Sunday, January 27, 2008

Afghanistan, Channeling Forrest Gump & Uh-Oh

I believe Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby coined the phrase “Kids say the darndest things” and that pretty much has been my week. Let’s just hit the high points (or low points) depending upon whether you’re one of those people who look at the glass as half full or half empty. I’ve got to warn you, though, you probably ought to sit down for this. I guess in our crisis rating scale we can call these “situations.”

Situation #1…
I was showing photograph #15 from the Washington Post to my photojournalism class, and I was pointing out composition elements (yes, with my rubber chicken) and reading the caption, “A boy carries jars of water in Kabul, Afghanistan…”

In the background were three women wearing burkas.

“What are those women wearing?” one student asked.

“I think they’re called burkas,” I said.

“Why are they wearing them?” the student asked.

“Because they have to. It’s part of their culture…” I said.

“Well, I wouldn’t,” the student said.

“Yeah, you would,” someone else piped in.

“No, I wouldn’t,” the student said.

“You’d have to…” I said.

“They’d probably kill you if you didn’t,” someone else chimed in.

“Well, I’d just leave then,” the student said.

“You can’t,” I said trying desperately to turn this into one of those “teachable moments” that we all hear/read about.

“It’s not like in this country where you can just move out of state,” I continued.

“I’d leave any way,” the student said.

“There’s no place to go,” I said.

“I’d go to Iraq,” the student said.

There are lots of things I could have said. All of which I’m pretty sure would fit rather nicely in my “Things That Will Get You Fired” folder. So instead, I was thankful that the room was semi-dark because I think (OK, OK, I’m pretty sure), I reflexively rolled my eyes (something I’ve perfected by hangin’ with my teen-angst peeps), sighed and thought it best to just change the slide and move on.

Situation #2
And speaking of moving on, I just wanted everyone to know that I attended a meeting (one of many this past week) in which the concept of self esteem (or self of steam as love to call it) reared its ugly head. And, to my credit, not once did I launch into my YMCA-Yoda-speech. (Now that could be because it’s all a part of that kinder, gentler me, or perhaps it was because my “Things That Will Get You Fired” folder is getting bigger. You decide.) Of course all this pent-up stress, according to my publications staffers, has caused me to sporadically channel Forrest Gump’s voice while on newspaper deadline this week. I’m not quite sure how that happened.

But somehow, just somehow, I don’t think that’s a very good thing. Makes me wonder how long my counter (located on the right sidebar) will keep ticking.

Situation #3
Now that I’m through with our Issue #4 deadline, I tried to get caught up on the goings on in the real world.

I had an “Uh-Oh” moment.

The Lewisville district attorney’s office decided not to prosecute a 7th grader who got in all kinds of trouble for picking up his teacher’s bottle of hand sanitizer, rubbing the gel on this hands and smelling it–or rather apparently inhaling it “heavily.” (You can read the story here.) Apparently there are dimwits out there beyond my little world that think drinking hand sanitizer is f-u-n. (“Hey, bro, forget the tequila, how about a shot of that Black Raspberry Vanilla Hand Sanitizer? Or that Brown Sugar Fig?” Jeez, Louise, what’s next?)

It was an Uh-Oh moment because I have some rather nice smelling Bath & Body Works lotion on my desk for kids to use. And, I must say, the kids do smell it. Hails Bails, they probably inhale it heavily. But that’s lotion, so I guess it doesn’t count.

It was also an Uh-Oh moment because there is that cute little bottle of Aveda blue oil. You know, the one I have in my top drawer, just above and to the left of the drawer that houses the “Things That Will Get You Fired” folder.

The $12.50 blue oil is one of those natural stress-relieving oils that, as the Aveda site says, helps “dissolve tension and raise energy levels with the balancing aromas of refreshing peppermint and soothing blue camomile.” The site also says to “breathe in the aroma deeply.”


My news editor and editor-in-chief became instant fans–or addicts.

See what I mean.


I’m thinking I might need to move that bottle down and to the right…

Yep, right into that “Things” folder.


Anonymous said...

Forrest Gump is my hero.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Anonymous said...

So glad I am not the only one who had those thoughts on the self esteem issue...

Anonymous said...

Amusing article.
Thank you for participating in the Carnival of Education.

Anonymous said...

Two kids at my school drank the hand sanitizer. I didn't realize it was a national thing. We all just thought the kids were complete idiots.