My mother astounded me the other night. She said that in her 84 years of life, she had never heard of throwing spaghetti noodles on the wall to determine whether or not they were al dente. She almost didn’t believe that such a technique existed. Surely most of you have heard of it. You cook the noodles for a certain length of time, then to check if they are ready, you throw one onto the wall (or ceiling, in some cases!) and if it sticks, then all the noodles in the pot have reached the perfect texture. There are people who swear by this method and other people who scoff at it. I personally don’t care about its efficacy, but since Mom and I weren’t really talking about cooking techniques, it didn’t matter. We were discussing my looming Certified Medical Transcriptionist exam, and I was using the pasta as a metaphor.
I told my mother that after months of intensive studying, which got more concentrated as the date of the exam neared, I finally felt that my brain was no longer holding onto any more information. Especially the day before the test, I felt as if I were throwing spaghetti noodles on the wall in a desperate attempt to “learn” as much as I could as fast as I could, and even as I knew most of the noodles were falling immediately, I was hoping fervently that some of them would stick, at least for another 24 hours.
Well, my test is over, and I am happy to report that I passed. However, in retrospect, I was studying spaghetti and ended up being tested on macaroni. You may not think that would make much of a difference. After all, they are both pasta. Yes, that’s true, but they have different uses and go with different sauces. I found it quite intriguing that nothing I studied the day before the exam was on the test. None of it. Zip. I did indeed have some of the spaghetti adhere to the wall of my brain, but the meal was, alas, macaroni, very little of which I had prepared.
Nonetheless, I did pass, although I think that victory was due more to my 11 years of experience as a transcriptionist than my rigorous study. And I have reasserted my belief that, given the test’s authority to ask any question related to the medical field - in addition to grammar and medicolegal issues - I was lucky the test was just macaroni and not something from a separate food group altogether. It does give another meaning, though, to “using one’s noodle.”
Oh, well. I’m very excited with the result, and, with my time and energy now freed, my focus on the journey to simplicity can resume once again. By the way, I am now in the process of emptying all the information I temporarily stored. If anybody needs a great way to memorize medication suffixes, I’m your lady. Maybe you’ll get more use out of it than I did. Everyone pass your plate - there’s enough here for all of us!