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Unit1 A Learning, Chinese-Style

Unit2 A A Life Full of Riches

Unit3 A Father Knows Better

Unit4 A A Virtual Life

Unit5 A True Height

Unit6 A A Woman Can Learn Anything a Man Can


Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, reflects on a visit to China and gives his thoughts on different approaches to learning in China and the West.


Learning, Chinese-Style

Howard Gardner 1 For a month in the spring of 1987, my wife Ellen and I lived in the bustling eastern Chinese city of Nanjing with our 18-month-old son Benjamin while studying arts education in Chinese kindergartens and elementary schools. But one of the most telling lessons Ellen and I got in the difference between Chinese and American ideas of education came not in the classroom but in the lobby of the Jinling Hotel where we stayed in Nanjing.




2 The key to our room was attached to a large plastic block with the room number on it. When leaving the hotel, a guest was encouraged to turn in the key, either by handing it to an attendant or by dropping it through a slot into a box. Because the key slot was narrow, the key had to be positioned carefully to fit into it.


3 Benjamin loved to carry the key around, shaking it vigorously. He also liked to try to place it into the slot. Because of his tender age and incomplete understanding of the need to position the key just so, he would usually fail. Benjamin was not bothered in the least. He probably got as much pleasure out of the sounds the key made as he did those few times when the key actually found its way into the slot.


4 Now both Ellen and I were perfectly happy to allow Benjamin to bang the key near the key slot. His exploratory behavior seemed harmless enough. But I soon

observed an interesting phenomenon. Any Chinese staff member nearby would come over to watch Benjamin and, noting his lack of initial success, attempt to assist. He or she would hold onto Benjamin's hand and, gently but firmly, guide it directly toward the slot, reposition it as necessary, and help him to insert it. The "teacher" would then smile somewhat expectantly at Ellen or me, as if awaiting a thank you ─and on occasion would frown slightly, as if considering us to be neglecting our parental duties.


5 I soon realized that this incident was directly relevant to our assigned tasks in China: to investigate the ways of early childhood education (especially in the arts), and to throw light on Chinese attitudes toward creativity. And so before long I began to introduce the key-slot anecdote into my discussions with Chinese educators. 我很快意识到,这件小事与我们在中国要做的工作直接相关:考察儿童早期教育(尤其是艺术教育)的方式,揭示中国人对创造性活动的态度。因此,不久我就在与中国教育工作者讨论时谈起了钥匙槽口一事。


6 With a few exceptions my Chinese colleagues displayed the same attitude as the staff at the Jinling Hotel. Since adults know how to place the key in the key slot, which is the ultimate purpose of approaching the slot, and since the child is neither old enough nor clever enough to realize the desired action on his own, what possible gain is achieved by having him struggle? He may well get frustrated and angry ─certainly not a desirable outcome. Why not show him what to do? He will be happy, he will learn how to accomplish the task sooner, and then he can proceed to more complex activities, like opening the door or asking for the key ─both of which accomplishments can (and should) in due course be modeled for him as well.



7 We listened to such explanations sympathetically and explained that, first of all, we did not much care whether Benjamin succeeded in inserting the key into the slot. He was having a good time and was exploring, two activities that did matter to us. But the critical point was that, in the process, we were trying to teach Benjamin that one can solve a problem effectively by oneself. Such self-reliance is a principal value of child rearing in middle-class America. So long as the child is shown exactly how to

do something ─whether it be placing a key in a key slot, drawing a hen or making up for a misdeed ─he is less likely to figure out himself how to accomplish such a task. And, more generally, he is less likely to view life ─as Americans do ─as a series of situations in which one has to learn to think for oneself, to solve problems on one's own and even to discover new problems for which creative solutions are wanted.



8 In retrospect, it became clear to me that this incident was indeed key ─and key in more than one sense. It pointed to important differences in the educational and artistic practices in our two countries.



9 When our well-intentioned Chinese observers came to Benjamin's rescue, they did not simply push his hand down clumsily or uncertainly, as I might have done. Instead, they guided him with extreme facility and gentleness in precisely the desired direction. I came to realize that these Chinese were not just molding and shaping Benjamin's performance in any old manner: In the best Chinese tradition, they were ba zhe shou jiao ─"teaching by holding his hand" ─so much so that he would happily come back for more.


10 The idea that learning should take place by continual careful shaping and molding applies equally to the arts. Watching children at work in a classroom setting, we were astonished by their facility. Children as young as 5 or 6 were painting flowers, fish and animals with the skill and confidence of an adult; calligraphers 9 and 10 years old were producing works that could have been displayed in a museum. In a visit to the homes of two of the young artists, we learned from their parents that they worked on perfecting their craft for several hours a day.


术。我们观看了孩子们在教室里学习艺术的情景,他们的娴熟技艺令我们惊讶。年仅5、6岁的孩子就带着成人的那种技巧与自信在画花、画鱼和动物;9岁、10岁的小书法家写出的作品满可以在博物馆展示。有一次去两位小艺术家的家里参观,我们从孩子的父母处得知,他们每天练习数小时以完善他们的技艺。CREATIVITY FIRST?

11 In terms of attitudes to creativity there seems to be a reversal of priorities: young Westerners making their boldest departures first and then gradually mastering the tradition; and young Chinese being almost inseparable from the tradition, but, over time, possibly evolving to a point equally original.



12 One way of summarizing the American position is to state that we value originality and independence more than the Chinese do. The contrast between our two cultures can also be seen in terms of the fears we both harbor. Chinese teachers are fearful that if skills are not acquired early, they may never be acquired; there is, on the other hand, no comparable hurry to promote creativity. American educators fear that unless creativity has been acquired early, it may never emerge; on the other hand, skills can be picked up later.


13 However, I do not want to overstate my case. There is enormous creativity to be found in Chinese scientific, technological and artistic innovations past and present. And there is a danger of exaggerating creative breakthroughs in the West. When any innovation is examined closely, its reliance on previous achievements is all too apparent (the "standing on the shoulders of giants" phenomenon).


14 But assuming that the contrast I have developed is valid, and that the fostering of skills and creativity are both worthwhile goals, the important question becomes this: Can we gather, from the Chinese and American extremes, a superior way to approach education, perhaps striking a better balance between the poles of creativity and basic skills?

然而,假定我这里所说的反差是成立的,而培养技艺与创造力两者都是值得追求的目标,那么重要的问题就在于:我们能否从中美两个极端中寻求一种更好的教育方式,它或许能在创造力与基本技能这两极之间获得某种较好的平衡?Finding a way of teaching children to appreciate the value of money can be a problem. Yet the solution, David Owen suggests, is simple -- just open a bank. Easier said than

done? Well, it turns out to be not quite so difficult as it sounds, as you'll discover in reading about the First National Bank of Dave.



Part II Reading Task

Text A

A Life Full of Riches

Karl R. Green

It was early December 2003,my first season as a Salvation Army bell ringer,when I was confronted with the question.I was standing just outside the doorway of a Wal-Mart,offering a "thank you" and a smile to each person who dropped a donation into my red kettle.A neatly dressed woman and her young son walked up to the kettle stand.While she searched her purse for some cash, the boy looked up at me.I can still see the confusion and curiosity in his eyes as he asked,"Are you poor?"


"Well," I stammered, trying to think,"I have more than some people, but not as much as others."His mother scolded him for the social no-no,and they hurried off to do their shopping.His question, however, did not leave me.

“嗯,”我结结巴巴地说,试图想:“我比有些人多,但不如别人了。”他妈骂他为社会的禁忌,他们急急忙忙走了尽自己的购物。但是他的问题并没有离开我。I've never thought of myself as "poor,"but I can't deny certain facts.Every time I fill out my 1040 form,I fall into one of the lowest income brackets.In the past 35 years, I've taken just one vacation trip.My TV is a black-and-white set that someone gave me eight years ago.


Yet I feel nothing more than a passing whim to attain the material things so many other people have.My 1999 car shows the wear and tear of 105,000 miles.But it is still dependable.My apartment is modest, but quiet and relaxing.My clothes are well suited to my work, which is primarily outdoors.My minimal computer needs can be met at the library.


In spite of what I don't have, I don't feel poor. Why?I've enjoyed exceptionally good health for 53 years.It's not just that I've been illness-free,it's that I feel vigorous and

spirited.Exercising is actually fun for me.I look forward to long, energizing walks. And I love the "can do" attitude that follows.


I also cherish the gift of creativity.When I write a beautiful line of poetry,or fabricate a joke that tickles someone,I feel rich inside.I'm continually surprised at the insights that come through my writing process.And talking with so many interesting writer friends is one of my main sources of enjoyment.


But there is one vital area of my life where I am not so well off.In a society that spends so much emotional energy on the pursuit of possessions,I feel out of place.


When I was younger, there was an exceptionally interesting person I dated.What was most important to her,she told me, was "what's on the inside."I thought I had found someone special to share my life with.Then I took her to see my apartment.At the time,I lived in a basement efficiency with a few pieces of dated furniture.The only new, comfortable chair was the one at my desk.Shortly after her visit, our relationship went straight south.

当我年轻的时候,有一个非常有趣的人,我约会。什么是最重要的是她,她告诉我,是“什么在里面的。”我想我已经找到了特别的人分享我的生活与。然后我带她去看我的公寓。当时,我住在一间地下室效率日期为几件家具。唯一的新的,舒适的椅子是在我的办公桌之一。不久后,她的访问,我们的关系直奔南方。The seemingly abrupt change in her priorities was jolting.It remains a most memorable turning point in my personal journey.看似在她的关注点突变是颠簸。它仍然是一个最难忘的转折点,我个人的旅途。

In contrast to relationships,stuff just doesn't mean that much to me.I think most people feel the same way —except when there are social consequences to not having particular items.There is a commercial on the radio that begins,"Everybody wants a high-end TV ..." The pressure to purchase is real.It may be true that everybody wants a high-end TV.After all, nobody wants to be a nobody.

与此相反的关系,东西并不意味着就多给我。我想大多数人有同样的感受- 除非有社会后果不具有特定的项目。有一个由电台开始,“每个人都想要一个高端彩电...”购买的压力是真正的商业。它可能是真实的,每个人都想要一个高端电视。毕竟,没有人想成为什么人。

But I'm happy to live without one.In fact, not being focused on material goods feels quite natural to me.There are many people throughout the world who would consider my lifestyle to be affluent.


Near the end of the year,when I put on the Salvation Army's red apron,something

changes inside me.Instead of feeling out of place economically,I begin to feel a genuine sense of belonging.As I ring my bell,people stop to share their personal stories of how much it meant to be helped when they were going through a rough time.People helping people is something I feel deeply connected to.While I'm ringing the bell,complete strangers have brought me hot chocolate,leaving me with a lingering smile.Countless individuals have helped to keep me warm with the sentiments of the season:"Thank you for ringing on such a cold day.""Can I get you a cup of coffee?""Bless you for your good work."December is the time of year I feel wealthiest.


Over the past four years,I've grown to understand more about myself because of a single question from a curious child.As I've examined what it means to be poor,it has become clear to me what I am most thankful for:both my tangible and my intangible good fortune.



This comedy centers around a proud father's attempts to help his children, attempts which somehow or other always end up embarrassing them. For the sake of fun it carries things to extremes, but nearly everyone can recognize something of themselves and their parents in it.


Father Knows Better

Marsh Cassady 1


SETTING: Various locations including a fast-food restaurant, the Thompson family dining room, and an office at a high school.

AT RISE: As the lights come up, HEIDI enters and crosses Down Right to the edge of the stage. SEAN and DIANE enter and cross Down Left to the edge of the stage. They listen as HEIDI addresses the audience.







HEIDI: My dad's a nice man. Nobody could possibly believe that he isn't. Yet he's...well, he's always doing these stupid things that end up really embarrassing one or more of us kids. One time, see, my brother wanted to buy this guitar. Been saving money for it for a long time. Then he got a job at this fast-food place, OK? Waiting tables. It was Sean's first actual job, and he was real happy about it. He figured in two or three months he'd have enough money to buy exactly the kind of guitar he wanted. Mom and Dad were proud of him, and well, OK, he's my big brother, and he's always pulling these dumb things on me. But, well, I was proud of him too. You know what happened? I hate to tell you because:

SEAN, DIANE and HEIDI: (In unison) Father knows better!




(The lights come Up Left on the fast-food restaurant where SEAN works. It consists of a counter and couple of small tables. The MANAGER stands behind the counter. SEAN is busily cleaning the tables when FATHER walks in. )

MANAGER: Good evening, sir. May I help you?

FATHER: Good evening.

SEAN: (To himself) Oh, no! (He squats behind one of the tables trying to hide from FATHER. )

FATHER: I'm looking for the manager.

MANAGER: That would be me, sir.

FATHER: I'm Sam Thompson. My son works here.

MANAGER: Oh, you're Sean's father.

FATHER: Yes. It's his first job, you know. I just wanted to check that he's doing OK. MANAGER: Oh, fine. No problem.












SEAN: (Spreading his hands, palms up, speaking to himself) What did I do to deserve this? Tell me what?

FATHER: Hiring him was a good thing then?

MANAGER: Well, yeah, I suppose so.

SEAN: (Still to himself) Go home, Dad. Go home. Go home.

FATHER: I'm sure he's a good worker but a typical teenager, if you know what I mean.

MANAGER: (Losing interest) I wouldn't know.

FATHER: He's a good boy. And I assure you that if there are any subjects that need to be addressed, Sean and I will have a man-to-man talk.

MANAGER: I don't think that will be necessary...

FATHER: Oh, no problem. I'm proud of my son. Very, very proud. And I just wanted you to know that I'll do anything I can to help him through life's dangerous sea.











SEAN: (Standing up and screaming) Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaaaaargh!

FATHER: Son, I didn't know you were here.

SEAN: It's where I work, Dad.

FATHER: Of course. I mean, I didn't see you.

SEAN: I can't imagine why.

FATHER: Your manager and I were just having a nice chat.

(DIANE enters Down Left just as HEIDI enters Down Right. They look at SEAN and FATHER. )

SEAN, DIANE, HEIDI: (In unison) Father, you know better than that. 肖恩:










(The lights quickly fade to black and then come up a second or two later. SEAN stands alone at the Down Right edge of the stage. HEIDI and DIANE cross to Down Left edge of the stage. )

SEAN: If that sort of thing happened only once in a while, it wouldn't be so bad. Overall, I wouldn't want to trade my dad for anyone else's. He loves us kids and Mom too. But I think that's sometimes the problem. He wants to do things for us, things he thinks are good. But he needs to give them more thought because:

SEAN, HEIDI and DIANE: (In unison) Father knows better!





(The lights fade to black and come up on the Center Stage area where FATHER and the three children are seated around the dining room table. MOTHER enters carrying a dish, which she sets on the table. FATHER quickly rises and pulls out her chair. She sits. The family starts eating dinner. )

FATHER: I have a surprise for you, Diane.

DIANE: (Knows it can't be good. ) You have... a surprise?

MOTHER: Well, whatever it is, dear, don't keep us in suspense.

FATHER: Well, you know, Dan Lucas and I work together?

DIANE: Kyle's father?

MOTHER: Don't interrupt, dear, your father is trying to tell you something. HEIDI: (Stage whisper to SEAN) Something Diane won't want to know, I'll bet. SEAN: (Whispering to HEIDI) Whatever would make you think that?

MOTHER: Sean, dear. Heidi, sweetheart, don't distract your father.

SEAN and HEIDI: (Simultaneously) Sorry, Mom.













FATHER: Now then. As I was saying, I know how much you like young Kyle. DIANE: Father!

FATHER: It's true, isn't it? Didn't I hear you tell your mother that you wish Kyle would ask you to the senior prom?

SEAN: Uh-oh!

HEIDI: Oops!

MOTHER: Please, children, please. Your father is trying to speak.

DIANE: (Through clenched teeth, the words are in a monotone and evenly spaced. ) Yes-I-said-that-why-are-you-asking?

FATHER: Well then.

DIANE: (Becoming hysterical)"Well then" what?!

FATHER: What did I say? Did I say something wrong?

HEIDI: (To SEAN) Not yet, he didn't.

SEAN: (To HEIDI) But you know it's coming.

MOTHER: Children, please. Do give your father the respect he deserves.

HEIDI and SEAN: (Rolling their eyes) Yes, Mother.
















FATHER: Well, today I saw Dan and asked if he'd like to go to lunch at that French

restaurant on Third Street. You know the one, Mother.

MOTHER: Well, yes, I believe I do.

FATHER: My treat, I told him. And, of course, he was glad to accept.

MOTHER: Why wouldn't he be?

FATHER: (Somewhat surprised) Well, yes.

DIANE: What-has-this-to-do-with me?!

MOTHER: Diane, sometimes I just don't understand your behavior. I try my best. DIANE: (Very short with her) I'm sorry.

MOTHER: Thank you, Diane. (To FATHER) Please do go on, dear.

FATHER: As I said --

HEIDI: We know what you said, Daddy.

FATHER: Er...uh, what's that?

SEAN: She said,"We know what you said, Daddy."

FATHER: Yes, yes, of course.

MOTHER: Do get on with it, dear. I've made the most glorious dessert. An old recipe handed down to me by my great Aunt Hilda --

DIANE: Mother, please!

MOTHER: Yes, dear?



















(DIANE shakes her head and lets her body fall against the back of the chair. ) FATHER: At any rate, Dan's a nice guy. Never knew him well. Found we have a lot of the same interests. Our families, our community, global peace, human welfare. HEIDI: (Mumbling to herself) That narrows it down, all right.

SEAN: Father?

FATHER: Yes, son?

SEAN: I do believe Diane would like to know the surprise.

DIANE: (Breathing hard as if exhausted, she turns to SEAN, nodding her head up and down repeatedly.) Thank you, Sean. I owe you one.









FATHER: Well, yes. Here it is then. I told Dan of your interest in his son.

DIANE: You what?

MOTHER: Diane, what has come over you? I just don't understand the younger generation. Why back in my day --

DIANE: Mother, please!

MOTHER: What, what? What?

HEIDI: Mother, I believe she wants Father to continue.

SEAN: (To himself) Get this over with, more likely.

DIANE: Daddy, please, tell me. Now. Right away. What did you say, Daddy? Please. Tell me, what did you tell Mr. Lucas? Tell me, please. Please tell me.

FATHER: Well, now, isn't this nice. It looks like my little scheme is a success. You're so eager to find out... makes a man feel as if it's all worthwhile.











HEIDI: (To SEAN) Can you believe this?

SEAN: (To HEIDI) Oh, sure. Can't you?

FATHER: Yes, well, I told him how much you liked young Kyle, and how you'd been wishing he'd ask you to the prom.

DIANE: You didn't! Tell me you didn't!

FATHER: Oh, yes. Anything for my children.

DIANE: (Swallowing hard) And...and --

MOTHER: Diane, are you all right?

DIANE: (She juts out her chin at MOTHER and quickly jerks her head around to face FATHER. ) Well...what did he say?!

FATHER: Well, of course, being the sort of man he is -- frank, understanding, he said he'd speak to the young man, insist he give you a call.

DIANE: (Angry scream! ) Whaaaaaat!

SEAN and HEIDI: (Together) Father, you know better than that.

FATHER: I do? Yes, yes, I guess I do. I've...done it again, haven't I?














(The lights quickly fade to black and then come up a second or two later. DIANE stands alone at the Down Right edge of the stage. HEIDI and SEAN enter Down Left and cross to the edge of the stage. )

DIANE: Can you imagine how humiliated I was? An honor student, class president. And Father was out asking people to have their sons call and ask me to the prom! But that's dear old dad. Actually, he is a dear. He just doesn't stop to think. And it's not just one of us who've felt the heavy hand of interference. Oh, no, all three of us live in constant dread knowing that at any time disaster can strike because:

DIANE, HEIDI and SEAN: (Shouting in unison) Father knows better.





(The lights fade to black and quickly come up again Stage Left where there is an executive-type desk and chair and two other chairs. Behind the desk sits MRS. HIGGINS, in charge of admitting new students to Benjamin Harrison High School.

HEIDI and FATHER sit in the other chairs. )

MRS.HIGGINS: So this is our new student, is it?

FATHER: That's right.

MRS.HIGGINS: What's your name, young lady?

HEIDI: HEIDI Thompson.

MRS.HIGGINS: I'm sure you'll find the students friendly. And the teachers more than willing to answer questions.

FATHER: She is an exceptional young woman, you know.

HEIDI: Daddy!










FATHER: Very, very bright.

MRS.HIGGINS: Yes, now if we can get you to fill out --

FATHER: Don't know where she got her brains. Her mother, I suppose. Oh, I was bright enough. But nothing like HEIDI. All her teachers have told Mrs. Thompson -- that's her mother -- and me that she was just about the brightest --

MRS.HIGGINS: (Interrupts as she loses her patience, though trying to be pleasant) As I said, if you have proof of vaccinations --

FATHER: (Interrupts, carrying on with his line of thought) Besides being bright, she's very, very talented.

HEIDI: (Twists her hands over and over in front of her chest. ) Please, Daddy, don't do this.

FATHER: Well, of course I will, darling. I'm proud of you. Your mother and I are proud of you.

(Turns back to MRS. HIGGINS. ) Why just last year, in her last year of junior high school, before we moved, Heidi placed first in the county in the annual spelling bee! Isn't that wonderful? And she plays the piano like an angel. An absolute angel.










HEIDI: Daddy, please. Please, please. Daddy, I have to go to class. I want to go to class. Please let me go to class.

FATHER: See what I mean? Such an eager learner. I can't imagine anyone's being more eager for knowledge than my Heidi. My little girl.

MRS.HIGGINS: Yes, well, be that as it may --

HEIDI: Aaargh! Aaaaargh! Aaaargh!

(DIANE and SEAN enter Down Right. They look at HEIDI, FATHER, and MRS. HIGGINS. )

HEIDI, DIANE and SEAN: (Shouting in unison) Daddy, you know better than that! FATHER: Er, uh, I do?





海蒂: 唉!唉!唉!





Unlike the father in the play which began this unit, here we have a father who is far better at seeing things from his son's point of view. As Merton shows, however, this does not always come easy.



Maia Szalavitz, formerly a television producer, now spends her time as a writer. In this essay she explores digital reality and its consequences. Along the way, she compares the digital world to the "real" world, acknowledging the attractions of the electronic dimension.



A Virtual Life

Maia Szalavitz 1 After too long on the Net, even a phone call can be a shock. My boyfriend's Liverpool accent suddenly becomes impossible to interpret after his easily understood words on screen; a secretary's clipped tone seems more rejecting than I'd imagined it would be. Time itself becomes fluid -- hours become minutes, or seconds stretch into days. Weekends, once a highlight of my week, are now just two ordinary days.




2 For the last three years, since I stopped working as a television producer, I have done much of my work as a telecommuter. I submit articles and edit them via email and communicate with colleagues on Internet mailing lists. My boyfriend lives in England, so much of our relationship is also computer-assisted.


3 If I desired, I could stay inside for weeks without wanting anything. I can order food, and manage my money, love and work. In fact, at times I have spent as long as three weeks alone at home, going out only to get mail and buy newspapers and groceries. I watched most of the endless snowstorm of '96 on TV.


4 But after a while, life itself begins to feel unreal. I start to feel as though I've become one with my machines, taking data in, spitting them back out, just another link in the Net. Others on line report the same symptoms. We start to feel an aversion to outside forms of socializing. We have become the Net critics' worst nightmare.


5 What first seemed like a luxury, crawling from bed to computer, not worrying about hair, and clothes and face, has become a form of escape, a lack of discipline. And once you start replacing real human contact with cyber-interaction, coming back out of the cave can be quite difficult. 一下床就上机,不再为发型、服饰、面部化妆烦心,起初看似高级的享受如今却成为一种对生活的逃避,一种缺乏自


6 I find myself shyer, more cautious, more anxious. Or, conversely, when suddenly confronted with real live humans, I get overexcited, speak too much, interrupt. I constantly worry if I am dressed appropriately, that perhaps I've actually forgotten to put on a skirt and walked outside in the T-shirt and underwear I sleep and live in.


7 At times, I turn on the television and just leave it to talk away in the background, something that I'd never done previously. The voices of the programs are comforting, but then I'm jarred by the commercials. I find myself sucked in by soap operas, or needing to keep up with the latest news and the weather. "Dateline," "Frontline," "Nightline," CNN, New York 1, every possible angle of every story over and over and over, even when they are of no possible use to me. Work moves into the background. I decide to check my email.


8 On line, I find myself attacking everyone in sight. I am bad-tempered, and easily angered. I find everyone on my mailing list insensitive, believing that they've forgotten that there are people actually reading their wounding remarks. I don't realize that I'm projecting until after I've been embarrassed by someone who politely points out that I've attacked her for agreeing with me.


9 When I'm in this state, I fight my boyfriend as well, misinterpreting his intentions because of the lack of emotional cues given by our typed dialogue. The fight takes hours, because the system keeps crashing. I say a line, then he does, then crash! And yet we keep on, doggedly.


10 I'd never realized how important daily routine is: dressing for work, sleeping normal hours. I'd never thought I relied so much on co-workers for company. I began to understand why long-term unemployment can be so damaging, why life without an externally supported daily plan can lead to higher rates of drug abuse, crime, suicide.


11 To restore balance to my life, I force myself back into the real world. I call people, arrange to meet with the few remaining friends who haven't fled New York City. I try to at least get to the gym, so as to set apart the weekend from the rest of my week. I arrange interviews for stories, doctor's appointments -- anything to get me out of the house and connected with others.


12 But sometimes being face to face is too much. I see a friend and her ringing laughter is intolerable -- the noise of conversation in the restaurant, unbearable. I make my excuses and flee. I re-enter my apartment and run to the computer as though it were a place of safety.


13 I click on the modem, the once-annoying sound of the connection now as pleasant as my favorite tune. I enter my password. The real world disappears.


Thought you were safe sharing secrets with Internet friends? Wait for the doorbell...



Look at the following two sayings and then see if the story of Michael Stone bears out the points they make.

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.

-- Molière

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

-- Charles A. Beard






True Height

David Naster 1 His palms were sweating. He needed a towel to dry his grip. The sun was as hot as the competition he faced today at the National Junior Olympics. The pole was set at 17 feet. That was three inches higher than his personal best. Michael Stone confronted the most challenging day of his pole-vaulting career.

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