I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why.
Cabel smiles and hangs up. "Guess what." What," Janie says. We can go out on our first date." Woo hoo!" And guess what else- You're buying." Me? Why?" Because you lost the bet." Janie thinks for a moment. Punches Cabel in the arm. "You did not fail five quizzes or tests!" I did. I have proof.
Eventually he begins to practice his new signature in the margins of the paper. He tries it in various styles, his hand unaccustomed to the angles of the N, the dotting of the two i's. He wonders how many times he has written his old name, at the top of how many tests and quizzes, how many homework assignments, how many yearbook inscriptions to friends. How many times does a person write his name in a lifetime - a million? Two million?
By the time the average person finishes college, he or she will have taken over 2,600 tests, quizzes, and exams. The right answer approach becomes deeply ingrained in our thinking. This may be fine for some mathematical problems where there is in fact only one right answer. The difficulty is that most of life isn't this way. Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers- all depending on what you're looking for. But if you think there is only one right answer, then you'll stop looking as soon as you find one.
Roger von Oech
I am smiling a big adopted-orphan smile as I write this... I still love scribbling the word - WRITER - any time on a form, questionnaire, document asks for my occupation. Fine, I write personality quizzes, I don't write about the Great Issues of the Day, but I think it's fair to say I am a writer... ('Adopted-orphan smile', I mean, that's not bad, come on.)
In university courses we do exercises. Term papers, quizzes, final examinations are not meant for publication. We move through a course on Dostoevsky or Poe as we move through a mildly good cocktail party, picking up the good bits of food or conversation, bearing with the rest, going home when it comes to seem the reasonable thing to do. Art, at those moments when it feels most like art -- when we feel most alive, most alert, most triumphant -- is less like a cocktail party than a tank full of sharks.
To tell you the truth, I've just been avoiding everything. I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mea way. In a curious way. it's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that da, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report on top of that. or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why. Especially since I know that if they went to another school, the person who had their heart broken would have had their heart broken by somebody else, so why does it have to be so personal? And if I went to another school, I would never have known Sam or Patrick or Mary Elizabeth or anyone except my family. (Pg 142)