Every Friday, while the rest of the 5th grade had Reading, I went to Problem Solving. I met in the elementary school library with two other students, Bobby Rasmussen and Jeff Dean for this unusual class.
Each week, in a secure manila envelope, we were given a problem to solve as a group. We were to do our absolute best work and place the completed assignment back in the envelope and close it securely. At the time I honestly thought they were looking for kids for secret government work. And even if I was not selected, I figured it got me out of class, so I was game.
Working independent of any teacher supervision, so as to not taint our results, one week our problem was somewhat as follows: We were to imagine that the people in our problem solving group were stranded on a deserted island surrounded by massive waves and man eating sharks. The paperwork went into great detail about the natural resources and climate of the island. Our assignment included making a list of ten things that would make it possible to ensure our survival.
Our hour long strategy session started out as you might typically imagine. However, early on we debated just exactly what would secure our survival. I argued we needed to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves until we could alert someone to rescue us. Bobby and Jeff insisted we were destined to remain stranded and we needed to consider what would allow for the survival of the human race on the island.
Below knife, tarp, fishing pole, matches, and other such items we had one line left for our tenth requirement for survival. I wanted to write 'flares'. Bobby and Jeff wanted to write 'sex'.
Since sex with either one of them was not even a remote possibility in my mind, as designated scribe, in my neatest cursive, I wrote 'flares.' Bobby grabbed the paper from me, erased it and in crude, firm pencil wrote 'sex'.
I adamantly disagreed and informed them that if we were truly stranded on such an island, I would never agree to continue the human race with either one of them. They insisted that I would have no choice; it would be my obligation to have children. And so a loud and boisterous argument ensued.
Stubborn and strict in my stance, I would not be swayed. While Bobby passionately pounded his farm-hand fists on the library table and Jeff tried to argue with logic, I folded my arms and refused to budge.
Even though we were explicitly told not to discuss answers with our teacher, before securing the envelope, I took our paper and showed it to Miss Langston. Pointing to Bobby's dark penciled 'sex' on line #10, I explained my dilemma.
I stood with my heart pounding awaiting her verdict. She considered all agruments and then agreed I could change 'sex' to 'flares' since I was not physically capable of creating life at this point in my life.
I stuck my tongue out at Bobby and Jeff, and scored an imaginary point for my personal victory of deserted island celibacy.