Saturday, May 11, 2013


Sepia Saturday would have us go back to school. 
The prompt picture depicts a chemistry class. 
Since we have to, 
let's go!! 

Me in my teenage years. 
Lousy school card pic which I've fixed somewhat. 
One of the rare pics of me in those years. 
those who know my story know why... 
I don't have the fondest memories from school. 
I liked the academics well enough, 
but life at school was hellish 
because I was bullied throughout elementary and high school. 
All those years of verbal and physical abuses could have groomed me to become a serial killer, 
but I remained that shy guy even for many years after... 
Not anymore!! 
Not so much anyway... 
Going to a Catholic school when you're not is a burden. 
Going to a French private school when you're anglicized is another. 
Being on the Queer side is the icing on the cake for those bullies. 
I understand those kids that commit suicide because they can't stand it anymore. 
I've been "there"... 
But as they say now, 
it gets better [somewhat]!! 
I gave the pic above a little Disco flavor 
because that's what I liked back then. 
Being raised on Motown music, 
it was a natural transition. 
I wasn't listening to those French Quebecker folk singers whom I found mostly boring, 
except Beaux Dommages
Another reason to be made fun of...

I wasn't the brightest student nor the dumbest, 
but I did have my moments. 
You'll notice that most images here today are not mine. 
Found them on Google Images just to illustrate for you various situations. 
one of those moments was in Biology 
when the teacher assigned us each a slide which we had to look at under the microscope 
and reproduce our findings on paper. 
Being a sharp observer with an artistic flair, 
I did well.

I did so well that I had an excellent grade for my paper 
while the rest of the class flunked or did poorly. 
That brought attention on me, 
which I didn't like... 
and seeming smarter than them didn't help my cause. 
I looked through my old papers to find that paper, 
because yes, 
I kept it [for a long time] but couldn't find it anymore. 
But I remember it was what you see in the pic above, 
Obelia, Medusa Stage
And my drawing in color perfectly reproduced every details. 
I was very pleased with it [despite the unwanted attention]!!

Never fancied myself of a scientific mind as I always preferred Arts, 
but who knew that a couple of decades later, 
I would again peek into a microscope, 
and make another enemy. 
I was working at the Delivery Room 
when I heard the intern (medical student) tell the senior resident 
that the patient's Fern test was negative, 
meaning the mother-to-be's waters had not yet broken. 
The slide was still there so I took a peek, 
adjusted the lens and the slide, 
and lo-and-behold!! 
Beautiful monochrome ferns appeared under the light of the microscope. 
I told the resident to check the test because I believed the test was positive. 
The intern didn't like it one bit... 
a simple orderly with a college degree in a non-scientific field, 
outshining a university medical student... 
I just knew how to make friends, 
didn't I?!? 
But the good news was that the expecting mother got to stay and eventually delivered her baby, 
instead of being sent home, 
which would have been unsafe.

Let's go back now, 
back to class, back in Time!! 
If I was clueless on how to have better chemistry with my fellow students, 
I knew about Chemistry itself. 
I became rather well acquainted with "25Mn", 
Too well actually!! 
The teacher teamed me up with one of those whose grades were failings to help him along, 
against my will... 

Of course, 
during the experiment as everything was set up, 
he was not paying any attention at all  
and was having fun instead with his friends, 
and with a broad gesture, 
sent everything flying off!! 
Some of the heated Manganese fell on my left hand 
and I watched my skin melt. 
The teacher rushed over to make sure there was no fire issue, 
but nobody cared about my hand... 
I was told to man-up
that it wasn't a "big deal"... 
Took months for the hole to fill up again and finally become a whitish bump 
which stayed like that for most of my life. 
Now the bump has receded somewhat, 
hardly rising above the rest of my skin, 
but still discolored. 
Would you believe I still remember the jerk's name that did that?!?...

Another situation in Chem class. 
I was a front row student 
but one day, 
I was sent to sit at the back of the classroom by the teacher 
after she caught me staring at her cleavage... 
If she had known me the least bit
she would have known her breasts were quite "safe" with me 
as I had [still don't] no interest in such "things"...

As it was the fashion in the 1970s, 
she was wearing a pendant with her astrological sign 
and I was looking at it from a distance, 
trying to determine which sign she was. 
Never found out!!!

Class is over!! 
Time to head back to 
I didn't mention Physics 
as there was nothing much to report 
except that I really didn't like my last teacher... 
Really not!! 
Which reflected on my grades. 
I didn't flunk but it was an unremarkable performance. 
It started well in the previous years when I had a different teacher...

That boy is still somewhere inside 
and I feel sympathy for him. 
He survived everything that came along, 
and a lot came along, 
especially during those years... 
May he rest now.

But who knew I'd be surrounded by such things later in life?!? 
The career counselor told me I should become an accountant... 
Yeah, right!! 
I find these guys, 
who have a university degree... 
totally useless!! 
Anyone had a better experience with such folks?!? 
And given some recent experiences with university graduates, 
can I say I'm glad I didn't go on to university!?! 
Geesh, they're SO dumb!!
I'm just glad I was able to keep a flexible mind on more practical matters. 
Much more useful in life and at work. 

My first college experience wasn't that great 
as it was my first time in a public school which sent me into shock... 
in business administration!! 
Oh Yuk!! 
Dropped out real fast!! 
Learned some German though along the way, 
and benefited of some experimental program in Philosophy!! 
Not a total loss...

Went to another [public] college, 
as my parents wanted me to get a taste of the "real life"... 
into Graphic Arts
That was fun!! 
Met some great people there!! 
Still great friends with some, 
and going to my School Reunion this summer!!
Never practiced that job per se
but did eventually work into some connected field, 
Visual Display!! 
If I look at my CV, 
it is an odd journey for sure, 
something that no counselor could have predicted, 
but it is said we are called to change career path a few times in our lifetime. 
I've done my share!! 

Alright now!! 
Off you go!! 
I've said more than enough for today... 


I wrote this post in the early hours of Wednesday morning. 
Not long after, 
we heard a terrible news at work. 
One of our colleagues had just lost her young son (14) to suicide... 
Bullying is considered the cause. 
it seems he had neither confided in his parents nor his friends about this matter. 
Most sad!! 
It shocked us all 
and some spoke to their kid(s) that evening 
to check on them. 
It's the kind of wake-up call some folks need 
to put aside the daily worries and focus on what really matters, 
their kid(s). 
I saw kids in a kindergarten today [Thursday] playing together, 
and sadness filled me, 
as I wondered how many among these would even make it to 20... 
Kids have it rough nowadays!! 
Some commit suicide, 
while others are tortured and even murdered. 
Life, it seems, has been trivialized and violence seems like the norm. 
Respect is now gone!!! 
A thing of the past... 


  1. Your post first interested me, then saddened me. As a teacher I have come across too much bullying and it is one of the most frustrating issues to deal with. I am sorry that you had to go through it, but glad that you were strong enough to get through it. A tragedy that so many kids still suffer and we don't seem to be able to deal with it effectively.

    1. What makes it even worse nowadays is that bullying extend beyond school time and continues on the web through social medias where victims keep on being harassed, furthering their sense of isolation and hopelessness, making them bait for those fools, and our laws fail to deal properly with those. Kids have always been cruel, but these last couple of decades, it has taken unbelievable proportions in the number of cases, but also in the violent nature of acts committed against those bullied. When you hear of cases who were raped, tortured, even murdered, you have to wonder where we went wrong... And then we hear of those kids we lost to suicide. Something is definitely askew in our value system.

  2. Thanks for the clip. One of my favourites. And I adore Hugo. So sad that not everyone "survives". So sad that in this day and age we still can't get it together.

    1. Hugo certainly has an interesting career, never really getting stereotyped into one kind of roles.
      I like him very much too!!

      As for kids, it has becomes further complicated nowadays to bring up children and giving them enough space to grow and keeping a close eye on them to keep them safe. I don't envy parents.

  3. I enjoyed your recap of science courses, funny and/or tragic as they were. In 9th grade we had to make several collections. The first was a bug collection (UGH - I remember capturing a Praying Mantis and suffocating it in a jar but I had to get my friend to pin it to the styrofoam board). The second was a leaf collection -- I'm still good at identifying trees. And finally a rock collection. If you ever have a question about igneous and metamorphic rocks, let me know - I'm your girl!

    1. Good to know!!
      For me, it was stamps collecting, then boxes and horses (art).
      Still got some!!

  4. Childhood and schooldays are not necessarily happy times.. Good on you for developing the resilience to see you through.

    1. On my own, I must say....
      Oh well!!

  5. Sorry that your schooldays were so tough. I was much more fortunate. one of the best pieces I was given which applys to many of life's situations remains, 'Don't let the bastards grind you down.' There have been times when it has stood me in good stead.

    1. Yes, indeed, I can see that!!

  6. I have heard an awful lot about bullying in the last few years. I wasn't aware of any bullying happening during my school years. Probably some kids were picked on a bit, but it wasn't really malicious like it is now.

  7. I learned early that "sticks and stones can break your bones, but names will never hurt you," and I believed it.

    1. This is where we may have different opinions on the matter.
      When subjected to ridicule on a daily basis for a certain amount of time,
      it leaves an impression, even at a subconscious level,
      affecting the psyche and behavior of the inflicted.
      That partly explains all of those suicides...

  8. Never know where your blog journey will lead us..... through good times and bad. There have always been bullies, but these days their reach has no limit and is easily "crowd-sourced" via internet, text, etc. A difficult time for our kids.

    1. As I said in my update at the end of the post,
      this week's event proved to be a wake-up call for a few parents among our group
      and they spoke with their children, just to get a feeling of where they're at and
      if everything is alright. Kids are hooked on social medias and their ego can be
      stimulated or bruised in the process, sometimes at a level that becomes dangerous.
      That is something that parents are not necessarily prepared for to deal with...
      I just find the coincidence of writing this post and then that news, a little unnerving.
      I didn't need the confirmation!!

  9. It doesn't surprise me that your teacher was clueless, sadly it happens, but gee why in the world would she dress like that to teach school students, and then order you to the back of the class! Kind of makes her look bad really. Clearly she needed to give her fashion sense a deeper look!

    1. A "boy"school, should I add!!!!!
      If only she had known...
      Only pity is that I never found the nerve to clarify the situation
      and not maintain this misunderstanding.
      Would she have believed me?!?
      We'll never know...

  10. How sad. Not only your school days but the son of your friend that committed suicide. It seems that bullying is getting worse, not better even tho there's been so much in the news about it.

    1. Quite frankly,
      I dread the day she'll come back to work as I'm afraid I might put my foot in my mouth
      and say something really stupid. Her situation is just so overwhelming for me.
      When I was at the ER, I dealt with death frequently but it's been a long time,
      and though I am compassionate, I might still say something foolish...
      I think I oughta shut up and just give her a hug.

  11. That was a sad end to the post, but fitting. I'm glad you made it through.

    1. If you compound together the various events that happened in my youth,
      it is surprising, especially to me, that I'm still around.
      There have been dark days, too many of them,
      but I understand better for it those who go through such dark times.
      It helped me when I worked with patients, it helped me back when I volunteered for some helpline,
      and it makes me perhaps a better human being because I know the weakness of our condition
      and can be compassionate with some, while being tough on those who like to abuse such vulnerabilities.

  12. At first glance I mistook the Obelia Medusa for one of those desserts at a high end restaurant! As usual your choice of images always illustrate a larger story. And your tragic postscript illustrates yet another even larger story. I think that an unintended consequence of modern technology - the internet, smart phones, social networking, even blogging - is that bullying can hide behind anonymity and write racist and hate speech without being seen in public. The old schoolyard bully could never reach the levels of vicious attacks available to today's children and teenagers bent on harassment. I hope your colleague will know that you and others share and understand their pain.

    1. You are quite right when you say those bullies have a reach they never had before
      as they can pursue their victims even in their intimacy 24/7.
      I hope our governments will decide on tougher laws and pursue those bullies
      that sow fear among us, destroying the most vulnerable in our midst.
      I hate when such negativism has such power over the positive.
      It is easier to destroy than to create.

      She knows. We sent her messages. I know I did, even if a short one.
      I was speechless, for a change...
      I could bring myself only the day after to write that postscript
      as it pained me so much, even if I didn't know the child personally.
      I was shocked to hear about it only 4 hours later after writing this post.
      You can imagine my surprise. It made feel ill to see history repeating itself.
      And these last few years, we've had so many similar cases in the region,
      I find it alarming, and disheartening as the bullies ever come to justice...
      One day, I hope they get what they deserve!!! All of them!!!

  13. We have our own meaning of PhD - Permanent Head Damage ;) At least that's what some of in my part of dreary gradschool world tease ourselves with. Hugs back to you.

    1. I'll be sure to pass that one along!!

  14. Those memories never go away, I'm sad to say, but even worse the consequences and mental scars never leave either.


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