The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive

There is a penalty for guessing, so try to answer each question correctly. You have one hour. Please read over the test before beginning.

1) A sparrow flying by brushes against a mountain once every 1,000 years. Over the eons, this wears away the mountain until it is a prairie. The time that it took the sparrow to complete this task is but a second in the time we call eternity.

Write a three-paragraph essay that addresses the follow questions: Is it always the same sparrow? If so, how does the sparrow live for millions of years? If, due to plate tectonics, the mountain actually gains elevation over the course of the centuries, how does that affect the analogy? How is the analogy different if the sparrow is replaced by a duck? How is the analogy different if the mountain is replaced by a Ford T-150 truck? How is the analogy different if “eternity” is replaced by “five years including a leap year”?

EXTRA CREDIT: Postulate what the sparrow does during the other 999 years and 363 (or 4) days?

2) All but .001% of people in the world today will be forgotten almost entirely within three generations of their death.

Answer either one of the following in a three-to-five sentence paragraph:

A) How do you intend to be in that .001%? OR
B) What brief characterization (e.g. “He was a big Detroit Tigers fan” or “She liked apples”) will your great-great-great-grandchildren know you by?

3) If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a journey of 100 miles begins with a single step, what does the journey of one step begin with?

A) One step
B) Five steps forward, four steps back
C) A reconsideration of what the purpose of this one step journey is, exactly
D) A firm tightening of the shoelaces.
E) Half a step.

4) YOLO is an acronym which gives the following life advice:

A) Yippee! Onanism Lives On!
B) You Only Lip-synch (“The Gambler”) Once
C) Yes (sir), Owls Like Onions!
D) Y’all Only Lives Oncely!
E) None of the above

5) How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?

A) Tomayto
B) Tomahto
C) Potayto
D) Potahto

6) Please complete the comparison. If more than one answer appears correct, choose the answer that best fits:

The saying “Live Each Day Like It’s Your Last” is to Bank Accounts as…

A) Nuclear War is to Earth
B) Crossroads is to Britney Spears
C) The Red Wedding is to viewers’ sense of anticipation
D) Han Solo is to Death Star

7) Please list these in the correct order, ranked from most to least important:

A) Truth
B) Beauty
C) Happiness
D) Love
E) Contentment
F) A sense of purpose

NOTE: Partial credit will not be given.

8) What is love?

A) When you don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.
B) None of the above.

9) If a tree falling in the woods does not make a sound unless someone is there to hear it, what also must be true?

A) A tree that falls on and kills the only person there to hear it has both created and resolved its own problem.
B) The sound of one hand slowly clapping is the appropriate response to an unseen and unheard tree’s crash.
C) Pulling the lever so the train diverts to another track and kills the fat guy is probably what most of us would do, in the end.
D) From July 4, 1845 until September 6, 1847, no tree at Walden Pond fell without being heard, unless someone was visiting in town while his mom did his laundry for him.
E) All of the above.

10) You and Jesus have just finished a 93-year-long walk on the beach. After you note that sometimes there are two sets of footprints in the sand, but sometimes just one set of footprints, Jesus informs you that when there was only one set, he was carrying you. If you walked at a pace of 2 miles per hour for twenty of the years shown, and at a pace of 5 miles an hour for 70 of the years shown (four of them leap years), with x = the pace for the remaining, not-necessarily-sequential three years of walking, and if the waves splashed your shoes 85 times, causing you to turn out of your path at an 90 degree angle to the shore for five paces per splashing, what percentage of time was Jesus forming an acute angle with you as the apex? Do not include the time in which he carried you. Show your work.

11 – 20) Essay: Please choose one of the following analogies and write a five-paragraph essay explaining it, using inductive reasoning:

Life is…

A) Like a box of chocolates
B) A highway, one that you might like to ride all night long
C) But a dream.
D) A fiendishly difficult test that one is expected to finish within a certain length of time.
E) What you make it. Oh, and on that note…

NOTE: So, you’ve spent the last hour or so taking this fiendishly difficult test. Or, maybe, you followed the directions and you read ahead. You made it here already, 2 minutes in! Good for you! Either way, you deserve to know that this isn’t a real test. It's pretty silly, actually. But then again, I bet you've spent at least part of your life trying to answer ever sillier questions. The truth is, life is the test. Depending how you look at it, either no one passes, or everyone does.

But hey, don’t say anything, you don’t want to ruin it for everybody else. You can put your pencil down. Go ahead and daydream while watching the snow fall out the window. Breathe in. Breathe out. Happy to be here.