The internet allows us to access many of the great treasures of civilization in mere seconds. Many, however, bypass these treasures for the myriad middling curiosities offered online. Here at The New Leaf Journal, we try to avoid being trite for clicks. For that reason, I will forego listing the top 15 most totally awesome ways to waste your time on the internet. Instead, I will share a brief story involving high school class, a frivolous online quiz, and a dream of becoming a model supplanted by a determination to become a “model maker.”

The “SAT Prep” “Class”

During my junior year of high school, we had an SAT prep class. Both “SAT prep” and “class” must be put in quotation marks. Very little SAT prep occurred in that “class,” and none of it was of the substantive variety. The closest we came was occasionally working on a few pages of the SAT prep book independently and then hearing what the right answers were. Even when a teacher was present for the whole 45-minute period, the class went by without much SAT preparation happening.

During one class period, a young lady in my class refuted the notion that I was not studying for the SAT by saying that I was in this SAT prep class. I informed her, with agreement from those around me, that this “class” did not constitute studying for the SAT. It was, in fact, the only time I opened my SAT prep book. I do hope that assuming she intended to take classes to prepare for the SAT, she did not actually consider that class among them.

But as I am wont to do, I digress. This story is not about SAT prep. In fact, it is about an SAT prep class that had nothing to do with the SATs at all.

Preparing for the SAT with a Frivolous Online Quiz/Survey

On one SAT prep class occasion, the teacher evidently decided that he was very much not in the mood to prepare anyone for the SAT. Instead, he brought us to the computer room and guided us to a website containing an online survey. The survey was on a goofy website. It had us answer insignificant questions with the promise that it would use our answers to tell us what career paths we should undertake. I called it a survey, but it may have been a “quiz” in more common parlance. In any event, it was the type of thing you would expect a teenage friend to send on AIM, MyFace, or Faceboard, but not in an SAT prep class. (It is surely difficult to guess which of those three services I used.) It was certainly less educational than my class trip to see a Star Wars movie nearly two years prior.

I do not remember what career the survey, or quiz, coughed up for me. Suffice it to say, my inability to remember it indicates that it most likely did not change the direction of my life. We can say for the sake of the good story that it told me to turn over a new leaf and start an online magazine. Let us go with that. A conveniently poetic story owed to nothing but poor recollection.

But as I am wont to do, I digress. This story is not my survey, but about the surveys and ensuing discussion of two of my classmates.

The Dramatic Personae

My class that year touted a few memorable characters. One of these characters, “Boy DQ” we shall call him, exclaimed before taking the quiz that he wanted to be a model. To the best of my recollection, Boy DQ had never talked about wanting to be a model before that class, and he never did after that class. However, he did once say to another classmate, “I’m not your bro, bro.” Context is usually overrated, but here I make an exception.

Boy DQ took the survey with due haste, enthusiastic to learn that his future involved dramatic poses and steely-eyed stares. I do not recall what the survey recommended for him other than it did not suggest that he become a model. He was even more dejected than when he described his lost journal as being “mad exclusive, yo.”

Another one of my classmates, Boy MP, was a proverbial baseball encyclopedia and the finest athlete our quaint school produced. Although he threw 80-85 mph from the mound and played catcher like his hero, Mike Piazza, when he was not pitching, he fancied himself as a future baseball executive rather than player. Unsurprisingly, Boy MP hoped that the survey would recommend sports management.

Boy MP was very disappointed to learn that the survey told him that he should become a model. While Boy MP spoke fondly of his “guns,” he aspired to flex them in complex trade negotiations, not for the cameras. Boy MP was despondent. But how would Boy DQ feel?

The Model Maker’s Proposal

As Boy MP complained about being put on a path to modeling, Boy DQ could not believe Boy MP’s good fortune. Would Boy DQ be jealous? Would he encourage Boy MP? Well, from what he said, it is not entirely clear. Boy DQ exclaimed:

Yo! You’re the model and I’m the model maker!”

Boy DQ to Boy MP.

I did not, and do not, know exactly what Boy DQ meant. Boy DQ may not have known what he meant. There are, to be sure, many possibilities. Perhaps Boy DQ meant that he would support Boy MP in his modeling endeavors. Maybe Boy DQ unknowingly borrowed Boy MP’s sports dreams and applied them to modeling, hoping to work as a modeling executive rather than as a model proper. I cannot discount, however, that Boy DQ meant that Boy MP would be a regular model while he would be some sort of higher grade of model.

Cover of "Artist & Model" edited with Microsoft Paint to read "The Model Maker & Model."
Cover of “Artist & Model (Divorced Princess)” by René de Pont-Jest, clipped from Project Gutenberg. I know that this will come as a shock to you because my edits were equal parts adroit and careful, but I actually used Microsoft Paint to replace the word “ARTIST” with “THE MODEL MAKER.” I am this close to quitting writing to take up art full time.

You may choose whichever theory you most fancy. In any case, this mystery takes its place among the mysteries that will forever remain unsolved.

The Model Maker Epilogue

To the best of my recollection, no further words were spared for modeling by any of the parties during our final year-and-change of high school. Although I do not know what became of Boy DQ or Boy MP, I doubt that either pursued modeling. Perhaps Boy DQ works as a DJ now, which he did in high school, while Boy MP builds toward a position as an MLB executive. I do hope that both are well on their way to achieving all of their non-modeling goals.

Final Thoughts on the Survey Story

Boredom loves a vacuum, and meaningful activities abhor the internet nonsense that too often fills it unfulfillingly. The model maker story does not change that fact. It does however highlight that things that are inherently purposeless can yield good material for he or she who pays attention. At the time, I reported the model maker exchange in the high school newspaper, which was then edited by my current co-editor, Victor V. Gurbo. Little did I know then that it would come in handy many years later when I needed content for an article after going several days without posting due to my day job and site-management work.

In The New Leaf Journal context, perhaps the model maker turns the model of an old recollection into fresh content.