One of the best parts of adulthood is never having to involuntarily engage in academics again. If there’s one thing none of us postgrads miss about our college days, it’s the time spent doing homework, studying for tests, and taking said tests. That’s why I believe one of the best punishments for losing a bet or finishing last place in fantasy football is to force the loser to take a standardized test and reach a minimum score on it. It strikes a good balance between having to do something crazy like get a tattoo and setting a light punishment that people won’t really fear. Taking a test isn’t the worst thing in the world, but do you really want to have to re-live that anxiety all over again?
That was the thought two of my friends had last summer as they agreed upon a friendly wager. One of them, a native Minnesotan and fan of their sports teams, foolishly bet the other, a Chicago fan, that the Minnesota Wild would beat the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Instead of just throwing down a few dollars on it though, they decided to raise the stakes and make the loser take the ACT.
The only problem with that bet is that when you ride and die with Minnesota sports, you mostly die. So not even a week after the series started, the Blackhawks finished up their sweep of the Wild and my Minnesota friend was looking for schools in Chicago that would allow a 27-year-old man to take a college entrance exam designed for juniors and seniors in high school.
The test taking experience for my friend was as hellish as you would imagine it to be. He took it on a Saturday morning, so naturally, he went out with us the night before and got blackout drunk. We had to wake him up half an hour before his test started and haul ass to the school so he could make it on time. It must have been quite a sight for the high schoolers there, who were brimming with anxiety over the biggest test they’ll ever take in their lives, to see some still-drunk dude stroll into the building wearing the same clothes from the night before and reeking of booze.
When our friend checked in, the woman who took his ID had to do a double-check and asked him “You know this is a Minnesota ID and that you’re taking this test in Illinois? And that you’re 27?” He answered in the affirmative to both, wanting nothing more than to get this ordeal over with. The other adults my friend encountered throughout the day just laughed at him and took delight in his misery, and rightfully so. Even the high school kids were judging him! He got lost in the building looking for a bathroom when some kid condescendingly asked him “You’re not in high school anymore, are you?” You know you’ve hit a new low when some little high school shithead looks down at you in disapproval.
Back at my apartment, we had a party at 9 a.m. while our friend slogged away taking the ACT. A bunch of people came out, some from Minnesota, to take part in this spectacle. Our original intention was to tailgate in the high school parking lot, but the school was pretty far away and not easily accessible via public transportation. We also probably would have gotten arrested, so staying back was probably a smart idea. Nevertheless, we still treated it like a tailgate, including the distribution of koozies to commemorate the occasion (Name removed to protect the guilty):
My roommate also set up a sport book to place bets on the over/under for our friend’s scores on each section and the composite. There’s no better investment plan than having your money ride on the back of your extremely-hungover friend’s questionable ability to score at least a 22 on the ACT.
Meanwhile back at the high school, the test was going along swimmingly for our Minnesota friend, which is to say he was trying his best to focus on finishing each section and not the fact that he had to vomit for pretty much the entire thing. To his credit, he was a trooper about taking the test and was mostly cooperative throughout the process. The only trouble he caused was when a beeper on his watch accidentally went off, which caused the proctor to threaten him with not officially counting his score with the testing board. I say they should have ripped his test up so that he had to take it over again and we could hold another party, but I guess we have to trust the proctor’s judgment there.
Once the test finally wrapped up, our friend returned to our apartment and was greeted with a hero’s welcome, which is to say we all drunk and threatened him in various ways about how his score better have aligned our over/under bets. He actually did pretty well; despite not finishing the English section his composite score was a 23. More importantly, I won $40 from betting on him that day. Dolla dolla bills, y’all.
So let this be a cautionary tale for all of you. If you throw down a bet where you risk taking a standardized test if you lose, you better make sure you do everything possible to win (Or in the case of fantasy football, stay out of last). My friend said it was an incredibly miserable experience, and I fully believe it. As bad as it was for the high schoolers there that day, I would argue it was even worse for my friend.
Most of all, if you do decide to take on risky bets such as this, NEVER count on Minnesota sports to come through. At the end of the test, the proctor asked my friend why he had to suffer through all that. The only thing he said was “Because of the Wild” and meekly walked away. And all the proctor could do was watch in silence as my friend left the room a broken man, much like the Vikings had done to him so many times beforehand. .