Just Plane Stupid

, , , | Learning | June 28, 2017

One time in Physics I got bored and made a paper plane out of a page from my notebook. I then asked the teacher in the middle of class whether he’d let me fly it through a Bunsen burner flame. I can’t remember why I thought it was even remotely a good idea to ask, especially given that the closest thing I had to a justification was “I wonder if it’ll catch fire mid-air.”

He let me do it after the class was finished. He justified it afterwards as a demonstration of how convection worked, despite that we’d done convection two months or so previously.

It didn’t catch fire, by the way.

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Today’s Lesson Is “The Penis Game”

, , , , | Learning | June 27, 2017

It was standard in my middle school that everyone took health class the second semester of eighth grade, so half the school is in the “sex ed” chapter all at once every year.

I am in math class one morning, and it’s dead quiet while we work on a quiz. Suddenly, from the other side of the wall we hear what must be the entire class yell “PENIS” at the top of their lungs.

Cue the shocked pause and then 35 thirteen-year-olds dying laughing. We didn’t get the quiz done for another 20 minutes.

I found out later that the teacher had everyone get over the “awkwardness” of talking about sex and bodies by having the whole class yell each vocab word in that chapter. And, of course, being 13 and 14, guess what word everyone always shouted the loudest?

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Teacher Does Not Score A Perfect Ten

, , , , , , , | Learning | June 26, 2017

My art teacher in high school was a piece of work. He was a good artist, but he had a very narrow view of what constituted ‘art’ — anything even vaguely cartoon-ish didn’t count, for example. He also tended to play favorites. For a while I was one of the favorites, but something changed in my senior year and he started to get hyper-critical of my work.

That year I was in an AP art class, since I intended to go to college for illustration. Some of the assignments he gave us were insane, especially for a high school class, but the nadir of the class for me was an assignment where he wanted 12(!) finished pieces, all in different styles, in two weeks. That’s almost a piece a day, and insane when you consider we had all of our other classes to consider, too.

I worked my absolute hardest, and managed to come up with 10 pieces. Not all of them were very good, but what do you expect on that deadline? I got to the class to find that, in spite of my worries over being two pieces short, I actually had the most pieces out of everyone there. Most only had three or four, and a few only had one or two, though admittedly they were all higher quality than mine.

However, I did not get any kind of recognition from the teacher for all of my work. In fact, he continually picked up various pieces of mine and referred to them as ‘crap’ in comparison with my peers, and he didn’t even mention the 12-piece goal that I was the only person to come even close to hitting. By the end I was crying silently in the back of the critique group.

Thankfully, the whole spectacle was so ridiculous that my classmates — even the ones receiving positive feedback from him — stood up for me, and one of his ‘favorites’ spent most of the critique rubbing my back and telling me she was impressed that I managed to do as much as I had in so little time, and that the teacher was completely out of line for talking about my art the way he was. But I do attribute a lot of my anxiety with my art now to that class, and the way he moved the goalposts.

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Needs An Express Delivery Of Compassion (non-dialogue)

, , , , , | Right | June 25, 2017

I was injured on my postal job, and have a broken foot. I’m on crutches, an important point. Since I can’t do my regular job, the postmaster puts me on the customer service window where people pick up their hold mail and things like that.

It’s late, things are slow, like they usually are at that time, and a guy hands me two slips to pick up certified mail. Our station covers six ZIP codes, so we have a LOT of mail. And I mean a LOT.

I take the slips and go look for them. He has one letter that came in the previous day, and another that came in a couple of days before that. We have one area where the previous day’s mail (usually) goes, and then another place where we keep the older mail. They’re in a rough order, by a number in the street address. I find the first one quickly. The other, I have to go through over 400 letters to find, and then I have to go through them again, because his letter has a forwarded mail sticker that got stuck to the letter ahead of it while leaving the old address exposed. I finally see the sticker and realized what had happened.

I go to the window, and the guy sneers, “You took four minutes to get my mail. That’s unacceptable. I want to talk to your postmaster.”

I don’t get mad. I don’t even drop my jaw at a guy getting upset about someone ON CRUTCHES being a little slow. I smile. Because I STILL HAVE HIS MAIL IN MY HAND. I tell him I’ll be glad to get the postmaster, shut the dutch door, and hobble away. Our station is pretty big, as a station with six zip codes would be. It takes me a while to find the postmaster.

I find him on the dock, and he says, almost in one breath, you look tired, what’s up, are you okay, you shouldn’t have come back to work the day after an injury like that, and I know you’re dying for a cigarette (this was back when I smoked), so have one and tell me what’s up.

So I tell him while I smoke the cigarette. Then we go back.

The postmaster opens the dutch door while I handle scanning the mail and getting the signature, off to the side, not saying anything. The guy is FUMING by this point. The postmaster lets him have it for timing someone who had broken her foot only the day before — I could have taken time off, but I am there, serving petty jerks like him, while I am in pain.

And then the guy makes the fatal mistake. He tells the postmaster that he has a bad attitude for a taxpayer paying his salary.

Hint to all of you Americans out there: NEVER — EVER — throw the scum taxpayer argument in a postal worker’s face. Don’t even hint at it, because your tax dollars DO NOT PAY for one fricking cent of a postal worker’s salary. That stamp or postage on the front pays our salaries. NOTHING ELSE. Bring it up, and you deserve to get your head torn off.

When that jerk resorted to the taxpayer argument, that’s when the postmaster went after the guy with both guns, informing him that he was all wrong, why, and finally that he had his mail. He could leave now.

The guy couldn’t believe the postmaster wasn’t firing me on the spot. “You’re not doing anything about how slow she is?”

“Why would I? I’m proud of her for needing so little time to find your mail, when she has a broken foot.” Then my boss turned to me with a grin, and said, “He’s all yours.”

This is his code: You can get your dig in; just don’t swear at him. I am kinda notorious for not taking crap off customers, and he wants to see what I’ll say. That’s probably why he stands in a place where the customers can’t see him. The window clerks take a few seconds from doing their end of day wrapping up to listen in, too.

I finally hand the guy his mail, smile, and say, “Isn’t it great that we live in America where we’re civilized and expect all workers to be treated with dignity and respect? Have a nice day!”

And I shut the door.

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Not An Ally

, , , , , | Related | June 23, 2017

Between the ages of 13-15 I began to realize I was attracted to women as well as men (I am female) but had no one to talk about it in my family, which is extremely religious with southern roots, and not very accepting.

I would always hear the adults badmouthing anyone “different” and saying they should “get what they deserved.” It scared me into being what they all thought a little girl should be and pretty much just keeping quiet, I honestly never spoke to my mom much unless I had some medical issue I couldn’t solve on my own because she was the worst and always told me that a little girl should be “seen and not heard.” My “being good” earned me the love and affection of the adults in the family and they all fawned over me and babied me as long as I was well behaved and fit the image they had grown accustomed to.

As a child I had a close relationship with my first cousins, my dad’s sister’s kids, and when I was about 15, I broke down and told my aunt’s oldest daughter over the phone that I was attracted to women. She was stunned into silence but seemed accepting. I felt relieved. I thought I finally had someone to talk to.

A few mornings later, my mom storms into my room, rips my cell phone off the charger and rips the computer modem out off the wall, then leaves. I think maybe I left some chore undone and quickly get out of bed, scrambling to find out what it is, while my mom watches me silently.

Soon she calls me into the living room and produces my missing cell phone, then demands I dial the number to a girl I like, whose name I previously mentioned to my cousin. She speaks to the girl’s mother and makes me listen as her parents began screaming at her. She gets the mother’s attention and tells her “If your daughter ever calls my daughter again, I’ll call the cops and send my daughter to a girls’ home.”

I have no idea what a girls’ home is but I am already freaked out and don’t want to find out. Turns out my cousin relayed our conversation to my aunt who called my mom and the rest of our family, making sure to cover all family in THREE STATES. Everyone went ballistic, my mom threatened me, my dad threatened the other girl, and the phone was ringing off the hook with calls from nosy family members.

Fast forward to last year. My same aunt’s middle daughter is discovered to be a closeted lesbian with a girlfriend and a slew of pictures of the two of them all over social media, some involving little to no clothing. Before anyone can say a word, my aunt loses it and goes on this tirade about how everyone should mind their own business and is suddenly the worlds biggest supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. Of course no one says anything because “Everyone knows how [Aunt] is when it comes to her kids.” So everything gets swept under the rug.

Dude, f*** this family.

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