Posts Tagged ‘adult’
Does being in some minority pressure people out their profession? In an office of whites, would lone Hispanic gentlemen feel out of place? Popular opinion would affirm that he would. Given my work environment, however, I feel as if I should have the similar reaction, even though I don’t.
Nearly every other active photographer in our office is a little different than I, although to say that is a little backwards — I’m the newcomer, here. To be sure, I’m a little different than most of the active photographers in our office.
Simply put, I’m a dude. Most everyone else isn’t.
Though my company is an equal opportunity employer, and ignoring for a moment that the office staff is pretty evenly split, the bulk of our field photogs are female. Of about 25 photographers, there were six guys when I started. Four of us were hired just this year, and one of us had the initiative to get himself fired before training ended.
Although there was nothing improper about his firing — he didn’t think twice about calling in sick whenever he didn’t feel like showing up, and this during training — I liked him well enough, chronic absence and all. Had he showed up, he might have been an ideal employee. Probably not, though.
Among the photographers, now, there are five guys. On one of our so-far rare reprieves, I asked why there were so many more gals driving to schools every day. Basically, she said:
Guys just don’t tend to last that long. Maybe they just say, “I have enough girl problems, already.”
After a pause and a bit of a chuckle, she noted:
Those guys who do stick usually don’t have girl problems.
Even as an adult heterosexual white male, I’m perfectly comfortable with the mostly female staff I see every day — my year or two in a sorority steels my nerves in that regard — and I can’t help but be amused.
In America, adult heterosexual white males are supposed to crowd out everyone else in from the adult heterosexual while male professions in construction, politics, journalism, high finance and the military. After a year in education and the beginning of what may be many years in school photography, I’ve managed to choose two fields where adult heterosexual white males are in the minority.
I’m either open minded or I really want to seem that way.
While reading a text book of chemistry, I came upon the statement, “nitric acid acts upon copper.” I was getting tired of reading such absurd stuff and I determined to see what this meant. Copper was more or less familiar to me, for copper cents were then in use. I had seen a bottle marked “nitric acid” on a table in the doctors office where I was then ‘doing time’! I did not know its peculiarities, but I was getting on and likely to learn. The spirit of adventure was upon me. Having nitric acid and copper, I had only to learn what the words “act upon” meant. Then the statement “nitric acid acts upon copper”, would be something more than mere words.
All was still. In the interest of knowledge I was even willing to sacrifice one of the few copper cents then in my possession. I put one of them on the table; opened the bottle marked “nitric acid”; poured some of the liquid on the copper; and prepared to make an observation. But what was this wonderful thing which I beheld? The cent was already changed, and it was no small change either. A greenish blue liquid foamed and fumed over the cent and over the table. The air in the neighborhood of the performance became colored dark red. A great cloud arose: This was disagreeable and suffocating — how should I stop this?
I tried to get rid of the objectionable mess by picking it up and throwing it out the window, which I had meanwhile opened. I learned another fact — nitric acid not only acts upon copper but it acts upon fingers. The pain led to another unpremeditated experiment. I drew my fingers across my trousers and another fact was discovered. Nitric acid acts upon trousers.
Taking everything into consideration, that was the most impressive experiment, and, relatively, probably the most costly experiment I have ever performed. I tell of it even now with interest. It was a revelation to me. It resulted in a desire on my part to learn more about that remarkable kind of action. Plainly the only way to learn about it was to see its results, to experiment, to work in a laboratory.
The man who wrote this was one Ira Ramsen, a chemistry professor at and eventually president of Williams University.
Science is the only general topic I wouldn’t be comfortable teaching. I don’t like playing with things that require adult supervision. I’m barely an adult, myself.
Anyway, back to the anecdote. I would have liked a chemistry teacher with such a good sense of humor. I still would have disliked chemistry — nitric acid acts upon fingers, after all — but I would have disliked it while having some degree of respect for the teacher.
Any thoughts, observations or pedagogical lessons to be gleaned from this?