Chapter 49 Summary

Get in Touch With Your Crayon Box

Pausch is often accused of seeing things only in black and white. Some of them even say that if someone wants clear-cut advice, he should go talk to Professor Pausch. If, however, someone wants advice which is gray, Pausch is not their best option.

Even as a young child, Pausch used to say his crayon box only had two colors in it— black and white. This is probably why he loves computer science, a field where almost everything is either true or false. With time, though, Pausch has come to appreciate that a good crayon box may actually have more than two colors in it; however, an effective life will wear out the black and white crayons long before the rest.

Pausch loves crayons. In his last lecture, he wanted everyone who entered the hall to receive one, but he forgot to give them to the door ushers. What he wanted to do, when he spoke about childhood dreams, was have the audience close their eyes and roll the crayons in their fingers. He wanted them to be taken back to their childhoods as they touched and smelled their crayons. Pausch saw a colleague do a similar exercise, and it impressed him enough that he often carries a crayon in his shirt pocket. When he needs some inspiration from the past, he pulls it out and immediately he is right back to his childhood. Though Pausch prefers the black and white crayons, all of them have the power to move people. Try it and see.