Cognition

I love this, posted by @pixelatedboat on Twitter:

A great many people, they didn’t know what an elephant was until I pointed at the elephant on the test and said “that’s an elephant.” The doctors, they were amazed. Some of them started crying. They said “Thank you, sir. Even we didn’t know what that animal was called.”

I wonder how I’d do on a cognitive test in my current deteriorated state. After all, I almost flunked one when I was younger.

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I actually came up with this one on my own. Now pay me.

It was 1973, and I wanted to join the US Air Force. First, though, I had to pass an aptitude test and flight physical. Everything went great. I thought I’d finished, but at the last minute the flight surgeon handed me a page from a book, pointed at a paragraph, and asked me to read it aloud.

I said “You’ve got to be kidding,” thinking it was some kind of joke, but he put on a serious face and said “If you want to pass, you need to read this paragraph out loud.” I must have looked confused, so he explained: some applicants, who otherwise exhibit no speech problems, mix words up or stutter when they have to read from a page. Some applicants turn out to be hiding the fact they’re functionally illiterate.

Once I understood it was part of the test I read the paragraph, deliberately and precisely sounding out each word. You’d have thought I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, except I don’t think the show existed in 1973. I passed, thus becoming the officer and gentleman you admire today.

Based on everything we know about Donald Trump, the cognitive test he took at Walter Reed may be the only test he hasn’t paid someone else to take for him, so naturally he’s proud. As proud as any infant who’s learned to do his business on the potty. Good for him. And what a gift he’s been for the brilliant Sarah Cooper!

Rex Tillerson (remember him?) once took a cognitive test. They asked him to correctly characterize Donald Trump after spending five minutes in the same room with him. He passed with flying colors. The doctors, they were amazed. Some of them are still crying.

I mentioned my own deteriorating state. For the past ten years or so I’ve been experiencing something I think of as “casual dyslexia.” It happens when I skim over text on a screen or page. We used to go on Monday evening walks sponsored by a downtown restaurant called Maynard’s, which sent email about upcoming “Meet Me at Maynard’s” events from its meetmeatmaynards.com address — which I always read as “Meet Meat Maynards.” There’s a brand of motorcycle oil called “Amsoil,” which I can’t help reading as “Am Soil,” the last thing I’d ever want to put in my bike’s engine. If I don’t concentrate, “tasty” looks like “testy” and “delicious” becomes “delirious.” I know, it’s not really dyslexia, and I don’t mean to make light of a serious condition affecting millions. It’s just a visual interpretation glitch I notice in myself more and more often as I age.

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Memorize in order: dog, auxiliary dog, pillow, camera, blankie

I’ll close with a quick off-topic update on our sick puppy, Mister B, who’s suffering from valley fever and taking pills to help control it. He’s been on Fluconazole, an anti-fungal medication, for a few days now and we’re beginning to see a difference. He still has shortness of breath, but his appetite is back and he’s not as listless as he has been. His natural inquisitiveness and eagerness to be involved in everything we’re doing is emerging again. There are miles to go still, but we’re encouraged by what we’re seeing so far.

© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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One thought on “Cognition

  • He’s such an idiot. I have concluded that the entire story about the test is a lie. There aren’t thirty to thirty-five questions, there are about seventeen (depending on whether you break down a couple of compound questions like date and location). The words he was supposed to remember are not the ones on the test, so he’s making that up.

    Allegedly, he got the maximum of thirty points on the test (points, not questions), which generally occurs for about ten per cent of people in their seventies who take the test. But remember, this is only a test they administer in cases of suspected dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and similar diseases of mental decay. So the ten per cent refers to per cent of those actually tested, not of the general population.

    As several people have pointed out, we don’t even know when he took this test he’s referring to. Possibly years ago. Purely and simply: lying sack of shit.

    Glad the puppy’s better.

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