Your Mouth Has Stamina

, , , , | Learning | March 1, 2019

(Growing up, I am as far from athletic as one can be, not that I care much. I also am completely unable to know when to stop talking. One day in seventh grade, a classmate has been bugging me the whole day, and continues while we are at recess. I ask him to stop it. This guy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and is quite aggressive.)

Classmate: “What, you wanna fight? I’m sure I can beat you!”

Me: “Well, of course you can! You have at least six kilos and ten centimetres on me. I’m not sure you should be proud about beating me.”

Classmate: “What?”

Me: “You’re far stronger than me. Being proud about beating me up would be as if I bragged about getting a better grade in a seventh-grade maths test than a first-grader.”

(This is where I should have stopped talking, but instead…)

Me: “…or said first-grader bragging about getting a better grade in a first-grade maths test than you.”

(This is the moment I realised I’d f***** up. I began to move away from him, knowing that when he understood what I said, he would be furious. After a couple of seconds, he realised what I meant and tried to hit me, and I began to run away from him. Thankfully he never caught up with me and got tired before I did. I learnt two things that day. The most important was to keep my mouth shut. The second was that although I couldn’t run very fast, I had nice stamina and could run a little longer than most of my classmates.)

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Dramas In Pajamas: The New Craze Sweeping Through Pre-School

, , , | Learning | November 16, 2018

(I teach young kids how to swim. After the last group, I change into my clothes and wait in the hall for my ride. I spot a few kids from my group and overhear them.)

Kid #1: “Are you wearing your pajamas?!”

Kid #2: “Yes.”

Kid #1: “What are you, a baby?”

(Mind you, the kid is about six years old. The other kids start laughing. Having been bullied most of my youth, I can’t stand this behavior, but I also have a responsibility as a teacher to not just scream what I want to scream. I take a gamble.)

Me: “Well, I think it’s efficient!”

Kid #3: “What’s efficient?”

Me: “Well, [Kid #2] is very smart. By changing into her pajamas here, she doesn’t have to change at home. She saves a lot of time.”

Kid #1: “So?”

Me: “The time she saves by undressing and dressing again, she can now spend hanging out with her parents or watching TV. This way, she can stay up a little bit longer!”

(The group fell silent, and their parents picked them up. I wondered if my words had even helped. The next week, three more children were wearing pajamas after the lesson, and [Kid #1] screamed at his mother he wanted to wear his pajamas, too. Guess I set a trend?)

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Loopholes In The Law Open Up Anyone To Be Accused Of Stalking

, , , , | Learning | November 11, 2018

(Over the past two years at my high school, thanks to some rumours, I have found myself with the reputation of a stalker. This has seen different groups of people at different points in time follow me around, steal my property, burn it, and continue to spread word of my supposed misdeeds. One morning, I am reading text messages on my mobile phone and standing out in a courtyard. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a boy who is particularly short, looking quite angry. As I finish my messages and turn to leave, he and his group of friends approach me.)

Short Boy: *calling out from the other side of the courtyard* “Stop taking photos!”

Me: *knowing what to expect* “Pardon?”

Short Boy: “Why were you taking photos of me?”

Me: “I was not taking photos of you.”

Short Boy: “Yes, you were! I saw you!”

Me: “No, I wasn’t. I was messaging my friends.”

(The short boy looks to his own friends for backup. They start murmuring amongst themselves to provide a nice background ambiance.)

Short Boy: *with renewed vigor* “You were taking photos of me; I know it!”

(This goes back and forth for a while, with me asking why I would bother to take photos in the first place, and him and his friends interrupting with the same sentence. Eventually, he switches it up.)

Short Boy: “Show me your camera roll!”

Me: “No, it’s my phone, and it’s private information.”

Short Boy: “That settles it! You took the photos and you’re not letting me look!”

(I walk away from them, and they don’t follow but shout insults from a safe distance. Now, I need to talk to friends about this, because my dealings with the popular kids always end well for them, and I’d like to tell someone my side of the story. I have my phone to my ear and someone on the line when they walk through the doorway.)

Me: “Oh, there they are now.”

Short Boy: “He’s deleting the photos!”

Me: *on phone* “As you’ve just heard, they’re giving chase.”

(They realise that I’m actually on the phone and back off, giving me an opportunity to end the call and run away… right into another friend. We move into a corridor and I explain exactly what happened, and we agree to see the dean as soon as we can, which is different from our usual tactic of ignoring and trying to keep a moral high ground. The doors open and in walk several people. It turns out that this kid is a part of a big clique at school, the same clique that tried to call me out for “stalking” at the start of the year, and also the same clique that bullied my special needs brother on the bus home both this and last year. This could not get any worse.)

Girl: “There he is; look!”

(They look. I am holding my phone.)

Short Boy: “I saw you taking photos! You’re deleting them right now!”

Me: “I’m telling you, I have not taken any photos of you! You’re all vain p***ks who are so paranoid that–“

(My friend pulls my arm and together we walk away.)

Friend: *hurried* “Don’t bother with them. Come on.”

(They follow, obviously. I see that one of them, the ringleader of the previous accusers, is pointing his phone at me. It does, in fact, get worse; I hate having my face recorded.)

Boy With Phone: “Why’d you take photos of him, huh? That’s called a breach of privacy!”

(I’m fuming at their hypocrisy, but remain silent. My friend makes a daring move and yanks the phone right out of the kid’s hands. It is recording on a popular messaging app that deletes messages after they’re sent, so she stops it, but before she can delete it the phone is swiped back and we scamper away. The bell rings and two classes go by, and in my interval period I take it straight to the dean. I’m asked to identify who the students are, and relay the names of some people, but I cannot name the short boy. By lunchtime, they’ve figured out who he is by association and the dean reaches a decision.)

Dean: “I’m going to come up with what’s basically a contract that says that you can’t talk to him and he can’t talk to you. I’m doing this early on so that it doesn’t escalate.”

Me: “That sounds a lot better than what’s happened in the past. Thank you so much.”

(I left, and found the nine-strong group waiting at my corridor, having turfed my group out. We moved constantly and they followed until classes ended. By the following day’s lunchtime, the “contract” had been drafted and the short boy had confessed and signed it. There were next to no loopholes: Neither of us could go near each other, or send our friends after each other, or discuss each other; the contract would no longer be in effect at the end of the school year. I happily signed, and Short Boy and I stayed well away. Unfortunately, they’ve been exploiting as many loopholes as they can; while Short Boy is not allowed to send his friend over, there was nothing saying that his friends couldn’t do it of their own accord. There wasn’t anything saying that the friends couldn’t talk about me of their own volition, either, leading most of that sort of population to go into a frenzy whenever I so much as hold my mobile. One of the new outcomes of the two-year-long saga is that I now become really anxious when I hear a [Popular Phone] camera. On the flip side, school’s ending soon and hopefully, after the exams and school holidays, by next year people will have forgotten about this particular incident.)

 

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When Tubby Puddings Are Just Desserts

, , , , , , | Related | September 21, 2018

(My father could be quite cruel with some of his comments when I was growing up. Despite not being in great shape himself, his biggest issue was the food we ate. Being typical kids, we liked unhealthy snacks, and each time we ate them my dad would start ranting about being unhealthy and making quite rude comments. Recently, my mother has told him off a few times for being meaner than usual. One year, we go on holiday from the UK to the US to visit some family friends. A couple of times during the journey, we eat at fast food places, and my father begins griping about how much “crap” we are eating. He’s especially tough on me, the youngest, and seems convinced that I’m going to become massive, which doesn’t help. After a couple of days with our friends, their parents announce we are getting take-out for dinner and ask the kids what they would like. We all respond that we want pizza. When it arrives, we all go to the table and excitedly await a slice. However, instead of a slice, my father puts a white carton on my plate. Confused, I open it and find it’s full of stir-fry vegetables which I certainly I didn’t order.)

Me: “Dad, this isn’t mine!”

(My dad shoots me a blank stare:)

Dad: “Eat your dinner, please.”

Me: “But Dad, I didn’t order stir fry!”

Dad: “Eat what you are given, now!

Me: “BUT I WANTED PIZZA! WHY DOES EVERYONE ELSE GET TO EAT IT?”

Dad: *angry* “I DON’T CARE! YOU’RE GETTING FAT, AND I WON’T HAVE MY SON BECOME A TUBBY PUDDING! NOW, EAT UP AND SHUT UP!”

(After he finishes his rant, there is a tense silence in the air. All around the table, everyone, including our hosts, are giving him very dirty looks. Immediately, my dad looks sheepish.)

Dad: “Umm… I was just worried about what he was eating… That’s all.”

(He quickly sits down and reaches for the pizza box. To my surprise, my mum slams the box shut and picks up the stir fry carton. She then dumps half the contents on his plate.)

Dad: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I’m trying to eat!”

Mum: “You’ve gotten fat, and I won’t have my husband become a tubby pudding! Now, eat your dinner!”

Dad: “This isn’t fair!”

(My mum gives him a nasty look.)

Mum: “EAT UP AND SHUT UP!”

(People at the table giggled at this one, and my father looked furious but had to bite his tongue hard. After dinner, my dad tried to tell my mother off, but she loudly berated him for his “bullying tactics” and scolded him for being so mean to his children, especially when he was also eating the same amount of garbage we were! Thankfully, my father seemed to take the hint and became less controlling as the years went along. He could still be a difficult character, but the old mean-spirited man seemed to die out. His attitude apparently didn’t impress their friends, since we were never invited to visit again! As a father myself now, I understand the importance of children eating well, but I will never resort to the bullying tactics of my father.)

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Snaking Around School

, , , , , | Learning | July 15, 2018

(We have a classmate that is unpleasant to be around. We got a new student this semester; she’s sweet, and is the awful classmate’s latest victim.)

New Girl: *opens her locker and takes out a snake* “Hello, cutie. How did you end up here? I should really get the lock fixed.”

Awful Classmate: “You’re not scared? It’s a biga** snake! It could’ve been poisonous.”

New Girl: “The word you’re looking for is venomous. If it were venomous, I doubt you’d risk it just for the sake of a prank — although I’ve seen people dumber than that — and this sweetheart seems quite calm around humans.”

Boyfriend: “I think we should take it back to the biology lab.”

(They go, leaving the bully shocked, and me laughing.)

Awful Classmate: “What’s so f****** funny?”

Me: “You tried to prank the daughter of a reptile breeder with a snake.”

Awful Classmate: “How was I supposed to know?!”

Me: “Pay attention to anyone other than yourself? I mean, she talks about it quite often.”

(We didn’t have much trouble after that, and the awful girl was kicked out a month later. Lucky us.)

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