1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Boozer Tests for a Ph.D.

Alice Ann Asbury - November 10, 2010

I have learned something interesting about Boozer that I’ll pass along. When you learn of this, please don’t tease him. I consider Boozer to be a friend and I don’t want him to encounter any “ribbing” by folks in Alderson.

It began recently when I ran into Boozer at the Big Wheel. He seemed to be a little depressed and so after he joined me in my booth, I decided to probe a bit. At first, I thought he was upset because of the election, but he said no. He told me that he had voted for Romney, but it is what it is and he wasn’t going to fret about it. He said that he liked Romney since Romney was going to give him a 20% tax cut. Boozer hasn’t paid taxes for several years, but he still felt that this would somehow put money in his pocket. What I learned is that he is depressed due to the fact that he has, for the past several months, been pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics. It appears that he thought he could get a Ph.D. in a very short period of time; in 6 months or maybe even less. Of course, I knew better, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to discourage him.

Now I have known Boozer for a number of years and I know that he has always worked hard at various jobs in and out of state, but he has mostly “hung out” around Alderson. Boozer considers himself to be no dummy and he tells all who will listen of his signature accomplishments: his adventures with Alice in Wonderland and the time he and Fuzzy split the home brew atom atop Flat Top Mountain which led to a meeting with Albert Einstein. And then there was the time when he and Three Eight Ball discovered a creature in Saw Mill Hollow that they are sure was Elvis. They told everyone that Elvis was hiding out due to the pressures placed on him by his adoring fans who wanted him to perform again. And, finally, he tells everyone about his search with Pretty Penny and others for treasure on Half Way Island. Boozer is proud that this adventure seems to be somehow connected to Edgar Allen Poe’s story, “The Gold Bug.” However, there are many around town that refuse to believe these stories and I think this is what led him to seek ways to increase his standing and respect among his many friends. I suspect this is the reason he decided to pursue a Ph.D.

While talking with Boozer, I also learned how this all began. It seems that one morning, while he was eating breakfast he noticed an advertisement on the back of his Rice Krispies box that interested him. It was an ad for a Ph.D. in mathematics. This ad led him to believe that he could receive a Ph.D. in mathematics simply by sending five Rice Krispies box tops and 50 cents to the address given in the advertisement. Of course this excited Boozer, since he knew that if he received such a degree, he would be respected for his accomplishment and he could walk proudly around town. Boozer thought about this for awhile and decided, “What the heck, I’ll go for it.” Boozer told me that he ate Rice Krispies exclusively at breakfast until he had collected the necessary box tops, which he sent along with 50 cents to the address given in the advertisement. He said that he heard nothing back for quite awhile and that he was afraid that he had been tricked into eating Rice Krispies exclusively for breakfast by the “makers” of Rice Krispies. However, he said that he eventually received a letter indicating that he was to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, but he would first have to pass a test in mathematics. The letter indicated that if he wanted to proceed to the next step, he was to send a note to a mathematics examiner who was named in the letter. Boozer was to indicate when and where he would be available to take the test. He told me that this scared him pretty badly, since he hadn’t anticipated taking a test. However, he was determined to pursue a Ph.D., so he sent a letter to the Examiner stating that he was ready to take a test in mathematics and that he would be available at his home at the Examiner’s convenience. Again, he said he heard nothing, but then one morning there was a knock at his front door. It was the Examiner.

After inviting the Examiner into his home and exchanging pleasantries, Boozer learned about the test he had to pass. He had to prove that he could count to 20 without using his fingers and without removing his shoes and using his toes. Well, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but Boozer failed the test. Boozer said that he tried and tried and then tried again but he simply couldn’t do it. He told me this was a big disappointment and this is what caused his depression.
However, I am happy to report that Boozer, due to his competitive nature, has not given up. The Examiner told him that he thinks he has potential in mathematics. He told Boozer that if he would practice, he would be permitted to take the test again. The Examiner also said that on a future test Boozer would be permitted to use his fingers once and only once to count to 10 but he could not under any circumstances remove his shoes and use his toes to complete the count to 20. Of course, Boozer would have to begin again by submitting five additional Rice Krispies box tops and 50 cents to the appropriate authorities.

At this point, a question comes to mind. Do you believe that the producers of Rice Krispies have tricked Boozer into continuing to buy Rice Krispies by giving him a test he cannot possibly pass and then encouraging him to try again and again? As I stated earlier, I consider Boozer to be my friend and I pray nightly that he is not being tricked. However, I must confess that I am anxious as to whether or not he will ever be able to pass such a test, even with practice. But it’s my fondest hope that he will be successful in his quest, so I am pulling for him and I hope you will too.

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