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Bookcase Quiz, Palm Sunday, 2002

Some of us, incapable of significant action, are content to celebrate the mundane.

Today (Palm Sunday, 2002) my wife and I celebrated the completion of two built-in bookcases at the landing at the top of their stairs, as seen at right. We invited a few friends to a tea party. Among much food and many trivial entertainments, we asked our guests to complete the following quiz.


1) One day my wife said, "This wall is hollow. Let's put a bookcase here." How many months passed before the bookcases were built and the last paint dried?
1? 2? 3? 4? 5? 6? 7?

2) The wall, in fact, was
hollow? wood? plaster? brick?

3) Who was fool enough to lend me his Sawz-All?

  • Ken Morrison?
  • Eliot Levin?
  • Bob Pollock?
  • Dan Connor?
  • Pete Renzetti?
  • Larry Walker?

4) Any of the above gentlemen could build these bookcases in . . .
5 hours? 3 hours? 2 minutes? 1 nanosecond?

5) How many hours did it take me?
8? 13? 21? 34? 55? 89?

6) How many trips did he make to Action Hardware, Home Depot, and Sherwin-Williams?
3? 5? 8? 13? 21? 34?

7) How much did I spend, total?
$45? $90? $135? $185? $245?

8) About how many books fit in the shelves?
50? 133? 200? 350? 500? 2000?


Five months passed from the time demolition began on the wall until the last paint dried and books were put in place. The wall my wife thought was hollow was, in fact, brick covered with plaster and sheetrock, topped with barbed wire and wood. I did NOT use Eliot Levin's Sawz-All to cut through the brick and the plaster (as shown above); I used a five-pound hammer and a chisel. Eliot, of course, could have done this work in five hours. That's the answer he gave on the quiz, as did Pete. Ken, who says he always under-estimates jobs, thought three days was a better estimate.

It took me sixty hours to build the bookcases and I enjoyed every minute of it. Well, I enjoyed SOME minutes of it. I made 13 trips to purchase materials which cost $185. The resulting bookcases hold two hundred books.

If my time is worth $15 an hour and the cost of materials is figured in, these bookcases cost $7.00 per book. That should be a significant figure, but how?


The team of Bev and Jonsey won the Bookcase Quiz with five correct answers -- barely nudging past Eliot who, of course, had the advantage of knowing Danny had borrowed the Sawz-All from him. We were impressed with Shari's answer to question number three. She claims that ALL these neighbors of Danny's are fool enough to lend him their Sawz-All.

Dorinda won the boasting contest by writing on her entry, "I am good at winning contests!" Eight of the 21 entrants in the Bookcase Contest did better than she did..

PHOTOS: Cecilia, putting down her spoon on top of many others, said, "Look, we're building a sculpture." Before it could move, I had captured the deed on film. Above that photo, we see Aaron and Dale combing through the bookshelves for books to read while Sadie completes the Quiz. We managed to give away fifty books. The rest will be donated to the Arden Fair.


We have not yet decided yet on prizes, but they will certainly be appropriate to the occasion.

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All pages copyright 2000-2006 Danny N. Schweers