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If You’re A Woman, You’re Already Doing It Wrong, Apparently

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | March 4, 2023

My mother told me that her mother believed that women’s abdominal muscles were not strong enough to support their organs, and foundation garments were a necessity. This was a self-fulfilling prophecy; she had eight children and always wore a girdle, so her core muscles would have atrophied, “proving” her belief was true. I imagine her back would ache just standing for a few minutes without foundations.

Forty years later, I am sitting with some friends at university. Several of my friends are doing post-graduate studies. One in particular is a qualified, working pharmacist, so she’s a woman of the world who has studied human anatomy.

Another friend arrives, so I make my excuses to the group, saying we are going to an exercise class together.

The pharmacist looks at me very seriously and gives me a stern warning.

Pharmacist: “Be careful doing core work. If your abs get too strong, they can crush your internal organs!”

It struck me at first as two vastly different beliefs, but later, I saw that they were two sides of the same coin; women’s bodies are unreliable and dangerous, and women’s instincts can’t be trusted but must rely on (male) science to be well.

If It Seems Too Easy, It Probably Isn’t

, , , , , , , , | Learning | February 27, 2023

The most memorable class I took during my university degree was one I took in my first semester. It was held in the largest lecture hall and packed to overflowing because it was a required class for an awful lot of degrees. Unlike most entry-level classes, it had no attendance or participation requirements, the topic was pretty easy, and you didn’t even really need to buy the textbook because there were lots of copies in the library available for a long-term loan, plus the lecturer provided photocopies and slides of the relevant sections. The lectures were recorded and available at the library along with copies of all the slides the lecturer had used. The final exam was open-book, and the tutors provided several years’ worth of past exams to use as study materials.

The class was a TRAP.

If you didn’t go, nobody cared — or even really noticed. If you didn’t hand in assignments, nobody chased them up. There were plenty of ways to catch up on content if you missed lectures, but nobody checked to see if you were using them. After the first few weeks of the semester, the lecture hall no longer had people sitting on the stairs because there weren’t enough seats. By the mid-semester break, it was mostly empty, and there was a Dungeons & Dragons group sitting in the back rows, complete with character sheets, rolling dice, and “I fire a magic missile at the darkness!”-level roleplaying. The left middle section was the territory of a social club that arrived, drank coffee, gossiped, and left without ever taking their notebooks out of their bags.

I missed a lot of lectures because I hated getting up early enough to go to them, but I went to the library at a more convenient time and listened to the recordings. When I came up with a question that hadn’t been answered in the text, I dragged myself to the next lecture and asked it or went to the lecturer’s office hours. He was always fun to talk to and had lots of great stories, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship.

Then, the end of the semester hit. Some students I hadn’t seen in lectures since the very beginning showed up at the library and seemed to be trying to go through all the recordings in the last week or so before exams started, but I think most of the missing were relying on the exam being open-book to get them through.

Well, the final exam was easy, but it was long, and it quickly became apparent that the students who were looking everything up in their textbooks just didn’t have time to finish. 

The final results came out, and the bell curve you expect to see in grades was pushed hard to the left side of the graph, with a spike at the far right. Anyone who’d realised it was time to take responsibility for their own learning and study without being pushed and prompted did well. Everyone who had taken the lack of direction as an excuse to skive off all semester — three-quarters of the class — failed. And because it was a prerequisite class, they had to take it again and pass before they could move on to second-year classes… the ones that, like this class and unlike all the other first-year classes, mostly lacked the tracking and reminders and attendance requirements the students were used to having to keep them on track.

It was a sneaky and effective way to teach people how to direct their own studies and filter out the ones who didn’t get the hint.

Silly Newbie, Being All Human And Stuff

, , , | Working | February 26, 2023

At my first office job after working retail throughout uni, I’m assigned to work under a manager who, in her own words, is inexperienced. Unfortunately, within the first month, I need to take a day off for some medical appointments.

Me: “Hey, boss, can I take Friday off? I have—”

Manager: *Holds up a hand* “Stop.”

“Oh, s***,” I think.

Manager: “Do you have anything due on Friday?”

Me: “No.”

Manager: “Are you on top of all your work and not running late for anything?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Manager: “Do you have enough flex or personal time built up to cover a full day?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Manager: “Is this going to be reoccurring?”

Me: “I mean, probably not.”

Manager: “Then I don’t need to know why.”

Me: “…seriously?”

Manager: “Deadly. Thank you for letting me know. Since it’s Monday, you’ve given me enough notice to make it work. Put a note in the team calendar, and let me know on Thursday if there’s anything I need to keep an eye on while you’re gone.”

Me: “No, but really? That’s it?”

Manager: “That’s it. It’s your personal life. Tell me if you want me to know, not because you think I’m going to ask for it. Anything else you need from me?”

I said SHE said she was inexperienced as a manager. I didn’t say she was bad at it.

An Angry Chihuahua Is Nothing To Sneeze At

, , , , , , | Healthy | February 22, 2023

Many years ago, I inherited a very angry chihuahua mix who had a lot of health problems along with a horrible temperament. I spent a lot of time socialising him carefully with people, and I finally got him to a point where he felt comfortable meeting new people as long as he was in a pram or in my arms.

However, he didn’t tolerate anyone who threatened his home or his human (me) which ended up with him aggressively assaulting the heel of a 6’3” police officer’s shoe. But that’s a story for another day.

The time finally came to have my dog neutered, and I dropped him off at the vet. I let them know that he could be aggressive to new people, had previously bitten someone, and may need to be handled with thick gloves and a towel. I also gave them his harness, leash, training treats, and the secret code phrase I had for him when he was a good boy: “Who’s a good booger?”

I spent the day a complete nervous wreck, wondering if I was going to get a call saying he had attacked someone. Finally, I got the call saying he was ready to be collected, and I rushed over to see what damage he’d caused.

The vet brought him out in his little cone and handed him over, all smiles. 

Me: “How many people did he bite?”

Vet: “Who, this little guy? He’s the best-behaved dog we’ve had in here today!” 

And that’s when I knew that he was going to be okay. 

It’s been a couple of years now, and he’s the best dog — sociable, easygoing, and loves to walk off-leash at the beach. 

He’s not a good booger; he’s a great booger.

Somehow, That’s Almost A Happy Ending

, , , , , , , | Right | February 19, 2023

CONTENT WARNING: Child Neglect, Gross Body Function

 

I work at a restaurant located inside a club, so whilst we do have some authority to tell people off, ultimately, it is the club’s responsibility to do so.

On a busy night, I notice that some couple has their baby sitting on the table, and they’re letting it crawl around, but seeing how busy it is and the fact that the tables are being replaced that week, I let it slide.

The next thing I know, I hear a thud and a baby crying, and I overhear this lovely conversation between the club staff and parents.

Dad: “You f***ers let my baby fall off the table! She could have brain damage now thanks to you f***ers!”

Club Staff: “Sir, why was your baby on the table in the first place?”

Dad: “That doesn’t f****** matter! What the f*** are you gonna do about it?!”

Mum: “You’d better be giving us a full refund after the piss-poor way we’ve been treated!”

Club Staff: “Sir, I repeat, why was your baby on the table?”

Dad: “Because you f***ers have no seats for children!”

Club Staff: “Firstly, sir, we have plenty of high chairs available; you only need to ask. Secondly, it’s extremely unhygienic to have your baby sitting on a table that’s used for food. Lastly, it’s your responsibility to look after your children, not ours.”

Mum: “Like f*** it is! We’ve come out for dinner. Doesn’t mean we gotta look after the little s***s.”

The baby is still crying, and neither parent is making an attempt to calm them.

Club Staff: “It is not our responsibility to look after your children, and I’ll ask that you keep the language down; we have other families here who don’t want to hear that sort of thing.”

Dad: “I f****** won’t! We’ll f****** stay here all night, s***heads, until you give us the apology we f****** deserve about the piss-poor service.”

Club Staff: “Both of you need to leave now, or we’re going to call the cops.”

Mum: “Fine, you f***ers, but don’t think we’ll be f****** back here again!”

Both of them proceeded to storm out — without the kid. They didn’t come back in, so the club staff took the baby to the police across the road.

What did I find when I went to clean the table was that they’d let their baby take a runny-a** dump in one of our bowls.