Monday, October 7, 2013

Zero Sum

"Give me my pencil!" demanded one of my students of the girl next to her.

"Her classmate looked appalled. "Give me my pencil," she demanded in return.

Both girls were talking about the same pencil, an inexpensive, bright green mechanical job.

I intervened. "Whose pencil is it?" I asked with authority.

"Mine!" they chorused.

Considering the impossibility of their stories both being true and the distraction their dispute was causing the class, I asked them to step outside for a moment to work it out. A minute later I joined them. "What have you decided?" I asked sternly.

"We've decided we are going to look back on this and laugh," one of them told me.

"Mm hmm," I said. "Well, whose pencil is it?"

"Mine!" they both insisted.

Maybe they should run for congress.

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