Today I went to scan an automobile insurance form at the family history center in the library and there was a large dead man, probably about 75 years old, on his back on the floor. He probably weighed 300 pounds and his neck was fuschia and blotchy as it burst out of his shirt. His legs were limp and his olive trousers were wet where his bowels had vacated. I became alert and looked around: a senior missionary held a phone to his ear as he waited on hold with 911, another senior missionary on her knees placed a plastic CPR mouth cover on the dead man's lips and several individuals gathered around to see what they could do. The fact that there was a dead man on the floor didn't change my need to scan my insurance forms, so I started my scan.
I went for some paper towels so that the pseudo-EMT student that showed up could wipe up the blood from the man's head. Apparently he'd hit it on the way down. I did help, is my point, but really, what could I do? He's dead. He'd been very dead for over 10 minutes, and he had been building up to this moment for fifty years every time he had a burger instead of a salad. There was absolutely nothing I could do, and so I did what I had to do and made sure more competent people than I were around to care for the dead man and then I left.
I thought about later while I waited for my Scantron results at the testing center. As I slid my red bubble sheet to the student across the table on the way out, I realized I should have studied more. I didn't though. I scraped across the carpet and stared up at the LCD TV to look for my results. 11 out of 16, 73%. Heck. As trotted down the rounded yellow stairs out of the testing center, I thought about how heartless Scantron machines are. They don't care if you are trying (kind of) but really busy. They just mechanically process right and wrong, binary ones and zeros. That's the thing-- they just don't care. Sliding my hand off the end of the flat stair rail, I laughed at myself and my complaints about heartlessness.