So, that Charles Murray quiz was interesting, wasn’t it? I thought, as a kind of get-to-know-the-host exercise, that I would tell you all my answers and give you a little background. I encourage people who took the quiz to tell us more details as to how you arrived at your result. No need to go full Patterico and give every answer, unless you’re inclined to — but consider sharing the more interesting answers. Many of you have already, and I enjoyed it, which is what motivated me to do this.
1. Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American neighborhood in which the majority of your 50 nearest neighbors did not have college degrees?
No. It’s a guess, but I consulted with my mom who gave me specifics about our immediate neighbors, and her intuition confirmed mine. This one didn’t, but that one did, and that one over there was a college professor, and so forth. It wasn’t a rich neighborhood, just a standard middle class neighborhood in Fort Worth.
2. Did you grow up in a family in which the chief breadwinner was not in a managerial position or a high-prestige profession (defined as attorney, physician, dentist, architect, engineer, scientist or college professor)?
My dad was a CPA. I considered it prestigious. But I guess not by Murray’s standards.
3. Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American community with a population under 50,000 that is not part of a metropolitan area and is not where you went to college?
Nope. Fort Worth has always been about half a million people, as far as I can remember. And Los Angeles? Get outta here.
4. Have you ever lived for at least a year in the United States at a family income that was close to or below the poverty line?
I answered “no” to this one, but I wasn’t sure. I checked with my mom. She said “yes” but we’re not sure we qualify under Murray’s standards. My dad had a heart attack while running his own CPA business, and was out of work for months. The bills piled up. My mom clipped coupons and drove us all over town to get deals on groceries and other necessities. We were a family of 6, and she estimates we were making $20,000 for that family in the worst year — but she’s not really sure. She said my sisters were getting free lunches at school, and that was poverty. But if you apply the inflation multipliers Murray says to apply, then I guess the answer is no. So I said no, and I’m not changing it.
5. Have you ever walked on a factory floor?
Yeah, because I think you’d consider the Mrs. Baird’s Bread plant in Fort Worth to be a factory, and we went on tours of it at least twice. Once for my birthday. It wasn’t connected with a job, obviously.
6. Have you ever held a job that caused something to hurt at the end of the day?
Yup. Working at a Long John Silver’s for eight months, I was a busboy, cashier, and general janitor. My feet were killing me at the end of an eight-hour shift. It lasted more than a summer. But my whole body didn’t ache. Just my feet. Same applies to being a sacker at a grocery store.
7. Have you ever had a close friend who was an evangelical Christian?
Yup. For sure. But I’m not one myself.
8. Do you now have a close friend with whom you have strong and wide-ranging political disagreements?
This is a tough one. Most of my friends have widely varying political views, but most don’t hold them strongly. I gave myself credit for one here, but I wasn’t really quite sure how to answer.
9. Have you ever had a close friend who could seldom get better than Cs in high school even if he or she tried hard?
Nope. I don’t think I would find such people all that interesting. If that’s elitist, so be it.
10. During the last month have you voluntarily hung out with people who were smoking cigarettes?
I don’t think so. That’s uncommon in Southern California.
11. Do you know what military ranks are denoted by these five insignia? (Click each one to show the correct rank.)
Nope. Didn’t have a clue. My dad was in the Naval reserves, for a long time, and reached the rank of Commander. He almost became a captain. But I don’t know any of the symbols.
12. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is?
Nope. I know a defense attorney by that name, but I’m pretty sure that’s not who Murray means. *Googles* Oh, a NASCAR guy. Nope. Not a NASCAR fan. (I never purchased Avon products either, but I think that one is for the ladies.)
13. Have you or your spouse ever bought a pickup truck?
14. During the last year, have you ever purchased domestic mass-market beer to stock your own fridge?
I don’t think so. I’m not positive. I almost never drink beer, but occasionally get some when other people are coming over, When I do, it’s not domestic mass-market stuff.
15. During the last five years, have you or your spouse gone fishing?
I don’t think so. We went fishing as a family when I was a kid. I liked it OK, but not that much. My son and I went on an Indian Guides trip which I believe was in the last five years, and one of the dads was fishing and offered to let Matthew fish, which he did and enjoyed. But I didn’t participate. I just watched. So, no.
16. How many times in the last year have you eaten at one of the following restaurant chains?
I am estimating here, but Mrs. P. and I meet for lunch on occasion, and one of the semi-regular places is Chili’s. I estimated 3 times in the past year. Could have been more. The kids like T.G.I Friday’s, so we’ve been there.
17. In high school, did you letter in anything?
I played soccer, but I was horrible and never made it out of J.V. And I don’t think they gave us a letter for golf. I have this weird memory of maybe having gotten a letter, but I could be imagining it. So I’m saying no.
18. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club or union local?
I mentioned this in my original post. My dad was a longtime Kiwanis member. He took me to several meetings throughout my childhood. He encouraged me to go on my own, and I did, once — but didn’t really care for it. Anyway, this was a yes. Hooray!
19. Have you ever participated in a parade not involving global warming, a war protest or gay rights?
Watched parades as a kid. Always hated them. Never participated in one.
20. Since leaving school, have you ever worn a uniform?
21. Have you ever done either of these for a trip of 50 miles or more?
Ridden on a long-distance bus (e.g., Greyhound, Trailways)
No, but that’s kind of silly. As a kid, we never flew anywhere. We drove from Fort Worth, Texas to grandma’s house on Long Island — a three-day trip — in a car. All six of us. With bags and coolers taking up every inch of floor space and space between us, because we never stopped to eat, even at a fast-food place, because that would be too expensive. So we took our food with us and ate sandwiches and fruit from the cooler and grocery bags. You’re gonna tell me I’m elitist and out of touch because we did that rather than riding a bus? Come on.
22. Movies seen
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Mockingjay Part 2
[UPDATE: Mrs. P tells me I have also seen these:
23. TV shows watched
24. Have you ever watched an episode of any of these shows all the way through?
Nope. I don’t even know who Wendy Williams is.
25. What does the word “Branson” mean to you?
A big entertainment center in the Midwest. Who is Richard Branson? *Googles* Ah, the founder of Virgin Group. What is Virgin Group? *Googles* Yeah, that’s what I figured. No, I have never been to Branson. If I want to watch Yakov Smirnov, I’ll watch him on YouTube, and then shoot myself in the head. What a country!
But I watched him and loved him as a kid.
That gets me a total of 27 points. It’s one of the most bubbilicious scores among the readership here, and yet I don’t feel like a giant elitist.
I’d be very interested to see where your answers differ.
UPDATE: The extra two movies (Inside Out and Cinderella) bumped my score to 28 points. Mrs. P. took the quiz and got 32 points.