Sodium So Dum

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 20, 2018

(I go to a Catholic high school, and we have a couple of awesome priests who are science teachers. These teachers have some sodium metal — which explodes on contact with water — for demonstration purposes, but decide that it is probably getting too old to keep around, so they decide to get rid of it. One night it is absolutely pouring rain, and there are some huge puddles in the parking lot, which is under reconstruction. This seems like the perfect opportunity, and so the two of them have a marvelous time chucking pieces of sodium into the puddles and listening to the boom. Unfortunately, someone nearby hears the boom and thinks someone is doing something unsavory, and calls the police. When they realize the police are heading to them, one of them goes in and quickly puts on his priest collar. When they greet the cops, the following exchange occurs.)

Cop: “Sorry to disturb you Father, but the neighbors reported hearing something like an explosion over here. Have you heard anything?”

Priest: “We didn’t hear anything unexpected, officer!”

Cop: “Okay, sorry to bother you. Must be a false alarm.”

(The priests thanked them for stopping by and somehow kept straight faces through it all. It was totally the truth, though; they completely expected to hear explosions!)

Math Class Gets Personal, As Teacher Demands Students To Find His X

, , , , , | Learning | November 13, 2018

Math Problem: “Solve for X.”

Me: “[Teacher], I don’t know how to do this.”

Teacher: “You need to solve for X.”

Me: “I know, but I don’t know how to do it.”

Teacher: “Solve for X.”

Me: “I know that; I don’t know how.”

Teacher: “Oh! Okay, I see what the problem is now. Here, look. X stands for a number, and you need to figure out what that number is.”

Me: *pause* “Thanks.”

Social Studies Prove That Analogies Abhor A Vacuum

, , , , , , | Learning | November 12, 2018

(This takes place in high school social studies class. The teacher is explaining a concept of economics. I’m known to be a pretty smart kid and a whiz at science, but I don’t usually participate.)

Teacher: “Think of it this way. Does anybody know how a vacuum cleaner works?”

(A few students raise their hands, including me.)

Teacher: “[Student #1]?”

Student #1: “It sucks stuff in with a big fan.”

Teacher: “No, that’s incorrect. [Student #2]?”

Student #2: “There’s a pump and it pulls air in.”

Teacher: “Nope, not right, either.”

(The teacher then looks at me and gives me a look that tells me he is not looking forward to my response.)

Teacher: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Things always move from an area of higher concentration to lower concentration, so a vacuum cleaner pumps air out of a chamber inside it, creating an area of lower air pressure inside. The higher air pressure outside of the vacuum pushes things into it, and they end up in the bag, which is porous to allow air to pass through.”

Teacher: *pause* “No, that’s not right, either. The point is, nobody knows how a vacuum works.”

(He carried on with the lesson, and I frowned and sat back in my chair, knowing I had a better explanation than anyone else, and deciding that he wasn’t expecting someone to actually know how a vacuum cleaner works, ruining the analogy.)

Explosive Uptake Of Chemistry In Schools, As It Turns Out Blowing Stuff Up Is Awesome

, , , , , , | Learning | November 9, 2018

(Decades before the TV show about blowing things up with science, there was my high school chemistry teacher. The very first day of class, I sit down in my chair and lean back lazily. Then I freeze, with my eyes wide.)

Friend: “[My Name]? Are you okay?”

Me: “The light fixture is melted.”

Friend: “What?!”

(He looks up where I’m looking, and right above the table where the teacher would be making demonstrations, the hanging light fixture is indeed partially melted, and twisted. The ceiling is pock-marked with black marks, and I could swear there are things… embedded… in the ceiling.)

Friend: “Uh…”

(The facts spread quickly as other students file in, see other kids muttering uneasily, and follow the pointed fingers. The teacher comes in:)

Teacher: “All right, students, I know this is not a class you want to take first thing in the morning, but I would like to inform you now that there will be no dozing off in this class.”

(The entire class wordlessly points to the ceiling.)

Teacher: *with an evil smirk* “Oh, darn. You already figured out the reason why.

(To be fair, nobody did doze off in class. Our teacher was notorious for demonstrating why you followed the rules exactly, by demonstrating how NOT to do things. Just about everything our teacher did either exploded, caught on fire, or did something likewise terrifying. Every day a demonstration happened, the first three rows of students scooted their desks back as far as they could, cramming toward the back of the room. I learned a lot about chemistry, but I wonder, years later, if my teacher ever happened to teach the hosts of that show. It would explain a lot.)

Comedy For A Quarter

, , , , , , | Working | November 5, 2018

Every week we have specials on certain items. One particular item, normally 35¢, was discounted to a lower price and shown in the ad as “4 for $1.00.” A customer went to a register with four of the item and the cashier was ringing them up.

A minute later she called for the manager over the walkie-talkie system, “These items are supposed to be four for a dollar, but they’re ringing up at 25¢ each!” It was the first time I heard five different employees laugh in five different parts of the store at the same time.

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