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Everyone Needs A Healthy Beating Now And Then

, , , , , | Learning | May 22, 2022

My acquaintance’s daughter had problems with congestion in her lungs, so her mom would have her lay across her lap and she would rhythmically hit her daughter on the back — not hard enough to hurt her — to break up the congestion.

Her daughter was about six at the time. She went to school and said her mom beats her. As you can imagine, this did not go over well with the school.

They called my acquaintance in, and she had to explain what her daughter meant.

Ain’t Geology Trippy?

, , , , , | Learning | May 21, 2022

I studied at a university north of the Arctic Circle. That means that the sun never sets during the summer and never rises in the winter. It also means that when it’s dark outside, the inhabitants can quite frequently get Northern Lights (aurora borealis). This is a beautiful spectacle — nature’s own light show colouring the sky.

One evening in August, I was walking my dog around a lake near the university housing estate. It was very late, but the sun never sets, so it was still bright as day. On a bench near the path, there were a couple of foreign exchange students sitting, looking up and waiting. They both spoke English with a heavy foreign accent, so I really can’t blame them too much for not knowing the details about this, but it was funny nonetheless. As I passed by, one of them asked me:

Student: “Excuse me. Do you know when we can see the Northern Lights?”

Me: “Ehm… Yes. Yes, I do. They are visible when it’s dark outside. Which is… a few months from now.”

They were laughing as they walked back to their dorms. I wonder how long they would have waited before giving up.

This Kid K-needs A K-nurse!

, , , , , , , , | Learning | May 19, 2022

This happened when I was eleven years old, in year seven at secondary school. I was running late one morning, due to my younger brother throwing a strop over not wanting to go to school. As a result, I was riding my bike as fast as I could down the pavement on the street my school was on. Until, that is, I saw a fire officer’s car coming the other way. Being a pre-teen obsessed with shiny things — which a red and reflective yellow livery most definitely was — I lifted a hand to wave to the car’s occupant.

And I promptly fell off my bike. 

To his credit, the fire officer immediately stopped his car and came over to check on me. I was mostly unhurt, apart from a few grazes and an impressively skinned knee where I’d slid along a few feet. I remember being more worried about my brand new tights — completely shredded — than the multiple places I was bleeding from.

The fire officer got me loaded into the front seat of his car and my bike into the back, and he turned round to take me the rest of the way to school. He carried me to the visitor’s reception and plonked me down into one of the chairs there.

He asked the receptionist to call the nurse up from her office to come take care of me. The receptionist was unwilling to do so. I don’t remember the full conversation, as it’s been quite a few years since then, but the receptionist was arguing that the school, and therefore the school nurse, was not responsible for dealing with anything that happened off of school grounds, even if it happened on the way to school and practically within sight of the gates.

An offer was made to have an older student, a sixth-former who’d made the mistake of wandering into sight at the wrong time, escort the fire officer and me down to the nurse’s office. The receptionist dismissed the possibility that the nurse should be the one coming to a student with an injured leg. I was just faking it, by her estimation.

The sixth-former wasn’t stupid, though, and ran off during the argument — straight to the nurse’s office. He did what the receptionist wasn’t willing to do and told the nurse that she was needed in the visitor’s reception. A few minutes later, she arrived, and she promptly tore a strip off the receptionist while simultaneously reassuring me and getting all the bleeding bits bandaged up.

The fire officer left once he knew I was being taken care of, leaving my bike in the care of the groundskeepers, whose office was next to the bike sheds. The nurse had the helpful sixth-former carry me round to the student reception and pastoral care area — through the staff corridor, which was a big treat at that age — so my parents could be called to come collect me and take me for a checkup and proper wound clean at hospital.

My leg was fine, but the experience left me with a nice scar on my knee. And a few days later, some of the little jerks I went to school with decided to shove me along a pebble-dashed wall so that my other knee was also ripped up.

Thanks For Making College Life Even Harder

, , , , , , | Learning | May 13, 2022

I’m employed by the housing service of a prestigious university, directing inbound students to the best options for their needs. One such student is a boy, who, due to not feeling confident in living entirely alone just yet, has decided to not live in a flat and instead to get a bed in the all-male dorms. I give him all the information needed to start the enrolment process and think nothing of it.

A few days later, I get a call.

Me: “Hallo, [University]’s Student Housing Services. How may I be of help?”

Boy: “Hello, it’s me, [Boy]. I called two weeks ago about getting a place in the dorm, but I’ve had a bit of a problem.”

Me: “What kind of problem? Anything serious?”

Boy: “Uh, yeah, the headmaster, or whatever he’s supposed to be, sat me down after the dorm tour and told me I wasn’t a very good fit for the dorm and that I should go look for a flat.”

Me: “That’s weird. Did he elaborate?”

Boy: “No, he didn’t say much else.”

Me: “Okay, then. Do you mind if I inform myself and then get in touch with you by the end of this week?”

Boy: “Sure.”

And so the call ends. I immediately call the dorm manager’s office, figuring that something REALLY major had come up to tell him he couldn’t get into the dorm. After getting transferred from the secretary, in a few minutes, I’m on the phone with him.

Dorm Manager: “Hallo, [Dorm]’s office, [Dorm Manager] speaking.”

Me: “Hallo, Mr. [Dorm Manager], I have been called by a student called [Boy] [Surname]. He says that, after touring the dorm’s facilities, he was told that he wasn’t allowed to take a room. He told me he has not been told the reason behind it. Is that true?”

Dorm Manager: “[Boy]? If she is what I think she is, that’s not her name.”

There’s a long beat, as I’m confused.

Me: “Come again?”

Dorm Manager: “She was not a boy but a girl. I don’t understand what she was trying to accomplish in trying to hide her breasts and pass herself as a boy to enter my dorm, but, regardless, she isn’t supposed to be here. She should go contact the girl student dorm.”

Me: “Huh? His voice sounded quite masculine to me.”

Dorm Manager: “The voice did, but I guarantee you she didn’t look like a boy in the slightest, neither in face nor in body. I am not going to let some kid’s girlfriend sneak in to live with them.”

Me: “I think I’m going to research this matter a little deeper. Something is not quite adding up here.”

And I hang up. While I’m not allowed to access any files that could be considered sensitive, I do notice that [Boy] sustained the admission exam to university under the name he gave me; if this was just somebody’s girl trying to get a free room with her boyfriend, she would have to be extremely committed.

A couple of days later, I decide to send an email to my boss about it and then call the boy back.

Me: “Hallo, [Boy], [University]’s Student Housing Services.”

Boy: “Hallo, any news?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve called the dorm manager. He has told me you looked like a girl and rejected you on those grounds.”

Boy: “Uhhh… what? Can he even do that? Can’t I appeal that?”

Me: “I think you should give a call to my boss. I’m afraid I cannot help you with this directly.”

And I give him the number. A few hours later…

Boss: “Hallo, [My Name], do you remember [Boy]? [Surname], the one.”

Me: “Yes, I do. I gave him your office’s number.”

Boss: “I have seen his file and talked about it with him. He’s definitely a guy, no two ways about it. Strike out a spot from the dorm. I will deal with it myself.”

Me: “Okay, if you say so.”

And he hangs up. I receive no information about it for a long time until midway through the first semester of university when I receive a call from [Boy].

Boy: “Hello, it’s me, [Boy]. I’m sorry, and I know it’s quite a lot to ask, but would it be possible to find an apartment now?”

Me: “Hello, [Boy]. May I ask why you want to leave the dorm?”

Boy: “I… I don’t feel comfortable in there. The place is nice and all, but the dorm manager keeps calling me to his office and telling me I shouldn’t be here or that I don’t look like a guy or…”

At this point, silence falls.

Me: “Hello? Are you there?”

There’s a long beat, and then I hear some sniffling.

Boy: “Uh… yeah, I’m here. It just hurts to talk about. Can I get a place in another dorm or an apartment with other people, pretty please? I don’t want to be here anymore.”

Me: “I will see what I can do.”

I decide to get the other side of the story just in case.

Dorm Manager: “Hallo, [Dorm]’s office, [Dorm Manager] speaking.”

Me: “Hallo, Mr. [Dorm Manager]. A student has been complaining about your behaviour toward him. His name is [Boy] [Surname]. May I know what is going on exactly?”

Dorm Manager: “What is going on? She isn’t [Boy]. She literally is just some girl who decided to change her name and gender because she liked football. I don’t care how much she likes [Football Team] or how much she wants to lop off her breasts. She is not a man, and she will never be, and I am not going to keep a woman around my dorm just to please some dumb idiot who thinks he knows better than I do. She either gets out of my dorm on her own, or I will make her wish she had never bothered.”

It all finally clicks.

Me: “Oh, okay, I do finally understand. I will be sure to pass this around.”

Dorm Manager: “You’d better. Goodbye.”

Little does he know, I am not going to communicate that to the poor guy.

Me: “Hello, [Boss]. [Dorm Manager] is apparently harassing [Boy] [Surname].”

A deep sigh comes from the other side of the phone.

Boss: “Jesus Christ, [Dorm Manager] really is the dumb motherf***** I thought he was. You’d think he loves long talks with the rector. Fine, I’ll get to work once again.”

To make a long story short: my boss emailed the university’s rector, who in turn demanded that the dorm manager visit him, and apparently, he had quite the choice of words for him. They started arguing, and then the rector gave the dorm manager his walking papers, replacing him with his direct underling, who was much more diplomatic. The trans boy ultimately decided to stay in the dorm and has thanked me, though, really, he had to thank both the rector and my boss.

Depends Who You Ask, I Suppose

, , , , , | Learning | May 9, 2022

I’m teaching a physics lesson about gravity:

Student: “What country is in the centre of the earth?”