Vote By Rote

, , , , | Learning | May 8, 2018

(It’s fall of 2008. I’m a freshman in college. I’ve always been interested in politics, so I am so excited to register to vote. I even have buttons for my favorite candidate pinned on my messenger bag. There are volunteers all over the quad, trying to persuade everyone to register to vote. I’m walking to class when one approaches me. He’s wearing a t-shirt supporting the opposite candidate.)

Volunteer: “Hi! Do you have a few minutes to register to vote?”

Me: “Oh, I’m already registered. Thanks, though!”

Volunteer: “Are you sure? It’s very important!”

Me: “I told you; I’m already registered. Excuse me.”

(I step past him, and head to class. After I get out, I have to cross the quad again to get to my next class. Guess who I run into again?)

Volunteer: “Are you registered to vote?”

Me: “I talked to you earlier. Yes, I am. Please move.”

Volunteer: “But are you sure? It’s so important for our generation to vote! We can change things!”

(I pull my messenger bag with its political pins up to eye level. His eyes bug out and he gives me an evil look.)

Me: “See? Politically active and late for my next class. Now move.”

(The volunteers on the quad avoided me after that.)

Emperor Of The Ridiculous

, , , , , , | Learning | May 8, 2018

(My state requires all highschoolers to take a class about money management, getting insurance policies, etc. It’s basic life stuff that most of us know already. We used to be able to opt out of it, but we can’t anymore, and the teachers hate it almost as much as the students. The teacher I have it with is a language and literature teacher I’ve had before, so she’s used to me reading and doodling through class and still getting the right answers, and she’s too annoyed by the class itself to bother demanding I pay attention.)

Classmate: “The book report on a businessperson is due next week! I’m doing mine on Steve Jobs! Who are you doing yours on?”

Me: *still drawing* “Emperor Joshua Norton the First.”

Classmate: “Who’s that? I never heard of him.”

Me: “He lived in San Francisco in the 1850s, and when he went bankrupt, he went kind of nuts and declared himself the Emperor of the United States, and the rest of the city totally went along with it, and treated him like the emperor.”

Classmate: “That doesn’t count! He went bankrupt; he wasn’t a good businessman!”

Me: “Show me where in the assignment it said they had to be good at business.”

(My classmate immediately appeals it to the teacher, who smirks and takes my side, on the basis that the guy WAS a businessman, and that would be more entertaining to read that than the endless reports on Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett. Our next assignment is to fill out a fake insurance claim.)

Classmate: “I’m claiming a branch fell on my car. What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m a rancher, and a herd of zombies ate my cattle.”

Classmate: “You can’t do that! Zombies aren’t real!”

Me: “Yeah, I’m not sure whether to file it as an act of god, or animal damage. Good thing I got comprehensive coverage on my cows, so they’re covered either way.”

(Yet again, my classmate complains to the teacher, and yet again, she takes my side, since I am doing the assignment. This goes on until the end of the year, when our final assignment is to give ourselves an entry-level job, find an apartment listing we could afford on that salary, and write a budget for the month, with things like electricity and taxes.)

Classmate: “There’s no way you can screw this one up! What’s your job?”

Me: “Assassin. Or hitwoman, if you want to be technical.”

Classmate: “You can’t f****** do that!”

Me: “Sure I can. It’s an entry-level job that I have the skillset for, and I can’t find a median salary for American hitmen, but I found it for Canadian and Australian hitmen, so I can extrapolate a rough US salary from that, and round down for a beginner. I found a great apartment that’s well within my budget, and since it’s an under-the-table job, I’m paid in cash and I don’t have to worry about taxes or a checking account. I’m burning the building down and faking my own death at the end of the month to avoid prosecution and improve my career prospects.”

Classmate: “THAT’S NOT F****** FAIR!”

(Surprise, surprise, the teacher sided with me again, and told me later that my assignments were at least entertaining to read, in a lowest-common-denominator class. Ridiculous answers for ridiculous questions.)

Let’s Kick Start This Camp!

, , , , | Learning | May 7, 2018

(I’m teaching at a summer theatre camp, and the first group I am working with is a group of about 20 seven- to nine-year-olds. It’s a lot. I’m somewhat new to working with kids. It’s in day one and we’re about to have an afternoon snack. Per training, I’m discussing not sharing snacks and why, before we go outside.)

Me: “It’s very important to remember to keep your snack to yourself! Can anybody tell me why?”

(I choose one kid with their hand up.)

Child: “Because it’s mine.”

Me: “Yes! This is true! Your parents packed a snack that’s for you, and not for everyone here! Also, you never know if someone may be allergic to—”

(Mid-sentence, I watch this girl kick an unsuspecting kid next to her, square in the face. Very lightly, but still IN THE FACE.)

Me: *without missing a beat* “NO. NO. You and I are going to talk about this in a second, but let me finish this first.”

(I continue on about snack safety. I finish and check that the child who got kicked is okay, and the camp assistants then begin to lead the rest of the kids in a line out to the playground.)

Me: “[Kicking Girl]!”

(I do that “come here” motion with my finger, like my parents use to do to me before giving me the business. The girl looks down at the floor.)

Me: “You can’t kick people in the face.”

Kicking Girl: *looks away and sighs* “I’m just trying to have a good time.”

Happy Birthday To Whom?

, , , , , | Learning | May 6, 2018

(I’m in class. A classmate shows up carrying balloons and some gifts.)

Me: “I feel like it’s someone’s birthday?”

Classmate #1: “Yeah, I thought so, too.”

Birthday Girl: “Yeah, it’s my birthday.”

(We both ignore her and continue musing out loud that we feel like it’s someone’s birthday. My teacher is known for being silly.)

Teacher: “It’s someone’s birthday?”

Birthday Girl: “Yeah.”

(Our teacher then points to a shy girl that sits in the back.)

Teacher: “[Shy Girl], it’s your birthday! Everyone sing her happy birthday!”

(The shy girl has a bewildered look on her face. The whole class of 26 kids start singing the birthday song, and at the end everyone claps. Throughout the song, people get really into it and start wishing her a happy birthday.)

Shy Girl: “It’s not even my birthday.”

Birthday Girl: *upset look* “It’s my birthday.”

Teacher: “Fine. Everyone sing her happy birthday.”

(Only four people start singing, start seeing that it’s not going anywhere, and just stop mid-song.)

Teacher: “Well, now that it’s over, we can start lecture.”

Birthday Girl: “OH, COME ON!”

Thankfully Obnoxiousness Isn’t Hereditary

, , , , | Learning | May 5, 2018

(My genetics biology class has a brief discussion about the double-helix structure of DNA, and of course Watson and Crick come up, along with a quick discussion of how Rosalind Franklin deserved more credit for her work. The girl behind me takes that as her cue. Every time we discuss a scientist, she sarcastically asks what his wife discovered, and loudly talks about how much men suck. I’m a woman and a feminist, but this girl is just annoying, and ignorant to boot. Finally, I’ve had enough.)

Girl: “Oh, suuure, he discovered heredity! Are you sure he wasn’t just taking credit for a woman’s work, like all those other misogynistic pigs?!”

Me: “You do realize we’re talking about Mendel, right? Gregor Mendel? Ringing any frickin’ bells?”

Girl: “Another pretentious jerk, taking credit for his wife’s work!”

Me: “Dude… Mendel was a monk.”

Girl: “So?”

Me: “As in, living in an abbey, no women around, never married! Pretty d*** sure his work was his own.”

(She went pink, and thankfully stayed quiet for the rest of the semester. The professor, also a woman, told me later that she gave me a few extra credit points for finally shutting her up.)

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