School Desks: 3 Lawsuits Waiting to Happen (Or, How to Pay for College)

Just a funny picturePaying for college has gotten increasingly expensive. It used to be that you could pick up a college education for a live hen and a bushel of nuts. Now, however, it costs anywhere from $80,000,000,000 to a small habitable planet.

So, that’s a problem. And like most problems, it has a solution. Notice I said “most;” I guarantee you will have or have had the opportunity to do one of those “Challenge” math “exploration” problems, where you go through the entire alphabet twice (you know: part a), part b), etc.), only to come to the end and learn that you were supposed to ‘explore’ why the problem you’ve been trying to solve has no solution. And then you will probably cry and smear the three hundred pages of work you’ve shown. But this problem, of paying for college, has an easy solution.

You have to get past the issue in your mind that you need to pay for college. Anybody can pay for your college. You just need some good lawyers. Or bad lawyers, depending on if we are looking at morals or skills.

There’s this thing called a lawsuit, which is basically the basis for the entire legal system, a system that was originally created back in the 17th century to keep nobles in line. Of course, after abolishing the torture aspect, it has worked considerably less efficiently, but most people think that torture is bad, as in, worse than trying to find the money to pay for college.

And with that clever transition, I’m now back to my original point: lawsuits can help you pay for college. Today (or tomorrow, if you’re reading this in Australia), we’re going to look at lawsuits that you could profit from. They all deal with: school desks.

The Sharp Thing on the Desk Poked Me

Whether your school desk is a table or an individual style desk straight from the 90s, or 80s, or 10s, it had a broken support bar. I don’t know why; my theory is that the pre-broken model costs less than the normal model.

Regardless, this broken bar will be SHARP. It will be so sharp that you may tear your clothes simply by brushing up against it. In extreme cases, you will tear your clothes by being in the same room.

This sharp point, though, is the key here. What if you got poked by it? What if you had ketchup packets (a crucial component in every personal-injury claim) right under your clothes? What if it crippled you for life and ruined your ability to wink? I think I’m going to cry.

I Fell off the Desk

This happens to everyone. At some point, especially with those individual-style desks with weird supports, you will sit on your desk only to be dumped faster than you can say, “I’m too young to die!” Your life will flash before your eyes, but the worst part is: when you pull yourself up, everyone will be laughing.

You will be the klutz of the school. People will do hilarious re-enactments (well, hilarious to everyone but you, and that’s including that one teacher who never laughs because people think he is a Chinese robot sent to take over the US) for months. And then, just when you think it’s over, someone else will fall off the desk. Then someone else will say, “Hey, remember when [your name] fell off a desk? That was so funny hahahahahaha…” and then they will laugh until they throw up.

To me, a legal expert based on the fact that I once was a fake-witness in mock trial, that sounds like excessive humiliation that could have been avoided if the school had kept their desks in good shape. Not to mention that your behind swelled up until you looked like Kim Kardashian.

I Got Crushed by a Desk

This is the most physically painful of the three scenarios. But nonetheless, if you survive, a lawsuit is the way to go. Although the hospital might be the way to go, first.

You see, although it is unlikely, due to the prankster nature of teens and the ‘safe’ nature of school windows, this is actually more likely than it seems.

The thing about school windows is that they usually only open a few inches out. I don’t know why; maybe it’s because the schools are worried about students jumping out them. From three stories up. Onto concrete or thorn bushes. Yeah, that’s probably why.

Regardless, as it gets closer to summer, students want to let in more of a breeze. So, to break the window-restraint that keeps the windows from opening, one might grab a desk and ram it against the window until it opens/shatters, letting in a breeze. Sometimes, intentionally or not, the student drops the desk out the window.

It is this that you need to be worried about. Desks are probably deadly. I wouldn’t know for sure, though, because this has only happened about a dozen times this year at my school and no one, save a car, has been hurt. If you get hit, though, well, you’ll now be able to pay for college.

And it is at this point I want to end on a serious note: Eb. Ha, no, actually, I do want to be serious. Rising college cost is a serious issue. Lawsuits are just one way to combat this. So, please, don’t hurt yourself badly in the hopes of suing. Extortion, bribery, bank robbery, petty theft, grand larceny, money laundering, or kidnapping for ransom are all viable options.

Last year at this time we offered you “3 Ways to Do Homework Faster,” so you’ll have more time. In line with the topic of this post, though, comes a hilarious legal disclaimer at the beginning. You should check it out. Or at least pretend to.

The AP Test: What is it? Some Sort of Apocalypse?

Funny ap testThere’s a famous saying which most of you probably know; it goes “April Showers bring AP Test Hours.”

But wait, you’re thinking, don’t I mean “…May flowers?” NO. I don’t mean “May flowers.” This is an unfair expectation that we humans have for the environment. So what if one flower wants to bloom early, in April, or late, in June? What are you going to do, crush it? And get a name as a cold-blooded person who crushes flowers? That’s what I thought.

I do mean that May brings around AP tests, though. This is something you probably know by now if you have any AP classes this year, and if you have any AP classes but didn’t know this, you should definitely throw yourself at my feet and try to tackle me for ruining your blissful ignorance.

Because this AP test isn’t just a test. Oh no. It’s the hardest test of your life (aside from the SATs, the PSATs, the ACTs, the SAT IIs, the TASs, the APSATs, the SAPTs, the PSAT-APs, and the MRIs).

Each AP test comprises hours, yes, hours of your day. There are countless multiple choice questions and essays galore (galore means 2, right?). The test is so bad that you actually have a break in the middle of it. Most students use this time to stuff their brain back in through their ears and take their writing hand for a quick walk around the counter to work out cramps.

And the best part is: you spend these hours trying to pick up a measly 5 points. Yep, that’s right, the entire test is graded out of 5.

Now, let’s put this in perspective. Your average AP class homework assignment is probably worth about ten points. So, if you did the homework so terribly that you got only half credit, or turned it in late for partial credit, that’s about how many points this test is worth.

Do you realize how badly you have to do on homework to get a 5 out of 10? That means taking a question like: “Which New England colony was supposed to be a ‘city on a hill?'” and answering it with: “Well, there were a lot of hills in New England, but some of them slowly eroded. So, most notably was the Hill-ton colony, which was comprised of a bunch of settlers who came to the new world to start a lucrative hotel chain based around the idea that people would pay extra for cute little shampoo bottles.” Yeah. That’s how many points the AP test is worth.

However, even more ridiculously, this score is considered important. It stacks up against 2,400 possible points on the SAT, 240 points on the PSAT, 800 points on an SAT II, 36 points on an ACT, and a “Well, the good news is that your brain is still functioning,” on an MRI.

Regardless, you are going to have to prepare for the test, if you are taking one. This includes, but is not limited to: taking the AP class, buying a supplemental AP class guide, sleeping less than two hours a night, buying another supplemental AP class guide, walking to your classes frantically talking to yourself, building a house out of all the supplemental AP class guides for your AP class of choice, and/or reading the supplemental class guides or textbook.

Then, of course, you have to sign up for the test. This ensues paying a fee, giving out your personal information, donating a sliver of your spleen, and clicking that link in the confirmation email.

What if you’re not taking an AP test this year? Well, you should definitely take one next year. Why? Because you are a mindless teenager and I told you to.

While this may not sound like a boatload of fun, or even a kayak-full of fun, or even a life preserver-full of fun (yes, I am aware that live preservers have a hole in them, causing a leak, meaning they can hold very small amounts of fun), you have to consider that most students love the subject and are thus willing to make the necessary sacrifices. I mean, who doesn’t love Microeconomics?

Not worried about or not taking AP tests in a few weeks? Then I bet you still have to write essays for class. And that’s where “The Story of the Works Cited Page,” comes in, providing a, um, factual, yeah, factual historical account of why those essays require so much information in each citation.

Everything You Need to Know to Pass History Class: WWI

WWIIt’s been a little while since our last “Everything you need to know” post, mostly because we wanted you to realize how much your grades would change without our constant help (we’re not going to classify whether it was “bad” change or “good” change; you should be able to figure that out. It may have even been “pocket” change).

However, in the spirit of the April is Awesome campaign, which I just created to raise awareness about how un-awesome April is in the hopes that that will change (start by closing school for another week and adding in nightly meteor showers/fireworks shows/alien visits), I figured I’d make your April awesome by explaining WWI.

Sure, that alone might not seem like an awesome thing. But when you consider that you will, I assure you, have at least forty test questions on WWI throughout your lifetime, you can see that I’m basically giving you six answers on a silver platter (although this blog is neither silver nor a platter, meaning that this is an imaginary silver platter. Which just makes it more awesome, because then you can do all sorts of things with it in your imagination, like make it a 4-D silver platter or give it eyes and legs. April is just so awesome).

Of course, as I have before, I advise you not to unquestionably trust this information. You should always be allowed to question things. For example, by the end of this post, you’ll probably be wondering, “Phil, how is it that you are so absolutely insanely smart?”

Causes:

The biggest cause of WWI was undoubtedly the fact that this blog didn’t exist yet. So, no one had any way to release tensions through laughter, because, let’s face it, the early 1900s were not all fun and games. I mean, would you be having fun if you knew that not only would the next 30 years bring a world war, but a major economic collapse as well? I don’t think so. Plus, as illustrated by the movies of the era, everything was in black and white.

There were other causes, though. Skype wasn’t invented, so it was hard for national leaders to use diplomacy. Also a problem was the fact that the European nations had decided to grab as much land and build as many guns as they could as fast as they could, which, surprisingly, did not end up leading to global peace.

Other factors include something called nationalism, which involves a ‘nation’ and an ‘alism,’ and alliances, which were sort of like student-council elections (“I’ll vote for you, you’ll vote for me, and then we’ll go invade that country over there and dig some trenches,” is a common phrase overheard during the high school election season).

The War:

Moving right along, because I know this is cutting into valuable procrastination/sleep/eating time, let’s start with the spark that ignited the war. It was not a very bright spark, of yellow-orange color, but unluckily for Europe it happened in the blimp-chamber where all the flammable gasses were hel-oh, sorry, that’s the Hindenburg. Yet another reason why people alive in the early 1900s were constantly breaking into tears in the street; they all just knew the Hindenburg would happen in 1937.

The actual start of the war occurred with the assassination of ‘the Duke,’ meaning that North Carolina retaliated by declaring war on Europe. Then Europe became split over whether to fight, laugh at, or throw exotic travel brochures at North Carolina. So, they decided to fight amongst each other to decide, and by the end of the war no one remembered to deal with North Carolina.

The war was fought using trenches, guns, and, in the Russian case, hammers and sickles. Millions died on all sides, tragically, until Russia decided it was difficult to compete using only farm tools. After they dropped out of the war, millions more died, until the United States decided that they needed to intervene to protect the dignity of North Carolina. Eventually, in 19-something, most of the dying stopped (although it could have been 20-something or even 30-something, although one of these three dates is a TV show. I forget which).

Consequences:

There were a lot of important consequences, so I’m just going to list them:

  • Germany lost
  • France, Great Britain, and the US won
  • Russia lost
  • Danzig, a town so small that if you lie down to sleep your head or legs leaves the town boundaries, won
  • North Carolina could go back to focusing on basketball, now that they didn’t need to worry about being attacked by the entire European continent plus Russia which isn’t really in Europe but whatever
  • Germany broke up with Russia although Germany said “I still like you, as a friend. So please don’t get mad. There’s no reason to, like, take our Eastern section”

One thing that did not happen, though, was that no one was able to deal with the problems this war created well enough to avoid another war. This led to WWII, which, in turn, led to other wars, which, in turn, led to the wars that exist today.

Which will, I’m sure, eventually lead to the Great Depression, which is why the early 2000s are not all fun and games. This is also why there is a great need for at least one month of awesomeness in the year, hence the “April is/needs to be (or else) Awesome” idea.

If it just so happens that you want to take a WWI test while chewing gum, then perhaps you’d better read “5 Ways to Avoid Being Caught with Gum.” Want to know why Shakespeare can actually help you hide your gum? Read on.

How to Ask Questions in Class: 3 Time-Tested* Strategies

Students asking a question in classWant to know what will ruin your C- average faster than the average hummingbird’s wing beat? Want to know how to avoid confusion in class, a confusion that is murkier than pea soup? Want to know what would happen if a hummingbird drank pea soup?

Yes, I know that’s a lot of questions all at once. The answer to those questions, though, is to: ask questions in class. This helps your participation grade, your comprehension of the material, and, if you ask your teacher, you may just find out what happens to hummingbirds if they drink pea soup (I’d recommend asking your creative writing teacher).

Therefore, it stands to reason that, to get these positive things (with the exception being that you don’t want to understand Schrödinger’s cat, so this would be negative; trust me on that), you should take it upon yourselves to ask questions.

However, it is difficult for many teens to ask questions in class, because they may have too much gum in their mouth to talk, are under-confident, are asleep, haven’t been listening, or are tied up and gagged, in the back of the room, for sleeping and/or chewing gum in class. In the interest of improving your life, but mainly in the interest of science, and finding out exactly what would happen if a hummingbird drank pea soup (my guess is the hummingbird would develop a pea soup addiction, because that stuff is good, almost as good as stale, moldy, raw spinach), I’m going to offer you 3 Time-tested* strategies for asking questions in class.

*Before we proceed, I think I am legally obligated to tell you that when I say time-tested, I don’t mean that I’ve put these strategies to work and that, over time, they have consistently proven to provide good results. What I mean is that, as those of you who’ve read this blog since last November know, these strategies have been tested by my pet fish, whom I have named Time.

However, last November I forgot to mention Time is actually a plastic toy fish, and I have him test these things like so: “Hey, Time, I’m going to tell you my three strategies for asking questions in class. If you think any one of them is a bad idea, then tell me.” So far, Time has remained silent.

Raise Your Hand

This is probably one of the best things to do when it comes to upping that participation grade. Simply put your hand up in the air like you would if you were checking to see if you’d remembered deodorant that morning, and leave it there. This tells your teacher that you want to ask a question.

It is important to note, though, that due to the time constraint brought about by the fact that we only spend 7 hours a day in school, your teacher can’t get to everyone. So, hope that your teacher doesn’t actually call on you. This sends the message that you want to participate, and it is the teacher’s fault for not calling on you.

Of course, if you are actually called on, and don’t have a question, then simply use a great excuse, like “I was stretching, sorry,” “You just answered my question; never mind,” or “Aye-Oh, gotta let go.” (If you don’t get that reference, you should ask your oldest living relative. They won’t get it either, and you can both laugh about how weird that joke was. Or, you can go here).

Ask a Theoretical Question

Obviously, your teacher won’t cover every possible scenario of whatever they’re teaching. Thus, you should come up with a scholarly what-if question to ask.

For example, if your teacher is describing the proper way to construct a compound sentence, you should ask: “But what if chipmunks suddenly take over the world? Do I still need a conjunction?”

Ask Why

Anything can always be taken one level further. This means that you can always ask a simple one-word question, known as “Why?” In certain instances, it is necessary to add a “but” at the beginning. It is unwise to improvise; for example:

Teacher: “….and then he vetoed the law because he thought it was unconstitutional, as it violated the entire constitution and the whole bill of rights in every way possible, while also giving dead people voting rights.”
Student: “Why?”
Teacher: “What?”
Student: “Um…[Improvising, which is not a good idea], I was just wondering why the, er, square root was that number.”
Teacher: “Have you even been listening? This isn’t math class. I’m going to try to get you expelled and banished from this country, because that’s how extremely angry you’ve made me.”

As opposed to:

Teacher: “….and then he vetoed the law because he thought it was unconstitutional, as it violated the entire constitution and the whole bill of rights in every way possible, while also giving dead people voting rights.”
Student: “Why?”
Teacher: “What?”
Student: “Why?”
Teacher: “Great question. I forgot to mention that. In clause three there was a line that said, and I quote, ‘…and, finally, that any person no longer living be given fair and equal voting rights, assuming they continue to pay their taxes.”

And so, before I go, I leave you with one final tip: don’t ask these questions during tests. Instead, ask yourself a question: Do I know the answer? If not, can I guess? No? Can I make my face turn green on the spot and be ‘sick’?

Sometimes, rather than asking a question, you’ll raise your hand to vote in class with your head down on your desk. However, this is a terrible idea, as we explained last year in “3 Reasons to Abolish the Heads-Down Vote.” If you have ever voted heads-down, will ever vote heads-down, or are currently, as you read this, voting heads-down, then you should read this post.