Purpose of Life
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||acuity, Blubaum, collegian, indifference, inscrutable, melodramatic, obnoxious, plausible, predetermine, predilection, prostrate, self-consciously, stroller, giddy, open-ended, initiate
||Next Mr, Then Virginia, Religious Reasons
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Purpose of Life
By Brenda B. Covert
1 Mr. Blubaum had expected the class to emit a collective groan upon hearing their latest assignment, and he was not disappointed. The project would take the form of a survey. The theme was this: what do people believe is the purpose of life? The students' mission was to collect responses. He warned them that a successful survey would require mental acuity.
2 Next Mr. Blubaum divided the class into teams of four students. Each team needed to agree on a specific question. Then the team members would choose whether to target strangers or people they knew, and whether to target youth, adults, or a combination. The team with the most impressive results would receive a certificate entitling them to a free day at a nearby animal refuge.
3 Virginia, Thomas, Marisol, and Bijanjon would never have chosen to work together, although they had been classmates since their elementary years. Each one saw the other three as weird. None had ever attempted to initiate a conversation with the others. Virginia, emotional and melodramatic, reacted to the most trivial things. She was never simply happy, but ecstatic; never merely sad, but devastated. The most noticeable flaw in Thomas was his predilection for obnoxious behavior. He was devoid of common courtesy. The few friends he had thought him hysterically funny; all others avoided him. Marisol kept her opinion of him - and many other things in general - hidden behind a mask of indifference; she prided herself on being seen as inscrutable. Bijanjon was a stingy loner who never bought anything that wasn't offered at a discount. He was also reluctant to share his own school supplies. "Get your own," was his favorite expression.
4 The teammates eyed each other cautiously. Then Virginia spoke. "What plausible explanation could there be for the fates choosing to inflict us with this impossible mission?"
5 "The fates have forsaken us!" Thomas answered in a voice mimicking Virginia's.
6 Marisol flipped her sleek, black hair and sighed. "To have any chance of winning, we'll have to endure each other's presence on this team."
7 "Fine," Bijanjon retorted, "as long as we aren't required to bring refreshments to any meetings. I'm not into refreshments."
8 "Nobody's asking you to spend your precious allowance on this effort, Beej," Thomas responded with a snort. "Anyway, we can predetermine who the winners will be: Gina Finkle's team. Who wants to bet they do their surveying in her father's ice cream shop?"
9 Marisol frowned. "We must come up with a plan that leaves our opponents in the dust."
10 "Can we go to the mall? I just love the mall!" Virginia said hopefully.
11 Since no one wanted to see Virginia prostrate with grief, they agreed to conduct their survey at the mall's food court. People of all ages and types would come through the food court; they felt sure that they could get a good variety of responses there. Bijanjon was prepared to disrupt the meeting with protestations, but he acquiesced after Marisol promised that it was not a shopping trip in disguise.
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