Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Step Closer to Becoming Special Agent Shack-Fu

As I mentioned a while back, Cap'n Shack-Fu's army plans were put on hold due to a desire to pursue the chance to join the FBI. Back in February, he received a letter saying that the FBI had reviewed his application and were inviting him to take the Phase I entrance exam. Shack, whose life long dream is to be a Federal law enforcement agent, signed up for the next available testing date, which was the first Friday in March. Unfortunately, that Friday turned out to be the day after the worst snowstorm I've seen in Denton since I've moved here, and while Shack-Fu was more than willing to brave the icy roads to take the test, apparently nobody else was, and the test was canceled, meaning Shack-Fu and all of the other hopefuls had to reschedule for the next available test date a month later.

Now, for most people this would be a bit of a bummer; for Shack-Fu, whose job puts him at risk of being deployed to other states at a moments notice for months on end, it was bordering on disaster, especially as the first week of April rolled around and heavy storms began hammering the region. Once again, the night before the test found us assailed by heavy storms, and Shack had some worry that the tornadoes in Arkansas might get him yanked at the last minute, but luckily, no deployment was issued, so Shack headed to the testing center super-early on that Friday morning to make sure he beat any and all traffic; nothing was going to get in the way of him taking that test.

Well, nothing except the fact that the heavy storms wound up taking out the power in the testing center, causing the person giving the test to announce that it looked like they were going to have to reschedule it for the next month.

I'm pretty sure at that moment in time my best bud was only an instant away from a nervous breakdown.

Luckily, Shack was not the only test-taker that day who was chomping at the bit to take the test, since the bulk of the people in there were others who had missed out on the March test due to the snow; the eager potential-Feds persuaded the person in charge that the dim emergency lights, coupled opening up the blinds, would give them all more than sufficient light to take the test, and so the test was finally administered, and all of us who had been hoping and praying for Shack-Fu to at least get a chance to take the test let out a collective sigh of relief. After a months worth of watching him stress out over the possibilty of missing out on this opportunity, and watching how the stress was effecting his sleep and general demeanor, it was with great relief that I saw the pre-stress Shack-Fu make a reappearance almost immediately following the exam. True, he said he had absolutely no idea how well he did, but just being able to move forward with the process was a huge relief.

Now, in the past, the time between taking the Phase I exam and getting the results was several months, but the FBI is trying to streamline their hiring process, so Shack-Fu was insured that he would get his results with-in two weeks. So, when barely a week had passed and a letter marked FBI showed up in his mailbox this past weekend, Shack-Fu was surprised, and more than a little apprehensive. Showing tremendous restraint, he did not immediately rip into the letter, but instead set it aside, got ready for the bike ride he had already planned on taking, and took the letter with him to the bike trails, figuring that if it was bad news he would then be able to work the frustration out on the bike ride.

But it wasn't bad news, of course; instead, it was confirmation that Shack-Fu had passed the exam and was now eligible to move on to Phase II of the process. The next step was to do a physical self-assessment in terms of push-ups, sit-ups, and running; a small group of us tagged along to act as witnesses and cheer him on. Now that that's done, he can fax the results in and hope that his score is competitive enough with the other potential candidates that he'll get asked in for an interview soon. So, now it's once again a waiting game, but a waiting game with promise.