Navajo-No-No

, , | Learning | June 7, 2017

(This is a story my father told me about my granddad. My granddad used to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, teaching shop classes at boarding schools on reservations. The first part of this story takes place just outside of Carson City, Nevada, on a Navajo reservation. A couple of teenage boys approach my granddad during his shop class.)

Boys: “Mr. [Granddad], if you’re teaching Navajo kids, you should learn to speak at least a little Navajo! You want us to teach you some?”

Granddad: “Sure, boys. I think that’d be mighty handy.”

(For the next few weeks, the boys teach my grandfather a word or phrase of Navajo each day. One day, one of the Navajo women who works at the school comes to visit Granddad’s class.)

Granddad: *rips off one of the ‘Navajo greetings’ he’s been taught*

Navajo Employee: *puffs up and goes all red in the face* “MR. [Granddad]! WHO TAUGHT YOU THAT?! NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN!”

(Suddenly, all of Granddad’s students were very busy with their projects.)

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Mathematics Can’t Solve This Problem

| Learning | February 4, 2016

(One of the night staff is off sick and our maths teacher, normally a daytime-only teacher, has been working nights as well so that there’s enough staff. One morning we’re sitting in maths class before it’s time to start, when the biology teacher comes in with a letter.)

Biology Teacher: “Miss [Maths Teacher], I just dropped in to give you this before class.”

(Maths Teacher continues to stare blankly at the computer screen.)

Biology Teacher: “Miss [Maths Teacher]…” *waves in front of her face*

(Biology teacher pokes Maths Teacher with the letter.)

Maths Teacher: “Hey! [Biology Teacher]! Question!”

Biology Teacher: “What?”

Maths Teacher: “How many nights can you go without sleeping before you actually die?”

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A Very Bed Role Model

| Learning | April 30, 2015

(In boarding school, we have housemothers to take care of us. I am 18 years old and am studying in bed during a cold winter day.*)

Housemother: “Why are you in bed! You’re not allowed to study in bed!”

Me: “Well, it’s really cold here and I’m clearly studying.”

Housemother: “Get out of bed right now!”

Me: *calmly* “I’m sorry, but could you please give me a reason I’m not allowed to study in bed? I’m in my final year and I get very high marks. This couldn’t possibly be affecting my academic performance.”

Housemother: *childishly* “Well, thank you. Thank you very much.”

(She proceeded to SLAM the door and stomp away. I got reprimanded by the head of boarding (her husband) and was told to apologise (which I refused to do). The reason they gave for reprimanding me was that I was a “bad role-model” to my younger roommate!)

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Prudence Won’t Come Out To Play

| Friendly | February 10, 2015

(I attend a boarding school with a separate dorm for girls. I’m not very social, and tend to be quiet or abrupt when others try to get me involved in something that doesn’t interest me. As such, I have somewhat of a bad reputation in high school, despite being a nice person in comfortable circumstances. One day I’m walking up to my hall when I see a huge swarm of girls outside someone’s room.)

Me: “Hey, what’s going on in there?”

Girl #1: “[Hallmate]’s boyfriend just broke up with her.”

Girl #2: “He did it AT HIS FAMILY’S PARTY, which he invited her to, JUST to break up with her.”

Me: “Ouch, that’s rough.”

Girl #1: “Yeah, now she won’t come out of her room.”

(I decide to join the crowd, just to see if I can do anything to make her feel better. The door opens and closes as girls enter and leave. I notice a Beatles poster over my hallmate’s bed. I don’t know much about her, but I remembered hearing her sing Beatles songs while she was hanging around in the common area. As someone exits, the room, I stop the door from closing and try to come in.)

Me: *singing* “Dear Prudence, won’t you—”

(My hallmate’s roommate abruptly cuts me off with a scowl and backs me out of the room.)

Hallmate’s Roommate: “Get out of here, [My Name]. [Hallmate] is going through a rough time and she doesn’t need you making it worse!”

(I’m shocked and offended, but I decide not to press the issue. The next day, I happen to see my hallmate as I’m walking to class and I jog to catch up with her.)

Me: “Hey, [Hallmate], I heard about what happened.”

Hallmate: “Yeah, he’s a jerk. I’m glad it’s over, now that I think about it.”

Me: “When did you finally come out of your room?”

Hallmate: “This morning, when I had to get ready for school. People were in and out of my room all night. I couldn’t get any work done and I didn’t get to sleep until really late.”

Me: “I tried to come visit after dinner, but [Roommate] told me to go away.”

Hallmate: “What?! Why did she do that? She practically let the whole dorm in, even when I said I wanted some alone time.”

Me: *shrugs* “I dunno. I started singing ‘Dear Prudence’ because I thought it would make you feel better. Maybe she thought I was making light of the situation.”

Hallmate: “No way! That would have actually made me feel TONS better! Next time [Roommate] tells you to go away, just ignore her. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about anyway.”

(The next year, my hallmate requested a different roommate. The former one got stuck with a new girl who didn’t like her much either!)

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Not Made For Bed Making

| Learning | July 28, 2014

(I am in boarding school and the housemothers can get very intensely uptight about certain rules, such as making up the bed before breakfast. One morning I am in the shower when the housemother comes into the bathroom, which has both private shower and toilet stalls.)

Housemother: “[My Name], you haven’t made your bed!”

Me: *yelling back* “I know! I will!”

Housemother: “You do it right now! Now!”

Me: “I’ll do it in a few minutes before I go down to breakfast!”

Housemother: “NO! I said RIGHT now!”

Me: “I. AM. IN. THE. SHOWER!”

(The housemother storms out, clearly angry. She is waiting for me when I get out of the shower a few minutes later.)

Housemother: “You may NOT talk to me like that! If I tell you to do something, you will obey me.”

(I don’t even say anything and walk past her into my room. The next day I am in the bathroom again when the same housemother bursts in.)

Housemother: “[My Name]! Your bed! Right now!”

Me: “I. AM. ON. THE. TOILET. Stop ambushing me!”

(Yes, my mother did get a letter home. She laughed.)

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