Monday, May 08, 2006

Nora Louise Kuzma

Once upon a time, in my more rebellious days, I was on the UF academic team, and my nerdy homeboys (sadly not so many homegirls on the team, maybe another story for another day) let me down. We host an annual (well we always talked about making it semi-annual) high school tournament to raise moolah for our travels. We had some university funding, but we weren't exactly the football team, so we needed to supplement it if we wanted to live the pimp life. The tournament would be open to any public high school that didn't seem to be weird based on their name (no alternative schools, prison schools, schools for handicapped, or anything that seemed like added work--don't sue me, sue someone else). The rounds had 25 toss up questions and about 20 or so bonus questions. We promised something like 16-18 rounds, and at the end we sold the packs of questions for even more money. In years past some nitwits were lazy and used old questions over again to disastrous results (as I high school student I ruined that practice because my excellent memory spotted old questions and I answered way too many of them way too soon). So we needed to write 720-810 questions, and we each were given a .. of packs to write (making a big-ass question bank wasn't feasible at the time). I volunteered to write 90 , which was more than my share.

As time went on, the procrastination of others became outright laziness, and the excuses piled in. We were headed towards a disastrous scenario. I kinda inherited the shit duty of not only writing my 90 or so questions, but also the slack that needed to be addressed. I ended up writing 225 questions, and well there was a slight change in the quality of the questions. I always pushed the limits to begin with, and when you add stress, frustration, and lack of sleep, I ended up writing some gems for questions, which caused some issues.

Geography questions became name the country from liquor/beer produced there. Literature questions involved Tarrantino films--or worse. Science questions involved weapons. History questions involved lunatics, serial killers, celebrity sex scandals, and bizarre trivia. Math questions included a few too many drug references. Out of the blue I added some porn star trivia. There also were quite a few questions on cults, the occult, and anything that might provoke people. It was quite the hodge podge, and the funny thing is that the average score of my packs of questions was through the roof. The kids knew significantly more of my questions than anyone elses. I think every match had someone know Traci Lords birth name or enough of her porn film names to answer the question nice and quick.

I underestimated the parental grief, and since my packs were the only ones printed and done, they were like 5 of the first 6 packs read. At the end of the first night of competition, parents, including those from christian jr high schools (we don't invite private schools or junior highs, so they can smoke my pole), got pissed. I honestly think they were more pissed that their innocent kids knew all the shit they did. I had to see a dean and be counseled on my rebel behavior. The dean came out and said that they were extra hard on me because I was such an influential "alpha nerd". They quantified this status (which I can't argue with, as I was the alpha nerd) by saying I had a girlfriend, and others looked up to me because of that. It was all so sad but true, though I was shocked that they came out and said it.

In the end, I weathered the storm and became a legend. Kids would make copies of the packs of questions, and treasure them like a Mickey Mantle rookie card or something. Some would come up to be and speak to me with odd reverence (this was before I was ordained), and a few asked for autographs. It actually became sad. In the end, the whole affair marked an end of an era, and I no longer had free reign to write questions all on my own (I also never was screwed writing all the questions).

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