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Julian demonstrates resourcefulness in his response to a cruel trick perpetrated against him by one of his classmates. In that incident, Hamilton Knapp grabs Julian's book bag, and, before Julian can catch him and get it back again, writes "I am an ass" on its side with permanent marker. Julian keeps the damaged side of the book bag hidden against the wall of his cubby during the rest of the school day, and on the way home that evening, keeps it out of sight against his knee. When he gets home, he tries to erase the writing but to no avail. He then uses ingenuity and resourcefulness in changing what Hamilton wrote from something negative into something positive and humorous. After squeezing a p in between the a and ass, he adds to the message in the space below, and when he returns to school the next day, his book bag reads, in two lines, "I am a passenger on Spaceship Earth" (Chapter 3).
Julian demonstrates courage when he sticks up for his original answer during the Academic Bowl. The question had been to "give two examples of acronyms that have entered our language as words". Julian responds, "Posh and tip" (Chapter 4), but the commissioner cannot find either of the answers on his list of acceptable possibilities. After consulting with an advisory panel, he allows "posh", but not "tip". Julian, knowing he is right, insists, "With all due respect, sir, I think you ought to check another source" (Chapter 6).
It had to have taken a tremendous amount of courage for Julian to stand up for his response, "defying an official of the sovereign state of New York". The commissioner is annoyed, and tells Julian that "we all agreed to stand by the ruling of the panel of experts", but Julian persists, telling the gentleman politely but firmly that "the panel's information is not complete". When Julian still insists his answer is correct, the commissioner might have disqualified the entire Epiphany team, "except that he was rendered speechless" (Chapter 6). Instead, the commissioner cites Julian points and gives the opposing team a chance to answer. At this point, as it turns out, one of the panel of experts, who had been consulting "a heavy volume", signals the commissioner to inform him that Julian's answer had indeed been correct. The commissioner has no choice but to restore the points he has subtracted, and give Julian credit for his response (Chapter 9).
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