“Manitou Island”: Individual Response Tests

My parents enrolled me in a private grade school, The Venture, where the regular curriculum of maths, sciences and languages was mixed with Individual Response Test Situations (IRTS). A typical IRTS involved being left alone in a room full of toys, while the psychologists watched from a one-way window. I don’t remember doing anything much except staring off dumbly.I was accident prone. By the time I was 12 years old, I already had stitches in my knee (bicycle), chin (pool), shin (bicycle), lip (hockey stick), elbow (bicycle), thumb (car door) and knee again (bicycle again). A week before summer vacation in Grade 12, I broke my leg in a car accident. So instead of starting a summer job at the bank, I went to Cedar Lake and stayed with my grandparents. The highlight had to be catching a six-pound bass. I was so excited that I pulled the motor’s cord with the motor in gear and was thrown out the back. I tread water, my cast dissolving in the water, and watched the boat circle around me. I ruined my shoulder trying to grab it once. Finally the boat worked its way to shore and ran up on the rocks. And so I lost the fish, wrecked the boat and had my leg in the cast for another two months.

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