Today was exam day 2... and by far the worst exam day i have ever had. not because the class was difficult (in fact my English class is one of the easiest i have) but because the school district had made a poor choice of material to use as example questions. the entire latter half of the test, a full 45 questions, were on passages about death and suicide... i had moved through the test fine up until i was told to read passage 4, entitled "Not waving But drowning" By: Stevie Smith "Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning. Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he's dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said. Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning." i apparently became visibly distraught upon reading it, because my teacher noticed i went pale and asked me what was wrong. i looked up from my test and gave him the usual response, "I'm alright, just a little tired out" he looked unconvinced but still let me go about my test. i ran my hand over my arms, across my neck, and down my leg, finished the section and turned the page. the next and last passage. "To the Young Who Want to Die," by Gwendolyn Brooks Sit down. Inhale. Exhale. The gun will wait. The lake will wait. The tall gall in the small seductive vial will wait will wait: will wait a week: will wait through April. You do not have to die this certain day. Death will abide, will pamper your postponement. I assure you death will wait. Death has a lot of time. Death can attend to you tomorrow. Or next week. Death is just down the street; is most obliging neighbor; can meet you any moment. You need not die today. Stay here--through pout or pain or peskyness. Stay here. See what the news is going to be tomorrow. Graves grow no green that you can use. Remember, green's your color. You are Spring. Why would anyone look at these passages and think, this is fine to put in an exam... what kind of teacher would make students have to examine, dissect, and find meaning in each and every verse... when the verses are already filled with so much pain. The nerve of a supervises who approved this is beyond me... perhaps this institution is out to keep us struggling at every turn, taking what should be an easy thing, and adding those words that stop us cold... i don't understand why they would do this, and now i don't care.