Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1995]
These two friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend before finals week (even though the Chem final was on Monday), they decided to go up to UVirginia and party with some friends up there. So they did this and had a great time. However, with their hangovers and everything, they overslept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Duke until early monday
Rather than taking the final then, what they did was to find Professor Bonk after the final and explain to him why they missed the final. They told him that they went up to UVa for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to study, but that they had a flat tire on the way back and didn't have a spare and couldn't get help for a long time and so were late getting back to campus. Bonk thought this over and then agreed that they could make up the final on the following day. The two guys were elated and relieved.
So, they studied that night and went in the next day at the time that Bonk had told them. He placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem, which was something simple about molarity and solutions and was worth
- The number of students involved in the scheme varies (usually between two and four).
- The reason for the students' missing their exam also varies: They were out drinking and overslept; they forgot about the exam; or they were doing poorly in the class anyway and decided to skip the final but later changed their minds.
- In many versions 'Which tire?' is the single test question.
I would have to classify the story as being somewhere between UL and fact. It is based on a real incident, but it has been embellished. For instance, I have only been teaching at Duke for
The incident happened long enough ago that I am not able to recall accurately the exact details anymore. This version is such a good story that I have decided to "let the legend grow". The story has been on Internet about
A number of people have contacted me about the story. It has been a fun and educational experience for me to be involved. For instance, I recently received a
Thanks for your interest. Best wishes.
We found this telling of it in a 1979 collection of anecdotes:
The teacher was pretty sharp. There is no question as to the result of the test. The boys were shown to be liars.
A similar biblical tale of lying conspirators exposed through separate questioning can be found in the Bible's story of Susanna, one of the books of the Apocrypha.
Last updated: 16 June 2011
Carroll, Jon. "Will This Be on the Final?" The San Francisco Chronicle. 4 April 1994 (p. E10). Heberlein, Greg. "Ha Ha! Contest Is No Joke, But These Are." The Seattle Times. 24 December 1995 (Business; p. 1). Tan, Paul Lee. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations. Rockville, Maryland: Assurance Publishers, 1979. ISBN 0-88469-100-4 (p. 562). Reader's Digest. "All in a Day's Work." November 2004 (p. 63).