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Very Funny…

I normally post only once a day, but in tracing down a Blast From the Past to give today, I ran across this little nugget that I had completely forgotten about, also from this time six years ago.  Too good to not repost!


OK, this is completely irrelevant to anything related to the blog – especially early Christology, my current topic.   But I thought it was too funny to pass up.   A fellow who lived in my neighborhood, but whom I never knew (to my regret: he sounds like he was a remarkably interesting guy), beloved chemistry professor Dr. James Bonk died Friday at the age of 82, ending his 53-year career at Duke University.

 According to the local newspaper:

Bonk’s classes were such a staple that Duke introductory chemistry classes became known as “Bonkistry” classes, which approximately 30,000 students attended.

He was nationally known for comical incidents with students, one rumored to have taken place in the 1960s.

The Bonk joke is that the weekend before a final exam, four students decided to visit the University of Virginia for the weekend and let off some steam. They were due back Sunday in time for their exam Monday morning, but were too hung over to travel. When they arrived back at Duke late, they told Bonk that they had a flat tire and he agreed to allow a make-up exam the following day.

The students were placed in separate rooms for the make-up exam. The first question, worth five points, was relatively easy and the students were confident they were going to do well. But when they flipped the page, the next question – worth 95 points – asked simply: “Which tire?”

A Blog Anniversary! Seven Years!
My Doubts about the Son of God: A Blast from the Past



  1. Avatar
    gwayersdds  March 16, 2019

    I took Dr.Bonk’s Chemistry class as a freshman. He was one of the most enjoyable professors to listen to that I ever had. He did have a great sense of humor and was a terrific teacher. I never did all that well in Chemistry classes (Don’t get me started on Dr. Pelham Wilder) but as a Zoology major, I had to take them. Thanks for the chance to reminisce.

  2. SonOfZeusTruly
    SonOfZeusTruly  March 16, 2019

    Thank you for your time and dedication. You are truly appreciated.

  3. Avatar
    rashko  March 16, 2019

    Wow, I heard exactly the same joke about one of the professors at my university!

    • Bart
      Bart  March 17, 2019

      Yeah, it may well be apocryphal. But hey, if it’s in the newspaper, it has to be true, right??

  4. Avatar
    fishician  March 16, 2019

    This is one of those stories that even if it’s not true, it’s too good to not propagate it! Sadly, in medical school one of my friends bonked his head on a desk the night before a final exam and missed the test, and even though he had ER records for it they would not except his excuse and held him back a year. Too bad he was not a celebrity’s son – apparently that can work wonders for you!

  5. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  March 16, 2019

    How funny! I am smiling!

    With regard to your mixing the personal journey with the scholarship, isn’t the ultimate purpose of the scholarship to affect the personal journey?

    • Bart
      Bart  March 17, 2019

      I suppose so! And I’d say there are lots of ways of doing that. A serious analysis of Shakespeare’s A Winters Tale can do that as well as a personal testimony!

  6. Avatar
    anthonygale  March 17, 2019

    That’s funny. It reminds me of a story a high school teacher told me about catching students cheating. He taught Geography and was giving a make up quiz. The answer to the question was Croatians but three students gave Crittins as the answer. One student got the right answer but must not have had very good hand writing. A nother student copied the answer thinking it was “Crittins” and two students copied him. The students insisted that they didn’t copy each other but somehow came up with the same nonsense wrong anger. “What a coincidence” the teacher said.

    I bet you have some good stories in your years of teaching.

  7. Avatar
    alkennedy  March 20, 2019

    It was 1961 or 62 in an engineering course at Duke with a big test. I had a reputation for studying hard and getting the right answers, and my classmates clustered around my desk — until Dr. Elsevier made them scatter out. The reputation helped: I got 100 on the test. But another good student got a lower score even though he got the same answer (using a different but valid approach).

  8. Avatar
    Thespologian  March 28, 2019

    At my Catholic High School in Cambridge MA. — also a breeding ground for hockey players, our chemistry teacher was an ex-cop that roamed around the chem lab tables armed with an axe haft — minus the head — and either a staple gun or a water bottle with a long-range squirter. Somehow, for a co-ed school with a fairly even split, only one girl ended up in this class. Intractable pupils would get their pens disintegrated as the eye of that haft came crashing down on the table. Interesting dichotomy at a place where Theology was a four-year requirement.

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