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Saturday, January 8, 2011


When I signed my son up for the SATs a couple years ago I somehow ended up on a mailing list from the Educational Testing Service. Every morning I get an email with a sample SAT question which I now forward to my daughter, a high school junior. Being the nerd that I am, I also do the question myself.

A few weeks ago, while talking to a friend --

-- we discussed our daughters' test-taking, and he asked me to forward the questions to him as well, so he could pass them along to his daughter.

It now turns out that he has also been doing the questions, and has done well on them. So yesterday he emailed me, "We ought to take the SATs again, just for hoots, to see how we'd do."

"I will if you will," I replied (in true beta male fashion).

You're probably assuming that he wasn't serious, but -- trust me, I know him -- this is the kind of thing he would actually do. (And if a wager became part of the picture, as it often does with him, I would probably take him up on it.)

But when I mentioned the possibility to my daughter, she let out a moan of dismay: "Oh, no, Dad, not in our town. I know people here. And we'd be sitting right next to each other, because it's done alphabetically. Oh, god, no, please don't."

I have no idea whether the ETS would actually allow us to take the test (I suspect they would not). And if they did, I wouldn't subject my daughter to my presence at such an important event.

But that still leaves the question: how silly would a 56-year-old look sitting in an auditorium full of 16- and 17-year-olds taking that test?

And how much sillier would he look if he got beaten by his daughter?

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