Inspired by our feature story on the hipness of contemporary geeks, I thought a little pop quiz might be in order. Please clear your desks, detach yourselves from your iPods, turn off your cell phones, and take out a clean sheet of notebook paper and a No. 2 pencil. No, this quiz will not count toward your final grade. In fact, page references to the source material will be provided, so that if you get an answer wrong, you can review the text before the final. Ready? Let’s begin.
1. If it were two hours later, it would be half as long until midnight as it would be if it were an hour later. What time is it now? (Page 54)
2. What do Ozzy Osbourne and the Australian hopping mouse have to do with your kidneys? (Page 26)
3. If you’re a physician and pathologist in his fifties who decides he’d like to get into autopsying mummies, where is the best place to base your scientific operation? (Page 40)
4. If butter and garlic did not exist, would anyone who wasn’t starving eat snails? (Page 76)
4(a). Do frog legs really taste like chicken?
4(b). What’s next—hamster croquettes?
5. Which is more powerful, more fulfilling, more soul-enriching, and ultimately more tragic: the love between a woman and a man, or the love between a woman and a cheese? (Page 340)
6. Short essay. Explain the expression “Everyone wants a piece of Kinky.” (Page 24)
7. Other than Scott Peterson, how many of the readers of Charles Baxter’s acclaimed novel The Feast of Love have committed mayhem? (Page 149)
b) Maybe a couple.
c) Not enough evidence to say.
d) Define “mayhem.”
8. How did our governor describe shooting his first deer? (Page 48)
a) “I just got lucky today.”
b) “It was beautiful.”
c) “We just had a lot of fun.”
d) All of the above.
9. True or false: Sex is like pizza. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Unless anchovies are involved. (Page 64)
10. Essay. Discuss these statements by Flannery O’Connor with reference to the Tamarack Award–winning story “The Turtle Catcher” (page 42): “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet”; “Good and evil appear to be joined in every culture at the spine”; and “The main concern of the fiction writer is with mystery as it is incarnated in human life.”
Alternate question: Does this story smash an axe into the frozen sea within you, or what?