chapter  17
3 Pages


When I was in seventh grade myself, I tackled “Can Man Live on the Moon?” as a science fair theme. My shrewd father immediately realized my intellectual capabilities were not up to the task of ascertaining whether or not it would be feasible to establish permanent residence on the moon, and he suggested instead that I investigate something I could actually understand. Being a seventh grader, I refused. Although I learned nothing about the plausibility of residing on the moon and conducted no scientific research, I did make a really neat art project representing the lunar surface. Many years later, when I was teaching seventh grade and coaching the boys’ basketball team, I was still looking for ways to complicate matters. On my basketball team was an extraordinarily tall and talented young man who currently plays professional basketball. Although a fine young man, he was often getting into minor trouble with his other teachers. I concocted an elaborate system for keeping his behavior in check and shared my plan with my principal. My principal shrewdly replied, “Jeff, he’s not that sophisticated. Just tell him what to do and make him do it.”