Did You Learn Anything?

FTLComm - Tisdale - January 10, 2001
It was in late July, I was working in the Park Store and Cafe at Kenosee Lake, we were a little short staffed and the kitchen people were over worked. The head cook was looking for kitchen help that evening and I volunteered to come in and help out as a dish washer. Now this was something I had no experience at but I had worked with the same staff or three summers and now as their store manager I was pretty sure they would show me what to do.

As was the normal atmosphere in that busy kitchen there was a good deal of joking and banter. Annie VanDenBoer (fourth from the right) was full of life and always gave me a hard time and sometimes a wet dish cloth in the face. Glades McArthur (third from the left) was in charge of dish washing and I was going to give her a hand that evening.

I came over to the sinks, huge stainless steel affairs, filled with clear water about eighteen inches deep. Glades was station over the washing compartment and tossed a small plate into the clear water, with both hands I dived into the water to recover the rinsed plate and discovered the water was extremely hot. With a great yell I jerked my hands out clutching the burning hot plate, Glades never missed a beat, looked at me with no expression and said in a calm clear voice.

"Did I learn anything?"

Over a month ago an Ontario sixteen year old boy went to his drama class where he and his classmates had been assigned a creative writing assignment to be the basis for a play and he stood up in class to present his assignment. He read aloud his story of a teenager who had been the victim of school yard bullying and abuse and his story ended with the boy having planted a bomb in the school. That boy has been in jail ever since, there was not evidence found in his home of bomb making equipment or materials and no other writing describing the scenario. He has been charged with four counts of uttering death threats.

"Did we learn anything?"

The story is making a huge splash in Eastern news media yet the boy remains in jail. George Orwell, who invented the term "Thought crimes" in his monumental work 1984, would have found this an interesting development.

Timothy W. Shire