#AtoZChallenge 2020: K Is for Kangaroo

 

kangaroo: on a multiple choice test, an answer that is so obviously incorrect that no examinee with the sense God promised a monkey would ever select it

I learned about kangaroos in a senior level education course. There were two professors, one who taught testing and measurement and another who taught what I think of as the softer side of counseling. The info about kangaroos came from the T&M prof. He frowned upon them.

After a test covering the softer side, a student informed the SS prof that he’d included several kangaroos. He’d never heard the term. He also didn’t appear concerned.

Concern. Sometime I’ve got it. Sometimes I don’t.

If I were concerned about sincerity, truth, design; about beauty and art; about, to quote the Duke, preserving the unities, I would end, as I began, with kangaroos.

But I have nothing more to say about them. And the videos I’ve examined don’t do a thing for me.

So for kangaroos, substitute kittens.

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“Now,” says the duke, “after to-night we can run in the daytime if we want to. Whenever we see anybody coming we can tie Jim hand and foot with a rope, and lay him in the wigwam and show this handbill and say we captured him up the river, and were too poor to travel on a steamboat, so we got this little raft on credit from our friends and are going down to get the reward. Handcuffs and chains would look still better on Jim, but it wouldn’t go well with the story of us being so poor. Too much like jewelry. Ropes are the correct thing—we must preserve the unities, as we say on the boards.” ~ Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

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Image by saratarshouby from Pixabay

My mother brought home boxes of books . . .

My father worked up to three jobs to ensure our family never missed a meal. We weren’t poor but neither were we wealthy or middle-class. Every so often my mother took a job to help make ends meet, including one at Gamma Phi Beta sorority at Northwestern 2018-09-05 TTM pixabay - cc0 - books-1082949_640University, where she worked as a cleaning woman during the Christmas holidays. She brought me along to help because she couldn’t afford a babysitter. I remember her telling me that the sorority’s chapter said no blacks or Jews would ever be admitted into its ivied halls. My mother brought home boxes of books thrown out by the sorority girls when classes ended, and in those boxes I found my first copies of Mary Shelley and Shakespeare. I read them, determined that the privileged girls of that sorority would never be able to say they knew something about the Bard that the son of their holiday cleaning woman didn’t. Decades later in 1990 Northwestern’s English department actively and generously pursued me for employment by offering me a chair in the humanities, which I declined.

— Charles Johnson, The Way of the Writer:
Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling

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Image by congerdesign via Pixabay