Monday, September 29, 2008


A young man realized his long held dream of being accepted at State U in the ornithology program. He *loved* birds and wanted to study and preserve them.

He worked and worked at his lessons, learning things about birds no other undergraduate had even thought to wonder about. After four very hard years, he sat down to his last final. He knew that the good grade he would get on this test would complete his degree with highest honors, and along with his field studies would propel him to graduate school, where he would be able to begin teaching others the wonders of birds.

When he got to the examination hall, he saw five bird cages on pedestals at the front of the room. Each cage was completely covered by a canvas drop cloth. The proctor for the exam was none other than the distinguished elderly head of the department of ornithology, and he had designed the test himself.

At the appointed hour, the professor stood and addressed the gathered students. "You see before you five cages, with the avian in each cage concealed. You must now prove your skills and knowledge in the realm of ornithology by recognizing each avian, giving as full a description of the habitat, the diet, the mating habits, and the parenting style of each as you can. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam." With that, the professor proceeded to raise the canvas over each cage only enough to show the birds' legs.

Our young man was stunned. *Only the legs?! ONLY the legs??!! ONLY THE LEGS???!!!* After all the hours he had spent studying everything about birds except their legs?!

After ten incredulous minutes, he could take no more. He shut his examination book, stood up, walked to the front of the hall and screamed at the the professor, "This is stupid. This is asinine! No one, but no one who is in the least rational can tell you everything you want to know about these birds from looking at their LEGS!"

He threw his exam book on the floor in front of the professor and stormed toward the door to leave. The class was very large, and the professor had had his graduate assistants handle most of the one-on-one contact with the undergraduates. Therefore, he did not know most of the students in the examination hall, including our young man.

He called after the young man, "Just a minute here, what's your name?"

Our young man turned around, hiked the legs of his jeans up to his knees and said, "You guess, buddy, you guess!"

Now playing: Sara Evans - Born to Fly
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