Many essays have been written that one could describe as touching, or something one could easily relate to. A very good example is “Taking the Test” by David Groff. He writes about taking an AIDS test, and records all his feelings and emotions as he waits for, and receives, what could be something that may lead to a death sentence. This essay is enjoyed by many people, because it is touching, it is easy to relate to the pressure, and stress that is connected with taking a test, and it is a new, recent subject that could, or does, affect people now.
This essay is very touching. The reader feels very sympathetic towards the man taking the test. Even more so because the author announces that he is gay. The way he describes his emotions and feelings, fear, confusion, and loneliness, is very moving. He notices very small things because he almost believes he is infected, and it makes everything that much more precious. The way he makes everything sound very beautiful, as he describes it, is understandable, despite the fact that he is awaiting his sentence, “life or death,” because even though HIV does not mean death, it means an inevitable pain, and suffering, if not physically, then mentally, and if not for you, then for the loved ones. Had he told the reader the outcome of the test, the reaction to the story would have been different. If he was positive, the reader would become overly sympathetic, overlooking the reason for the story which was not sympathy, but to teach a lesson, “As long and as well as you can, live, live.” (Groff 75) Had the author been negative, the reader would have pushed the essay away, again overlooking the lesson, and thinking that the author worried for nothing. Groff pushes all the right buttons, keeping his audience begging for the outcome of the test.
A reason that this essay is touching to many readers is because it is easy to relate to. Many people understand the pressure and stress that is connected with taking a test, even if it is a pop quiz in math. Unfortunately, many people know how it feels to take, and fail, an AIDS test. Many people know someone close to them who has taken the test and “failed.” For instance, my uncle was a gay, catholic priest. He overcame all fears and took the blood test, to learn that he was positive. It was very hard on our family, but we learned to live with it. I think it was a lot harder to understand what he was going through because I didn’t know what he was feeling and, unfortunately I never got the chance to ask. This essay opened my eyes a bit wider. People with other medical problems can also relate to Groff’s essay. Women awaiting results of their breast examination, knowing that one of the eight women in the waiting room will have bad results can relate. A football player waiting for the results of his x-ray which, will determine if he ever plays football again, can also relate to this essay. Groff uses a very basic subject, and handles it well.
Because this essay is written about a newer, more recent subject, more readers are attracted to it. It has been much easier to “come out of the closet” lately, and more people understand that. People will deal with homosexuality some time in their life, be it a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or themselves. AIDS, in general, has also been a recent subject in newspapers and magazines. Twenty years ago when AIDS was just discovered, it was easy to see why people didn’t really pay much attention to it. Now, that there are warnings, it is hard to understand why people are so risky. People will also deal with AIDS sometime in their life. It’s a very common subject, and it is what people want to read about, themselves.
This essay is enjoyed by many people, because it is touching, it is easy to relate to the pressure, and stress that is connected with taking a test, and it is a new, recent subject that could, or does, affect people now. It touches all of us, not just homosexuals or people with AIDS. The fear, and brush with death, is something that we all, in a way, want to feel, because it adds a little to life. Groff’s essay shows this to be true, and it is the last thing he leaves us thinking about, as I do you.
Word Count: 763