Let me say upfront that I’m glad I wasn’t my teacher in school. (Impossible, I know. Still, I’m glad). School for me was rather monotonous so, I always tried to make it more interesting. For some reason, my humor and extra effort weren’t always appreciated.
There are many instances that I could use to illustrate my point; the following is one of my favorites.
Grade school. A Science test. The state of matter. One section of the test listed ten or twelve substances, things like; gasoline, plastic, granite, helium, milk, etc. In the blank beside each one, I was supposed to write either liquid, solid, or gas. That seemed far too mundane to me, so instead I printed in very neat letters, “Depends on the temperature.” Imagine my “surprise” when the test was returned with every one of them marked wrong!
If this had been a few years later, I would have gotten away with it. My high school teacher had a sense of humor - or appreciated mine. Unfortunately, my fourth grade teacher did not. As far as he was concerned, my answers were incorrect.
Of course, I argued. After all, the test hadn’t specified what temperature I was supposed to use. If cold enough everything can be a solid - even if you have to go all the way to absolute zero (the theoretical temperature at which no heat is present in any particle, approximately –460°F in case anyone is wondering). And obviously, thanks to Newton’s Third Law of Thermodynamics, the equal and opposite must be true; if hot enough, everything can be a gas.
After several more minutes of discussion, which involved the whole class, the teacher gave up. Although he would not concede that I was right, he agreed to not mark my answers wrong. Same thing to me. However, he did go on and on about how in the future I should recognize when something is implied and form my answers accordingly.
Yeah, sure. I never did seem to learn that. To this day, when someone asks how long it takes to drive from one town to another - a question I get a lot, being a truck driver - I say, “Depends on how fast you drive.”