2 Important Actions You Can Take to Stay Safe this Summer

As always, click the image to zoom

As teens, we supposedly have bad judgement. I say that’s not true; I even went so far as to permanently tattoo ‘Teens hav good brainz’ to the bottom of my foot in neon pink ink in protest.

If that is true, though, that means we are never totally safe. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be safer than we already are. For example, are you wearing a seat belt right now? What about a crash helmet? I don’t care that you’re sitting at your computer; you can always be safer.

And so, in the interest of keeping you safe so you can read this blog and promote it to your friends and spray paint it onto the side of your house, I’ve decided to bring you some safety tips.

Now, these aren’t just average safety tips. You won’t hear about “don’t talk to strangers*” or “don’t take candy from strangers.” No, these safety tips cover the important summer things: the life or death situations.

*Interestingly enough, most strangers have forgotten how to have a conversation because nobody ever talks to them. So you probably don’t need to worry. And, if you find a stranger who can still talk, ask him for some candy; for the same reason, most strangers’ pockets are practically overflowing with candy.

Disclaimer: this being a humor blog, you should always take anything we say with a grain of salt. Including when we tell you to take our advice with a grain of salt. And that last sentence, also, where we are telling you to take our advice of taking what we say with a grain of salt with a grain of salt. Look, just go drink/eat a saltshaker and you’ll be fine, okay?

Use that Sunscreen

Why is this important? Well, as you probably know, there is this thing called skin cancer. And even though your water bottle, computer, cell phone, food, toothpaste, science class, and bar of uranium that you keep in your closet just in case may also give you various cancers, by putting on sunscreen you can hopefully avoid skin cancer.

That’s not actually why I’m telling you this, though. No, see, the other benefit of putting on sunscreen is that you won’t get too tan or a sunburn. If you get sun burnt, a number of bad things can happen, although becoming too tan is even worse.

A sun burn can lead to: red skin, sensitive skin, peeling skin, purple skin, yellow skin, turquoise skin, burning skin, dead skin, painful skin, reincarnated skin, zombie skin, or even skinned skin. Plus, it lasts for a few days, which will, like, ruuuuuuiiiiinnnn your entiiiiiiiire LIFE.

If you thought that was bad, then you definitely want to avoid becoming too tan. First of all, being too tan means you’ll look like a freak to anybody who sees you. Since personal appearance is really the only thing worth caring about when it comes to making a first impression with someone you’ll never see again, this means you will forever be thought of as an alien by dozens of people.

Furthermore, you’ll spend the next few days (which is, like, your entiiiiire LIFE) hearing jokes about Jersey Shore, orange the fruit, orange the color, orange the juice, and orange the knock-knock joke, all aimed at you. This will eat away at your self-confidence until you have to go in for therapy and develop an intense phobia of anything orange.

In conclusion: put on sunscreen. Except it isn’t sunny, in which case don’t, unless you want to look like you just climbed out of the mayonnaise jar.

Use that Bug Repellant

During the summer the number of bloodthirsty, evil, hate-filled, war-mongering, hawk-eyed, heartless bugs increases. This is due to the scientific fact that if you go outside in the summer, you won’t freeze to death. Sadly, neither do the bugs.

You really don’t want to get close to the bugs, especially if you are on vacation in a warm place. Often, these bugs are larger than a small helicopter and have a number of stingers, pincers, poisons, or bad songs they want to get stuck in your head. Not to mention that they carry diseases that you’ve never heard of but will kill you regardless (such as West Rocky Mountain Lyme Nile Malaria Virus Fever).

Thankfully, the solution to your problems is this thing called DEET. It stands for: Dear Extra Evil bugs: please leave me alone, Thanks. (Obviously, DEEBPLMAT was both ridiculous and not marketable, so they shortened it).

Most bug repellants have DEET, so all you need to do is use them. However, due to the chemical nature of DEET (be warned: it might give you cancer), you should not put it on your face, exposed cuts, or on your food. On the bright side; if you eat healthy (yuuuuuuuuck), most bugs are smart enough to avoid that food anyways.

So, as I leave you (just a few more spoonfuls of salt, you can do it), a word of caution: if you wear bug repellant and sunscreen at the same time, you may have a hard time convincing anyone that you are actually stupid enough to be a teen.

If you’d rather hear about the fun parts of summer, you should check out, “5 Places that You Need to See, Eventually.” A rare post by Ted, it offers you 5 vacation destinations.

The Best of the Worst: the Pre-Planned Absence

Just a funny pictureMissing school is no longer the picnic it once was. For one thing, it can be difficult to make up your work. For another, most picnic fields have become either cookie-cutter suburbs, landfill, or super-secret government military bases that stick out like a government military base in the middle of what used to be a field.

First of all, if you miss school unintentionally, it is probably because you are sick. Being sick is generally not fun, unless you have something like smallpox, in which case being sick is deadly.

Secondly, this creates a lot of make-up work, considering you have multiple classes every day. The solution here, of course, is to take only study halls and early releases, but some counselors catch on to that (although, if you’re lucky, they won’t notice until your junior year).

However, there is one absence that is fun.

The name’s planned. Pre, planned. And this absence is truly the James Bond of all missed school days, in that it also drives a really nice car and can do backflips.

Actually, a pre-planned absence is just that: a day where you know you will be gone ahead of time. This means you are probably going on vacation, or that you are psychic and can predict when you’ll be sick.

In theory, the big positive here is that you can pick up and do your make-up work ahead of time. In practice, the big negative is that you are supposed to attempt to pick up and do your make-up work ahead of time.

First, you have to pick up the form, and fill out the necessary information. Sure, your name isn’t that hard, but then the questions get progressively harder: your grade level, your reason for being absent, the number of seconds of school you will miss, your English teacher’s middle name, the meaning of life, and (worst of all) the dates you will miss.

Yeah, I meant what I said. The date is always incredibly difficult to discern, because nobody actually knows. Sure, you can look at someone’s watch or check your phone and then count from there, but then again, is it telling the truth? It’s not like you have time to count back from the year 1 day 1 up to today’s date to be sure. So, you have to take a wild guess. In my opinion, we are somewhere in years 60-65, so that’s what I usually put.

Then comes the part about talking to your teachers. You see, there are always a few teachers that, well, act like they are still teenagers. Whether this is because they actually are still teenagers, or because the “smart” teens are only smart because they stole these teachers’ brains, this is a problem.

For instance, it might go something like this (with a normal teacher):

You: Hey, Mr./Mrs./Ms./M./. [Insert name of teacher], I am not gonna be here on [insert date you think it will be, like May 15th, year 61]. I’ve got this pre-planned absence form, so can you please sign it and write what I’ll miss?

Teacher: Sure. Let’s see…you’ll miss that movie, and the pizza party, and the visit from Bill Gates when he’s going to give us all money for no reason. The homework is to write about the evolution of the use of the horse in North America as well as…[turning it over to fit the homework on the back]…to research thirty supreme-court decisions and create your own dissenting/agreeing opinion…[scribbling more homework assignments]…and read all of Ulysses, remembering to…[picking up a piece of scratch paper and attaching, because s/he ran out of room on the back]…and, finally, condensing all those things into a 3 minute powerpoint, with a minimum of 300 slides, each slide having at least 15 words and 2 pictures.

You: Wow…Oh, you’re joking. Good one, ha ha.

Teacher: No, I’m not, you sarcastic insolent fiend. Detention. And a referral. AND an expulsion hearing. Never doubt me again!

You: Well, thanks for signing the form.

However, if your teacher is one of those ‘teen-like’ teachers, it might instead go something like this:

You: Hey, Mr./Mrs./Ms./Duke of/Master [Insert name of teacher], I’m not gonna be here on [date, like May 23rd year 64]. Can you please fill out this pre-planned absence form?

Teacher: Um, sure. So, what do I do?

You: Well, first you sign it, to verify I talked to you.

Teacher: But I know you talked to me, because I’m talking to you now.

You: Yeah…[temporarily stumped by this logic, as it seems like something you would normally say]…but please just sign it.

Teacher: Okay. Here you go.

You: And you also have to write what I’ll miss and what the homework will be that day.

Teacher: Um, you’ll miss, uh, let me check my calendar. [Opens up calendar; every day except the next three days are totally blank, except for the few future dates that have comic strips drawn in them. The day you will be missing is blank]. Hmm, I haven’t scheduled it yet. Well, to be safe, let’s say you’ll miss the unit test, the pop quiz, group presentation, the super-important lecture on something I have yet to decide on, and maybe – it could be, yes, actually, I think you will also be missing the trigonometry exploration that is half of your semester grade. [Continuing to write] And the homework, well, I’m not sure, so to be safe please do every odd-numbered problem in your math book, and any “challenge” problem.

You: [Not going to make the “you’re joking” mistake again] Gee, uh, thanks [realizes that sounds sarcastic]. I mean, thank you sincerely. [Leaves class quickly, to go to lunch].

Teacher: Wait! Oh, darn. He didn’t let me tell him I was joking. [Starts laughing.]

Thus, it is a major issue getting the pre-planned absence form filled out. Even after you talk to all of your teachers (or, if you’re smart, you just talk to your study hall supervisor, six times) you have to take the form home and get a parent signature. Which means, being a teen, there is a 3,000% chance that you lose the form somehow. Meaning you have to talk to all your teachers again.

And so, while I’d love to talk more about pre-planned absences (I haven’t even mentioned the fun interrogation by the attendance secretary where they try to make you admit you forged your parent’s signature and every signature from your teachers, using bright lights, sleep deprivation, and good-cop bad-cop procedure), I’ve got to go. I think I left my pre-planned absence form and the attached 60 pages of work on the porch, and it just started raining with 80-mph winds.

Last year on May 5th, Year 60 (or year 2011, if you believe your phone/the computer/the watch; although I remind you that none of those things are human), we gave you “5 Steps to get rid of Steps.” Want to know why steps are bad? Want to know what to do about? Step 1: click that link.

Modern-Day Teen Athlete Concussions

ConcussionsNote to readers: I originally wrote this for the high school football season, but I forgot to post it. I figured I could either wait until next fall or post it right after the Superbowl. Because teens are so patient, you can guess what I chose to do. I don’t intend to come across, though, as one of those people who want an end to football. I enjoyed the Superbowl just as much as you.

Thanks to modern medicine, you know that concussions can be a serious issue. For example, concussions can be hard to spell, which could make you look uneducated. And it’s even harder to spell if you are actually concussed, so you’d have a tough time communicating your injury by text. (“i cant go 2 party, have conkushen.” “wats dat? u get a new pet?”).

So, then, while we’re thanking modern medicine for the knowledge of concussions, we should also thank modern technology for spell-check features.

But back to concussions = serious issue. You see, my theory is that concussions are really no more harmful, than, say, getting hit by a falling piano, mostly because getting hit by a falling piano will give you a concussion. Unless it is a cheap electric keyboard, in which case we should again thank modern technology for warning us, in the user’s manual, not to drop keyboard out window.

Now that you understand that concussions are a serious issue, let’s examine who, among teens, going from greatest to least, is most at-risk for concussions (known as the “concussion-prone demographic” for you business professionals out there who aren’t allowed to use monosyllable words if longer words are available, as it says so on your diploma):

  • Football players (on the field)
  • Football players (on the bench)
  • Football players (on the sideline but not on the bench)
  • Football players (in the locker room)
  • Football players (being carted, immobilized, off the field on a golf cart)
  • Other sports’ athletes (on the field/track)

Clearly, a disturbing pattern emerges: if you play football, it is actually better to be carted off immobilized than stay in the locker room. Also, sometimes people in other sports get concussions (like cross country, if you run too close to a low tree branch and you don’t see it and you have a soft skull and people step on you as they pass you). Mostly, though, it looks like football players have the most concussions, which could explain the stereotype that football players get lots of concussions.

So, then, if you do get a concussion, what happens next? Well, first you black out, and if you are two-dimensional, you may also see stars or birds around your head.

Seriously, though, a few things occur. The first is that you visit a doctor who wants to drop a cat on your head, or scare the cat with a scan, or do a cat scan, whatever that is. This tells you if your brain is still inside your head or if it got dislodged and fell down into your small intestine (this has happened to such bright people as Plaxico Burres, Michael Vick, etc. so believe me).

If you are eventually proclaimed healthy to play again (for football players, the estimated recovery time is thirteen minutes or three “You ready to go back in yet?”s from the coach), you also have to re-pass your concussion baseline test.

For those of you who’ve never heard of this, it is a computerized test that you took at the beginning of the season, the idea being that after a concussion you have to re-pass the same test at the same level to show you are fully recovered. That is, unless your brain actually fell into your intestine, in which case you only need to knock on your head to prove it is now hollow so that getting hit on the head again won’t re-concuss you.

The concussion test asks you a number of questions, many of which have terrific job-training skills value, such as, “Where is the x?” Honestly, the test has many obscure questions which may test your brain’s health but don’t show that you know anything more than how to read and/or click the mouse randomly.

Sadly, colleges, sensing that this, too, is a standardized test, require your results. I’ve heard that top colleges now consider your initial score as well as how fast you recover from a concussion in determining acceptance.

Once you’re back in good health, though, you can re-join your teammates and continue giving other people concussions instead. If you think that concussions sound unpleasant, well, I hear they are hard to get bowling, unless somebody accidentally bowls your skull instead of the ball.

The Unforgiving Grasp of Flu Season

A 'Bird Flu'The flu is a touchy subject.  After all, many people die from the various flus every week, so a joke like, “The only people who actually die from the flu are the news reporters sent into flu-infested towns to capture some riveting footage of soup boiling,” might be in bad taste, because you need to remember that the person in need of soup might actually die from the flu as well.  Not to mention the chicken that was ruthlessly decapitated and mercilessly boiled to make that soup.

But before I progress to the point where I propose all soup jokes be banned, ever, especially the “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” “OH NO! DON’T EAT IT, IT’S OUR CHEF!”, I want to talk a little about flu season as it pertains to schools (read: I am sick enough that I couldn’t come up with anything else to talk about save the pattern on my tissue box).

When you’re at school, you know the flu is coming because your school administration will start placing cryptic messages all over the school, such as the difficult to decode: “It’s flu season.  Wash your hands.” If you’re a chimney sweep, you’ll also know the flu is coming, but that’s just a bad joke (heck, soup jokes are better).

Another indicator is that during those few moments of silence in class between the time when your teacher is pulling back the poison-laced meter stick and the time of the fading screams of your fellow classmates, the rest of the class will be going *cough*, *achoo*, or *darn it, why does Microsoft word like to autocorrect the stuff in asterisks to bold?!*

There are exactly 0 things you can do to avoid getting sick, scientifically.  However, since this is a serious matter, I think that you should consider the things you could do to avoid getting sick, from-the-mountains-of-rural-cultures-ally.

For instance, the legend goes that if you climb to the tallest peak within x number of miles, x being the distance an object thrown with an initial velocity of twenty feet/second from a height of five feet will travel, and then dance the hokey pokey, you will have proven you paid attention in math class (also you will have proven that you still know “that’s what it’s all about (hey)”).  I’m not sure how this helps avoid getting sick, aside from the fact that when you show up to math the next day still dancing, it is likely that no one dares get close enough to sneeze on you.

Since you can’t avoid catching whatever flu is going around at your school, you should try to educate yourself about the possible symptoms, so you can tell your teachers, “No, I was actually sick this time.”  Experiencing a runny nose is natural.  So is a sore throat and/or headache.  Also natural is a want to throw something at the models in the pharmaceutical product commercials on TV, because whatever they’ve got, it’s not as bad as what you have.  You should see a doctor if you experience a runny head.

Another good thing to know about the flu is what the flu of the year is.  You can discover this by watching the news or digging out that baby toy you had, with the spinner that randomly selected a farm animal, and seeing where the spinner lands.  Previously we’ve had the bird and swine flu, so I’d be on the lookout this year for flus such as the mule flu, the African elephant flu (“dude, you sneeze like an elephant” was the process of scientific naming), or the I-don’t-have-time-to-say-the-name-of-this-animal-before-I-die-of-ack! Flu (the Black-crowned Central American Squirrel Monkey flu).

When you finally recover (or die, in which case, I hope you are not offended by me making fun of the flu) you can return to school.  That day, and I promise, the same day you return to school, you will find out that the flu shots clinic is the first of next month, so make sure you get your forms in.  At which point, it is acceptable to wonder: do dead chickens go into the vaccine? (The answer is, yes, kind of, but that’s a story for another day.)