Alan Rhodes

Mr. Cranky’s Summer Academy

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When I was a kid in school I thought tests were annoying. There was always just one right answer. How boring. How stifling to creativity. How damaging to one’s self-esteem. So I’m opening my own school this summer and I’ve tried my hand at making a test with no wrong answers. Just pick the one you like. As headmaster I’ll feel free to register my own opinions. Pencils ready, begin—or not. There’s no pressure at Mr. Cranky’s Summer Academy.

1. The event most likely to occur first will be (a) completion of a new Whatcom County jail, (b) groundbreaking for a new central library, (c) the state legislature working in an efficient, timely manner, (d) Hell freezing over. Your choice, of course, but I’m leaning toward a cold day in Hell.

2. The most entertaining activity for whiling away those lazy summer afternoons would be (a) tabulating the ratio of Canadian to Washington license plates in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, (b) tallying how many tourists are wearing jackets on days that locals consider warm, (c) keeping track of how many new marijuana stores open each week in Bellingham, (d) trying to find a parking space in Fairhaven. I’d go for “b” because it’s amusing to see Sunbelt tourists pulling on parkas on days when Bellinghamsters are wearing shorts and sandals.

3. The fastest way to go bankrupt in Bellingham is to (a) do all your grocery shopping at Whole Foods, (b) buy a lot of treats at the snack bar every time you go to the Barkley Regal Theater, (c) buy a house in Bellingham, (d) rent a house in Bellingham. Sure, rents and housing prices are obscenely inflated around here, but if you’ve checked out prices at the Regal and Whole Foods, you’ll probably agree that all four options are certain roads to destitution.

4. The person you would least want as an uninvited guest at your birthday party would be (a) Vlad the Impaler, (b) the Grim Reaper, (c) the Red Death, (d) State Senator Doug Ericksen. I could probably find a few kind words to say about the first three.

5. The scariest thought is (a) you accidentally drink untreated water from Lake Whatcom, (b) half of Seattle moves to Bellingham, (c) your radio dial gets stuck on KGMI, (d) recent roadwork on Holly Street was substandard and will have to be done over again. They’re all pretty scary, especially “b” because it might already be happening.

6. The least likely thing to occur this year is (a) definitive proof Elvis is alive, (b) Bigfoot is spotted at a downtown summer concert, (c) a UFO lands on the roof of the Faithlife Building, (d) Eric Bostrom is elected to the Bellingham City Council. I can imagine a UFO flying over Bellingham piloted by Elvis and Bigfoot more easily than I can picture Eric Bostrom’s election. You might have seen Eric downtown waving anti-gay posters or his giant Donald Trump sign. Maybe he yelled at you when you disagreed with him. Or possibly he has picketed your church. Eric, this is Bellingham! Better keep your day job, whatever that might be.

7. The best place in Bellingham to dance and party the night away is (a) the Shakedown, (b) the Wild Buffalo, (c) Rumors Cabaret, (d) the Bellingham Senior Center. Even “d” is a little too wild for me. I’m usually in my jammies with a cup of Sleepytime tea by 9:30.

8. The publication with the highest level of journalistic excellence is (a) the Wall Street Journal, (b) the Washington Post, (c) the New York Times, (d) the Cascadia Weekly. Oh, I screwed up. There actually is a right answer to this one. It’s “d” and if you didn’t select it, your teachers wasted their time teaching you to read and you’re a very bad person. And you’re ugly. So sad. Loser. Whoa, what am I saying? What came over me? I have to stop reading Donald Trump’s tweets.

9. The best class to sign up for at Mr. Cranky’s Summer Academy is (a) A Seven Day Kayak Adventure on Scudder Pond, (b) Lynden’s Dark and Twisted Secrets, (c) Cooking with Slugs, (d) Naked Bike Riding for the Whole Family. Heck, take them all. Pack your summer with fun at only $199.99 per class!

10. Why do we need a number 10? Every test has a number 10. Forget number 10. We push the envelope here at Mr. Cranky’s Summer Academy, where everyone’s an “A” student.

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