books, education, food, humor

More Hollow than Sleepy

In elementary school, in case of fire you have to line up quietly
in a single file line from smallest to tallest.
What is the logic? Do tall people burn slower
?”

~ Washington Irving

I was a 9 year-old 4th grader in a California school. We were having a contest – a quiz game of sorts . . .

I was the only child in a tomb silent room to produce the answer to the question “Name the author who penned the character Ichabod Crane.”

I think it was the “penned” that threw them off. Having read plenty, and being comfortable with some archaic forms of proper English, i knew that at one time, writing truly meant pen and ink and so, the question meant to ask “who created him?” or “under whose pen did the character emerge?” Writing was a conjuring trick and so was remembering silly, but in this case important trivia. A prize was at stake after all.

“Washington Irving?” i half-asked or more, softly muttered.

“Who said that?” Mr. Hopkins asked.

I raised my hand and he smiled and handed me an envelope. “That’s right! Ichabod Crane from The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.”

“Awww” and “Ohhhh” the room collectively cooed in a wash of jealousy for me having won and also for having not recalled the name themselves.

I opened my envelope and sighed. McDonald’s Gift Certificates. I disliked their food for the most part and i still do. I would’ve preferred a book voucher or money for the book mobile, but instead, I treated myself and a few friends to an assortment of sundaes.

Have you ever won a disappointing or embarassing prize?

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