Shattered That Claim

, , , , , , | Learning | October 2, 2019

One day, my dad’s class was given new rulers by the school to replace old wooden rulers. The old rulers had a problem with splinters, and may have had inches on them — Dad can’t really remember, as this was the 70s — whereas the new rulers were centimetres only. Perfectly valid reasons to replace the rulers. There was just one problem: the school made the mistake of choosing ones advertised as shatterproof, with the word featured prominently on the rulers themselves as if trying to invite the destructive curiosity it inevitably would.

Telling a room of teenagers, the intelligent and mischievous individuals that they are, that it’s impossible to do something has never been a good idea, nor will it ever be. No matter the generation, teenagers will put this sort of claim to the test, and that’s precisely what happened here. My dad and his classmates, taking the claim that these long, thin slabs of plastic were shatterproof as a challenge, started bending the rulers to just over a complete circle, forwards and backwards, to determine the claim’s truthfulness.

The rulers survived being bent forwards, but when they were bent backwards, the claim they were shatterproof failed the truthfulness test miserably. As a result of my dad’s class’s experiment, from what he tells me, shards of plastic shrapnel initially originating from the ridges flew all over the classroom, which was obviously far more dangerous than the splinters from the old wooden rulers. Only one ruler survived the mischief, and that was because it had been confiscated before its user could scatter its remains across the classroom by testing its structural soundness. Dad can’t remember since it was so long ago, but he suspects they went back to the wooden rulers until the not-so-shatterproof ones could be replaced.

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