” Comepetency Score" of 90%. Double-scare quotes! The quotes around “Adultness” are theirs, mine are around the whole phrase. I’m pretty sure you have to be quite mature to use double-scare quotes.

The results page then lists your scores by subject matter. Of course, I’m an old time test-taker. I could get whatever score I wanted. I answered some of the questions “incorrectly” because I they were phrased badly.

For example, “You can earn a high school diploma by completing high school or passing an equivalency test. Do you agree?” Well, no, I don’t, because it’s not true. You can take the GED–though the current California system bars you from taking it pretty much until you’re 18, take that! you overachievers!–but even if you take the GED, you don’t have a high school diploma, and you won’t be treated like you do. (This is along the same lines of The Boy getting his MBA: Getting the sheepskin is about him having options should he need to get a job, even if his current plan is to be an employer rather than an employee.)

I thought it was amusing that I scored 100% on the “managing high-risk behaviors” section. This (for me) has nothing to do with being mature. I just don’t find most high-risk behaviors entertaining. I guess driving counts. But guns? Very few people are accidentally hurt by guns. Guns are meant to be deadly; power tools probably claim more casualties. Cars do by an order of magnitude.

I scored quite badly on the “physical abilities” section (56%). I see what they’re getting at: An adult realizes that he has to take care of his body. But even at my peak fitness, I never regarded myself as “strong” or “flexible”. Those things are relative. And I tend to look at those things–not just physical fitness, but also intelligence–in terms of where they fail (almost always sooner than where I’d like).

Kinda sucks that poor health makes you less adult than a teenage football player.

The more legit one is “Personal Care”. Legit in the sense of being less a relative use of words, versus actually being accurate. My score there was 78%, but I know it’s because I sacrifice elements of personal care (sleep, in particular) for my children. And I suppose most people don’t really have to do that regularly, but the questions are completely context free, and any adult knows that there are plenty of circumstances where you do sacrifice optimum personal behaviors for your children.

But then, as an adult, I know better than to put much stock in an Internet quiz.

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