Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Psychotic Test

I think I mentioned that I organized my three weeks of summer camp such that each day focused on a particular skill or task--Video Day, Writing Day, etc. Well, Monday is just full on talking day, and yesterday was Telling a Joke.

Pretty straightforward, we were to spend the period telling jokes, riddles and funny stories. As a starter, I had some riddles and their answers in a table in Word, printed them out, and cut them up in such a way that they were strips of paper--long strips with the riddle, short ones with the answer. I mixed them up and handed them out, and had students take turns reading their long strips. Hopefully, someone recognizes that one of their short strips is the answer, and reads it out to pursuant hilarity.

Next, I told them a few jokes to get things started: A snowman walks into a bar. He says to the bartender, "It smells like carrots in here." etc. Of course, the problem with jokes in translation is that they often rely on wordplay or separate meanings of a word for their humor, and nothing kills a joke like having to explain it. So I had to pick my jokes carefully.

Same thing is true, of course, with Korean jokes, and the students, though there are three pretty bright ones among them, had trouble finding more than a few that they could translate well.

So, Mr Kim eventually told the following story:
You, Cam-brell, are on top of a mountain all alone. You are in a hut. You are sitting in your hut meditating, it is late at night and the moon is full. You hear a noise behind you. Do you think it is:
  • a dog
  • a ghost
  • the wind
  • the falling leaves
  • a man
  • a wild animal

This is somewhat simplified, since Mr Kim is the English illiterate I mentioned, and relied on his classmates for considerable help. That's okay, though, since they got vocab practice and he might have picked up a few words along the way. Anyway, I had no idea where this was going, but I don't believe in ghosts and I doubt falling leaves would make enough noise outside my hut for me to notice. So I chose the wind.

Mr Kim says, "Berra good! You, psychotic, no!"

I wiped my brow in pretend relief, and asked what the hell he was talking about. It turns out that somewhere in Korean kid culture, there has arisen these little scenarios which purport to determine whether the respondent is a "psychotic".

The next psychotic test was the following:
You hear a commotion on the street below your apartment very late one night (in Seoul, I guess you are assumed to live in an apartment). You look out the window and you see a man stab a woman to death!
Immediately afterward, he makes eye contact with you, so you know he's seen you and you can identify him. What do you think he will do next?
I said, "I guess he will try to memorize my face so he can try to kill me to keep me silent."
"Oh, good! You are not a psychotic!"

Apparently, if I had answered that the killer was counting the floors up to my window so he could actually locate me and affect my demise, I would be a "psychotic".

We went through one or two more, I wasn't pressing the joke angle since at least they were talking, and I am happy to announce that I am certifiably non-psychotic in the Korean schoolboy psychological paradigm.

PS: If you have heard other such "psychotic tests" from your students, please do add them in the comments to this post. I'd really like to know.


Tanner Brown said...

That was psychotic, that was (Yogi) berra good.

Anonymous said...

What was the psychotic answer for the first test?

Tuttle said...

I didn't ask, Anon. I assume man, wild animal and ghost would fit the bill.

Why, you worried about something?

Anonymous said...

There are different types and causes of psychosis - diagnosis is not as simple as asking a few questions. Sometimes psychosis is linked to different variables so it isn't always picked up by a one-off interview. Patients are seen long-term and the diagnosis takes many things into account, not just the answers themselves.

Pete Tinsley.

Lucien Flaithri said...

There's a very common one I happen to love, as it's the first "psychotic test" I've ever heard and therefore the first one I've ever gotten "right":

A woman who is accompanied by her son and a man meet each other at the funeral of the woman's husband. The woman and the man feel an instant connection, though no information is shared between the two. Three days later, the woman's son dies. Why.

The answer is laughably simple. Well, to me, anyway.

Adrian Leask said...

she kills her son so there will be another funeral and she might meet the same guy again