Duck and cover
November 19, 2004 8:27 AM   Subscribe

This used to be how all of us learned.
Sigh, stories from our elders, passed around generation to generation, campfire to campfire.
posted by Peter H at 8:31 AM on November 19, 2004

posted by dig_duggler at 8:32 AM on November 19, 2004


Aliens are about to land and they are going to kill anyone who is not in the act of having sexual intercourse.

We must act swiftly!"
posted by flarbuse at 8:34 AM on November 19, 2004

This isn't a lot different from being advised to sit under my desk at school during cold war era air raid drills.

Gives one a great perspective on the wisdom of the elders. Except in the 50's and 60's it wasn't a spoof. It was real.
posted by mygoditsbob at 8:43 AM on November 19, 2004

What's the fuss? This is a Catholic school. The kids get fed this end-of-the-world guilt-trip stuff 24/7.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:46 AM on November 19, 2004

This sounds like one of those ideas that sounds great the night before while sipping (or drowning yourself) in {insert alcohol name here} and somehow you never reconsidered it by the following day.


Teachers make mistakes all the time. I would imagine that there are countless more examples that are much, much worse that never make the headlines. I think this just falls under goofy/gullibility.

Oh, and you shouldn't drink while conjuring-up curriculum exercises.
posted by purephase at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2004

P_G, I thought Asteroids were taken out of the lesson plan after Vatican II, though, right?
posted by Peter H at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2004

What an asshole. I mean arsehole.
posted by scarabic at 8:56 AM on November 19, 2004

Maybe asterhole?
posted by Peter H at 8:59 AM on November 19, 2004

This is why I could never be a teacher. I'd want to do shit like this.

This is almost as evil as teaching a very young child the wrong words for objects:

*holds pencil out to child* "airplane"

*points at moon* Roberta
posted by papercake at 9:04 AM on November 19, 2004

What's the point of being in a position of power over children if you're not allowed to fuck with their heads a little?
posted by Optamystic at 9:05 AM on November 19, 2004

My grampa once told my brother his hands were going to fall off when he caught him playing with the aerated chunks of grass after the fertilizer people had gone through our lawn.
posted by Peter H at 9:10 AM on November 19, 2004

This is a Catholic school. The kids get fed this end-of-the-world guilt-trip stuff 24/7.

As someone who spent/suffered 13 years in Catholic schools, I can vouch that we got the guilt-trip stuff a lot, but not so much the end-of-the-world crap. That's more of an Evangelical concept.
posted by turaho at 9:21 AM on November 19, 2004

What turaho said. The official Catholic stance on eschatology is more postmillenial, so you're not taught about Raptures and such in Catholic schools. But the guilt trip is laid on thick.
posted by brownpau at 9:26 AM on November 19, 2004

May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2004

I didn't go to Catholic school. What the hell is a "head of year"?
posted by soyjoy at 9:37 AM on November 19, 2004

About $50.
posted by fnord at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2004

A story:

A teacher enters his high school geography class.

"Hey kids! Who wants to go to Africa?" he asks.

Yay! I do! Me Too! Africa ROCKS! exclaim the students.

"With LONELY PLANET!" finishes the teacher.

Aw crap. Lonely planet sucks! I hate this class! is the new general sentiment.

The students watch a fairly boring travelogue on Africa, courtesy of Lonely Planet. After the video is done, the teacher notices that there is still some time left before the end of class.

"Hey kids, who wants to visit JAPAN?!" he asks, enthusiastically.

The students, wise to the teacher's ruse by now, know that they will certainly not be physically visiting Japan today. A general sense of disinterest rises from the class.

"With Lonely Planet!" finishes the teacher, oblivious to how little his students care about Lonely Planet.

The teacher removes his Lonely Planet Africa tape, and inserts his Lonely Planet Japan tape.

-At this point, it is important to make a note about the televisions in use at this school. This particular TV is getting on in age, and the power button is broken. Therefore, a pencil or pen is to be inserted into a hole, in order to turn the TV on or off.-

What appears on screen at this point is filmed from a low angle. It is well lit. It is a penis entering a vagina, repeatedly, from behind. There is a sound which would later be described as a "wet thudding", like hands being clapped together. A woman is moaning.

The teacher, realizing what is going on, goes into panic mode. he tries to jam a pencil into the TV, to turn it off. The pencil snaps, and the wonder of life continues on the screen. Finally, the teacher pulls the cord from the wall, and, out of breath and flush to the face, turns to address the class.

"Please. No. One. Say. Anything."

The next day the teacher brought candy for the class.
posted by hughbot at 9:46 AM on November 19, 2004

I want it to be revealed that all this talk of asteroids and imminent death had actually encouarged all the children to come up with absurdly powerful and thoughtful works of art and charity: Great American Novels, symphonies, etc. Then, at this teacher's apology they all rise and a la Dead Poets Society speak for him, and he's carried away on their shoulders.

Then, they are all flattened by an asteroid. The end.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:49 AM on November 19, 2004

This reminds me of a scary article in the Globe and Mail last month. (PDF) "No one at this country school suspects that a gunman is about to burst through the door to stalk children from its halls" Ah, scaring children. A time honored tradition.
posted by Hanover Phist at 9:51 AM on November 19, 2004

This is almost as evil as teaching a very young child the wrong words for objects

This doesn't work as well as you might imagine. My sample size is limited as I mainly played these games with my oldest son who was extremely verbal at a young age.

I used to reverse the names for elbow and shoulder (originally it took thought, after a while they would naturally just come out backwards). It caused zero confusion for my son. I wasn't being mean, it was just one of a huge range of games we played with language. I also taught him to say and to point to his occiput when he was about eighteen months old. He didn't mind in the least, but the doctor who asked the standard "which body parts can you name?" question at one of his checkups was confused when the kid got his elbow wrong but knew the proper name for the back of his head. But the reversal didn't last long, he knew what he meant and as everybody else did it differently he soon learned it their way too without any sign of trauma or mental dislocation.

I also found that the people who think that you have to use simple words around small children, so they don't get confused, are barking up the wrong tree. I would use synonyms for all sorts of things, use sesquipedalian terms, and so on, and the kid just drank it in, getting most meaning by context and asking for explanations only if necessary. Referring to it as a "hand," a "paw," a "thingy," or a "brachial appendage" didn't make much difference.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:51 AM on November 19, 2004

"...playing with the aerated chunks of grass..."

When they were kids, my uncle told my mother that everything green was poison. Nobody reassured her during that long summer on the porch.
posted by badger_flammable at 9:53 AM on November 19, 2004

US Awesome
posted by elykcooks at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2004

It's like War of the Worlds. But with naive, trusting children.

So not funny. I mean, so funny. Haha.
posted by xmutex at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2004

My second grade teacher showed us that documentary on Nostradamus that was narrated by Orson Welles. Among other things, it claimed Nostradamus predicted WWIII would occur right around the time I was of draftable age.

My eighth grade teacher stood in front of the TV pretending to work the volume control during Olivia Hussey's boob flash scene in Romeo and Juliet. I'll never forgive him for that.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2004

hughbot: was waiting for the end of that story to be "And I. Was. That. Teacher."
posted by papercake at 9:58 AM on November 19, 2004

Sticherbeast totally stole my NaNoWriMo plot.
posted by turaho at 10:00 AM on November 19, 2004

Quinbus, did you teach him "ass" so he can describe what got kicked the first day of school?
posted by yerfatma at 10:13 AM on November 19, 2004

When we were kids I told my little sister that my Grandad's Rizla were handkerchiefs for dwarves.
posted by biffa at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2004

What do you call an asteroid heading for Manchester?

A ghetto-blaster!
posted by longbaugh at 10:21 AM on November 19, 2004

Those english kids sure are ahead of us, dang it!!

dirigibleman: In 9th grade English, I saw Romeo and Juliet, complete with the flash. Then last year in Art of Film, we watched The Godfather, complete with topless scene. I feel more educated now.
posted by crusiera at 10:46 AM on November 19, 2004

at my school (after i left) an english teacher student (the ones that turn up to practice teaching for a 6 months or so) decided to give her students something to write about.

so she got a friend to dash into the room with a shotgun. and shoot her (with blanks, of course). at which, she fell to the floor with fake blood running down her front.

the kids went ape. some were hysterically sobbing. others ran through the school, screaming and banging on doors, to warn people about the gunman.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2004

...but is it still OK to tell them about the man in the sky who talks to the President?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:58 AM on November 19, 2004

yerfatma, he had three years of Montessori preschool to gentle him into dealing with other kids before he went to kindergarten, so he was suitably socialized by the time he had to deal with the rougher elements in the more "mixed" environment of public school. That environment did stretch his vocabulary though: he came home with some "interesting" new words after the first few days of school.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 11:03 AM on November 19, 2004

I find that hard to believe, andrew cooke.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:26 AM on November 19, 2004

Me too. What happened to the teacher?
posted by agregoli at 11:31 AM on November 19, 2004

" The teacher then admitted the story was a stunt aimed at underlining the theme of the assembly - "living each day to the full". " - He sure made the point though. Heh.

hughbot - great story.

Andrew Cooke - more details !
posted by troutfishing at 11:41 AM on November 19, 2004

When I was 6, in the summer of 1979, one of my camp counselors took to wearing a "Skylab Target" pin. He explained to me what it meant, and I became absolutely terrified that this thing would actually land on me. Went home that day in tears, and had nightmares about it for weeks.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:15 PM on November 19, 2004

It is incumbent on all parents and friends-of-young-children to identify the big white poly-wrapped hay bales in the farmer's fields as "Cow eggs."
posted by five fresh fish at 4:15 PM on November 19, 2004

hughbot made me laugh :)
posted by scarabic at 4:41 PM on November 19, 2004

Well, of course they're cow eggs, five fresh fish. Where else would baby cows come from?! Next you'll be telling us milk doesn't come from the grocery store.
posted by deborah at 10:56 AM on November 20, 2004

When I was 6, in the summer of 1979, one of my camp counselors took to wearing a "Skylab Target" pin.

That same summer a friend showed up wearing a Skylab Early Warning Device: A red plastic helmet with a front-desk bell on top with a small metal plate soldered to the top of the bell. The instructions said, “Place helmet on head to receive .001 second’s warning of a direct hit by Skylab”.
posted by mono blanco at 12:09 AM on November 21, 2004

Reminds me of a far side cartoon i saw years ago. Can't find a link to it....

A plane, in flight. All the passengers (seen through the windows) have very big eyes. Co-pilot to Pilot: "FRANK!!! OH NO!! THE FUEL LIGHT IS ON!!! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! Oh, wait, that's just the intercom light."

posted by zarq at 5:45 AM on November 21, 2004

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