On the farm:
I told a student that she was a walking country song today. We were discussing the different types of burns, and she said:
“I got a second degree on my shoulder once. I was at a wedding, wearing a bridesmaid’s dress, and we were roasting a hog, but it caught on fire and the fire department came to put it out. So I stepped outside to smoke ‘something’ and when I got up to go in I didn’t notice the prodding iron on the ground. I tripped over it, fell onto the pig roasting pit and hit my shoulder on the cover. I told everyone I was fine, I was gonna do a shot of Jaeger and then go to the hospital. But no one was sober enough to drive me, so I just saw a nurse.”
I’m still not sure where the nurse came from, but there was more.
“Oh, and another time I came home from college and my cat, Fudge Ripple, got so excited she knocked a chicken pot pie onto my shin and I got a second degree burn there.”
She’s also been bit by a horse three times. The last time was because:
“The cop told me I was standing too close, but I didn’t listen.”
The week before last I taught a lesson on lateral epicondylitis (better known as tennis elbow) to my class. It’s a repetitive stress injury, meaning you commonly get it from overuse of your wrist extensors. I gave many examples of occupations and activities that could cause such a problem. One student was absent.
This last week that student was there. I taught my new lesson about carpal tunnel syndrome, and then took time to review last week’s lesson, although I did not do the entire 45 minute presentation again. You missed it, I’m sympathetic, but your problem. Read a book.
As the students were practicing their special tests, a woman with long dreadlocks partnered with the absent student called me over and said:
“Can I offer a tip about teaching this?” and she was going to whether I said yes or no, so I didn’t interrupt. “I just told her that you could get lateral epicondylitis from braiding hair, and she totally got it.”
“Yeah, all that stuff you said before didn’t make any sense to me, but that was like a light going on.”
“So maybe say that next time.”
To which I just smiled and nodded. Not because it was uber insulting to me, which it was, and not because I specifically said “hairstylist” as an occupation during my lecture, which I did, but because how horrible would it be if I were to point at a black student in the room and say here’s an example you might understand: braiding hair. Not tennis, not baking, not playing a musical instrument, not doing massage, not any of the other examples I gave, the only thing I think you’ll understand is braiding hair.
I told my wife about this, and she told me I got black lady ‘splained to, which I thought was pretty funny.
I have a student named Francoise. I’ve never quite said her name right. I tried again during attendance today, and she very politely (she’s very nice) corrected me again.
“It’s just a soft S,” she said.
And before I knew what was happening, the words that came out of my mouth were:
“So I should just lightly tap that S.”
I heard it the same second my class heard it. Now I’m that teacher.
On new novels:
I was teaching IT Band contracture today and I asked the students what they did or what they had heard of to relieve IT Band associated pain. Foam rollers came up, and I told them I had a friend who used to put a towel over her leg and roll a rolling pin up and down it. One student then chimed in:
“I’m glad you said that, because I used to use a bone folder, and I thought that might have been weird.”
I had no idea what a bone folder was, and she told me it was a pretty simple little artsy tool used to fold pages when you’re making your own books. And I told her not only could she use that, but that “The Bone Folder” was going to be the title of my next mystery novel. She was thrilled, and she will most likely be cast as the villain. Her name is Bek. It’s actually Rebecca, but the Re and Uh are silent, and it’s absolutely never Becky. How will the plot unfold? To be determined. But it will end with her over the corpse of her last victim laughing maniacally and saying over and over again:
“Why don’t you smile more, Becky? Why don’t you smile more, Becky?”
The main character in this novel will be named after what another student said in class today. Dope Bolster. Detective Dope Bolster. And there will be a mob boss named “Tiny” Patellas as well.
Don’t worry citizens…
Dope Bolster is on the case!