When I was in 6th grade, apart from being the local expert on making and detonating bombs, rockets and Molotov cocktails (see 10/10/12 and 10/15/12), I cut lawns to make a few bucks. I also kept my eyes glued to the ground for stray pennies (see 8/1/12). And I sold Kool Aid on the local golf course for a dime (sprinting into the weeds when the Ranger came zooming toward me in his golf cart).
Another occupation of mine involved the creation of nine different “Intelligence Tests” for classmates. I would type (from scratch – one finger at a time) ten questions on a sheet of paper and give it to a classmate in exchange for a quarter. If they could answer the questions, I gave them their quarter plus another quarter (“you win“). If they didn’t, I kept their quarter. No one ever won. . . . .
The questions included: how many gorillas were in the U.S. in 1919 (one); what King of France tinkered with locks (Louis XVI); how many Indians served in World War I (17,313); what was the parcel post rate on packages going to Manchuria in 1924 (12 cents/pound); and so on. I earned a lot of quarters.
The reason for my success was that I had a book. It was the book Answers to Questions by Frederic J. Haskin (Grosset & Dunlap, 1926). The book had all of these questions — and so many more. Do you know many of the mules sent to France in World War I were killed? If you can answer that one, I’ll give you a quarter.