David Bruce: Resist Psychic Death — Education

Education

• African-American bandleader Cab Calloway was a leader, and he taught his musicians a lot. One thing that he taught them is the importance of punctuality. He would say, “I gotta be here — you better be here.” He also fired a trombone player, Claude Jones, because of a lack of punctuality. In addition, he told his musicians, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” One of the subtexts to that saying was that he was a sharp-dressed man, and he expected the musicians in his band to be sharp-dressed men. He bought them the clothing they wore on stage, and they bought their own sharp clothing to wear on the street. If a band member had a hole in his undershirt, another band member would give him a friendly warning: “You better watch those holes, man, or the bat’s gonna get you.” If he kept wearing the undershirt with the hole, someone would put his finger in the hole and say, “Did you call me a son of a b*tch?” Then he would walk off with his finger still in the hole and tear the undershirt. Even if the victim got angry, he did not fight because all of the other members of the band were in favor of being sharp-dressed. If a band member’s hat started to look greasy or ragged, someone would throw it in the trash. When the band member asked if anyone had seen his hat, someone would reply, “Maybe the bat got it.” By the way, one of the things that even a sharp-dressed man has to do occasionally is to empty his bladder, and when you’re on a tour bus without a bathroom and in a hurry to get to your destination, the bus can’t always stop. So the members of the band worked out a system. The band member with the full bladder would go to the front of the bus and yell, “Oil change.” That was the signal for everyone on that side of the bus to roll up his window. Then the bus door would open and the band member would empty his bladder from the moving bus.

• Ross P. Mayo, a male nursing student working in the nursing station at an elementary school, ran into a problem when a little girl named Tammi came in to have a scratch treated. Even though he told her, “I am a nurse. I can help you. Trust me,” Tammi was terrified because she thought that all nurses were female and she did not know who this strange man was. Fortunately, Ms. Walker, the school nurse, walked in and reassured Tammi. Even then, Tammi did not believe that Ross was a nurse. Ross asked Tammi why she did not believe that he was a nurse, and Tammi answered, “Because you’re not a lady.” Therefore, Ross decided to teach the students that some nurses are men. He addressed the 2nd-grade students because he felt that they would be able to understand what he had to say to them. He turned it into a game and had the children determine his occupation by asking him questions. It took a while, with the children guessing that he was a doctor or a dentist, but finally they figured out that he was a nurse. Ross was able to explain in words that the children could understand that some women are doctors and that some men are nurses. Before the meeting, the children had written about nurses. After the meeting, he had the children write again about nurses. The writing showed that the children had learned a lot about nurses. A sample BEFORE paper: “I think a nurse is a nice lady who helps people.” A sample AFTER paper: “A nurse can be a lady or a man. Nurses are working in clinics, schools, and hospitals. And some nurses are going to people’s houses, too. And a lady can be a doctor.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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