Don’t Talk To Me About Life

26-05-2014 Monday

Today I was confronted with a story that really got me thinking. It was a hypothetical situation and I had to make a decision. It’s still bugging me and I can’t really say what I would do in such a situation. Well, I can, but you know what it’s like. When you’re watching the news and you hear about a robbery and you see somebody pointing a gun at a storeowner or an employee. People always say things like,’ Yeah, I would have done this and that (usually accompanied by some bad language and violent movements and gestures), if I were him.’ While in real life they’d probably do something totally different: sit in a corner and cry. Anyways, I was told this story (well, more or less, I’m telling you what I remembered).
There you are, in a hospital, when a fire breaks out. In one room there’s an old man attached to some machines and in the opposite room there are six teenagers who are also attached to some machines. They need those machines to stay alive and get well again. Due to the fire their lives are in danger. At this moment the fire is threatening the lives of the six teenagers and the old man is safe. By throwing a switch you can rescue the six teenagers but the old man will die in the fire. If you don’t throw the switch the six youngsters will die in the fire. What will you do?
Mr Owen brought this up during English class and we were supposed to discuss it in groups. Somebody once came up with the idea that teamwork would be a neat idea. ‘I am bored of teaching, you know what, I’ll just put them in group and let them figure things out themselves, that’ll teach ‘em,’ he/she must have thought. Well, I think it stinks. Teamwork irritates the (bad word) out of me. Also, for some reason each and every kid in class always says it ended up in the worst group. How can everybody be in the worst group? And the best part is that they always say things like,’ I’m in the worst group, because I am doing all the work and nobody else does anything!’ So, we’re all in the worst group and that’s only because we all seem to be working harder than the other group members.
Back to the story. Of course it’s a hypothetical situation. Still, it got me thinking. The old man has as much right to live as the six teenagers. Who am I to judge their lives? I know nothing about these people and there I am, deciding who gets to live and who gets to die. God has got a hell of a job and I figured that I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. In the end I also decided not to throw the switch. I figured that if the switch was like that, somebody put it that way for a reason and who am I to interfere with fate, karma, God’s plan, or just bad luck?
My group members nearly got into a fight over this, shouting and screaming their ideas and thoughts. Mr Owen had to jump in to keep two kids from hitting each other. Apparently one of them had a granddad who was in hospital and he wouldn’t want his grandpa to die and then one of the kids said something about being egoistic, egocentric and something about mothers. I think that’s when the kid snapped. I just sat back and enjoyed the show. Mr Owen jumped in and clamed them down. Then he asked for my opinion,’ Arthur, whose life or lives do you think we should save?’ I stared him deeply into his deep dark eyes and in a very monotone voice I said,’ Life? Don’t talk to me about life*.’ Which confused him a little. He shook his head and walked away.
Evelyn was in another group and they were dead silent. They were all staring at each other blankly, waiting for somebody to speak its mind. Mr Owen tried his best to get them to talk, but they all refused. In the end they started discussing the situation as if the old man was Mr Owen himself. They said in that case the decision would have been a lot easier. Luckily Mr Owen didn’t hear it. As you can see, teamwork is not only hell on earth for us kids; even teachers can’t deal with it. Luckily the year is nearly done. I’m looking forward to my holidays even though I have no idea what we’re going to do or where we’re going to go. Everybody who’s got big plans, please, raise your hand and see me tomorrow. 

 

*Marvin the Paranoid Android – the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

I’d Like One Google, Please!

21-05-2014 Wednesday

Gluestickmum reminded me of the fact that I am terrible at remembering names. I gave her the advice that I read in a book (or cheap ol’ magazine at the dentist). According to that article or book when we are confronted with new people we are so busy with introducing ourselves that we don’t pay a lot of attention to the other person’s name even though we think we do, our brains seem to think differently. Don’t ask me the details about this, because I am not a brainologist. Therefore we should always sort of repeat the other person’s name out loud. You could for instance check with the other person if you heard his/her name correctly, like ‘John, right?’ This will often help you remember the name. It helped me a little bit.
It also reminded me of the book that Darren Brown wrote (if you don’t know who he is, go check him out). In his book he talks about mnemonics. If I remember correctly these are ancient methods of remembering stuff in easy ways. For instance, let’s say you have to remember your grocery list. With all the gadgets we have nowadays, who needs his brains!? We’ve got external braindrives like mobile phones, tablets, and so on. But let’s just assume you would really have to memorize a grocery list.
According to these ancient methods described by Mr Brown all we have to do is visualize a room, walk through it and put all the items in certain spots in the room as you pass them. So you enter the room and the doorknob is a cucumber, on the left there’s a clothing peg with some bananas on it, you walk passed the couch and there’s a bag of crisps on it, etc. The only problem I had was that I always got lost in my room and the room – for some strange reason – always seemed to have changed by the time I got to the store. I don’t think Google maps will be able to solve this problem for me. Maybe if they had taught me this at primary school, it might have had a better chance of being successful. Why, if these things are really so great, aren’t they taught at schools? Our teachers give us these long lists of words to study, but often forget to teach us the different ways of doing this.
A lot of teachers nowadays think we’ve got an advantage to kids before the Internet era, because we can Google anything. Kids in those days had to travel miles and miles on a bike with no saddle to a library where they were to go look for the right book, that had the right information and this could take up hours and hours. I don’t know if Google is really much of an improvement. We are simply overwhelmed with websites full of information, but who tells us which website really has the correct information? And if we can’t spell correctly, we never find the correct website. Well, luckily Google has solved that problem mostly by giving us suggestions. But a simple search leads to tons of sites and I never know which one to choose. Wikipedia seems to be the most favourite site amongst my classmates. It’s like the secondary school bible that holds the answers to life, the universe, and everything.  That is if I have to believe my classmates. I’d rather read a good book.
Ohw, there’s one thing I really have to share here. Sometimes when we’re doing a project our teacher asks us to give a list of our sources. You wouldn’t believe how many of my classmates still think that Google is the source, the only source, and nothing but the source. No matter how often our teachers explain this, they can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that Google is a search engine and not the source of all information in the stupid project that they handed in. Imagine writing down in the source list ‘the library’. Facepalm!

See me tomorrow. 

The Rock!

07-01-2014 Tuesday

17.00

Yes! I have survived yet another day of school. I am invincible! Although I don’t really know if you could call it a superpower,’ Hi there, random citizen, I am Schoolsurvivor Man, here to serve you.’ No, I don’t think it would work. And I would not look cool in a superhero outfit. Some people just have that; no matter what they wear, they always make the outfit look ridiculous.

Why do they teach all these useless things at school? I want to learn about catching ghosts, but they don’t teach you that. They give you maths, and history and mostly the boring bits, too. The only correct answer I have ever given so far is,’ He died.’ Most likely I will have to learn ghost hunting in my own time. I have already watched the film ‘Ghostbusters’, but I reckon that is not the way to do it. Besides, they have got all these gadgets that cost a lot of money. I think I will have to settle for a DIY ghost buster. I will have to look into these things.

Right after school I started searching the web a little, but there was not much I could find on who Sarah and Philip really were. There were a lot of websites describing the ghost story and sometimes even somebody talking about a sighting of the ghost, some pictures (mostly drawing, actually), but none of the websites I found mentioned anything more about their lives than what I had already heard. There is an air of mystery about this whole thing and it’s not just Sarah being a ghost.

Some things just don’t really add up, but I think that is quite normal with these ghost stories. Most of the time these stories have been passed on from person to person and very little was written down. Information gets lost and changed and stuff. Maybe Mr Bent knows more, but I somehow doubt it. He is not particularly fond of the Internet.

Hark, Hark, Mum is calling. I think from now on I am going to call my house ‘the rock’, because I have been living under it for years now. Seems like I don’t know anything about the world out there. Mum tries to keep me inside as much as possible. I wonder if she thinks I am not ready for the world or if the world is not ready for me. It’s not easy being schoolsurvivor man. So long and see me tomorrow.