Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A professor, in response to yet another inquiry about whether he will be giving a quiz the next day, informs the class that the day he enters the classroom through the transom will be the day he holds a pop quiz. One day later that semester the professor climbs into the room through the transom over the door, quiz in hand.
Example: [Reader's Digest, 1961]
Variations: In one version of this legend the students lock the professor out of the classroom when he is late, forcing him to enter via the transom (and then give the class a pop quiz).
Origins: This legend has been attributed to several different college instructors, most of whom are claimed to have been circus acrobats. The most frequently mentioned name is that of
This legend possibly originated as a cautionary tale warning students never to take anything for granted and to be prepared at all times, and/or as an expression of student anxieties over the difficulties of achieving good grades. On both counts it bears a strong resemblance to another examination legend, the Paper Chase.
Last updated: 25 March 2007
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