Tag Archives: high school

Khan Academy: The (Near) Future Of Education?

Image result for Khan Academy

In talking about education, I’ve highlighted issues that give me fever dreams about my experience in high school and those that give me hope for future students. While I know it’s not a very sexy topic, it does matter a great deal.  A society full of idiots is only good for creating embarrassing YouTube videos and Chuck Lorre sitcoms, but not much else.

Our current method for education people in the western world has a lot of room for improvement. Some, like South Korea and Japan, do it better than others. Others, like the state of Texas, are easy punchlines in jokes about stupidity and I’m not just talking about their laughable record on sexual education.

Let’s not lie to ourselves. Education is hard. Every human being is wired different. Kids are especially tricky. Between puberty and sugar, it’s hard to help them learn, especially if they don’t want to learn. Our brains weren’t wired for assembly line style education that requires memorization, lectures, and standardized tests. They were wired for survival, reproduction, and avoiding hungry bears.

At some point in the future, we may be able to tweak that old wiring to make education easier. Companies like Neuralink are already working on that. However, that kind of brain building is years off. While it is promising, there are many who may lament that they or their children won’t get to benefit from this kind of innovation. They’re stuck using textbooks and number two pencils.

Image result for standardized test

Well, for once, I’m not going to fantasize about an advancement that’s way off in the future, like smart blood or sex robots. There are some amazing advancements in this field and they don’t require a brain implant. They don’t even require a private tutor from South Korea. Big changes to education aren’t just some far-off future fantasy. They’re actually happening.

That brings me to Khan Academy. I’ve mentioned them before, albeit not in great detail. I kind of feel bad about that because it’s doing some amazing work in the field of education. It is, very much, a game-changer to the way we think about education. It has the potential to educate people all over the world at a cost that’s almost negligible.

Image result for standardized test

What is Khan Academy, though? Well, that’s not an unreasonable question because it’s one of those things that is known in some crowds, but not others. It’s also fairly new. Khan Academy started only ten years ago and it started by accident, which happens a lot more than you think.

The story of how it came to be is actually pretty remarkable. The man who created, Salman Khan, didn’t intend to make it into one of the biggest innovations to hit education since the invention of pocket calculators. It just played out that way. Several years ago, 60 Minutes did a story about it and it reveals some pretty amazing insights.

However it came to be, Khan Academy’s mission is as bold as it is important. It seeks, in their own words, “to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.” At a time when the cost of education is rising frustratingly fast, Khan Academy dares to be bolder.

It doesn’t require big, fancy schools. It doesn’t require an army of trained teachers, some of which may or may not be qualified for their job. It doesn’t even require students to leave the house. It only requires someone with a computer, an internet connection, and an ability to access a website. These days, those are skills that most kids learn to do right out of the womb.

That’s not to say it’s better in every way. There are some things that you can’t just learn by doing exercises online. You wouldn’t want a mechanic, plumber, or gynecologist only learning their trade through online videos. You’d want them to have some kind of training.

Image result for smart kids

Even so, the value of having a cheap, effective way of educating young children cannot be understated. Beyond simply knowing how much to tip at a restaurant, education helps children think and reason for themselves. It helps them make sense of a world where the Kardashians are celebrities and Johnny Depp still makes movies.

We, as a species, need societies of kids and adults who can think. Until we perfect neural implants, education is still going to be a challenge. That’s why innovations like Khan Academy are so valuable.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, Sexy Future

Idiots And How They Effect Your Love (And Sex) Life

For certain topics, there’s just no way to be subtle. There’s no way to soften the blow. The facts are just too plain and too true. This is one of them so I’m not going to try and be funny, witty, or sexy about it. I’m just going to come out and say it.

The world is full of idiots.

I doubt that sentence will shock anyone. Hell, even other idiots would agree with it. There are so many idiots in this world that it’s hard to keep up.

There are people who kill each other over what they think happens when they die, but fail to see the irony. There are people who pay more money to drink water from a bottle than from a faucet, even when the water from the faucet is just as good. There’s just no way around it. The world is full of idiots.

I bring up this simple, inescapable truth to highlight an issue that is both relevant and timely. At the moment, the school year is ending for many kids out there. While I’m sure plenty of them are looking forward to a summer of sleeping until noon and then taking a nap, the issue of education as a whole is much bigger.

Also, and you knew this was coming, it does affect your sex life. I’m not referring to the inherently futile issues surrounding teenagers and their insatiable desire to bone either. I’m talking about our collective sex lives, both as teenagers and adults. Education does affect that. It affects our sex lives a lot, often in ways we don’t think about.

For me to talk about this must make me sound like a hypocrite to some extent because I’ve repeatedly and excessively bemoaned how much I hated high school. Let me make one thing clear before I continue. Yes, I hated high school. No, that doesn’t mean I hate education in general. I actually enjoy learning and not just with respect to comic books, cartoons, and female breasts. I’m a curious person in general. I like learning new stuff.

Curiosity is one of those universal traits that’s hard-wired into our brains. We see such a crazy, complex world around us and want to learn more about it. That’s a good thing. By understanding it more, we’re able to adapt, survive, and prosper. It’s one of the few instances where caveman logic works to our advantage and doesn’t screw us over.

The problem is that when it comes to education, we’re still going about it like idiots. It’s like trying to get an idiot to fix your computer. Sometimes, he or she might do something right by accident. Other times, however, they’ll just make things worse.

Idiots are a reason why we still have so many problems. Crime, corruption, injustice, and inequality are largely driven and/or propagated by idiots. That’s not to say those idiots are malicious or cruel. Being idiots, they just don’t know any better. They see what they’re doing as right and can’ think on a level that allows them to understand why their approach is stupid in the first place.

Idiots are also a reason why we have so many problems in our love lives. Think about it. How many bad relationships or failed romances are a byproduct of stupid decisions from people who didn’t know the difference between genuine love and hopeless obsession? Why else would we have creepy stalker pop songs and iconic romances that are uncomfortably unhealthy?

Beyond the dumb decisions we make in our love lives, it gets even worse when we apply that to sex. Even though nature wired our anatomy to ensure that even idiots can successfully reproduce, we still find ways to screw it up.

There are still boys who don’t know the first thing about how a woman’s vagina works. They don’t understand there’s a right way and a wrong way to ensure their partner enjoys the process. At the same time, there are girls who don’t know the first thing about how a man’s penis works or how to keep it working. They either overestimate its durability or underestimate its efficiency.

This is why we have issues like the orgasm gap, which I’ve discussed before. It’s also why we have people who develop unhealthy attitudes about sex, love, and relationships in general. It’s not just that they’re idiots. They’re never given the kind of education that would allow them to improve the situation.

Make no mistake. Education does a lot to improve our situation. It improves our job prospects. It improves our ability to make informed choices about the economy. It improves our ability to form stable, loving relationships that turn into successful marriages. It improves our ability to raise our children. It also improves our sex lives. If a man or women knows how their lover’s anatomy works and can maximize that knowledge, then they have everything they need for a great sex life.

This isn’t a controversial position. Everyone from every side of the political spectrum, with the exception of some religious zealots who want to keep society locked in the first century, agrees on the value of education. They may not agree on the type of education that we should champion, but they do understand the value of having a society with fewer idiots.

In a sense, we’ve made a lot of progress on educating the human race and reducing the number of idiots in the world. Literacy, as a whole, is at an all-time high. More kids today have access to schooling and educational resources than at any point in human history. This is an objectively good thing. It’s why poverty has gone down. It’s why violence has declined to its lowest level in history, despite what the news may tell you.

However, there’s still room for improvement. There are still some woeful inefficiencies in our education system. I know this because I, and anyone else who survived high school, have lived through those inefficiencies.

There were times during my schooling where I really didn’t learn much. There are a few painfully long stretches where the only lesson that stuck was how much I hated school and how to count down the seconds until it ended. Pretty much every year after the fourth grade was like that for me.

Conversely, there were some times when education taught me a lot and really sharpened my thinking skills. A lot of this happened in college. That’s where I learned a lot more about the world and how to make sense of it. That’s also where I refined many of the writing skills that I employ now on my novels. Getting a college education is probably one of the most enlightening experiences I ever had.

That education didn’t come cheap, though. I know I’m lucky. There are some who simply can’t afford getting the kind of education I got. It also doesn’t help that the rise of student loan debt has turned an entire generation of otherwise well-educated students into debt slaves, which is almost as bad for society as being an idiot. That’s a major flaw that prevents too many people from enjoying the benefits of an education.

There are some countries that do a better job. The education systems of Finland and South Korea are well-known for their achievements in education. It shows in their rankings as first-world nations. They are, by nearly every metric, some of the most prosperous nations on the planet. There are other countries that are catching up, but it’s a race with no losers in the long run.

If there’s one message I’d like to belabor when it comes to education, it’s that the world needs less idiots. There are over seven billion people on this planet and it takes only a few idiots to ruin something for the rest of us. By having fewer idiots, the world is inherently better for our societies, our families, and our sex lives. Even if you hate school, chances are you still hate idiots just as much. Whether we’re still in school or graduated decades ago, we should all remember that.

1 Comment

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

Why Standardized Tests Make You (Feel) Dumber In The Long Run

A new study finds that higher test scores don't translate into better cognitive ability.

As I write these words, there are millions of young people out there who are either dreading an upcoming exam or recovering from one too many all-night cram sessions. This is that time of year, after all. The sweet freedom of summer vacation is almost within our grasp. We just have to survive a few more soul-crushing, brain-draining final exams.

Like the final boss in a video game, exams and standardized tests are the migraine headaches of modern education. They are that stabbing pain at the base of every teenager’s spine. They know it’s coming. They know it’s going to be stressful. The most they can do is brace themselves, study, and hope they don’t throw up at some point along the way.

Image result for teenage anxiety

I get the logic behind these tests. I think even the students do, minus the ones whose only goal in life is to become an Instagram model. I don’t doubt that the intentions behind standardized tests are good. They’re supposed to help gauge the effectiveness of our education, revealing just how well we’ve retained the material.

I don’t doubt the merit behind that. A team of underpaid, under-appreciated teachers just spent nine months of their lives trying to cram a bunch of information into our developing brains. At the very least, they want to make sure that time wasn’t wasted. How devastating would it be if the found out all that time, effort, and chalk board lectures had been for nothing?

Well, with the utmost respect to the teachers and students who have to deal with this crap, there might be a repugnant stench in the air. As good as the intentions may be with standardized testing, they have a long list of issues. Just last month, the Washington Post listed at least 34 problems with these tests. With the memory of these tests still painfully fresh in my mind, I have a hard time believing there are only 34 problems.

Image result for standardized testing sucks

That’s because, and I’ve said this before whenever I’ve talked about the horror show that was high school for me, these tests don’t really measure how well you know the material. They only really measure how well you can take a test. That may help you get a driver’s license, but it won’t help with much else.

There’s a growing body of evidence that standardized testing does not translate into better cognitive skills. It doesn’t lead to better memory, better attention, or better reasoning skills. It doesn’t even reveal how well you know the material. Even if you do remember enough to ace the test, it’s rare for students to actually retain that knowledge.

Image result for feeling dumb

That shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially those whose memories of high school is still somewhat fresh. Depending on how traumatic your teenager years were, you probably remember not caring much about actually knowing the material at hand. You only cared about passing the test and not triggering an awkward parent/teacher conference.

In essence, that’s the biggest issue with these tests. That’s why, in the long run, they make us feel dumber. Just passing a test doesn’t make you smart. It just makes you good at passing a test. A lot of people can throw a football well. However, just being able to throw a football doesn’t make you as skilled as Peyton Manning. Just ask Ryan Leaf.

It’s just as bad for the teachers. They dedicate their time, energy, and patience to teach a bunch of immature kids and hormonal teenagers what they think is important. However, their effectiveness, as a professional, is entirely contingent on their ability to get these thick-headed kids to pass a goddamn test every year. Even doctors and lawyers don’t have subject themselves to that kind of frustration.

Related image

I can certainly attest to the inefficiencies of these tests. It’s pretty much the only skill that was regularly emphasized throughout high school. Every subject in every class felt like a prelude to one goal, which was to pass the test. That was always at the forefront of my mind. Actually knowing and caring about the subject was always secondary.

The only subjects I did know anything about happened to be subjects I had a genuine interest in. I liked writing, history, science, and even math to some extent. However, a lot of what I learned on those subjects wasn’t necessarily taught. I sought that knowledge out on my own.

Contrary to popular belief, not every teenager is a total slacker whose sole goal in life is to live out the rest of their days on the couch watching Netflix. Many are genuinely curious about certain topics and not all of those topics are related to food, sex, and punk rock music. If they want to learn more about something and you give them the opportunity, they’ll take it.

Image result for curious kids

For me, personally, it was writing. No teacher or guidance counselor needed to guide me to do that. It’s just something I started doing. My parents already had a computer so I had all the resources I needed. Thanks to a vivid imagination inspired by comic books and cartoons, I had plenty to write about. I haven’t really stopped since.

There were other topics that intrigued me too. Growing up, I was also interested in history, especially 20th century history. There was a period where I watched every World War II documentary on the History Channel I could. It got to the point where I knew the names of generals, battles, and dates better than my teacher.

It culminated one fateful day during my sophomore year of high school. I was in my history class and, much to my relief, we were focusing on early 20th century history. My teacher was lecturing, going over the textbook as they so often do, and at one point she got a date wrong. I, having the piss-poor social skills I had, just corrected her on the spot.

For some teachers, that would be a one-way business class ticket to getting detention. For this particular teacher, though, she smiled at me and thanked me. That was a proud moment for me. Later on, when we did take a test, I got a perfect score. I didn’t really need to study for it either. I knew the material because I wanted to know it.

Image result for smart kids

That’s both the key and the paradox that dooms standardized testing. It tries to create a one-size-fits-all standard with which to gauge every student. It ignores the fact that not every student is going to want to know the names of every Russian Tsar or how to use quadratic equations. Some students really are smart, just not on certain subjects.

On top of that, some students just aren’t good test takers either. I know this because I’m one of them. I often had to give disclaimers, of sorts, to my teachers about my test-taking skills. Some of it was due to nervousness. Some of it was just due to the mental fog that comes with the stress of taking a test. Some people can manage it well. I can’t.

The only exception, in my case, were the essay questions. I loved the essay questions because I knew I’d ace those. Writing is, I like to think, one of my greatest strengths. If I could’ve exchanged every standardized test I ever took for an essay, I’d have done it in a heartbeat. I’d have been the valedictorian of my high school.

Image result for valedictorian

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Standardized tests made me feel dumb, but I know I’m not dumb. I couldn’t manage this blog, keep track of major events in comics, or stay up-to-date on the status of sex robots if I were. I genuinely worry that a lot of impressionable, vulnerable kids will feel that same sentiment by taking these tests. They may never realize that these tests are not a reflection of how smart they are.

The issue of standardized testing is still ongoing and still controversial. There are a lot of moving parts to education, especially in large countries with diverse populations. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but an important first step is acknowledging the problem.

As usual, John Oliver has already done a far more astute job of exposing the problem than I ever will. He dedicated an entire segment of his show, “Last Week Tonight,” to it. I’ll let him fill in the blanks that I wasn’t able to cover in this post.

So to all the students out there still dreading their final tests of the school year, I can only urge you to hang in there. These tests will not determine the course of your life. These tests will not determine how smart you are. You will come out of this. Life will get better as an adult.

Sure, you have jobs, families, and taxes to worry about. Take it from me, though. If you can endure the stresses of exams and standardized tests, you can endure almost anything an adult life can throw at you.

3 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

What I WISH I’d Learned In School

Image result for high school sucks

I’ve said it multiple times and in multiple ways on this blog. Expect me to say it again in many other ways there is and even a few some thought impossible. High school sucks. I hated it with a passion. When I look back on my life, I’ll always see high school as one of the bleakest, most miserable experiences I had.

There are so many reasons I hated this point in my life, too much to list in a single blog post. Hell, I’d need a whole series of novels to adequately convey the misery I felt every day I had to endure that rancid swamp of standardized tests, cafeteria food, and adolescent hormones. The most I ever learned from high school was never wanting to be that miserable again.

Image result for Daria high school

I like to think I learned that lesson well. My entire outlook on life changed for the better the day I graduated high school. Everything I did after high school, from going to college to getting my first book published, feels like a step up from where I was. Sure, it helped that I got into shape and fixed my horrible acne problem, but that shift in outlook still shaped a significant part of my adult life.

Even though I feel like I’ve done fairly well with that life, there are times when I look back at high school in ways that don’t give me night terrors. Other than not wanting to be so miserable, a lot of what I learned in high school hasn’t really helped my adult life.

I’m not just talking about quadratic equations or knowing what the hell T.S. Elliot was talking about either. A lot of the meaningful lessons I’ve learned came from experience, family support, and internet access. These are all things I could’ve learned without gym class, exams, and stale pizza. High school never really prepared me for adult life. It only ever prepared me to pass a goddamn test.

Image result for standardized testing

With that in mind, as well as the knowledge that many kids are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on all the lessons I wish I’d learned in high school.

These are lessons that would’ve helped my adult life in so many ways. I worry that the kids preparing for summer won’t know just how important these lessons are until it’s too late. Some have to do with life skills. Some have to do with understanding how the world works. In any case, these are the lessons that I wish high school had taught me.


Lesson #1: How To Start A (Non-Awkward) Conversation With A Stranger

Image result for Having a conversation

This is something that should come naturally. Having a conversation is one of the most basic elements of non-sexual communication there is. Other than a handshake, it shouldn’t need to be taught, right?

Well, this is where high school, ironically enough, gives teenagers too much credit. It’s half-true that most people know how to start a conversation. The problem is that for most of our lives, to this point, all the conversations we’ve had are with family members, relatives, or childhood friends that we’ve known so long that we remember the brand of diapers we used.

Starting a conversation with a friend is easy. Starting one with a total stranger that isn’t awkward is much harder. It’s also an important skill when it comes to making new friends, working with others, and even finding a lover. The hardest part of any new connection is starting that conversation.

Some high schools do teach social skills, but still give a higher priority to reading Shakespeare and passing a math test. I’m not saying those things aren’t worth learning. I’m just saying that better social skills will help people make friends, improve teamwork, and get them laid. No math test can ever do that.


Lesson #2: How To Tell Someone That You’re Romantically Interested

Image result for Romantic Flirting

A big part of what makes high school suck is loneliness. Unless you’re an athlete or an exceedingly beautiful girl, you’re going to feel lonely. On top of that, puberty is rewiring your brain to make you want to kiss, hug, and hump others in ways you thought were gross as a kid.

Teenagers may be melodramatic and prone to emotional meltdowns over a lost shoe, but they still have genuine feelings. They still feel love for others. Having that love and not knowing how to express it makes for some pretty awkward situations, some of which can be downright traumatic.

I had more than my share of crushes in high school. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to actually talk to these girls to let them know. For this one girl, I actually wrote a note and put it in her locker. I never heard from her again. That’s a clear indication that there’s room for improvement.

Having someone to love and to share your emotions with is healthy, regardless of whether you’re a teenager or a grumpy old fart. Knowing how to explore and express that love with someone goes a long way towards tempering that loneliness. For those enduring the rigors high school, less loneliness can only help.


Lesson #3: How To Spot A Scam

Image result for Bernie Madoff

As teenagers, our understanding and assumptions of the real world is painfully limited. That’s unavoidable because teenagers haven’t been on this planet long enough to have any real idea of how it works. Most of what they know comes from media, their family, or ugly rumors circulating around the cafeteria. To say that’s an imperfect perspective is like saying Kanye West is slightly eccentric.

In the real world, there are a lot of liars and frauds that will exploit the hell out of anyone’s imperfect understanding. When I was in college, I noticed a lot of school email accounts got bombarded with those Nigerian Prince scams. Some actually fell for those scams and lost real money because of them.

Beyond the scams in spam email, there are other elaborate frauds like work-from-home gimmicks, fake lottery winnings, multi-level marketing, and online dating scams. Those with limited life experience are especially vulnerable to these schemes and falling victim to them could ruin your life. Just ask anyone who invested with Bernie Madoff.

It wouldn’t be too hard or take too much time for high school to teach us the basics of scams and how to spot them. Teenagers are already cynical, by nature. Learning how to spot cheats and hucksters won’t just help them save their money. It’ll help them avoid being conned out of their faith, their trust, and their panties.


Lesson #4: How To NOT Freak Out When You Watch The News

Related image

This is something I’ve brought up before. It’s a lesson I learned in college, but one I really wish I’d learned sooner than that. In the age of the internet and smart phones, it’s easy to get bombarded by all sorts of weird news stories that scare people into thinking the CIA put fluoride in their water to control their minds. For hormonal teenagers with limited life experience, it’s even scarier.

The world the news presents us is not the same as the world around us. The news can only ever highlight tiny bits and pieces of a much bigger picture. Most people don’t realize that until they’re adults. If they’re unlucky, they learn the hard way and spend too much of their lives hiding in a bunker, hoping that the Illuminati doesn’t send assassins.

Perspective is an important thing and teenagers struggle with that. As I said before, their life experiences are limited. They just emerged from childhood and began making sense of the world. The least any public school can do is help them.

That means telling them that the news rarely tells a complete story. It also means reminding them that the reason why something is news in the first place. These horrible stories we see every night are news because they’re rare. The world and the people the news describes are only brief glimpses at best and click-bait at worst.


Lesson #5: How To Craft A Resume (And How To Pad It)

Image result for a good resume

A major part of learning, be it in high school or pre-school, involves acquiring skills that will help you find meaningful work later in life. It’s not just enough to know how to read, write, and do basic math. Most people can learn how to do that for free these days, thanks to online services like Khan Academy.

To give you a better chance at finding a job, it’s important to develop other skills. Unfortunately, the only skill high school ever really teaches you is how to pass a test. That may help you get a driver’s license, but it won’t help with much else.

Even if you have skills, putting them together in a resume is a skill most people have to wing. I’ve actually taken classes that help with crafting resumes and none of those classes were offered in high school. I had to find those in college and after I graduated.

It’s a simple fact of modern life. To find a job, you need skills and you need to sell your ability to make those skills useful to others. That’s what will help you get a job. That’s what will help you find a lover. That’s what will help you get laid. Some skills don’t require college. Others may require a master’s degree. Learning how to seek and market those skills is far more valuable than just filling out a test form.


Lesson #6: How To Invest In The Stock Market The Right Way

Image result for stock market

This is a topic I don’t blame high schools for avoiding. When most people, including highly educated people, talk about the stock market or the economy, it usually flies over everyone’s head. I would go so far as to say only a small part of the population is even wired to understand investing and finance.

However, there are few skills in life more important than knowing how to manage and invest your money. Anyone can just go into a bank and open an again. Knowing how to actually manage that money so it grows over time and isn’t undercut by inflation is a skill that’s often overlooked.

A teenager’s limited perspective of the world makes the stock market too complicated to understand. However, most teenagers do understand the value of making money. Why else would they make such a big deal about getting an allowance or a part-time job? That understanding, though, will only take them so far.

Contrary to popular belief, investing in the stock market isn’t just fairly easy. It’s actually pretty effective at building future wealth. It doesn’t just beat inflation. It beats nearly every other investment out there.

I didn’t learn anything about stocks in high school or college. Everything I learned came from a small booklet that a relative gave me. That booklet only had one real tip. Unless you’re going into the financial services business, the only real investment you need to make is in index funds.

Despite what the Jim Cramers of the world may tell you, nobody can beat the stock market. Nobody knows what it’s going to do today, tomorrow, or a year from now. You can’t beat, but you can make it so you don’t lose to it either. In some parts of life, not losing is just as good as winning. With money, it’s one of those lessons you don’t want to learn the hard way.


Lesson #7: How To Find The Job That Best Fits You

Image result for a job you love

This might not be something that can fit into a typical high school class. While most high schools have guidance counselors and career counselors, a lot of what they do is just sell you on the idea of going to college. They’ll help you find an education path. They may even help you find a career path. Finding a job that fits you, however, is not exactly a priority.

It happens all the time. People will make it through high school, go to college, and get all the right degrees for a certain career path. Then, they find out that the job they thought they wanted didn’t fit them. They either end up miserable working a job they don’t like or overwhelmed at the prospect of starting over. It’s not a pleasant feeling.

That’s why I think it’s more important to help teenagers figure out the kind of work that fits them. Some like making things with their hands. Some are more creative. Some are analytical. Some have personality traits that make working in a cubical akin to a prison sentence at Alcatraz.

I’ve worked more than my share of jobs that I hated. A lot of people endure that, even famous celebrities. Finding a job that actually fits someone’s skills and makes them want to do that job is a lesson too valuable to overlook. High schools are in a perfect position to help teenagers do that. The fact they don’t only makes the situation more tragic.


I know it’s too late for me to salvage my high school experience. It was a long time ago and I’ve since learned a lot about life, namely how to not be miserable.

However, I still feel like I started way behind the curve and have only recently caught up. How far ahead would I be now if I’d learned these lessons in high school? It’s impossible to know. All I know now is that high school still sucks and it’ll always suck for me. I’m okay with that. Hopefully, future generations will not know such misery.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

An Ode To Hot Teachers

https://i1.wp.com/www.collegemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ef410b39aaacff80684620e12daf9175_b.jpg

Being a teenager sucks. Going to high school sucks. Going through puberty sucks. Unless you’re a star athlete or a cheerleader with the body of a young Carmen Electra, chances are your adolescence in general sucked.

Mine sure sucked. As I’ve said before, I was socially inept shut-in who did little to take care of himself. On top of that, I had a horrible acne problem that eventually required medication. I wasn’t just a pain to be around. I wasn’t much to look at either. That basically guaranteed that my teenage years were going to suck, despite having great parents, great siblings, and an environment that gave me every opportunity to be less miserable.

I get the impression that my experience is not typical. Teenagers are walking cocktails of hormones, emotions, and ignorance. Everyone, from the nerds to the jocks, finds a reason to be miserable at some point. The fact anyone survives it at all is nothing short of a miracle.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/vE5EiKPN4LQ/maxresdefault.jpg

I highlight this misery because I want to establish a certain context here. Life as a teenager, going to high school and enduring the monstrous transformation that is puberty, is fraught with misery. Anything that makes it just a little bit easier is akin to giving a starving child a lifetime supply of chocolate cake.

That leads me to hot teachers. No, I’m not talking about a porno sub-genre. I’m not talking about the scandals involving teachers sleeping with their students that make the front page of Fox News’ website at least three times a year either. I’m just talking about that one teacher during that one year in your teenage life that actually made going to school less miserable.

Don’t deny it. You had a teacher like that. I’m not saying he or she was a supermodel or an Olympian, but they definitely got your attention and not with their teaching skills. Something about them just sparked that chaotic cocktail of hormones in your body in just the right ways. It made you think thoughts you didn’t quite understand, even after you discovered internet porn.

https://i1.wp.com/www.successful-parenting.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/help-teen-stress.jpg

Hot teachers are a sliver of gold in the mountain of horse shit that is adolescence. In some ways, they’re a rite of passage. You only really feel like you’re growing up when your genitals start doing strange things around a teacher you find attractive. It can be awkward, as anyone who has ever had to hide a boner in the middle of algebra class can attest. Then again, awkwardness with teenagers is par for the course.

I believe that hot teachers are a gift to the world, if not an act of mercy to all those whose adolescence was more miserable than most. They remind miserable, emotional, melodramatic teenagers that there’s still beauty in the world. It’s not all just acne, homework, and standardized tests. For teenagers of every generation, their value cannot be overstated.

As a tribute to the hot teachers of the world, I’d like to share another personal story. Unlike some of my previous stories, though, this one doesn’t involve actual nudity. It does involve thoughts of nudity though. How can it not? It involves my teenage self.

It’s true though. I too once had a hot teacher, one I still remember fondly to this day. She was a rare beacon of light in the never-ending torment that was high school. She actually made me less miserable in high school. That’s something that therapy, anti-depressants, and Taco Tuesday can’t boast. She’s kind of a personal hero is what I’m saying.

https://i2.wp.com/www.childmolestationvictims.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Sexy-Teacher.jpg

Out of respect for her privacy, I won’t reveal her name. For the sake of this story, let’s just call her Ms. Diana. I had Ms. Diana for a history class in my sophomore year. At the time, I was 16. My acne problem was just starting to become a crisis. My hormones were just starting to go into overdrive as well. I remember having to hide at least one awkward boner a day. Ms. Diana didn’t help in that effort, but with her, I didn’t mind.

Ms. Diana was one of those young, energetic teachers who loved to talk fast and fill the room with energy. She wasn’t the kind of teacher who would just give presentations, pass out worksheets, and lay out lists of facts. She actually tried to keep people engaged. She tried to get people excited. She might as well have been the high school equivalent of a lion tamer.

She was also hot. I hope that goes without saying. I don’t just mean hot, in terms of personality. I mean Ms. Diana was hot in that she would’ve looked awesome in a bikini and not because she had a beauty regiment on par with Gwenth Paltrow, complete with jade egg for a healthy vagina.

https://i.cbc.ca/1.3439725.1455006939!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/gwyneth-paltrow.jpg

No, Ms. Diana’s beauty was a natural beauty. She didn’t need makeup. She didn’t need designer clothes. She came into class wearing something she probably bought on sale and she still made it look sexy. That’s a special kind of beauty, even by teenage standards.

That beauty definitely resonated with my teenage self. I can’t remember a class where I paid more attention and felt more engaged. I can’t say that about a lot of the teachers or classes I’ve taken. I also can’t say those classes got me thinking and feeling things that I didn’t feel without an internet connection. It was a strange, but beautiful thing.

Now I never went out of my way to tell Ms. Diana that I found her very attractive. That’s not because I wanted to avoid a scandal that would end with one of us being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer though. I didn’t tell her because it wasn’t necessary. It wasn’t necessary because I wasn’t the only hormonal teenage boy in that class and some of those boys did not have filters between their brains and their mouths.

It was very much an open secret in the school. The boys thought Ms. Diana was hot. Nobody really argued about it. Nobody denied it either. I get the sense she knew that. I don’t think she would’ve agreed to teach teenagers if she didn’t to some extent. Maybe she knew she could keep her students’ attention by being hot. I’m not saying it’s a little coy, but you can’t argue with results.

https://i0.wp.com/i670.photobucket.com/albums/vv68/Stilcho/sexy2/orig_Nikki_Cox_HOT_TEACHER_Sexy_-3.jpg

This eventually culminated in an incident I still laugh about today. It happened one day after lunch. We were filing into class. I was there a few minutes early and so were a couple of my male classmates. Then, out of nowhere, this exchange happened:

Male Student: Hey, Ms. Diana! Is your dad a terrorist?

Ms. Diana: Um…no. Why do you ask?

Male Student: Because you’re the bomb!

I laughed. We all laughed. Even Ms. Diana laughed. This after September 11th, by the way. The fact that we laughed about it should hint at just how hot Ms. Diana was and how much me and my fellow male students appreciated her.

To this day, Ms. Diana holds a special place in my heart and my memory. At a time when so many memories from that era were bleak and forgettable, she was a shining star that came along at just the right time for an awkward teenage boy. I like to think that the feelings she inspired in me helped inspire my future aspirations as an erotica/romance writer.

I doubt that’s what Ms. Diana intended to teach me. I’m pretty sure she just wanted me to pass my tests and exams. Thankfully, I did. That other inspiration was just a bonus. Maybe one day when I become a famous erotica/romance writer, I’ll thank her. She deserves as such for helping me survive high school.

Until then, I remain forever grateful to Ms. Diana. On behalf of all those who had lurid thoughts about their teachers, I thank those wonderful teachers who look good naked who helped inspire both minds and genitals. You may not think it, but you helped us in ways that went beyond teaching us. You helped make our teenage years slightly less miserable. For that, you should be proud.

With that, I leave you with the ultimate ode to hot teachers, courtesy of Van Halen.

 

6 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

A Personal Story The Day Before Valentine’s Day

It’s the day before Valentine’s Day. For spouses, lovers, mistresses, and fuck buddies, it’s almost time to begin a day of romance. There will be kissing, chocolate, love-making, and just plain fucking, although not necessarily in that order. It’s a beautiful thing. I don’t deny that. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I have a strong appreciation for all the things that Valentine’s Day represents.

That said, it’s also my least favorite holiday and has been for a while now. I know I’m not alone either. Some have gone so far as to create an entirely new holiday called “Singles Awareness Day” to balance out all the annoying reminders that Valentine’s Day gives. It’s basically a weaker version of Festivus, minus the famous Seinfeld connotations.

Now I don’t take my disdain of Valentine’s Day quite that far. I don’t believe that creating one bullshit holiday to counter another is that productive. It also doesn’t change the underlying reasons why many people hate Valentine’s Day.

For many, Valentine’s Day is a harsh reminder that finding love is hard for a lot of people. Let’s face it. If you’re a pretty, young woman with big tits or a handsome young man with a fat wallet, finding love is easy. You can walk down the street in a thong and you’ll probably find someone to celebrate a holiday with. It’s just that easy.

For the rest of us, though, we don’t have that luxury. We’re at the mercy of our circumstances and some of us don’t handle those circumstances very well. In fact, we find ways to make them worse, even when we don’t have to.

In that spirit, as well as the spirit of those who would rather spend this Hallmark Holiday drunk, I’d like to share a little anecdote that should help explain why Valentine’s Day is so difficult for me.

I’ve gotten personal on this blog before. I’ve confessed to sleeping naked and shared a story about my first trip to Las Vegas. Those stories have some inherent sexiness to them. Unfortunately, there’s nothing sexy about this one. It’s mostly just somber recollection of a very lonely part of my life, long before I ever had an outlet in erotica/romance.

It happened when I was a teenager in high school, also known as my extended stay in Hell. I’ll probably say this many times on this blog, but it’s worth emphasizing. I hated high school. I was absolutely miserable. I wasn’t just a whiny, self-loathing teenager. I basically went out of my way to be miserable. It’s even more pathetic than it sounds.

This particular story highlights just how bad it got for me. It happened right around January of my freshman year, which also happened to be the year I developed a horrible acne problem that plagued me for most of my teenage life. So I was already feeling pretty bad about myself to begin with. However, being the miserable little fuck I was, I just had to make it worse.

During this time, we had a major snowstorm, which happens pretty often in my part of the country. We get at least two a year and this one was probably the biggest of the year. The whole neighborhood was a winter wonderland. It would’ve been so pretty if I weren’t such a miserable little shit.

In addition to the snow, it was colder than a snowman’s nut-sack in the morning. Given how early class started, I had to be out at the bus stop at around 6:30 a.m. Remember, this is the middle of winter. It’s still dark out and most of my body is still asleep.

Why is this relevant? Well, it matters because the bus stop I stood at was just across the street from my house. The neighbors were nice and our families got along. So when it was so damn cold and dark out, they would let me and the other kids stay indoors where it was warm. It was a good deal. The kids in my neighborhood were all very nice and friendly. I had no reason at all deny such a generous offer.

Then, I remembered that I was a miserable, self-loathing teenager who had the social skills of a brain-dead fish. Even when the weather was nice, I never talked to anyone. I never tried to strike up a conversation. I would literally spend an entire morning not saying a goddamn word to anybody. The most I did was stare at my shoes and daydream about not being in high school.

As a result, I didn’t take my neighbors up on their generosity. I just remained out there by the curb in the freezing cold, shivering to myself and finding more reasons to be miserable. All the while, the other kids at my bus stop stayed indoors and stayed warm. They probably even chatted, supporting one another in any way they could, knowing that high school always found new ways to make teenagers miserable.

I really could’ve used that support. I really could’ve used friends like that. I believe that if I had chosen to hang out with them while we waited for the bus, I probably would’ve been less miserable in addition to being warmer. They probably wouldn’t have said a word about my acne problem. They were teenagers, but most of them weren’t assholes.

Sadly, I just decided to stay miserable. I decided to keep to myself. For an entire week during the coldest time of the year, I stayed out at that bus stop, alone and miserable. I never said anything. I just stood there, endured the cold solitude, and waited for the bus. It’s as sad and pathetic as it sounds.

Why am I sharing this the day before Valentine’s Day? Well, I want to tell this story to help illustrate how bad I was at connecting with people. I had horrible social skills. I had no charisma whatsoever. It certainly didn’t help that I was exceedingly self-conscious, mostly due to my acne. It is a sad, pathetic feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Now don’t get the wrong impression. This pathetic loneliness was my fault and mine alone. My family did damn near everything to support me in every possible way. They went out of their way to make me less miserable. I basically rejected them. I made the decision to be miserable. I wish I could unmake it because it still affects me to this day.

Looking back on those cold, lonely mornings, I feel as though I set myself back. I eventually did improve my social skills, but I was very behind the curve and still am to this day. It shows when I talk to new people and especially when I try to talk to women. I can handle myself a bit better, but I really did handicap myself for reasons that have never been justified.

So on the day before Valentine’s Day, I find myself remembering those cold mornings in high school again. I remember the loneliness and isolation that I imposed on myself during that time. I don’t doubt for a second that there are many others like me who share that feeling. Not all of them are in high school, but I imagine there’s never a shortage of miserable teenagers.

To those out there who do feel lonely, especially during this time of year, I would urge you to fight the urge to stay miserable. Fight the inner demons saying you deserve to be lonely. You’re better than that. You deserve to connect with others because guess what? They’re human, just like you. They seek connection as well. Look for it and you’ll find that you don’t have to be alone.

For this year, at least, I’ll probably be spending Valentine’s Day alone. The only companion I’ll have is named Jack Daniels. However, I refuse to remain in that cold, lonely place I put myself in all those years ago. I want to find love. I want to connect with people. Hopefully, my work as an erotica/romance writer will help me achieve this.

4 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights