There is a saying in China that you are only one parasite
away from your ideal body weight. Yes, eating the food here can do what Weight
Watchers can’t, help you lose ten pounds fast. Jeff has a small parasite living
in his stomach, which he has affectionately names Philip. Phillip was hopefully
flushed away last week.
But these bugs don’t come from freshly skinned frog legs or
pig parts on a stick. They usually originate
from snotty nosed little six year olds.
We both were in bed last week with First-grade-arrhea, something
Jeff picked up while subbing for an elementary teacher.
We were retching out guts out, wishing we were never born, our
mattress looking like a raft surrounded by a sea of empty Gatorade bottles.
Finally, when we got over this pesty little virus, we decided to
reward ourselves with a foot massage.
The shop owner’s four year old son was there that day,
playing outside with the ultimate low-tech toy, a balloon. We smiled as he bounced it on the ground and chased it around in circles with a swarm
of other kids. Then for whatever reason, the little boy stopped playing with
the balloon and started licking it, his wet spit making the red latex look new.
When the father saw what he was doing, the
boy got spanked then retreated shamefully into a corner. I gave the boy a new
pencil, hoping it would bring his smile back, crossing my fingers he wouldn’t
start licking it or crunching on the lead.
Jeff and I are convinced that this little boy will never get
sick. He will develop some kind of super immunity, the Red Balloon Syndrome,
and outlive bacteria and E coli that will take civilization down.
But we wonder, is there a five second rule in China? If you drop
street food on the sidewalk, a dumpling on your floor, or a balloon on the
street, are you allowed to eat—or lick–
It might not kill you, but actually give you immunity to the
bugs that will someday wipe out the wimpy rest of us.
The school year has started, in other words, the third year
when I close my classroom door and do my impersonation of Jack Black from the School of Rock. I admit,
I might not teach in the traditional way, but I have no doubt that students
I have a new class called WIRED, where students are allowed
to bring in their smart phones and other hand held devices. A few of which, I’m convinced, will be able
to hack into the school’s online grade book and enhance their scores.
Anyway, we leapfrogged to the topic of i-cheating, in words,
using electronic devices to improve one’s GPA.
Now I don’t understand why Asian students are compelled to
cheat in the first place. These whiz
kids could memorize all of fine print in a Pfizer drug print ad yet alone
anything in a text book.
To top things off, this summer, while I was sampling libations of local Michigan
breweries and watching quality TV like Jerseylicious, several of my students spent their vacations at
English camps, practicing for SAT tests
or brushing up on how past progressive
Yet, they are tempted to cheat.
Mind you, Korean students think a 99% on a test is a bad
grade, which is why many are tempted to use their electronic hand held devices to cheat.
In my opinion, i-devices are cheating on cheating, eliminating the
“how did you ever think of that?” brilliance and thrill of outsmarting one’s teacher.
If there’s not an ingenious idea involved, what’s the point?
Back before Al Gore invented the internet, we had to cheat the old fashioned way: use the right side of our brains to score well on
tests designed for the left. We wrote calculus formulas between our shoe
treads or tapped out in Morris code the answers to a multiple questions. Or in mega sized college classes, we’d have
classmates take a test for us, the professor being none the wiser.
This took guts and ingenuity, not a downloadable app.
Once, I had a roommate join me to take a final exam in a
mega class at MSU, just to see if all the all nighters I pulled paid off.
She passed, not with flying colors or with black circles under
her eyes, but she passed.
Now days, students take pictures of tests, google anwers or
text each other . That’s a disgrace to
those who gave cheating a good name. It’s not that I condone cheating, but I
admire the creativity that goes into it.
So please students.
If you’re going to
cheat, use some imagination. You’ll still
get a big fat “F” and will expelled from school. But at least you’ll work out your right lumpy
lobe and will have a good “I learned a lesson the hard way” story to tell.
If not, don’t waste your time on it.
Jeff and I finally got cable. We have over one hundred channels of nonsense,
multiple channels of infomercials, CCTV news, cartoons, sports and four
channels of 24/7 coverage of the Olympics, more commonly pronounced the Owimpics.
We have had the privilege of watching events we would never
otherwise view, including speed walking, pistol shooting, ping ponging, and women
weight lifting, none of which will land a Victoria Secret Model deal.
But equally as important as any single event, is China’s non-stop coverage of
who has won the most goals. For the most part, it’s been a neck to neck race between China and the USA.
Which is why I recommend that China adds a few new events, guaranteeing them more golds than anyone else. My ideas include:
Face Dart Throwing
Taxi Sidewalk Driving
Geriatric Mountain Climbing
Synchronized Recess kicking
Electric Line Walking
Construction Site Balancing
Morning Aerobics in Dress Clothing
Feather Duster Sleeping.
It couldn’t be any more boring viewing than Badminton watching.