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Winging It, Vol. 2

This week, in their ongoing heroic efforts to get back to their summer vacations as fast as humanly possible, members of the Nebraska Legislature approved $15 million in cuts to the University of Nebraska's operating budget. It seems that, no matter how many Cornhusker t-shirts people buy, the state just can't seem to get out of this budget hole. Go figure. Personally, I can't help but think if lawmakers had just taken my advice last October -- the last time they got together for one of these special-session thingies -- that the present round of cuts would be quite unnecessary.

I proposed a very workable solution, namely that Nebraska could rake in buckets of cash by selling off the state's really non-essential assets: state museums, state parks, speed-limit signs, the Bob Devaney Sports Center, etc. Sadly, the only response that I got from this proposal was an angry letter from every Nebraska basketball fan in existence, for a total of 19 letters, including the players and their immediate families. So, phooey. That's the last time I try to help.

Still, it's clear that the state's residents are standing up and being counted when it comes to their feelings about Good Old Nebraska U. In a recent Gallup survey, which asked what they thought it would take for the University of Nebraska to remain competitive on a national level, 25 percent said "More funds devoted to scientific research," 23 percent said "Emphasis on attracting and retaining more Rhodes scholars," and 52 percent said "Getting Curt Dukes under center as quickly as possible." It is this last group of respondents that I want to focus on today -- because even in times of severe economic strife, it is clear that the state's obsession with the Huskers has not wavered in the least.

Often I have asked myself: "Self, just how whacked out about the Huskers are the people in this state?" And when I would eventually get around to answering, I would have to be fairly esoteric and vague, given that there was no real way to gauge this phenomenon accurately. Well, no longer. We in The Pond have created a scientific quiz that can, for all intents and porpoises, determine the average person's Husker Quotient.

Help us test this revolutionary HQ quiz, wouldja? Give it a try and see how you score:

QUESTION 1. It’s your significant other’s birthday, and you want to surprise her with a romantic gift delivered to her place of work. After much deliberation, you decide to order her an assortment of bright red:
(a) Roses.
(b) Rubies.
(c) Fairbury Hot Dogs.

QUESTION 2. Hoping to break into a career in broadcasting, you decide to try for a job at your local TV station. Halfway through the interview, the station manager asks for your honest opinion -- what do you believe was the most significant moment in television history? And without hesitation, you say that it was:
(a) The groundbreaking 1960 presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy, which forever changed the way elections were won -- and lost.
(b) The live telecast of Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing, a pure documentation of one of the most important moments in mankind's history.
(c) Episode 82 of "Too Close For Comfort," in which Ted Knight wore a Nebraska sweatshirt during a scene with Jim J. Bullock.

QUESTION 3. You’re in an urban coffee shop and happen to strike up a conversation with a bespectacled man in a black turtlenck who is reading a philosophy book. After learning that you're a Cornhusker fan, he asserts that the football team is injurous to the area’s Zeitgeist. You:
(a) Agree, and say that a mere football team having such a significant impact on the area's general intellectual, moral and cultural climate is nothing short of asinine.
(b) Disagree, and say that the area’s intellectual, moral and cultural climate is separate from -- nay, above -- the self-insulating and myopic sports world.
(c) Disagree, and add that in your opinion, Ben is a pretty sturdy receiver for a kid from Beatrice, and really showed his toughness after taking that monster hit in the Rose Bowl.

QUESTION 4. You’re getting ready to meet a sexy co-worker for drinks on a Saturday night. As you put on the new shirt you’ve bought just for this occasion, you:
(a) Button it unevenly, just like the guys in "Esquire" do.
(b) Leave it unbuttoned, just like the guys in "GQ" do.
(c) Tuck it in and pull your pants up to your rib cage, just like Frank Solich does.

QUESTION 5. You are on your honeymoon at beautiful Niagara Falls. One blissful evening during the trip, you and your new spouse join several other couples at sunset at an observation deck overlooking the falls. You:
(a) Contemplate the awesome natural beauty around you.
(b) Hold hands with your loved one and declare to those within earshot that you’ll be together forever.
(c) Push the guy in the Florida State hat over the railing.

QUESTION 6. You're summoned home from work one Thursday because your child has been suspended from his middle school for smoking marijuana in the boy’s bathroom. Angrily, you:
(a) Threaten to send the child to juvenile hall.
(b) Threaten to send the child to a boot camp-style military school.
(c) Threaten to send the child to the University of Colorado.

QUESTION 7. One day while driving home from work, it suddenly hits you like a brick. You realize that you are mortal and that someday you will, in fact, die, and that there is nothing you can do about it. Resolving to live every day as if it were your last, you resolve to:
(a) Learn how to hang glide.
(b) Climb Mount Everest.
(c) Place an order for a Husker casket.

QUESTION 8. You are sitting in a history lecture, and the discussion turns to the Dark Ages. You accidentally make eye contact with the professor, who suddenly asks you what year the Dark Ages ended. Coolly, you reply:
(a) 1492.
(b) 1776.
(c) 1962.

QUESTION 9. A longtime female friend calls you on a Saturday afternoon, distraught and weeping. She informs you that since her divorce three months ago, she has gained 30 pounds and has been laid off from her job. She goes on to tearfully admit that she hasn’t left her house in three weeks and is beginning to wonder if life is truly worth the effort any more. Her mood swings, she says between sobs, range from crushing despair to the paralyzing realization that in the end, life is just a great big nothing. You tell her:
(a) That in your experience, you’ve learned that life is cyclical in nature; for every yin there is a yang; that better times are undoubtedly ahead for her.
(b) That sometimes, fate has a strange way of working, and that we as human beings often cannot understand why things happen when they're happening, but that this much is clear -- everything does happen for a reason.
(c) That you can't BELIEVE Frank Solich just called a fullback dive on third and long.

QUESTION 10. After what seems like years of working your connections, you’ve finally scored tickets to the big game -- three of them, to be precise. You plan to take a couple of buddies from work, but when you tell your wife of this plan she suggests you take the children instead, for some quality bonding time. Your immediate reaction is:
(a) Why in the world would children enjoy going to a football game?
(b) Do you suppose they will want to eat something while we're there?
(c) What are their names?

QUESTION 11. Hoping to make the world a better place, you join the Peace Corps and are immediately dispatched to Sierra Leone, Africa. Your mission is to bring a remote tribal village into the 21st Century. You start by:
(a) Inoculating the villagers with antibiotics.
(b) Constructing a bridge over a nearby river, thereby creating access to a main road that leads to civilization.
(c) Building a Brewsky's.

QUESTION 12. You’re on a first date and really hope to make a good impression. So you have taken your date to your favorite place to eat in the whole world. When it finally comes time to order, you:
(a) Allow her to go first.
(b) Find out what she wants, and then politely order for the both of you.
(c) Remind her that if she gets two Runzas now, then she can save one for the second half and save herself a trip.

QUESTION 13. Pressure's on! You're leading in the final round of the game show "The Weakest Link," and can win the daily jackpot if you can successfully identify the warrior who uttered the famous line "I Shall Return." Confidently, you answer:
(a) Douglas MacArthur.
(b) George Patton.
(c) Johnny Rodgers.

QUESTION 14. Complete this sentence: Al Gore was to George W. Bush in 2000 as:
(a) Samuel Tilden was to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.
(b) Grover Cleveland was to Benjamin Harrison in 1888.
(c) Gary Barnett was to Frank Solich in 2001.

QUESTION 15. Congratulations! You’ve just become the proud parent of three healthy, bouncing triplet boys. As you and your spouse previously discussed, the children’s names will be the time-honored family names of:

(a) Vinnie, Eddie and Louie.

(b) Jesse, Josh and Justin.

(c) Turner, Mike and Irving.

SCORING: For every time you chose "c" as your answer, add one point to your Husker Quotient. A true Husker fan would ring up an HQ of at least 13. At least. Actually, make that 23 -- if you were able to talk your wife into letting you take your work buddies to the big game instead of your children like she wanted, throw in an extra 10 HQ points.

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