The workshop at Moorfield High should be useful and informative. Instead, it just humiliates Ishmael further. He first notices Kelly Faulkner in the morning—and Razza notices Ishmael noticing Kelly. At lunch, as Razza and Ishmael wait for Scobie to come out of a classroom, Razza tells Ishmael to stop drooling and “perving” on Kelly. He suggests Ishmael go talk to her (this will never happen). When Ishmael insists he hasn’t been staring at anyone, Razza asks him to prove it by listing the four steps of effective rebuttal—they just had a talk on them. If he wasn’t staring at Kelly, he must know the steps.
The fact that Ishmael has developed a crush at all is a sign that he’s growing up and starting to come of age. But it’s not so easy, this passage shows, to balance normal milestones like one’s first crush with the task at hand: learning to debate and deflecting Razza’s teasing. Surprisingly, for his part, Razza seems to be taking this workshop seriously, which shows that he may become a far more useful asset to the team than Ishmael initially expected.
Ishmael insists he doesn’t have to do this, but Razza grabs Ishmael’s shirt and curses Cupid. Then, Razza lists the four steps and says that instead of learning them himself, Ishmael was “logged on to the website of luuurve!” Ishmael calls Razza mad. To demonstrate his mastery of the subject, Razza says that, first, Ishmael has called him mad. Two, Ishmael is wrong because he has no medical training. Three, Ishmael is accusing Razza of madness to distract from the fact that he’s been ogling Kelly. Four, Razza says he’s right because he’s the Razzman, the “doctor of luuurve.” Ishmael wants to kill Razza.
The simple fact that Razza can use the four steps of effective rebuttal to prove that Ishmael wasn’t paying attention shows how engaged Razza is. He may still be saying some silly, ridiculous stuff, but he clearly understands how rebuttal is supposed to work. Ishmael, however, doesn’t see the humor in this, as it’s far too embarrassing for him to have a crush at all and have Razza point that out. Ishmael is starting to grow and change, and for now, that’s uncomfortable for him.
Just then, Scobie comes out of the classroom. Razza informs Scobie that Ishmael didn’t learn anything in the last session and asks what’s gotten into Ishmael. Scobie squints and says that Ishmael was too busy staring at Kelly. Razza whoops.
When even Scobie notices that Ishmael has developed a crush, it indicates that Ishmael’s crush is extremely obvious. This makes it even more humiliating for Ishmael, since he usually likes to hide his personal thoughts and feelings whenever possible.