Exhibit 498752 In The Case For Vaccination

, , , , , | Learning | July 5, 2020

This story takes place a few years before the first whooping cough booster is released in the USA. The initial vaccine wears off in your teen years, and you are susceptible to pertussis again.

This happens in an English class discussing the historical context of a story. The atmosphere is very laid back.

Teacher: “…but diseases like whooping cough aren’t around anymore, so nobody can get them. They’re all gone.”

Me: “That’s actually not true. We’ve only ever eradicated smallpox, but you can still get whooping cough and pretty much everything else. I had whooping cough this past spring.”

Teacher: “You probably had ‘barking cough.’ It’s similar, but it’s not as bad.”

Me: “No, I’m 100% sure it was whooping cough.”

Teacher: *Condescendingly* “And how do you know?”

Me: “Because the [County] Board of Health came to our house and stuck swabs up my family’s noses and tested them for whooping cough, and then they put us under semi-quarantine for a week after starting treatment.”

Teacher: “Oh.”

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Not Exactly The Soundest Counsel

, , , , , , | Learning | June 27, 2020

It was just before our final exams in school. In my country, you appear for these exams under a certain state or national “Board,” and these marks determine if you clear cutoff for colleges. The higher your marks, the higher your chances of getting into a good college, unless you have to sit for competitive exams.

Our stress was through the roof, all students studying harder than ever to either clear the Board exams or competitive exams because these would determine what our lives would be like. 

It was during this time that I had a severe heartbreak. A guy I used to like rejected me, then went on to have a friends-with-benefits relation with his previous crush who had rejected him. Worse even, this girl was one of my best friends; she had pestered me to share my sadness with her secretly, only to go and spill them all to my crush. They didn’t get into a relationship, which made it worse for me.

Meanwhile, I had to study for my exams and manage school events and ECAs, as I was the Head Girl and the sole one in my position.

Things got worse when my subordinate, the Deputy Head, left his post following some personal reasons. My crush — who was also a great friend until all this — made fun of my appearance and I got extremely lonely. The Friend-With-Benefits even went on to have some action (nonsexual) right in front of me. 

Basically, I was miserable.

So, I went to my school counselor, who also holds an important position in the school authority. We had worked together in organising many events. She also taught us Psychology. She had done many shrewd and outright b**** things, but she was the only one I could share my concerns with.

I wanted to tell you that I’ve been feeling very lonely lately,” I explained. “I’m sitting among my friends, yet I don’t feel like I belong there.”

Mind you, all the people I sat with are great friends even now.

“Now, now, you don’t come to school to talk to friends, do you?” the counselor asked.

“I mean, they are a very important part of my school experience,” I said. “I do look forward to their presence.”

“You are making a mistake,” she insisted. “You come to school to meet your friends. Recently your grades have gone down. You are doing poorly.”

There wasn’t any way she could tell that. We hardly had any tests before we went on study leaves.

“If you want good marks, you have to work hard,” she continued.

Then, she uttered the worst set of words she could come up with.

“If you want to score above 95%, get rid of your friends.”

I was horrified. These friends meant life to me. We did almost everything together, even walking back home together. We even got so late that at first our parents worried. But then, all the parents knew and even chatted amongst each other while waiting for us.

Apart from these friends, I had almost no one. I was already having trouble with two friends thanks to crushes gone wrong. Now, the counselor wanted me to get rid of all of them. I wanted to score well, but not at the cost of my mental health.

Needless to say, I ignored her advice. I could settle for a mere 80% but not lose my mental peace. Later, it turned out that I had anxiety and depressive phases, and my friends actually helped me through it.

Fast forward to the very exciting and nervous result day. I drew up my result, and it turned out, I topped my class, scoring more than 95%, actually, with full marks in two subjects — all this without losing even one friend. By then, I had already made up with my ex-crush and his fling and was seeing another guy. 

We went to collect our results and all the teachers congratulated me. The counselor came up, ignored me for some time, and then looked at me.

“I expected you to do better,” she said before walking off.

We went rolling on the ground hearing what she’d said.

This story is part of our India roundup!

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That Poor Printer Will Probably Retire Early

, , , , | Learning | June 26, 2020

When I was in high school, we had a very ditzy substitute teacher. She was nice and usually fun, but she was the type of person who had no reasoning skills beyond “if I push this button, that happens.” If pushing the button did not lead to the expected result, her only solution was to push the button again.

The school had a standard wireless printing system with two industrial printer/copiers in different parts of the building. Most teachers also had regular desktop printers in their classroom for their personal use. However, all school computers defaulted to the nearer industrial printer/copier every time something was printed.

I had an advanced class that only got twenty or twenty-five students per year. One day, our regular teacher for this class was absent and we had the ditzy sub. Our regular teacher left instructions for the sub to print out a worksheet for my class during his — which would also be the sub’s — free period.

The worksheet was four pages. My class needed twenty-five copies. At worst, if someone forgot to print on both sides of each sheet, that would be one hundred sheets of paper, right?

Well… the ditzy sub hit “print,” waited about thirty seconds, didn’t see any paper coming out of the teacher’s desktop printer, and hit “print” again… something like thirty-five times over the course of their fifty-minute free period.

Fortunately, the school librarian caught on when she realized that she was filling the paper trays in the library printer/copier way more often than she had ever done before and checked the printer’s job history. Unfortunately, twenty-eight of the print jobs had already been completed before the librarian could cancel the rest of them.

Twelve years later, I am now working full-time at the same school. The ditzy sub retired long ago, but the regular teacher is still there. He still has copies of that worksheet from that day, and he uses them every year when he gets to that lesson. That worksheet has become his official retirement marker; when he finally runs out of copies, he’ll retire.

This story has been included in our June 2020 roundup as one of that month’s most memorable stories!

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Warning: “Beep Test” Flashbacks May Occur

, , , , , , | Learning | June 24, 2020

If you’ve never heard of the “Beep Test,” consider yourself lucky. In New Zealand, some genius decided that a good way to test if children were fit was to make a test where they had to run between a marked distance between the beeps. The beeps would get progressively faster, and the level at which you could no longer cross the line between the beeps was your “fitness level.”

Sounds fun, right?

In my younger years, I had an accident where I’d injured my knee. Nothing permanent, not even a scar, but afterward, I found that I was never able to run as fast as I could before. I’d been a sprinter, but now I was a marathon runner

This meant that no matter how hard I tried, after a certain point, I literally could not run fast enough to get between the beeps! And since that meant a low score, you had to give up your lunch to keep running to get a better score.

My stubborn counter to this was that no matter what, I kept running. I wouldn’t get over the line fast enough, but the fact that I continued to run told the teachers I was fit “enough” for purposes, just not fast enough.

I had to do the beep test at least once a year, as required, but I never had to stay in for a lunch with my direct and stubborn ability to stay running for the whole test.

I continue to be angry in adulthood that someone figured that speed was the same thing as being fit.

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Run, Air Molecule, Run!

, , , , , | Learning | June 23, 2020

My chemistry teacher in high school is fantastic. He has an accent like Forrest Gump and a very dry, understated sense of humor. On one memorable occasion, while discussing the properties of gases, he makes the following statement while seeming to point to a spot on the other side of the room.

Teacher: “That air molecule right there is traveling at about 600 miles per hour.”

Cue twenty-five teenagers turning to look at the molecule.

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