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Dream of: 22 April 1984 "Oh Lord, Please Help"

The fateful day had dawned when I would take the bar examination for my license to practice law. Anxiously arriving a couple hours early at the law school where the exam was being given, I quickly located the room where other people were already assembling to take the test.

As I stood in the hall outside the room, I nervously thought about the exam and the kind of questions which would be on it. The questions about Texas law would require the writing of essays, and in preparation therefore, I had been assiduously studying English grammar. I wished I had studied much more grammar, but I figured I already knew more about grammar and writing than most people.

Not all the questions would be essays. The exam would be divided into two sections, the Texas section and the federal section. The questions about federal law would be multiple choice. Most of these questions would have four answers from which to choose, and each answer would consist of only one word. One of the four words should somehow distinguish itself as being the more appropriate.

Fortunately for me, the exam would have almost nothing to do with law, and everything to do with words. Even though I could adroitly work with words, I was still worried about passing the exam. I resolved not to become upset if I didn't do well. I would simply try to look at the exam as a learning opportunity.

I wondered if my friend from law school, Haim, would also be taking the exam today, as I had assumed he would.

Since it wasn't yet time for the exam to begin, I decided to go outside a while. After stepping out into the open I discovered a vast field next to the building, a good place to run off some nervous energy. Even though I wasn't exactly dressed for it (I was wearing blue jeans and casual brown shoes), I took off running around the field, picking up speed until I was running quite fast. I quickly felt much better, once my heart was pounding and my lungs were heaving.

When I finally slowed down and stopped running, someone walked up to me and talked about the exam and how long it was supposed to last. I responded that the exam would have 200 questions which must be answered in one hour. I calculated a person must therefore answer three questions per minute. I paused and corrected myself. I had suddenly realized that the exam would actually last three hours, and that a person would therefore have almost a minute to answer each question.

When I finally stepped away from the person and walked back into the building, I immediately encountered one of my old law school classmates, Duesler, standing in the hallway. I walked up to Duesler, threw my arm around him and genially told him that after our long tenure together in law school, we were finally ready to take the bar exam. He had also put his arms around me, and had started to squeeze me. I cautioned him not to press my side because it was hurting a bit from running.

Tom and I only talked a few moments. When we separated, I headed toward the room where I had originally seen the other aspirants gathering for the test. As I walked through the hall, someone mentioned the people taking the test would be seated in alphabetical order. When I reached the room and opened the door, everyone was already sitting silently in their seats. A man holding a Bible was standing in front of the room. It took me a surprised moment to realize the people were having a little Bible lesson before the exam began.

An empty seat was still open behind another of my old law school classmates, Casey. As I headed for the seat, I thought it was probably fortunate I would be sitting behind Casey, because he was such a poor student, I wouldn't even think of copying from him.

After I had sat down, I studied the other people in the room. I thought I saw Vickie Walls (a girl whom I had once known in Portsmouth). She looked quite pretty. When she saw me and smiled nervously, I smiled back. Everyone else in the room was obviously nervous. I quickly said a little prayer to myself, "Oh Lord, please help me pass this exam."

After saying my prayer, I raised my hand and asked the man in front of the room about the two parts of the exam, the Texas section and the multi-state section. I wanted to know what would happen if I only passed one section, whether I would have to retake both sections again the next time. He replied that it was necessary to pass both sections, and that if we only passed one section, we would have to retake both sections. I was disappointed to hear that.

The test was scheduled to begin in 10 minutes. Still feeling nervous, I began taking deep breaths to calm myself. 

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