Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pop Quiz

Mother and daughter took this 21-question quiz together. Their results will shock you!

Here's the quiz: Can you answer the 21 questions that every American should know?

My fourteen year-old daughter and I took it together last night and we got all 21 questions right. To be honest, I was amazed at how much of it she knew off the top of her head. "Well, I did just have it in school this year, mom." There were a few questions we went back and forth on. It wasn't entirely a slam-dunk. Maybe it will be for you.

I'll admit I was thrilled at how much my daughter knew. Yes, I know. It's a mom thing. But when we raise our glasses later at the family cookout, I'll be offering a toast to her GT American History teacher.


Years ago my family was stuck in a traffic jam coming home from watching the Fourth of July fireworks at Edgewater Park in Cleveland. We were not just stuck on the road, we were stuck on a bridge. This particular bridge was in the process of having work done and there were places where the pavement had been removed and you could see down, down, down into the Cuyahoga River below. And we all knew that the river was filled with chemicals spewed from the industrial plants all around us.

It was oppressively hot. This was before cars were air conditioned, so we all sat, cars idling, windows rolled down, breathing each other's car exhaust. I was three or four. Too many cars on the bridge, I thought. The bridge is full of holes, I thought. The bridge will collapse and we will fall into the water and drown. Or dissolve, I thought.

My short life flashed before my eyes. Full-on panic mode had set in. My mother decided to turn on the radio to distract me.


A deep male voice boomed from the car radio. We all jumped. And then we burst out laughing. My mother changed the station and found some music. The tension of the moment was broken. And the story became an instant classic in the Jackson family repertoire.

"Why were you born?" we would bellow and then collapse in a fit of giggles.

Despite the fact that it has become the punchline of a family joke, that sentence does come to mind every Fourth of July and I often give some serious thought to it. What is the thing that answers that call? What makes me think, "For this was I born, for this have I come into the world."?

I don't always get the same answer.

Happy Independence Day. You can take the 21-question quiz if you are short on time. The one-question quiz may take longer.



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