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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Neutrons, Protons...and Morons!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Boomerang Science Project

As a teacher I was accustomed to students asking “When will I ever use this?”  I even asked the same question as a fifth grader.  “Miss West, why do I have to learn the parts of an atom?  I am never going to need this.”   “You’ll thank me one day young lady, now finish the project.”  And I silently thought “Not in a million years.”

I reluctantly went back to punching holes in ping pong balls, then gluing them onto wire and securing the wire onto the bulletin board.   My protons and neutrons were colored cotton balls glued to the center creating the nucleus.  It was an impressive three dimensional representation of an atom on a three by twelve foot bulletin board complete with labels and assorted blurbs of atomic trivia.   When the project was finished and I received my A, I filed away the experience in a remote part of my brain reserved for totally useless information and experiences.

Fast forward through 39 years of teaching, bringing up six children through high school and college, and never once having to access that part of my brain. ..until this past weekend.  The thirteen-year-old came home and announced “I have to do a project over the atom.”

They say a traumatic experience will cause your life to flash before your eyes in an instant.  In this case, and at my age, it took about ten minutes to rewind to Miss West’s fifth grade science class.  “Ok,” I said shakily, “when is it due?”  “I don’t know.”  “Well, where are the instructions?”  Blank stare.  “The sheet that has the requirements?”  Continued blank stare.

Now any of you who have reared children to adulthood know of what I speak.  Somewhere in the midst of junior high and hormone high, the future Presidents of the United States turn into  brainless-I-can’t-remember-any-thing-except-the hottest-300-rock-stars-and-the-lyrics-to-every-song-they-ever-wrote person thing.   

I located the instructions in the third trash can I went through.  Hey, I couldn’t have the “Presidential Memoirs”  revealing how I allowed the potential President of the United States to fail 8th grade science due to a hormonal imbalance of the brain could I?

Like an amnesia victim, there were bits and pieces flashing through forgotten recesses of my brain.  Proton?  Neutron?  Moron?  What kind of moron wants you to build a 3ft by 12 foot atom?  No wait, wrong century, right brain cavity.  Thanks to Google and copious cups of coffee, the project began to take shape in my brain.  No bulletin board this time.  A simple Aluminum atom, atomic number 13 on the Periodic Table of Elements made out of Rice Kirspies and jelly beans!  Perfect.  I gathered the supplies while the teenager, BeatsSolo2 clamped and booming in her ears, googled the information for her report. 

“Let’s use food coloring to differentiate the valance.  Black jelly beans can be the electrons and you choose 13 proton jelly beans and 14 different colored jelly beans for the neutrons in the center.”

“Pretty cool.  An edible science project.”

The Rice Krispy aluminum atom model made it to school unscathed and uneaten and on time.  When the thirteen-year-old returned I asked how it went.

“Good.  I made a 95. Everybody liked my project.  They were starving.  How do you know so much about atoms, Mom? ”

“You’d be surprised!” 

Ok, and it didn't take a million years, only 61...and thank you, Miss West.   






Monday, May 4, 2015

Where are My Peeps?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for F.B.I. (Friends By Internet)

You are probably thinking “Well, Jody, Easter is over and the blue rabbits, yellow chicks, and assorted colored globs of mystery flavored goo have returned to the freezer, the one reserved for sugar coated foam bits.”   But I am not talking about those kinds of Peeps.

 I’m talking about my peeps, the ones I met through the internet, my Net Wits, my Humor Writers, my Southern Humorists, my blog commenters, the ones who were there for me when I had those 2 a.m. feedings, the ones who were always up and ready to e-mail regardless of the time zone, the ones who guided me through potty training, I-phones, computer software crashes, magazine rejections, and the birth of my only book.

 I miss the exchange of what contests are where and link to enter.  I miss the critiques you would give on my writing attempts.  I miss the sharp repartee that would send my brain into that humor writing zone.  I miss the hyperventilating laughter you cause when I click on my e-mail each morning.   I miss knowing what everyone is working on, trying to work on, or never want to work on again.

Has the laundry piled up so deep that your computer overheated?

Are you over scheduled with podcasts, radio spots, and book tours?

Are you trying to lose 20 pounds before your Oprah TV debut?

Did you win the lottery?

Did you find another source of inspiration, stimulation, and feedback?  Tell me, I want to go there, too.

Have you gone back to china plates and now have to actually wash the dishes?

Are you in the throes of potty training kids, puppies, or senior citizens?

Are you snowed in, waterlogged, or in the Bahamas?

Have you contracted fingernail fungus thus unable to type?

Have you fractured your funny bone?

Has everything funny been written?

I PROMISE I will not ask you to buy my book, send me money, or give your e-mail address to the Home Shopping Network.

I miss my funny Peeps.