Friday, January 26, 2018

Maybe Society Should Have a Warning Label

Every now and then, something happens in America and I get to hold my smug head high and say "Not me, I don't live there." I may be from the States, but I've been safely on the other side of the world in China for the last 18 months. Therefore, I will accept no responsibility for the events that have prompted some of the recent headlines.

Tide Pod Challenge 

First, let's not even get into how stupid someone has to be to think that eating soap would be a good idea. For generations, parents washed kids' mouths out with soap as a punishment. Now, the kids are doing it willingly. There are plenty of jokes already written about this and a ton of memes. You've already seen everything floating around social media and can look them up for yourself if you wish.

People (especially young people whose brains haven't fully developed yet) doing stupid things is not really surprising. Still stupid. Feel free to shame them all you like (I know I do). But not surprising. A huge percentage of the world's population are idiots and always will be. What surprises me is the reactions that people have to the stupid trends.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Google and other sites started getting pressure to remove all videos featuring idiots eating Tide Pods. Some sites even started giving 'strikes' to people who uploaded content showing people eating Tide Pods. Some people have even suggested holding these companies liable for even having the videos. Click here for an article explaining it all.

Tide even hastily threw together a video to stop people from ingesting their non-food product.

I find it pathetic that pressure was put on them to have to say anything at all to the idiots who are well aware of what they are doing, but I respect the attitude that Tide took with their public service announcement.

They have been active in getting information out there about not eating laundry detergent and have helped to get internet videos removed, but they have stated that they will not change the appearance of their product. To read the article, click here. To summarize their stance: Stupid people are stupid people and we cannot change that. You're lucky we are even acknowledging these idiots. There's already a warning label on the box. That should be enough.

And I couldn't agree more.

It bothers me that pressure is being put on anyone to do something about this. No one is to blame for any idiot older than a toddler purposefully chewing on a Tide Pod. Not a website, not the manufacturer, not another person who did it, no one other than the person who made this choice. That person is a moron and YouTube cannot be blamed for that.

YouYube also has videos showing how to grow a garden, fix your car, ace an interview, etc. If you just have to do something you saw on the internet, have an honor student help you choose a better video.

Next topic, Crock-Pot Mania

SPOILER ALERT: If you are a watcher of the hit TV show This is Us and are not familiar with the big plot-twist that happened earlier this week, do not continue. You have been warned.

Now, I do not watch This is Us. I am not really even sure what it is about, but it is in the news this week because they killed off one of the main characters. Jack Pearson, the "world's greatest dad" dies in a house fire that was started by a crock pot.

Now, other than entertainment news, this doesn't seem like much of a news story. However, it has grown into something more. This sometimes happens when people are stupid. If you haven't noticed, this is the theme I am running with.

People all over the country are looking at their crock pots with suspicion and wondering if they are safe to have in their homes. It has gotten so bad that both the writers of the show and crock pot companies have had to issue statements explaining the safety of these devices.

Apparently, many of the fans of this show don't realize that this crockpot was a fictional item that was 20 years old and had a faulty switch that "had to be fiddled with a little" to get it to work. Emphasis on the word fictional. This was a literary device used to produce the outcome the writers were going for. They could have used an electric knife, a dishwasher, just faulty wiring, or had him stumble down the stairs and break his neck. That's it. But…as with the Tide Pod Challenge, people are stupid. Now, they're scared of their slow cookers. I don't even know what to say.

Maybe we could learn a lesson from Mexico where even their drug lords are more trustworthy.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Life is Rough

Today is my first day of my six week vacation. SIX WEEKS! It's time to party.

I get these unplanned (but fortunately paid) breaks quite often due to the nature of my job. I am an English teacher in Beijing, but not the same kind of teacher as the local teachers. I am the "native English-speaking oral teacher" at my school. I have over 700 students spread out across 20 different classes in third through fifth grade. I meet with each class once a week for 40 minutes.

This means that I am not their actual English teacher. They have Chinese English teachers all week and I pop in once a week to play English-speaking games. I don't do typical English lessons. I just design my classes to get my students to talk. It gives them a chance to practice the language they have been learning without getting caught up in structure, grammar, and syntax. Those things are important, but it is not the purpose of my being there. Plus, they get exposure to a native English-speaker.

This makes my job different from the regular teachers in several ways:
  • I don't give homework
  • I don't grade papers
  • I don't give tests
  • I don't have progress reports
  • I don't assign grades
  • I am not responsible for any paperwork
Because of this, I also don't go to staff meetings, teacher's workshops, field trips, extra-curricular activities, after-school programs, etc. I don't even stay at school for the entire day. I show up in time to teach the first class I have for the day and leave as soon as I finish my last class. While the other teachers are there Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., I put in just under five hours and I only work four days a week. Take all these "perks" and add in that as the "professional expert" in my field, I get paid more than them. So you can imagine how popular I am with the rest of the staff.

Me being off work right now is one of those perks. School is still in session, but my services are not needed. This week is the semi-yearly progress test for all Chinese students. Because all students are taking this test, there are no classes for me to teach. So I get to stay home.

All next week, the students are out of school, but the teachers have meetings and training all week. However, it is all in Chinese and most of it doesn't apply to what I do. So I don't have to go in for that either. After that is the start of the Chinese Spring Festival which kicks off Chinese New Year. It lasts four weeks and everyone does get off for that. I just got to leave two weeks early. It's a pretty sweet gig. If I could just find a way to not have to deal with children, it would be the perfect job.

Now that I've got all this time off, I need to figure out what to do.