I guess you could say that it was just like in the movies. I think I'm saying that with my memory completely intact, but I almost feel like how I see it in the movies is swayed by how I saw it then.

I was dead, of course, and everything was white on white on white and goodness. The strange thing was that I awoke, like one awakes from an eighty year long dream, and I was sitting in one of those old desk-and-chair assemblies, just like in middle school. In front of me was a pamphlet. On the cover it said in a very elegant script:

Existence Aptitude Test

"Strange," I thought, except now my thoughts weren't so much of an internal musing, but a kind of James Earl Jones baritone through a loudspeaker attached to the inside of my noncorporeal cranium. I picked up my white number two pencil and began.

1. Of the following, which sin did you not commit to excess:
a) Pride
b) Lust
c) Gluttony
d) Sloth

"C"... I think...no, wait... "A"... oh, I suck at these tests! Okay, definitely "A".

4. Which of the following is the more accurate description
of your previous existence:
a) "I've wasted my life."
b) "I foolishly wiled away my youth."
c) "I failed to appreciate my autumn years."
d) "I feel like an idiot now that I've seen God."

Uhm... better come back to that one...

27. When you asked if God was everywhere, even in the 
toilet, the response your mother gave you was:
a) affirmative
b) consolatory
c) chastizing
d) pitiful

"D", because I was obviously a master theologian back then.

473. What time is love?
a) now
b) then
c) soon
d) eternal

Things really started petering out about here. I could sense the beginning of the end. How was I supposed to know that there'd be a test at the end of all this?

7567. Man A and Man B are walking through the woods when 
suddenly a tree falls.  Man A lost his hearing in 'Nam and 
is 60 feet from the tree.  Man B used to play lead for 
Winger and is 20 yards from the tree.  For which man did 
the tree fall?
a) Man A
b) Man B
c) both
d) neither

After about forty hours (or was it forty days?) of this, a voice that shook the entire universe sounded, "Pencils down!"

"What?" I asked, still in awe of the vastness of existence.


"But... but I'm not finished yet!"

"When God says, 'Pencils down,' He MEANS 'PENCILS DOWN'!"

My hand, which was less a hand and more of a metaphysical notion, dropped my number two pencil out of fear of the wrath of God, our Proctor.

"We're sending you back."

I choked. "What? Why?"

"Because... You obviously neglected to study..."

The universe, cosmos and creatures and planets and microbes, whirlpooled around me and melted away. I felt the very core of my being sucked backwards through an imaginary straw. If I could've felt terror, I would've. If I could've felt glee, I wanted to.

I swear to God I'm never eating that mystery gunk in the back of my fridge, no matter how hungry and desperate I am.

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