In ninth grade (freshman high school) I sat, dull-eyed, at a desk while the English teacher, a fellow who, I’ll admit, was pretty animated, proceeded to, oddly enough, perform a statistical test on the class.
“Who wants to bet that at least two of you (a class of 30) have the same birthday?”
We all, as group, took the bet.
He then went around the room, alphabetically, asking each of us our birthday.
When he got to Billy Baker, Billy announced his date.
I was dumbstruck. It was the same damn day as mine. Now, Billy was somewhat of a student to be admired: played the trumpet, was good looking, clear skin, got straight A’s. I instantly thought to myself, “Whoa, that’s too cool. Me and Billy have the same birthday (and birth year), we’re exactly the same age! Neat-o!”
And so I blared out this fact to the class. Well, Billy sat just to the right of me and he immediately turned and shushed me down. “Shut up you fool. We can’t let this teacher win.”
Billy possessed the presence of mind to be able to react in a way that would no doubt favor him later in life. I, on the other hand, reacted with total, gleeful abandon, without any regard to the bet or the fallout of the experiment. I was oblivious.
So, class, which one are you?
A: Are you a Billy and on constant street-smarts awareness as to how any situation (and your reaction to it) might benefit you?
B: A foolish dunderhead who is just damn happy to have had some relation, albeit remote, to one of the cool kids in school? And generally incognizant of how to play the world to your advantage?