This is a test

Life is full of surprises. Some of them come as a pop quiz.

Take physcial therapy, for example. I sprained my knee. I’m in physical therapy. My knee strength is improving, so my therapist started adding new exercises.

He stands me in front of a small trampoline that is angled up from the floor and secured to the wall. He hands me a yellow ball and says “Okay, stand on one leg, balance yourself and throw the ball.”

And that’s what I do. I take the ball in both hands and throw it at the trampoline. And I mean I throw it.

Here’s the pop quiz: Then what happens? Anyone raising their hand?

Well, that’s exactly what I wasn’t doing: raising my hand. My hands were down by my side. And the ball bounced off the trampoline right back towards my head.

I move my head to the side, trying to get out of the return path of the ball that I threw so forcefully. I wasn’t quite fast enough and the ball grazes me on the side of my chin and careens over to the therapist and he catches it.

Trying very hard not to laugh out loud he says, “Let’s move you back just a little. Try it again.”

“Oh,” I ask, “and you want me to catch it this time?”

Yes, indeed, that is part of the exercise: catching the ball.

I flunked this pop quiz. I mean, what else is a ball going to do when you throw it on a trampoline?

What’s that saying? In life, you take the test, then you learn the lesson. So true.

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