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Risk-o-rama : how to avoid dying or at least not get seriously maimed Walker, Lori L. 2006

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RISK-O-RAMA: HOW TO AVOID DYING OR AT LEAST NOT GET SERIOUSLY MAIMED by LORIL. WALKER BA., University of Calgary, 1986 M.A., Simon Fraser University, 1990 Ph.D., Simon Fraser University, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS In THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Children's Literature) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 2006 © Lori L. Walker, 2006 ABSTRACT Starting high school is an exciting new chapter in the lives of Lindsay, Graham, and Cole. But a journal assignment from their life skills teacher about health risks leads to an awareness that growing up means facing difficult choices, and basing decisions on good information as well as the things they care about the most. In this work of informational fiction, characters face a variety of health risks (both real and perceived) as part of their adjustment to high school and their new sense of independence. These risks include exposure to cigarettes and alcohol, steroid use, diet drugs, depression, pesticides, and communicable diseases. Realistic scenarios involving these risks give the characters scope for increased awareness and maturity. Each character will face their own personal crisis involving the risks they are most vulnerable to. Lindsay is the most susceptible to peer pressure, exposing her to risks associated with weight lose, depression and smoking. Graham will face the reality that he is gay and is vulnerable to homophobia and bullying. He is also a worrier who reflects on a wide variety of other everyday risks like unpasturized cheese and pesticides. Cole is a high risk taker who continually seeks out approval. He exposes himself to risks associated with the use of steroids, alcohol, and extreme sports. As their various risk-related crises climax, the three friends come together to sort through their challenges with good information, self awareness, and the support of each other. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iii Acknowledgments iv CHAPTER ONE 1 CHAPTER TWO 11 CHAPTER THREE 21 CHAPTER FOUR 31 CHAPTER FIVE 38 CHAPTER SIX 53 CHAPTER SEVEN 63 CHAPTER EIGHT 73 CHAPTER NINE 82 CHAPTER TEN 89 CHAPTER ELEVEN 104 NOTES 132 iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis is submitted for the degree of Master of Arts in Children's Literature offered by the University of British Columbia's multidisciplinary Master of Arts in Children's Literature Program. This program is offered jointly by the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, the Department of English, the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and the Department of Theatre, F i lm and Creative Writing. Many thanks to my thesis supervisor, Alison Acheson, M A C L Program Chair Judi Saltman, and Lynne Bowen. There could be no stronger advocates for excellence in the creative writing process, the beauty of children's literature, and children's writing as a rewarding and meaningful way of making a difference. And to my husband Stephen Bruyneel, and children Harrison and Katie, my love and gratitude for your inspiration and support. This thesis is dedicated to teachers and librarians who instill in their students a sense of self-worth, independence, and a love of learning: skills essential for surviving the risks that come our way. iv Risk-O-Rama: How to Avoid Dying or at Least Not Get Seriously Maimed by Lori L . Walker Chapter One Lindsay's Risk Journal - Thursday, September 9th How bad could a Friday morning be, you ask? Let me tell you. Started off average but went downhill fast. Dad wanted to "check-in " with me to see how "things " were going, so he drove me to school this morning ... fine, okay ... but he got a call on his BlackBerry and had to pull over and find something in his briefcase, and then there was a line at the drive-through for breakfast so I was really late for math. I already have no idea what is going on. THANK YOU DAD. And I was actually planning on doing better than last year. Whatever. This is probably not the best way to introduce myself. I sound like a real whiner, don't I? I am Lindsay Jackson. I live in New Stilton, a pretty decent place, and I go to Bigby Stilton High School, a pretty decent school. I survived my first week, no small thing. Sure, most of the girls here are prettier, cooler, skinnier, smarter, etc., etc., etc. But I can cope. I think. Thank God for my friends Cole and Graham. Cole did not lose his sense of humour over the summer holiday, although it doesn't look like he took Ms. Gilbert's advice to work on becoming less impulsive. He is already in trouble for throwing a lacrosse ball down the hall and denting some kid's locker. Better that than his head, I guess. 1 Graham is still pretty normal, still worries a lot, and still has no idea that he is cute. He stresses about the whole school thing, which is weird cause he gets great grades. I don't think the other grade eight girls have noticed that he is decent looking, probably due to his "rabbit caught in the headlights" look, but that's okay for me because I get him to myself. Even though I'm not etc., etc., etc., like the other girls. I already hate gym class. The gym is huge and I just know we're going to be doing laps like last year, which I hate because, what is the point? Yes, I know fitness is a good thing, but I'm thirteen. I'll get fit when I'm older. And I must be the only girl on the planet who hates changing into a gym uniform. Everyone parades around the locker room like it's the "International Top Model" show or something. And I don't understand why I can't just read a book on volleyball or whatever and write a test. Oops, there I go again, Miss Negativity. I'm getting off topic, aren't I? I'm glad I got you for life skills class. You seem really cool because you listen to what we say in class and you treat us like equals. Life skills sounds like a bunch of boring lectures about getting lots of sleep and eating healthy food, but the stuff about what you are good at and careers sounds slightly more interesting. The unit on sexuality, well, that topic still makes me squirm. Everyone says you give out lots of homework, but your being decent makes your class way better than, say math with Mr. "Skip" Skipster, a teacher who tries wayyyy too hard. So, in all honesty I am looking forward to the unit on risk. As you 've probably already figured out, I'm doing a "Journal/Scrapbook" for the assignment and keeping a record of what I think about notices, articles and stuff going on related to health risks-whatever they are. I could have chosen a group project on smoking, but thinking about me is my favourite activity right now, so a "journal /scrapbook" works. Not that I am vain or 2 anything, but I am a highly complex person and I really need to figure me out. Plus I trust you with my thoughts. And right now Pm thinking about the following: 1. I wore the wrong shoes. These blue hightops are too blue. 2. Thank God shortie tops are not allowed at this school. 3. Uberjock Carly is smoking with JC. That I thought Vd never see. 3 Life Skills 8A Ms. G. Petticrisp, Rm. 274 Mon., Wed., & Fri. 11:15-12:00 AM Class Objective - To develop your ability to make well-informed, independent decisions that will contribute to your mental and physical health for the rest of your life. Class Requirements - an open mind, curiosity, and a writing instrument that works. Grading 50% - Keep a journal or annotated notebook of the health and environmental risks that you encounter and concern you. Think about the information we discuss in class in your annotations, but do not "regurgitate" my lectures. This exercise is your opportunity to consider the risks you face and how you deal with them. Your notes will be confidential. Hand in journals with any extra assignments on Fridays. OR 50% - Select four health issues of concern, research, write a paper, and present it to the class. AND 25% - five weekly exercises worth 5% each 25% - attendance and attitude 4 Graham's Journal Entry For Life Skills Unit One on Health and Environmental Risk September 10 So here is die first page of my "journal." First, I need to say that my journal entries will not belike Lindsay's, who appears to favour the "Dear Diary" approach-not that there's anythingwrongwitli that. I don't know what Cole's approach will be but I hope he doesn't try to pull this one off the night before it's due like he usually does. I mention Lindsay and Cole because we're friends. We met when we were in preschool and we bonded over the "Skinamarinky dinky" song which we found uproariously funny (and still do. But don't tell anyone.) Anyway, I want to say that 1 am looking forward to this assignment and being here atBigbyStilton High. And while "life skills" maynotbe considered ageniiine academic topic, I understand its relevance, particularly to youngpeople who tend to take risks, do dangerous tilings to show off, or worry a lot about natural disasters. I look forward to future journal correspondence. Sincerely, Graham Lindsay's Risk Journal - Monday, September 12th Today started with an announcement from Principal Glade. He looks so much like the "Man from Glad" garbage bag guy it's scary. Do you think he's been informed of this? Maybe someone should also let him know not to address us as "Ladies and Gentlemen." Using language from the days of Marie Antoinette will not subliminally improve our behaviour. 5 So I guess you expect us to write about that sickness that has broken out among some teenagers here in town. The gist of Mr. Glade's announcement seemed to be that there is this thing called meningococcal meningitis that is really serious, and if you get it it starts off feeling like the flu with a stiff neck, but gets worse very quickly. If we have any of the symptoms listed on the handout we are supposed to report to the office, head home, and go to the emergency ward at the hospital. Wow. Apparently, the sickness gets passed on by saliva so we aren 't supposed to share water bottles or anything that could have spit on it. My mom is gonna freak. Not that I make a habit of sharing my saliva. It's just my mom. She worries. Cole's Journal Sept. 12 Welcome to my Journal. This journal may contain explicit language and nudity that may offend life skills teachers so please be advised. This is about the topic of risk, which I know a lot about. I love taking risks. I have a high tolerance for risk; I am a risk. Sometimes I am not sure what is going to happen next, and this can make people around me agitated, I know. We high-risk tolerant individuals are not stupid. I have two friends in this particular life skills class who are agitated with me right now because we often do things together and I missed several appointments with them this weekend and I will say it here: they are p.o.ed with me. Yes they are. 6 But they stick by me, God knows why. It could be that we were in preschool together, or that I am extremely good looking and they think it will rub off on them. Whatever it is, I will squeeze them into my busy schedule and will meet with them Sunday night to do our homework on Mad Cow. ( I promise I will never use that term to refer to our lovely teacher, Ms. Petticrisp.) Last year at our old school we met in the library every day at lunch. We had our regular table to "hold court," "share intelligence," and "chew the fat." We seem to be a tad out of sync this year. But I am considering extra curricular activities to broaden my social life which is very collegiate of me, I must say. You will notice that I included the notes I made on your f i rst class lecture. Very stimulating, although I added a few of my own special touches to liven things up. You have my permission to use them in your future lectures, free of charge. Graham missed your class because he was getting a throat swab. He's worried about that mingo-thing. Well, I guess that's it from me for now. Journal at ya soon. Cole. 7 E-MAIL From: colem@bigbystiltonhigh.ca Subject: Class Notes Date: Sept 11 9:07:17 PM PDT To: <grahamb @ bigbystiltonhigh.ca> CC: <lindsays@bigbystiltonhigh.ca> Hey. I can't believe I'm giving you my notes instead of trying to mooch yours. This is so weird. And notice I have not asked for any "compensation" for my time and effort. I must be a pretty decent guy after all! Here's what you missed from Ms. Petticrisp's second class. She seems to be an okay teacher. Weird but not tedious. First unit is on "Health Risk." Here are my notes. If you have any questions, ask Lindsay. Health risks are things that could kill you or make you sick. These include the following: * eating a hamburger that has not been cooked enough and gives you salmonella resulting in vomiting and diarrhea (not good) * a grand piano falling on your head from a seventeen-story building (worse) * smoking, taking drugs, bungy jumping without the bungy cord * someone at our school kissing you or spitting at you (is this wild or what?) In this class we are not so worried about the falling grand pianos or other catastrophic events we have no control over. We are more interested in the risks we can do something about, that is, avoid altogether (drugs, bungy jumping without the bungy) or be aware of so that we can plan ahead and "make good decisions." I guess like 8 taking care of our bodies so they don't fall apart when we want to retire or something. She claims that we make risk decisions all the time and don't even think about it, from whether we wash our apple before we eat it (we're supposed to wash fruit?!?) to whether we get into a car with a driver who has been drinking. Petticrisp also said there are things people have no control over that put them at risk for making bad decisions. Kids who get bullied or who struggle at home with stuff, for example. They maybe don't feel so good about themselves or don't get the support they need to get through tricky situations. Apparently, kids who feel good about themselves and have good support networks, like friends and families, take fewer dumb risks. Kids who don't feel so good about themselves can actually get some help with things. But we all go through rough patches in life, according to Ms. P. and we can all use some "LIFE SKILLS!!!!" Now this is kinda radical—she actually admitted that there are benefits to risk taking. When she said this, JC stuck her hand up and said, "So, like are you endorsing drugs or something?" Petticrisp laughed and said no, drugs or smoking have few real benefits, only what people who use them consider benefits. It doesn't mean they don't actually hurt you in the long run and you would be better off not using them at all. Lots of risks have perceived benefits, what someone thinks is a benefit, like a thrill, a "unique experience," something to boast about. Two examples: 1. Bungy Jumping Risk - dislocation of bones, head injury, losing bladder or bowel control in front of your friends. Benefit (or what someone might think is a benefit) - looking cool, a total rush, being able to say you did it later to impress people. 9 2. Smoking (yes, only a matter of time before this one popped up!) Risk - cancer of just about everything in your body, damage to just about everything in your body, wrinkles, bad breath, yellow fingers, pneumonia from standing outside for a smoke in the winter, mental anguish when you want to quit but can't. I could go on of course. Petticrisp did. (Note to file ... don't get her started.) Benefits - looking good to a handful of peers who also do it to piss off someone in a position of authority in their life, a relaxed feeling, losing a (very) few pounds. Did I mention pissing off someone in a position of authority in your life? As we get older we have more choices about the risks we take. Mom and Dad aren't hanging over us all the time telling us what to do. Now that we are in high school we will face more risks and will have to make more decisions about what kind of risks we want to take. Bring 'em on, I say! Crispy wants to give us some tools to think about risks before we take them—to make "well-informed, independent decisions." She claims she won't give us any lectures about the stuff we share with her, even if we are being boneheads, but she is there to talk. Are teachers allowed to call us boneheads? I'm asking my dad the lawyer, the next time I see him, which may be in the year 2009. Ask Linds for a copy of Ms. P.'s handout "Your Life." Fabulous! Not to be missed! Especially if it's on the exam! And you will also want to get the notice from the New Stilton Public Health Dept. on Meningo-whatever it is for your parents. And Graham, stop hounding Linds about lacrosse. Organized sports are highly overrated. How's about meeting in the library tomorrow during lunch? Ciao, Cole 10 Chapter Two Graham's Journal Entry - September 15 I knowyou told us to keep the meningococcal outbreak in perspective with other risks but we all seem to need to talk about it right now. The last few days have been pretty stressful. Everyone is worried about the kids who got sick, but they're even more worried about who is going to get sick next. There are all kinds of stories floating around. Someone said Jasper Thomas died from meningococcal, but he just wasn'tback from holidays yet. And it doesn't seem to matter whether anyone's information is correct or not. The big thing seems to be having a story to tell. To make matters worse, it's cold and flu season and everyone thinks they have meningitis. Hie newspaper headlines are alarming and confusing, to say the least. One says "NO CAUSE FOR ALARM," and the next one says "INFECTIOUS KILLER STALKS ANXIOUS COMMUNITY.'' Someone heard that parents were fighting over vials of the vaccine at the pharmacy. People keep calling for mass immimizations but the health department says that it isn't necessary at this time. And even if you do get the shotyou could still get sick if you were already exposed. Other parents are screaming because some health districts automatically immunize kids when they go into grade six, and why doesn't ours? And then there are parents who complain that health districts immunize kids too often, and that this creates more problems, like the ones you talk about in the handout. 11 A girl from Northview High lost a finger. Another kid had a really high temperature and swelling in his brain lining. My dad, who's a doctor, says they don'tknow how that will affect him. It depends on where the swelling was and for how long. I also heard that another girl had the circulation stop in her arms. They went all blue from the elbow down, but luckily die medication they gave her kicked in in time. By the time the last kid who got it showed up at the hospital diey figured out what was going on and treated him widi antibiotics right away. He is going to be okay. Butwhat's the next tliingto hitus? I found die "Communicable Disease" newspaper clippings you suggested we read in the library. There are all kinds of diseases lurking out diere, not to mention problems associated widi gene mutation, international travel, and die overuse of antibiotics. We are sitting ducks for pandemic bird flu (no pun intended), SARS outbreaks, squirrel pox, ebola, leprosy, you name it. Dad keeps saying "check in with your friendly local heakh care professional and keep informed so you don'thave to worry." But let's face it. It's a miracle anyone stays healthy these days. They say die best tiling to do is wash your hands, and while using antibacterial cream and latex gloves is tempting, my dad says stick to soap and hot water. ("Amiracle of modern science!" according to Dad.) That just seems too simple. I am planning on looking into whatmore should be done about this situation. Maybe I can share this with the class. 12 Oh, and one more tiling, Ms. P. Don't be too hard on Cole if he turns in his usual substandard assignment. He seems to be going through a radier rough adjustment period. I don't know what's up with him, but he seems to need to be an idiot right now. As requested: Graham's List of Risks that Should Be Addressed Immediately i. Bad bacteria in unpasteurized cheese a. Bungyjumping 3. Catdander 4. Degradation of vitiunins in microwave broccoli 5. Dirty cross checking in lacrosse 6. Hair loss 7. Lead poisoning from plastic mini-blinds 8. Pandemics (bird, ebola, etc.) 9. Poor hand washing skills 10. Radiation from refrigerators Lindsay's Risk Journal - Thursday, September 15th I talked to my mom about this meningitis situation and how weird it is that everyone is freaking out. We had, like, a conversation!! She wasn't trying to get me to change or anything, which was a total shock because she can be very controlling. Anyway, she told me how terrifying it is when kids get sick. She said there is nothing more tragic than the death of a young person. She also said kids don't give any thought to dying because we 13 think we are "invincible." That's not me. I know I'm not going to live forever. I'm just not planning to die right now. Graham has been whacked out about it and has already had his dad check to see if he had it. Cole said the whole thing was kind of exciting in a creepy way. I know the feeling, but I don't think I would admit it. Another kid is sick and someone heard that a kid might die. Parents are freaking out all over the place and Mom has been trying to get through to Dr. Fleming to see if she can get me immunized, but another mom up the street said they don't have the serum or they are out or something. Jeeze, what do you do ? Stay in your bedroom forever? Wear a surgical mask everywhere? Kissing? The only one who wants to kiss me these days is my grandma. I guess this is a health risk we have some control over, but there is still a chance Somebody could sneeze on you or something and you wouldn 't know it. Even a shot isn 't a guarantee you won't get sick if it's for a different strain of the disease. I think Vm going to try out for the lacrosse team. Yes, I know. I am not really an athlete and I hate running, but it seems to be the cool thing to do around here. Dad thinks it's a good idea from a "physical fitness and social development" point of view. Okee dokee, Dad! And it's time to get to know the other girls on the team. They are the big fish in the Bigby Stilton High School pond and I could probably use a little of whatever it is they've got going on. And I guess we have a class presentation due on mad cow disease next class. This early in the term!?!? I hate to complain but... THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND - Practice lacrosse with Cole and Graham - Look up stuff on mad cow for the presentation (if I can get Mom off the computer) - Meet with Cole and Graham to finish mad cow presentation Sat. afternoon 14 - Babysit Sat. 4:30 for the Jacksons - Pick a book from the award list to read for English Lindsay's Risk List 1. Getting attacked when I am babysitting 2. Weight gain 3. Meningitis 4. Another terrorist attack 5. Radiation from computers 6. Brain damage from cell phones 7. Flood 8. Fire 9. Plane crash 10. Breast cancer Cole's Journal - Sept. 19 Here is a copy of the poem we presented to the class today. We were supposed to write about a risk and who is involved-the stakeholders, you call them. You wanted us to "get creative" and so we did, although Graham had his doubts that this is what you wanted. "Throw caution to the wind, you fine fellow," I said to him, "and chill a bit while you're at it." The poem/rap killed (in a matter of speaking). I can't believe the "issues" people have with 15 this mad cow thing. On the bright side we had lots to discuss after the presentation, bo we get extra marks for that? Homework Assignment #1 for Ms. Petticrisp Don't Have a Mad Cow, Man by Cole, Lindsay, and Graham Once upon a time when the world was simple, kids played outside and never got a pimple. Cows and Bulls ate grass and hay. When they got frisky you got out of the way. (Yeah,Baby! Whoa!!) The Farmer and the Rancher did their best. They worked so hard they never got a rest. If weather was bad and stuff didn't grow cow food was sparse and they had no dough, (record scratch X3) Some lab coats got together and stirred things up, "Let's feed the cattle other critters not used up!" Entrails, innards, bones, and blood. Recycling that ended up a real dud. (whoopee cushion deflating) There's stuff in brains called prion proteins. Sometimes they mutate and make a critter mean. In sheep it's called scrapie; when it's fed to cows, you could have B S E - Better act now. It's Bovine Spongi-form En-ce-pha-lo-pa-thy; cows brains go hole-y and spongy as can be. It starts acting crazy but it gets worse, my friend. If humans eats that cow it could just be the end. (extended record scratch) How do you avoid this fate? Go Vegi-tarian? And give up burgers? Not me, man, think again! We gotta keep the suits and skirts in the industry, feedin' critters healthy stuff, green and fiber-y. We are a planet with lots of mouths to feed, but how we choose to do it is a real big deed. The chance of getting sick is one we just don't need. The more we know the more we care. Choose health instead of greed! Choose health instead of greed Choose health instead of greed Choose health instead of greed (Yeah Homeboy! record scratch x3) Here are the "peer evaluation comments" from the class. I just want to say LIGHTEN UP PEOPLE, I T S J U S T A POEM! And we got your point that 17 health effects from mad cow are very rare and scientists still don't know that much about it. You didn't need to say it 15 times. What, do you own a hamburger franchise or something??? Oh yeah, I'll do that risk list soon, I promise. From Emily "I don't think it is appropriate to make fun of this serious problem. There are people who have died horrible deaths from this thing." From Josh " M y grandpa and uncle are ranchers in Alberta, and mad cow has almost bankrupted them. This thing is so overblown. It just takes one cow with this disease and ranchers can't sell their cattle or meat outside of their country. Why don't people just shut up about it?" From Brian W . "Who takes the side of the animals? In Britain thousands of healthy cows were just shot in the head and burned. What are their rights? Your poem didn't talk about that. I liked the rap, though." From Carly "Your poem should make people think about going vegan. Eating plants and natural stuff is healthier. A n d it doesn't make you fat, either, i f you care about that kind of thing." From Jarvis "It's all a big conspiracy. The government must have a way to stop it. Scientists have vaccines and stuff to stop diseases. Why don't they just make it go away? What about the 18 beef producers in other countries? They are making serious coin off our country's misfortune." Lindsay's Risk Journal - Wednesday, September 21st So I guess we didn 't need to be annoyed by the reaction to our poem, because, as you pointed out, that type of conversation was the whole point. Making decisions on risks must be really hard when you have all this stuff to consider. And people really seemed to get involved in our presentation, which is more than Laura Strad could say about her cotton ball lungs with the coffee grounds sprinkled on them to represent cigarette damage to lungs. The dollar store construction poster paper with the statistics on it do nothing for me either, but she is a neat printer! I don't know how we managed to get the assignment done. We are trying to meet in the library at lunch like we did last year to do stuff like this. At our old school we had a table that we always sat at, and other people might come and go, but we three were always there. It felt right, you know? But it's harder this year for some reason. Cole is totally unreliable and Graham has been a bit preoccupied. Then there's the meningitis thing. I promise to read the handout on how stuff like this is covered in the media later. When I passed Carly's locker at lunch she said she heard from Nadine, who was in the park on the weekend where Graham and I were practising lacrosse, that I am going to try out for the Chicks with Sticks team on Saturday. I couldn't figure out if she cared or not. I guess I'm just fresh meat for the team. Carly must be some kind of superstar or something. Graham keeps commenting about how her heavy black make-up must really run when she's playing. He also wonders about "her chances of becoming an elite athlete 19 when she's wrecking her lungs by smoking." So she's the only goth-jock-smoker we happen to know. Now that she's in high school she needs to be a unique individual. Just the thought oftryouts gives me serious stress. What am I so worried about? I'm very good at lacrosse, for one thing. I almost wish I was in the library doing another homework assignment with Cole and Graham instead. Chapter Three Lindsay's Risk Journal - Sunday, September 25th Okay, I know this is supposed to be about risks to your life like cancer, etc., but what about risks to your feelings? Doesn't that count for something? I mean, if you feel like a bug that someone just tried to crush for fun, or to show off to their friends—what about that? I'm walking around feeling as if I'm going to throw up, my heart is pounding, and I can't keep my mind on anything except that awful Chicks try out. What if I just couldn't pull it together one morning and stayed in bed and didn 't get up ? What if I just slipped into some emotional coma? What if I never feel like eating again and my body wastes away? I feel as if this could happen to me. I hate my life right now. I went to the Chicks with Sticks tryout nervous. I knew there were "serious" athletes there and I ain 't one of them. I just wanted to try something new and have some fun. Isn 't that what they keep telling us it's all about??? There were a couple other grade eights, the rest were grade nines. A lot of she-jocks and Carly 's friends. Everything was okay during the warm-up. We did stretches, laps, stuff like that. I didn't have all the gear because Dad said he would be happy to put the money out for it if I really want to do it, but I should give it a try first with some borrowed equipment. Where am I supposed to get that? We started to take some shots on a big target and, for some reason, the stick felt totally awkward in my hands and I couldn't scoop the ball up and, well, me hitting the target just wasn't going to happen. I thought I heard a snicker and I ignored it, but when I stepped up to take another shot I heard someone say "Bam " and someone else snorted out a laugh that they were obviously trying to keep in. I looked around and the laughing stopped 21 but after I took my shot (a pathetic one) and walked away I heard someone sing that diaper ad from TV: "I'm a big kid now." I wanted to run. But that would make me as pathetic as my shots, so I stayed and kept going. But it felt like my insides were starting to shrink and my bones and skin would follow and I was morphing into this tiny awful loser. Then as I was stepping away from the net, the lacrosse ball hit the back of my leg. Carly's friend JC had taken a shot on me. In my mind I could instantly see the red circle it must have left as it stung, burning right through my skin. I didn't hear the laughing, or even what the coach said as I limped off to the bench. And to top things off, Carly saw me cry for the half second I cried before I pulled it together. How am I going to face those girls at school? What if they sing that ad again in front of people I don't even know? Am I going to be the grade eight loser this year? Some people talk about it like there's one every year. I am not going to the second day of try outs. No way. How could I think that chucking the ball around in the lacrosse box with Graham and Cole meant that I actually had a chance at playing on the team ? I feel sick. I can't do any of my homework and I don't want to talk about it, even to Graham. He would probably think he has to be nice to me about it and I'm really not in the mood for that right now. Graham's Journal Entry - September 27 So today in class you talked about the history of risk, which was really interesting. It is so weird how people used to iinderstand why they got sick, or why bad mings happened. 22 You told us that in early civilizations they didn't think about the concept of risk. If somethingbad happened, it was justmeantto be. Itwas fate, or luck, or the will of the gods. Ifyou did somethingdangerous, bike jump off a cliff, and nothingbad happened, you were blessed or lucky. Ifyou hurt your self or died then you were unlucky, or you had displeased the gods. Or maybe your enemy was practising black magic on you. Some people still think that way. You said that some people still think ifyou get sick with certain diseases, bike AIDS or leprosy, it is God's way of tellingyou thatyou are a bad person. And that can stop people from takingprecautions or gettingproper treatment. They feel bike they just aren'twordi it. The reality is diat some people get sick because diey take arisk thatcoidd have be avoided just by changing dieir behaviour. Some people just getsickwidi things like cancer. It just happens. Most of the time, though, staying healthy has no dung to do widi being lucky and everything to do widi notsmoking, not being overweight, getting exercise, being a safe driver, and using a seat belt. I guess when people are panicking, it's hard to convince them that tilings will probably be okay if diey follow expert advice and keep up to date through reliable sources of information. I hiked that the word "risk" came from Spanish or Portuguese explorers who used it when they talked about sailing into waters thatwere uncharted. They coidd discover something great or they could sink or be attacked or get really lost. That's sort of the way I feel about starting high school. Part of me is excited because it's all so new. But then I walk into the 23 schoolyard and sometimes I feel as if I'm dodgingbullets, or land mines, or snipers. Little gaggles of kids talking or smoking or planning something and you just wonder what they're up to. This is not about squealing on anybody! I just feel like there's a lot going on under the surface and it kind ofworriesme. I guess that sometimes being a "risk taker" is a good thingif it makes you rich or you make a great discovery. Butyou would think that most people wouldn't want to take risks that could hurt their health... like doing drugs. What is the benefit? Do people do it because they mink that the good will outweigh the bad? Do they do it because they can' t imagine somerJiingbad happening to them? Do they do it because they can't imagine what it's like to be addicted to something? Do they think they have total control over their lives and nothing bad will ever happen? Or has soniethingbad already happened to them and they figure it doesn'treallymatter. Idon'tgetit. Cole's Journal Sept. 28 Sorry this is overdue, Ms. P. I know it was supposed to be in last Friday but, as it turns out, my friend's dog got away and he needed me to help look for him because he is a very rare breed and he thinks he can make a lot of money breeding him and he says I can help and he'll pay me, and of course he really likes his dog and didn't want him to get hit by a car, which is a risk, isn't it? See? I'm paying attention. Really!!! 24 Here are a Few of my Favourite Risks: Snowboarding, wrestling with grade nine maniacs, paintball, street luge, motocross, slamball, skateboarding. Well, Lindsay is doing her "Chick" thing, and Graham is doing his academic thing, and I met this guy in grade ten who is really cool and he said to me, "Dude, you aren't on teams or anything? Try out for wrestling. Totally gnarly." Mighty kind invitation, I must say. Now this is my big question. A guy like me is always thinking about self-improvement. To better one's self is the purpose of this life on earth, is it not? So, here's what I want to know. What kind of freaky stuff happens when you take steroids because I could definitely be bigger and taller. I brought this topic up with two of my associates, and one (of the female variety) said I'm being an idiot AGAIN and the other one suggested that I could become some sort of weird ape man with hair everywhere and muscley knuckles dragging on the ground. All I want is to have a shot at the wrestling team, and they talk about roids all the time in the locker room. I never would have guessed that Mr. Skipster was the wrestling coach. That dude seriously rocks at wrestling. Too bad he can't make math that much fun. Now you're probably thinking that I could be doing some research and a homework assignment on the "risks" of taking steroids. Well, think again cause I got a major headache from the last one that you asked us to do. Whatever happened to good old "read chapter three and write the test???" Sure I do crummy in exams, but they are way less work. Okay. okay. okay. I'll look some stuff up on the Internet, or better yet the library. I should probably know what I'm getting myself into, just in case the stuff makes my penis fall off or something. Can I say penis in an annotated journal assignment? Penis Penis Penis. Oops I did it again. No one promised my thoughts were going to be rated nG." Graham's Journal Entry - September 29 I guess you are what they call an "unorthodox" teacher. A homework assignment inspired bymy friend Cole, who I would have to consider die guy least likely to inspire any learning experience not motivated by money or die chance ofgettinginto trouble. Oh well. I have lots of time on my hands these days, because my friend Lindsay has become what I would call "moody" and doesn't want to practice lacrosse or even talk about it. What are die risks associated with having a friend of the opposite sex who drives you nuts? 26 You asked us to follow Cole's example by picking the top risk from our personal risk list and give the class some background on why it merits our attention. While tropical ebola disease can kill quickly, there is a very small chance I would ever be exposed to it here in New Stilton. And the other risks are kind of remote. I will not be licking any lead laden mini-blinds and, frankly, I'm not even sure about how risky some of my risks are. Funny how one can spend a lot of time worrying about something without even knowingwhether it's worth worrying about. So 1 am choosing poor hand washing skills for my top pick. Since creativity in assignments seems to be big, I've put my notes in the form of a pop quiz. My dad is very enthusiastic about my sharingit and has even offered a bottle of liquid soap to the smdent with the liighest score (perhaps it should go to the person with the lowest score) but as you can imagine, my status as a dork would be sealed if this got out. My social life rests in your hands. DIRTY HANDS TRUE OR FALSE 1. Doctors used to deliver babies after conducting an autopsy and they didn't always wash their hands first. 2. Ninety-five percent of people report washing their hands after going to the bathroom. 3. Wiping with toilet paper protects your fingers from contamination by fecal (poo) material and germs when you use the bathroom. 4. Hand washing is done to protect other people from your germs. 5. Washing without soap is a waste of time. 27 6. Washing for less than ten seconds is a waste of time. 7. You can get meningitis from not washing your hands. 8. Transient bacteria from feces and vomit on the fingertips are a major cause of foodborne illness. 9. Urine can also contain high levels of bacteria that can make you sick. 10. It is okay to keep a nose tissue with you as long as you keep it in your pocket when you are not using it. ANSWERS 1. TRUE In the 1840s a Hungarian medical student named Ignaz Semmelweiss figured out that midwives who washed their hands before delivering a baby had patients with a lower rate of death than the patients of doctors who delivered babies after doing autopsies on decomposing bodies. (Duhh!) It still took a long time (late 19th century) before proper hand washing was done by doctors and nurses treating sick patients. Florence Nightingale figured it out but had a heck of a time trying to convince the doctors that washing hands would save lives. 2. TRUE An average of 95% reported washing their hands in a 1996 study, BUT only 68% were actually observed washing their hands. When broken down by sex, 92% of men said they washed when only 58% actually did and 97% of women reported they washed when only 75% actually did. Yuck. 3. FALSE Toilet paper does not stop fecal material and germs from getting onto your fingers. You need to wash them properly after going to the bathroom to get rid of germs, even if you just pee. 28 4. T R U E and F A L S E Hand washing protects other people from your germs, but it also (and more importantly for the selfish among us) protects us from other people's germs. No doubt about it. If you wash your hands properly, you get sick less often. 5. T R U E Lukewarm water to wash hands without soap can actually encourage the growth of germs by giving them a cozy environment to grow. Hot water, soap, and friction is really important to ki l l the germs. 6. T R U E Y o u need to scrub hands with soap for 10-15 seconds before washing it off. And dry hands well. Simply put, soap kills the germs that make you sick, including one called shighella that gives you diarrhea. 7. T R U E Some forms of meningitis can be avoided by hand washing, but it can also be spread through saliva. But washing you hands is worth the effort i f you want to reduce your exposure to stuff like influenza, S A R S , Norwalk virus, hepatitis A , and bronchiolitis, among other things. 8. T R U E Transient bacteria is the bacteria that doesn't naturally live on your skin. Yes, you are crawling with bacteria, but the resident bacteria, the stuff that lives there, doesn't necessarily make you sick. It's the bacteria that you pick up as you go about your business, or barf, or clean your cat's litter box, or handle raw hamburger that makes you sick. 9. F A L S E Urine comes out sterile, that is, it is without micro-organisms. But it provides a happy home for bad bacteria after a short period of time. Wash your hands with soap, even if you just pee. 29 10. F A L S E A used Kleenex is an all-inclusive holiday for germs. Blow your nose, throw out the tissue, and wash your hands with soap! 30 Chapter Four Lindsay's Risk Journal - Sunday, October 2nd It's been a week since the lacrosse try out and a lot has happened. I haven't been keeping up my risk journal, but I feel like I've been living one of your classes. So, how many cigarettes does it take before lungs look like Laura Stradd's coffee ground cotton balls? I did it. I smoked. The Monday after the tryout I just barely dragged myself to school. I was so worried I was going to be embarrassed again, and I figured everyone would have heard how stupid I looked at the tryout. But I got to my first class, on time even, and just kept my head down and did the work. Lunch was the worst. I felt like a sitting duck without a teacher around, and I couldn 't find Cole or Graham anywhere. Maybe they were mad because I told them I was having a crisis but I didn't want their input. Anyway, I walked past the lunch room and Carly saunters out and grabs my arm and leads me to her table. I was too surprised to be scared. She says something like, "You kinda had a rough time on Saturday, eh, Sweetie? " and I just sat there staring at her, and then she said, "JC can be sort of rude. I think she must have self-esteem problems, don't you?" I wasn't sure if she meant it, being nice to me like that. She seemed to be distracted by people walking by, and peeling her cheese into different sized strings. But I was relieved that I wasn't going to be the "not it" girl that day. And she just kept on talking and assumed I would follow her outside for a smoke, which I did. When she handed me the pack, I really amazed myself. I probably felt more awkward than I did at the tryout with my lacrosse stick, but I just willed my fingers to do the right thing, and I lit the cigarette (on the second try) and I started with little puffs, and I was doing it. And Carly just kept on talking and I started to feel a little more comfortable. 31 / hadn 't expected to throw up in fifth period. But I recovered and I just felt so relieved and flattered that Carly was being nice. And she grabbed me for lunch and a smoke the next day too, although she had the rest of her posse there. I have to say, they are quite mean. I tried to laugh along when they did impressions of Cynthia Blimkie the math brain, but I didn't feel very comfortable with the whole discussion. 1 guess that's high school humour. I finally found Graham and Cole after school and I told them. I was ready for their input because I was feeling very confused. Graham was really surprised and said, "That's not who you are, Lindsay. " Cole was just really quiet. It was weird. I kinda thought he would be impressed. I know what Graham was saying, except who am I right now, anyway? I thought high school was about being older, feeling more "grown up." How old do you have to be to be cool and confident, anyway? I want it now, thank you very much. I know I am being stupid. 1 know how bad this is for your health. And you had to put that newspaper article up on the board about a study that showed that girls who smoke are at higher risk of breast cancer. I'm terrified of breast cancer. And my mom will kill me if she finds out. Oh yeah, the assignment. My number one risk and why. I guess it would have to be weight gain. My assignment will be in before the end of the day. 32 Cole's Assignment Oct. 3 Ms. P., Here is the assignment on my top risk and why. I'm hoping for extra marks since it was my idea. Cole Cole's (Pros and Cons) Notes on Roids Pros to Using Steroids - Gives you an "edge" and a short cut to being a better athlete - Builds "body mass" - Cool slang! for example: Arnolds, gym candy, pumpers, trainers, stackers, juice -1 need it to make the wrestling team -1 need it to f i t in -1 will look totally appealing if I bulk up - TRUE testimonials on the Internet from people who use them -1 will be STRONGER! - Coaches want you to win—whatever it takes - Parents seem to take notice of the kids who "excel" - You can get them on the Internet so they must be okay - Scientists don't know everything. Sometimes even they are wrong 33 Cons to Using Steroids - All this stuff on the Internet that tells you not to do it, including scientific studies I can hardly understand except for "premature death" and "serious long term health effects" - Maybe you can get bigger and better through practice and hard work alone (but who wants to do that???) - The guy who keeps talking about it in the locker room is actually a bit of a doofus and I'm not sure he knows what he's talking about. I don't think he is even on the wrestling team. The other guys just kinda look at him funny. - Expensive!!! - Illegal - What you get is not regulated so it could be diluted, contaminated, or fake - Oh yeah, health effects. Turns out my penis will not fall off if I use steroids, but my testicles could shrink. Here is some other not so good stuff: For Guys: baldness, development of boobs, penis malfunction (?!?) For Girls: growth of facial hair, deepened voice, boob reduction For Both: jaundice (yellowing of the skin), swelling of feet or ankles, 34 aching joints, bad breath, mood swings, nervousness, trembling, zits, stunted growth - All of this could be permanent - Scientists don't know everything. Maybe it's worse - Roid Rages—uncontrolled outbursts of anger, frustration, or combativeness that may result from using anabolic steroids (what does it mean when this happens and you are not using roids?) - Needles?? You gotta inject stuff????? - Graham thinks I'm an idiot for even thinking about it Graham's Journal Entry - October 3 I originally thought this journal entry was going to be my letting off steam because I am so angry at Lindsay for partaking in a health risk that many teens partake in diat seriously compromises their health (I'm tryingnotto squeal here) and she knows better!!! What die HECKis she diinking??? She doesn'tneed to hangoutwidi the "I'm too cool to care" club. And Cole contemplating steroid use for wrestling??? How stupid is diat? I told him diat is not something the coach woidd encourage, but does he listen to me? Oh no. But this entry is not about diat. As I was preparing my rant, it struck me diat while my best friends are out ruining dieir health, the rest of the world is falling apart. I keep diinking, "Come on, people! There are enough risks to our health out diere. Why woidd we want to 35 bring them on ourselves? What they should be thinking about right now is chemicals that cause sickness like cancer. Most people use all kinds of bad chemicals for cleaning, and who knowswhat it's doingto their bodies? Apamphlet arrived in the mail yesterday that brought this problem to my attention. Itwasfrom a new group in town called SCARI, which stands for "Some Chemicals Are Really Ill-advised." I could be wrong, but I think that maybe the meeting ran a little too long when they came up with that acronym. Anyway, the chemicals they list sound scari/scary enough, bike 2-Butoxyethanol and ethoxylated nonylphenol. They claim there are 70,000 chemicals in the home thathaven't been tested for their effects on human health. I didn't know there were that many chemicals on the planet. We should really be concerned. I have some questions though. Are all chemicals bad? Is there some more information on thissoldon'tneedtofreakout? I already have enough stress in my life. Monday, October 3rd Dear Ms. Petticrisp, I changed my mind on my top health risk. This probably isn 't what you wanted, but it's what's in my heart right now. I can give you something more—like stuff from the Internet or whatever—if you want it. This is a poem but it's not meant to be funny. 36 My Top Risk and Why: Getting Lost at High School by Lindsay I'm sitting at a big round table surrounded by other girls Laughing, chatting, sure of themselves. And I feel so alone. Am I the only one who sits without the company of herself? I try to find that girl inside my head I used to know so well. Is she the one who used to be so positive? The girl who tried her best Or the one who slips into the gloom and grumbles It's not just a "stage. " Highly successful thirteen-year-old with good habits, where 'd you go Girl with best friends to be weird with together Last seen in the library a few weeks back. Was that her smoking with giants on the steps ? Can you tell that she has a storm inside of her? She is looking for a quiet place. Will she find her way back to her place inside of me ? Chapter Five Lindsay's Risk Journal - Friday, October 7th Thanks for the handout on depression, Ms. Petticrisp, but don't freak on my account. Fm not ready to jump off a bridge. I promise I will talk to you if I ever do feel that way. But there is a lot going on right now and none of it is good. You know when you do something, and it's bad, like taking up smoking, being depressed, and neglecting your school work? You think, "It is so awful to be me. Thank God for my friends, they will help me work it through, " but what you are really thinking is, "Thank God for my friends, they will feel sorry for me, and let me believe this can't possibly be my fault." This is so not happening right now, because, for starters, I am a total loser at friend maintenance. I have two great friends I've known forever, but who do I choose to hang out with ? I had lunch with Carly and the girls yesterday. Just when I think things are going okay and maybe I don't have to feel like one of them is going to make me look like an idiot, it happens. Complete and utter mortification. We were at Big Willy's Burgers and we just sat down with our fries when Marline came in with this "I've got a secret" smile on her face. She had a bag from the drugstore next door and she announced, "Girls, I'm finally going to do it. I'm going to lose those extra pounds I've been carrying around." She pulls out these diet pills. Well, I just about choked because you know Marline, she is a stick. And then this lady with a gooey kid in a stroller walks by our table and says, "You know, you girls don't really need those things. They make you feel awful and you are all so pretty already." She was being really sweet and she even sounded a little sad. I don't think she was trying to pull the "controlling mother" routine on us or anything. And we just sat therefor a second after she left. And Carly pipes up, "You know Martine, she's 38 right. You are already too skinny. Give them to Lindsay or someone who needs them. " I felt like I was shrinking into my chair. "Ha ha," I managed to get out. Nice friends. I'd had enough of them when I got back to school so I just walked around and around the school looking into the library to see if Graham and Cole were there at our table. Some other kids were there. Yes, I know we don't have any "reserved" sign with our names on it or anything, but it still feels as if one of those tables should be ours. We did our best work together at "our" library table last year, like the " dictator of the twentieth century" photocopied pop-up collage we did for art class (Cole's idea, of course). Ms. Cruikshank, our old librarian, didn't mind if we talked or she told us to keep it down in a nice way. She trusted us to pay if we used the photocopier, even though sometimes we forgot. She even gave us first crack at the new graphic novels that came into the library, and said she'd love to know what we thought. ( "Cool! Like a comic book with a real story, but alas," said Cole, "no nudity.") So I couldn't find Cole and Graham and I just kept thinking, what have I done ? Do I sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself? Well, I am. But despite that I still found time to do my last assignment. 39 Linday's Personal Risk Management Assignment - Oct. 7, 2005 Instructions: Select a risk that concerns you and answer the following questions. Risk: Terrorist Attack How might you personally manage this risk? / can't. That's why I'm worried. I can't not use a plane if I was lucky enough to go somewhere exciting, or not use the subway (except we don't have one in New Stilton so I guess that one is out). It seems like terrorism is just one of those risks that is going to happen, although not too often, I hope. Where might you find more information about his risk? Internet, TV News, newspaper, talk to parents or teacher What have you learned from these sources that might help you personally manage risk? 1. You can't get freaked out or the terrorists win 2. Be aware but don't go overboard 3. Lots of people may look like terrorists but aren't so don't assume. As my mother says, it's a few "bad apples " that can give a lot of good people a bad name 4. There are lots of really great people who practice different faiths out there. We had dinner with a Muslim guy my dad works with and he and his family are really great. They squabble and stuff just like our family 40 Life Skills 8A Ms. G. Petticrisp Final "Risk" assignment due at the end of the unit (but start thinking about it now). This week we will be discussing emotional intelligence, or EQ, and how it relates to risk taking behaviour. Researchers suggest that EQ may be responsible for as much as 80% of the success you are capable of achieving in your life, with only 20% of your success determined by IQ. To improve your EQ, it is important to understand how you feel about yourself. Your assignment (start thinking about it now) is to construct a coat of arms that reflects who you are. Consider the following questions. Then construct a crest or coat of arms representing your answers and add a motto that captures what you are all about. I am happiest when I am proud of I want to improve my ability to I am a good friend because I I find it easy to 41 Mai l thinks this message is Junk M a i l From: colem@bigbystiltonhigh.ca Subject: yakkin' Date: Friday Oct. 7, 2005 To: grahamb@bigbystiltonhigh.ca Hey Buddy, Did you get the latest assignment done? The final assignment for extra marks seems kinda dumb, but I think I'm gonna need the marks. The good news is I actually like assignments that involve drawing. The challenge is hiding potentially offensive material in the picture, kinda like subliminal advertising! Do ya wanna meet at the library at lunch to get this over with? I'll bring the crayons, baby! Maybe we can lasso that crazy cowgirl, Lindsay, away from the smokies. Now, as I aspire to become a Greek wrestling god myself, I'll probably stay away from that scene, if you know what I mean. The coach's spies are everywhere and his athletes are a pretty clean livin' bunch, at least the last I heard, although I think I heard someone at practice say that chewing tobacco is the bomb. But then I saw Rad Brad with this brown slime drippin' down his chin and I thought to myself, yah! not going there. That's really gonna bring the chicks runnin', Stud! So enough about moi, as they say in French Immersion. Meet me in the library, my fine fellow. I'm packin' one of my dad's many cellular communication devices so you can contact me 24/7. And if you don't call, I'll still have the cell phone to amuse and impress! After we finish we should hit the lacrosse box. Exercise is very important for physical and mental health. And since I'm not going to go the raids route, I need to keep the upper arms working. But first let's rescue Lindsay from the evil smoking high school fem-bots. Although, I like the look of the one they call JC fem-bot model number W34DF. Yeah Baby. Cole. 42 Dear Ms. Petricrisp, Hand washingrisk really doesn't lend itself to fully exploring the questions you posed for this week's assignment so I switched to chemicals in the home. The assignment is attached. Sincerely, Graham PS Thank you for that last thought-provoking assignment and the chance to get extra marks. I am surprised how difficult it is to answer those questions. I was also a little confused. Are we getting off topic here? Weren'twetalkingaboutrisk? What does feeling good about oneself have to do with staying out of danger? PPS I've been giving lots of thought to my coat of arms. I seem to recall a similar assignment in grade three, but I trustyou have some pedagogical reason for the overlap. 4 3 Graham's Personal Risk Management Assignment - Oct. 7, 2005 Instructions: Select a risk that concerns you and answer the following questions. Risk: Chemicals in the home How might you personally manage this risk? Convince my mother and father to use fewer chemical cleaners and more natural products like vinegar and baking soda. Not much I can do when the cleaning lady comes, but maybe if I knew which chemical is the worst we could ask her not to use that one product. I need to find out more! Where might you find more information about his risk? Library, Internet, TV News, newspaper, phone experts at the university. I have already started on an Internet search, but it's hard to find good information. It's either advertising or ranting that scares me, quite frankly. What have you learned from these sources that might help you personally manage risk? 1. The dose makes the poison. 2.1 guess I have to decide what risks I want to live with. 3. It is very hard to figure out if exposure to small amounts of chemicals is harmful, and what happens when they store up? There is more that we don't know than what we do know. AA U r g e n t L o c k e r D o o r C o m m u n i q u e t o L i n d s a y f r o m C & G This is in the euent that you do not receiue a n d / o r read an e-mai l communique f r o m G. sent during c o m p u t e r lab this a f t e rnoon . M e e t us a f t e r school at the f ront doors . M i s s i n g our usual exchange of i rony and c leuer banter . Plus we need y o u r help on the h o m e w o r k ass ignment . Hu reuoir , ma pet i te pota to bug. M a i l thinks this message is Junk M a i l From: grahamb@bigbystiltonhigh.ca Subject: hello how are you? Date: Tuesday Oct. 11 To: lindsays@bigbystiltonhigh.ca Hi Lindsay, Just thought I'd drop you a line because I haven't seen you in awhile. I guess there was some tension last time we talked because of your choice to smoke, which I obviously don't approve of, but then again, I'm not your mother, am I? And you know that I take these kinds of things seriously because my dad is a doctor. But listen, we missed you today at the library. Some other kids were sitting at the table we staked out at the beginning of the year and I was a bit miffed about that. Cole and I sat around the other side near the nonfiction and the pathetic philodendron that 45 nobody waters. We tried to start our "coat of arms" assignment but we felt silly. Didn't get a lot done. So I just wanted you to know that I'm not really mad at you because I know you will quit smoking and come to your senses any day now. We could talk about this week's homework. See you later at the award case at the front doors? Graham Cole's Journal - Tues. Oct. 11th You are currently reading the risk journal of the newest member of the Bigby Stilton High School Wrestling team. No kidding! I tried out Monday after school and today the names were posted. I was surprised, I must say. Being wiry and shortish are good things in wrestling. Who'd have thought it? And I actually get to travel with the team for matches at other schools. Everyone say that the team from Sturgeon Sr. Secondary is the one to beat. So count me in! Too bad about those weird Princess Leia ear guards you have to wear. Now you know what's big in my life. "But how's your homework coming along, Cole?" you are probably thinking. "Will you take advantage of extra marks to make up for the marks you lost handing in late assignments, Cole?" you ask. Well, I hate to break it to you, teacher, but we did personal coat of arms posters in grade THREE!!!! With all due respect, you teachers might want to 46 get together and compare notes or something. Yes, I realize this coat of arms is a little more sophisticated, and it deals with our emotional intelligence, but it strikes me that this assignment is not only a repeat but also leaves a lot of room for abuse. You give us a lot of credit for not making our symbols the age-inappropriate variety. (Seen the symbols on the wall of the second floor boys' can lately?) Okay, okay. So Graham and I got together after school and discussed how we would approach this, and as usual we had different opinions. (Don't ask about our former partner in crime and homework, Lindsay. She doesn't bother to show up when we plan to get together.) My answer to the five questions was the same (I like adventure and I like to push the boundaries) and I saw the exercise as primarily a f ill-in-the-blank and doodle something up or even cut out a few pics from somewhere (I'm assuming not a library book). Graham thinks this assignment is about disclosing some deeper feelings. That troubles me. Who is correct here, teacher? There's a toonie riding on it. Cole 47 Lindsay's Risk Journal - Wednesday, October 12th Here are my thoughts on not being beautiful, which is completely connected to not being model skinny. When you were nine or ten, it didn 't really matter that much what you looked like. You could still play tag in the schoolyard. You could even play Barbies or Polly Fashion with friends at home. Colouring contests were still okay and it was okay to get excited about maybe winning a bike. But something happens around eleven, twelve, or thirteen. You start noticing super models and you start hearing guys lust over them and you start to worry and you 're not sure why. Maybe you start to worry that people are noticing your breasts and you wonder if some guy in your class would describe them as cantaloupe or golf ball size. And then you get your period and, if you aren't one of those girls who actually gets excited about that kind of thing, you think your freedom is gone. You think you will no longer have control over your feelings when PMS kicks in. You have to worry about leaking or smelling funny and cramps. You are losing who you are and in your place is someone who is supposed to want to be sexy but not get "knocked-up" or be sexy but not be a "skank" or a "slut," and it feels like you don't have any control over this—someone else does the naming. This is more than a little depressing. So this is what I want to say to the world... I am who I am and who I was before I got breasts or hair under my armpits. I am not just waiting around worrying about whether I am sexy enough. Or at least I am really trying not to let those worries creep into my head. And I really want the girls who are not drop dead gorgeous to win the "Super Star Singer Search " on TV. And I really think that "Plastic Surgery Challenge " is stupid. They all looked just fine before they went under the 48 knife. But I still cry when they come back to their family new and improved. I don't know why. Cole's Journal Wed. Oct. 12 I gave the homework more thought. Wow. Personal reflection time! My dad sings this song "What's it all about, Alfie?" You're old—you know the one I'm talking about, Ms. P. Some mean girl smoker alien has invaded Lindsay's brain and Graham is obsessing over chemicals. And there are all these assignments and exams and teachers who think their subject is the only subject in the world that is important. Well, let's just say life is not a bowl of sunflower seeds right now. No, it is not. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not looking for pity or anything like that. It's just that I started singing that song and thought about some of the stuff in this class and how you want us to become "emotionally intelligent." I may not know the parliamentary system of Canada, but I could learn, if I have to, I guess. And I can ask myself, "What's it all about, Cole-sy," especially if it is for marks. I'm not really in the mood for the coat of arms right now, but I wrote this poem last night. It is best accompanied by a full string section (violins not banjos.) 4 9 The Ballad of Cole McPhail Let me tell you the tale of young Cole McPhail His life was not one of ease. His friends were facing great crises and his hometown was named after cheese. When this lad was six his mom split just for kicks With the hairdresser whose name was Bob. "I've got to be happy and follow my bliss but "mommy" is still my f irst job!" Then the dad who was always away or too busy Made everyone head off to court. There was hatred and tears and who would end up with the kids and the family fort? Sometimes Cole's here; sometimes Cole's there Dad and Mom have their own recreation. "It's your turn!" "No, your turn!" the battle would Who'd show up at grade school graduation? There's a sister who's bitter, there's no other word. She's with Mom but plans her escape. Highlighted bro's hair and pierced his right ear; Too bad her cool boyfriend's an ape. Somedays Cole feels like a winner with sensible friends at his side. But a voice says, "Man, what a poser. They would see if they opened eyes wide." So now he is going to try wrestling Will the belt get tossed like the rest? The snowboard, the blades, the racing bike, the dreams of just one thing the best. There's a stanza that's yet to be written 'bout the lad who could write a mean poem. Should he bother to show up for wrestling or just pack it in and head home? Facts on Smoking and Breast Cancer (Newspaper article with these quotes highlighted and amended) Women who smoke, or have long-term exposure to second hand smoke, have more than double the risk of developing breast cancer before menopause (that's when women stop menstruating, around 45-50 years of age). Scientists think this is because some of the 4,000 plus chemicals in smoke may influence levels of the hormone estrogen, which regulates women's bodies. Researchers used the B C cancer registry to track down and interview 318 premenopausal women and 700 postmenopausal women treated for breast cancer in B C . They compared these women with a control group of women without the disease. Dr. Nhu Le, a researcher with the B C Cancer Agency says, "there is never a good time to start smoking. But for women, the five years after they have their first menstrual period is the most dangerous." Young women who take up smoking within five years of their first menstrual period increase their risk of developing breast cancer by 70%, and even i f they quit in their 20's the damage may be done. Scientists believe there is a critical time period where adolescent girls have an increased susceptibility to cancer causing agents that target the breast. 52 Chapter Six Lindsay's Risk Journal - Monday, October 7th Yes, I know, I owe you an assignment. And I'm supposed to be thinking about the one on emotional intelligence. Is it possible for you to tell us what this has to do with health risks? It's just that I'm having a hard time with the whole thing. For one thing, I don't have the group-think synergy that I usually have doing these things with Graham and Cole. I was supposed to meet them after school, but I was hanging around the lockers talking to JC about picking up some poster paper at the dollar store, and all of a sudden it was 4:30 and the guys left without me. And then we were going to meet at lunch and I decided to help JC with her poster on osteo-whatever it is—the thing that makes your bones kinda like swiss cheese. I was going to send them a message. I don't know. I have to say that Graham is not being very supportive lately. Fm really not needing someone to lecture me, thanks anyway. If my mom finds out what I've been up to, she will be all over that. And I'm not stupid either. This smoking thing is just a phase and I'm really not doing it enough for anyone to care. And I am totally in control. Gee, maybe Graham is trying to tell me something else. Could he be jealous? That's an interesting thought. I'll just keep ignoring him and maybe he will crack and come running back to me, pleading to be my friend again. Well, anyway, I'm currently exploring the different sides of me. Isn't that what's supposed to happen when you are a teenager??? Isn't that healthy??? And while I'm at it, aren 't I supposed to be pushing the boundaries a bit? ? ? Yeah, it's scary hanging out with this crowd, and sometimes I feel kind ofyicky when something mean is said or done and I know someone (me, for instance) is going to be hurt. So why hang with Carly, JC, 53 and the others? It's kinda exciting to be on the inside for once, to feel like you 're not some loser missing out on all the action. I feel like I'm runnin' with the big dogs. I'm somebody ... although I'm still figuring out who, and whether I like her or not. So, as you can see, I am confused about my life and the EQ questions are hard because I DON'T KNOW what makes me happy right now. I'll have to get back to you on that one. Cole's Journal Tues. October 18 I need to vent my anger for a moment, if you don't mind. What is it about some people?? Graham and I were extremely (here comes a good word, wait for it) magnanimous (meaning to show noble generosity) to Lindsay by inviting her to meet with us at lunch to do our homework after she stood us up once already. There was a time we didn't have to "invite." We three were just always there together—Skinamarinky Dinky Doo and all that—and she didn't show again. She didn't even bother to leave us a locker-mail message. What's with that? I think it's great that she has new friends, but WHAT ABOUT THE OLD ONES? Sure, I have my colleagues from wrestling. Incidentally, does vodka in a Slurpee constitute a health risk? There was a guy with some on the bus to our f irst practice match and some guys were into it and other guys weren't. Never mind. I'm sure you'll hear about it in the staff room. I 54 was not the initiator (meaning the one who started it). But I am interested in it from a "philosophical" point of view. My dad has the cocktails; he's a cool guy. He started drinking at some point in time. There's stuff out there that really is dangerous. I f I have to hear about how dangerous crystal meth is, and how it turns your brain into silly string, I'm going to take it up just to dull the boredom (no, not really). But alcohol?? Some kids' parents even buy it for them if they drink it at home and don't drive. What's the big deal, anyway? So anywhoo, I am working on the Emotional Intelligence thing-y, but as you know from my files, I'm easily distracted. Oh look, there goes a bus... Graham's Journal Entry-Tuesday October 18 I've got a lot to report. As you might remember, I am concerned with die link between cancer and chemicals. I did a search on the web and found a ton of stuff.. And I went to a SC ARI meeting, which I really want to talk about with you because it really was scary. It seems that household cleaners have been knocked off the SC ARI agenda by an insect! There is this thing called the gypsy moth that does a lot of damage to trees. Well actually, it can completely strip them of their leaves so thatyour park looks like a forest fire went 55 through it, but instead of smoky charred remains on the ground, there is a bunch of modi poop everywhere. People were frothing at die mouth over die fact diat diis modi has been sighted near the elementary school. There were Agricultural Control vans parked in front of die school one morning and the Agricultural Control officers were searching die school yard wearing latex gloves and takingleaf samples. A lady who was dropping offher kid asked what diey were doing and a crowd gathered. A couple of days later a letter was sent to all die people living around the school. It said diat these moths had been found, and traps diat woidd attract die male modi (by smelling like die female modi) woidd be hung on trees to help determine howmany there are in die neighbourhood. The letter also said the moths pose a serious risk to the forest industry and international trade, and Agricultural Control woidd be taking die direat the moth posed very seriously, including spraying a "biological control agent" known as BtK (bacillus diuringiensis var. kurstaki) on die area. Sounds like a spy or somediing. A couple of people who got die letters went on die web to look up information on die problem, and diey hit dtis website that talked about overuse of pesticides and what diey can do. Anodier site claimed diat even the stuff diat smells bike die female modi coidd be dangerous. Someone has already written a letter to the editor of the local paper saying diat we've just survived die big meningococcal crisis and peoples' auto-immune systems may not be as strong as diey shoidd be, so nodung should be done. Some people, like the people at die meeting, are really really concerned and other people don'tseem concerned at all. If chemicals and pesticides are so bad, why don'ttheyjustban 56 the bad chemicals? Why don 'ttheyjust shut down the factories that make die toxins? Why don't diey stop companies who use people like guinea pigs in an experiment? I am worried and I feel like I need to take a stand and do somediing about it. Graham Cole's Journal Wed. Oct. 19 Hey! Principal Glade announced there was going to be a school dance. Ding-dong! I love school dances, well the one I went to last year, anyway. And with my new totally cool wrestling guy thing going on, the chicks will be lining up around the block to go with me. I'd better rent some of those things that kept people in line at the bank that I used to knock over when I was little. Yesterday during last period we were in line for our Hep B shots and Lindsay was skulking at the back of the gym with her new "posse." She was looking over at Graham and me like she wanted to say something. So come over and say it, ya goofy heifer, I kept thinking. Say "I've been a bonehead and can we please be friends again?" Pitter, patter, let's git at 'er! Graham is not a mushy feely kinda guy, but I know he doesn't want to lose our thing either. He doesn't have a lot of friends here, anyway. We're kinda it. But we're bustin' up and I don't know what to do. Yeah, the wrestling team guys are great, but we're all sort of tired of each other after having to watch the school's entire collection of alcohol abuse videos together as a result of the bus trip incident. We three just had this magic. I have this great idea for a science project on earwax that nobody else on the planet will truly appreciate. Graham is not saying much, except "whatever" which really doesn't work for him, you know? He cares about important stuff. Now Lindsay is definitely in the "whatever" zone right now. Here's a thought. Check out JC's thoughts on the dance—not to take her or anything—just check if she thinks it's stupid like I do, and that she is definitely going, and check out what the big deal about this group is while I'm at it. Thank you for extending the emotional intelligence shield thing until the end of the term, when we might, just possibly have developed enough emotional intelligence to figure out what it is. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Thursday, October 20th Okay, so here's an interesting wrinkle. Cole is being Mr. Charming all of a sudden and seems to be especially charming to JC, who is not someone I would think worthy of that kind of attention, let alone that kind of guy. Cole is fun and silly and creative (when he wants to be) and JC is kinda, well, negative about everything. The sneer on her face says it all. 58 It is nice to have some Cole energy back in my life though. I wonder if this has anything to do with the dance. Oh, Gawd. This is just something else to worry about. I don't care that the phys.ed. teacher has a group dance assignment to get us mentally prepared. I am definitely using the Lady Speed Stick that day!! I haven't heard anyone talking about "dates" so maybe we just all go and stand around together. What do you wear to these things, anyway? Where is my copy of "High School Dances for Dummies?" But the real question is, what's up with Graham? Cole says he's really into the moth controversy and is doing all this research and going to meetings. The whole thing is sort of interesting, I guess. Everyone is wondering what is going to happen. There are signs up on people's lawns that say "SAYNO WAY TO BtK" and "DON'T CONDONE MOTH HORMONE. " It's a bit weird because my mom uses BtK in the garden because it doesn 't have the same environmental impact that other "pest control substances" have. She doesn't agree with the protest at all, but as we all know, mothers can be wrong. I'm thinking this is probably going to come up in class. Graham probably knows all about it, Graham being Graham. But what does he think of Cole coming over to the "dark side" with me ? Maybe Cole is here to report back to Graham on how I am doing. Don't they need me to do the next assignment? Maybe they don't... 59 Risk Unit Assignment - October 21 by Cynthia Blimkie Questions and Answers on Alcohol Q. Alcohol is everywhere. Is it really so bad for you? A. Drinking alcohol in moderation isn't always a bad thing if you are an adult and if you use alcohol responsibly. But drinking is not a good thing for teens because: • Your brain is still growing and alcohol can affect your memory and how you learn • Using alcohol when you are young has been linked with drug and alcohol problems later on • When you are young, alcohol goes to you head much faster (i.e., you have a lower tolerance) • Teens who drink have a higher probability of becoming involved in unwanted sexual activity, which could mean pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, or even sexual violence. Teens are also at a higher risk of injury due to drowning, fires, suicide, and homicide when they drink too much • Driving while impaired and driving with someone who is impaired is the second leading cause of teen death in the United States. Teens who die this way are the largest source of transplant organs • Alcoholic beverages have a lot of empty calories Just because we see it everywhere, doesn't mean that drinking isn't a serious risk. The best thing is to avoid using it until you are older and then use it in moderation. Q. Why do kids drink? A. Kids are curious, they want to fit in, they want to feel confident and relaxed, and they want to look cool. The funny thing is that even if you feel more confident and relaxed when 60 you drink, the more you drink, the less control you actually have. A n d i f you are trying to escape stress or anxiety by drinking, getting drunk is only going to make things worse. There are lots of kids who choose not to drink because of past problems with alcohol, their religion and culture, or because drinking is illegal i f you are not "legal drinking age." There are also lots of kids who are into wellness and health. A n d lots of kids just don't like being pressured into doing things by other kids. They do things that feel right for them. Q. How much is too much? A . Alcoholic beverages have different strengths, which are written on the label. How it affects people also depends on how quickly they drink, i f they space out drinks, eat something before drinking, and alternate between alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. But many kids and young adults drink just to get really drunk. This is called binge drinking. Some kids call it "getting stupid." It means drinking more than five or six drinks really fast. This can give you alcohol poisoning and you can end up in the hospital and ki l l brain cells that don't grow back. If you don't end up risking your life, you may end up getting involved in something scary and not have any memory of what happened. And you will have a wicked hangover, which really isn't that funny or cool, despite what you see on T V . Q. How does alcohol make you feel? A . The effects of alcohol can be different for different people, but in general you may feel relaxed, giddy, lightheaded, dizzy and/or sick to your stomach, and experience difficulty in speaking. 61 Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and it affects the central nervous system. The central nervous system is the control centre for your whole body. Alcohol can block some of the commands the brain sends to various parts of your body, making it hard to walk or talk or remember things. If you are drinking a lot and find yourself annoyed, guilty, needing a drink to start the day, and thinking about drinking throughout the day, then you could be addicted. If you have alcoholism in your family, or i f you are depressed, you may be at a higher risk of developing a drinking problem. The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor or someone you trust right away to get help. 62 Chapter Seven Cole's Journal Oct. 25 And in this corner—normally sane adults concerned about the environment going nuts and beating each other up!! I know you've probably heard about the gypsy moth brawl. News like this travels fast in our town, especially when it attracts the local newspaper. And our peace luvin', violence shunnin' Graham getting caught in the middle of it?? This is unbelievable! At least it wasn't Graham who got hurt, although he says that a chair landed on his foot and he has a nasty bruise. If I had known how exciting Graham's SCARI meetings were, he wouldn't have had to drag me along last night. The group invited the district manager of the Agricultural Control Office to talk about the gypsy moth trapping and spraying that is supposed to happen. They set it up as a debate and they invited a reporter from the local paper. First the SCARI spokesperson got up to say that there was no need to spray chemicals on the school yard because there is no evidence that the gypsy moths would survive in our climate. The couple of moths that they found probably hitched a ride on a swing set from someone moving here from out east (the little scamps!). He also said that the chemicals they plan on spraying and hanging in trees may be dangerous and may even attract more moths. He said there was a study that suggested that if your body takes in these chemicals you could start producing them yourself and that moths wouldn't be able to stay away from you! Then the guy from /Agricultural Control got up to talk about the research that has been done (real research, he said) and that there was "no evidence to support these theories" and that the group was needlessly alarming the people of the community with half-truths. Things started to get pretty heated up. A SCARI member jumped up and accidentally pushed over her chair ( and the Agricultural Control guy jumped up, and another SCARI guy jumped up and yelled "leave her alone!" and when the Agricultural Control guy threw his arms in the air, he knocked over someone's coffee and then another guy shoved him and then everybody was yelling and jumping away and knocking into each other. Man, this stuff makes wrestling sort of dull by comparison! I do have some progress to report on the relationship between stress and school dances. I have engaged the company of a young lady named JC to accompany me to the dance (stress level reduced and increased at the same time). I have no idea what this will involve, but there are three givens. First, 64 this arrangement is not a "date," second a limo is not in the budget, and third I am not asking my dad for a ride, so we may be walking. A few thoughts on JC. She is actually pretty when she's not flaring her left nostril upwards in disgust at whatever person, place, or thing that she surveys. The group she hangs out with talks about nothing but how everyone else is stupid, ugly, or a butt-kissing suck-up, but I can get them to laugh at my impressions, which gives me hope for a career in comedy, as they are one tough room, let me tell you. What Lindsay sees in this group I will never know. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Tuesday, October 25th I'm busted ...I am so busted. I was wearing Carly's old jean jacket that JC had borrowed until she got hers back from her other friend, and I walked past my mother as she was talking on the phone. She just stopped talking mid-sentence, said, "Lorna, I'll call you back," and followed me up the stairs, into my room and practically onto my shoulders sniffing the jacket. "This reeks of cigarette smoke, Lindsay! Whose jean jacket is this? What have you been up to lately, anyway? Are you smoking? Do you know what that does to your health? Are you seeing some guy? Oh Gawd, no. Tell me you 're not having sex. Oh Lindsay, oh no, oh no, oh no. " Having sex!?!? Maybe other thirteen year olds out there, but not me! Are you out of your mind, I thought, but I didn't say anything because I knew I was in enough trouble already. I saw this coming but I was still in shock. I could have lied and said I didn't smoke, that it was Carly's smoke she smelled, but instead I just sat down on my bed totally stunned and 65 waited for the next wave of mother-rage to hit me. But it didn't come. Maybe it's the yoga she's doing or something, but she just calmly got up and left the room. But I knew it wasn 't over. Why did she have to find out? I can quit anytime I want to, so what is she so worried about? All I could think about was how my face was burning and how guilty and bad I felt, and what my dad was going to say. Oh Gawd, oh Gawd, oh Gawd. I couldn't even cry. So I just sat therefor an hour and waited for Dad to come home from work. And then when he did, he wouldn 't come up. He wouldn 't even look at me. "Just yell at me and get it over with," I kept thinking. "Tell me you are disappointed with me, don't guilt me to death! Tell me that this new version of Lindsay is not really me. " I know it isn 't; I feel it in my gut. I just need someone else to know it too, and tell me that they know it. There have just been so many changes this year and I don't know what I think anymore. I want to go back to my old school when everything was so happy and easy. Have I already mentioned that high school sucks? Graham's Journal Entry - October 25 Well, last night was certainly a learning experience. I learned I never want to be in a room widi people fighting like that again. I coidd feel people were angry as they were comingin. There was a tension in die air like when parents are fighting, not bike mine do or anydiing, oralot... you know what I mean. Or like when a kid comes into class just looking for a fight with the teacher and everyone gets tense. Well, diings were tense last night. I figured the meeting was going to be eventful. I got an e-mail from one SCARI member who said diat she believed die Agricultural Control Department actuallyplanted die gypsymodis in die bushes around the school so diat they 66 could ensure there was work for themselves and the pesticide sprayer industry. "That sounded a bit like a conspiracy theory to me," said my dad. "That would belike drinking a doctor gives people die flu so he has somethingto do. I'm sure they are plenty busy already." But Dad also reminded me that groups like SCARI are really important. They can make decision makers look at diings in a different light. They also hold decision makers to account for decisions that affect everyone. Unfortunately, sometimes people on all sides of a debate have a hard time seeing different points of view and there is conflict. "But remember diatwonderfid quote from andiropologist Margaret Mead about never doubting that a small group of dedicated people can change die world." Still, I started to think about what the Agriculniral Control guy said at diat crazy meeting, and even though diey made him out to be die bad guy (and he seemed a little hot under die collar) a lot of the stuff he said made sense. The confusing thing is diat die SCARI side says the sprayingisbad, wliile die government management side can only say "die research suggests it is safe..." or "to die best of our knowledge dlis chemical is safe...". So which side are you going to believe? The Agricultural Control people say that wliile diey can never offer any complete guarantees, they use research that is well respected, replicated, relevant, and peer reviewed—in other words diey have good science. The SCARI side uses research diatseems a little kooky. Interesting but weird and scary. 67 Sohowcomepeopledon'tmiMdiegovernmentwith all their good science? Agricidtural Control says dieyhave to actbecause there's alotatstake. The US will shut down die border to any possible sources of gypsy moths because a lot of their economy is based on forestry, justlike ours, and gypsymoths coidd costthem millions. So how do you decide? Who is right? Well I know one thing: brawls are really not my thi ng. It felt like die Jerry Springer Show at the community centre. It might be the kind of action Cole likes, but not me. Andmyfoot hurts. Thursday Oct. 27 Dear Ms. Petticrisp, I am writing this confidential note under extreme confusion and emotional turmoil, and I'm not even sure why I am writing to you because it is something really big and I'm not even sure that it is true. But I figure I can talk to you because you always deal with our issues and stuff in a way that no one knows who it is in the class that is dealing with something personal. So here goes. At lunch today Graham wanted to write up some SCARI stuff for his journal so I left him to it and went for a walk to see if I could find Lindsay and JC and the gang. They were sitting outside on the front steps talking about where they were going to go for a smoke, and Lindsay was looking particularly glum. She said she was just going to sit there for awhile and the rest of them could do whatever they wanted. Then Carly launched into this discussion of how she heard about the moth fight Lindsay's old boyfriend was involved in, and how she never thought he had it in him because "he is so f aggy he just has to be gay." I guess stunned is the word for how I felt. And Lindsay just went white. We've heard them call other kids fags, but this time it was our friend and it felt totally different. I t is totally not true. Lindsay just sat there glaring at Carly and then said, "No Carly, Graham's not gay. What do you know about Graham, anyway? What do you know about anything other than being a bitch?" Whoa. Carly got up with a sneer that made JC's almost look angelic. "I just call 'em as I see 'em, Sweetie." Then the whole gang floated away on their cigarette smoke cloud. And Linds and I sat there staring at each other. Stunned. Graham is just Graham. He's not gay. I f I really work it, I can talk myself into believing that there are things about him that make him kind of 69 different, but I have things that make me different too. It's not a bad thing. Unless someone thinks I'm gay too. Oh man, I hadn't thought of that! Lindsay's Risk Journal - Thursday, October 27th It has taken me a while to sit down and write this. It feels like everything I thought was true and dependable has disappeared. I thought it was just me going through a crazy time, and I could come back when I was tired of it all and everything would be the same, with my friends waiting there with open arms to pick up where we left off. And I thought that maybe living on the wild side for a while would be good. It would make me feel more grown up and independent. I thought maybe it would make me more attractive to a certain old friend that only saw me as an old friend, not a date-able, totally hot friend. And then Carly goes and calls this certain old friend gay, both in a mean way to hurt me and in a way that makes me think she really believes it. I am so totally done with Carly and the smokers. I'm going to need some time to think this through after tonight when I have "the big talk" with Dad who, incidentally, said that he needed to think things through before he could talk to me. We are like that old DVD "Gone with the Wind"! watched one time with my mother when she roped me into folding laundry with her. At the end, Scarlett's real love, Rhett Butler, decides he doesn't give a damn and walks out the door. And instead of breaking down, she decides that she TI think about things tomorrow at Tara, her old farm or whatever it is. And so too will I. I'll think about things tomorrow at Tara. And then I'll go hysterical. 70 Graham's Journal Entry- October 37 Just to letyou know that I will be handing in an assignment with Cynthia Blimkie. She is working on a risk journal as well, and is interested in probabilities, so I though t she woidd be good to partner with 011 this gypsy moth problem. We are bodi very interested in die question "What are the chances of someone getting ill from being sprayed widi pesticides? " Isn't diat what it comes down to? Isn't thatwhat we need to knowwhen faced widi die decision to spray or not? There is probably a nice little formula somewhere, I justneed to find it. I may share our findings with SCARI and the Agricultural Control people, but I don't think I'll be going to anodier meeting. Tilings are definitely at an impasse. I got an e-mail from someone in the group suggesting they look at peaceful protest strategies including chaining themselves to die school fence. And somebody's mom has made a gypsy moth suit and is going to find somebody to wear it and gadier names for a petition at the Arts in die Park fair next weekend. I'm just glad to have peace in my life after die bigscene at die last meeting. Someone from the local paper called for a follow-up interview and asked how I became interested in the gypsymodi issue. Itold them it was part of an assignment I was doing for school. Tobe honest, die reporter seemed waymore interested in die bruise on my foot and he even snapped a photo of it! I don'tlike that kind of attention. I like to flyin under die radar, as you know. 71 Carly and JC 's fact sheet on Osteoporosis You may be saying to yourself, "I'm young and beautiful. Why should I care about... OSVEOPOIIPSIS What is it anyway? • Known as "brittle bone disease" • One in four women over fifty and one in eight men are at risk of fractures from osteoporosis • Develops over a long period of time so you might not know you have it until it is too late • Prevent it so it doesn't happen to you because it's hard to treat once you've got it How do you avoid getting it? • Get lots of "weight bearing exercise" (e.g., running, jumping, tennis) to make your bones strong N O W • Eat and drink stuff with C A L C I U M (milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream) or try almonds, leafy green veggies, and stuff with calcium supplements • Get some sunshine to help your body produce Vitamin D , which helps you absorb calcium • Don't smoke—it thins the bones out, in addition to all the other stuff it does to you • Don't drink a lot of caffeine—it stops the absorption of calcium into the bones 72 Chapter Eight Friday Oct. 28 Dear Graham, You will notice the formal tone I have adopted for this message, cause this is a serious matter. No, really! A rather unpleasant situation has arisen, and you know from your long association with me, I don't "beat around the bush." We've survived a couple of months of high school, you and I, and while things have not always been easy, we are, well, surviving. Things are not quite as comfy cozy as they were at elementary school. Ahhh. That was the life. We were the kings of the castle, weren't we? That song we used to sing said it all. Something about being here for a good time, not a long time. Computer lab, field trips, hot dog days, and car washes. And remember that fun day that we ended up in Mrs. Blankton's group and she let us climb the trees instead of doing the egg in the spoon race and we were up in the tree laughing and singing the SpongeBob theme song right into lunch? Yes, good old SpongeBob. Well I've given some thought to SpongeBob over the past evening, as this rather difficult situation has arisen, and I've asked myself, "What would SpongeBob do?" And I couldn't come up with an answer because he's a pretty unpredictable guy, which is his charm. So then I asked myself, "What would Cole do?" And Cole would get things out in the open and give his friend the 73 "head's up." So here it is, buddy. Carly told Lindsay and some others that she thinks you are gay. Now this is definitely not the end of the world. As I see it you have a number of options: 1. Join the wrestling team and prove the creeps wrong, baby! 2. Start chatting up some hot chicks and make some loud comments about their boobs after they leave. 3. Stop with the straight A+ student science guy routine and take to the skateboard park with no helmet!!! All these option will show your manliness, without a f reakin' doubt, muchacho. And if these don't work, we can change schools. But seriously, Bro, don't worry about it. Kids say that kind of crap all the time. Bunch of idiots. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Friday, October 28th 74 Lindsay's Risk Journal - Friday, October 28th So I learned something from my dad last night. Unbelievable! And he didn't even shove it down my throat. I was worried about him killing me for smoking but his reaction was so decent. He said he was angry and disappointed, because parents spend a lot of time trying to keep their kids safe from harm. "And smoking is definitely harmful," he said. "There are mountains of research to prove it. "(Yeah yeah, I know that already.) So for the daughter he loves so much to choose to smoke is just a thought that drives him crazy. He said he first wanted to lock me in my room until I came to my senses, and then he wanted to go out to every store and rip out any cigarette display he could see with his bare hands. But he knows he can't do that. And he knows that he and Mom have done their best to teach me to take care of myself and respect myself and know that I am loved. So now that Fm thirteen, he says he just has to trust that I will make wise decisions. And if I don't make a wise decision, then he has to hope that I know how to turn things around and make things right. Because everyone makes some bad decisions once in a while, "It's how you deal with your mistakes that shows what kind of person you are. " Cool, eh ? I don't actually have to be perfect, and I'm not going to be grounded for the rest of my life!! And the fact that he says he and mom love me and will always be beside me makes me feel way better. Even if my mother is still kind of mad. So then he wanted to know why I started hanging out with the smokers instead of Graham and Cole, and I thought about it and I said I guess it was because I was worried that what I was last year wasn 't good enough for this year, and I thought I needed to be more "mature." And then I told him how I already figured out that the Carly gang wasn't working for me, and that Carly called Graham gay. And then my dad said the most amazing thing. I was expecting him to say that kids get called names and you just have to 75 ignore them, or something parent-y like that. But instead he said, "Well, who knows. Graham may have some tough times ahead. There are still a lot of people out there who aren 't very understanding of this kind of thing." Whaaat?!! And then he said, "Graham's mom and dad are the type of people that will know how to give him the right kind of support. And you and Cole will be really supportive friends, I just know it. " Oh my Gawd. Does my Dad think Graham is gay too ? Cole's Journal - Monday Oct. 31 And a Hap - hap - happy Halloween to ya, Ms. Petticrisp, So much for the salutation. Let's get down to business. How could I forget that the assignment on sexually transmitted diseases is due??? I t must be the Halloween festivities. I've got a pile of fireworks for tonight so I guess you won't be seeing any homework tomorrow either. I know you handed it out two weeks ago because you wanted us to actually go to the library or the local health unit, and not just collect a bunch of stuff off the Internet, and I meant to get a jump on things and do it as soon as you assigned it. But you know how things go. Things come up, like LIFE. Sometimes it's hard to pick priorities. And this weekend my dad wants to take me snowboarding, which is so excellent because I hardly remember what the guy looks like, and it's just me and him because my sister is on a road trip with my mom to check out a 76 road trip with my mom to check out a beauty school in Kamloops so Mom can get her away from her boyfriend. So I am hoping to do some work today maybe and then do the writing up on my dad's laptop in the hotel. Maybe I can ask those Red Cross guys that are always hanging around the ski hill what they know about STDs. They have medical backgrounds, don't they? Lindsay's Risk Journal - Monday, Oct. 31st Today is a totally fresh start. I am breathing in lots of cleansing breaths and counting to ten and being in the moment. (My mom suggested this and if I figure out what it's all about, I'll share it with you.) Actually, I'm not feeling the effects of quitting smoking yet. It's only 9:00 am and I used to smoke at lunch, so maybe the overwhelming desire for a cigarette will hit me then. And when it does, I'll be ready! My dad was so thrilled when! said I was ready to quit that he got on the web and printed off about a million pages of "how to quit" advice. My mom gave me a bag of carrot sticks and hard candies and bottled water to "refresh and cleanse " instead of "pollute and delude " with nicotine. They love me, they really love me. I guess I know what my next assignment will be: why to quit and how to quit. I don't expect it will be that hard. I mean, I didn't smoke a lot, just one or two a day for a couple weeks. That's hardly any. And the bigger thing is that I am removing myself from my smoking peers, who I will not call friends because they never really were friends. So now I'm off to find Graham and tell him I'm sorry for being a lousy friend. I don't think I'm going to say anything about the gay thing. That is ultimately his business. I'll just be there to run interference and do damage control, which may mean convincing Cole 11 that everything is okay, that Graham is still Graham, and what difference does it make? I had to do a bit of convincing myself last night. I used to think it would be so great if Graham and I got together, you know, in a romantic way, and I did have a crush on him, truth be told. But I am actually feeling kind of relieved because (1) now I really don't have to compete with other girls, he'll always be a very special friend, and (2) I can't handle all the stuff that goes with dating right now anyway. I just want to get back to feeling happy with my friends. Graham's Journal Entry Monday Oct. 31 Dear Ms. Petdcrisp, I have to talk to someone about somediing, and if at all possible, if you wouldn't mind, coidd it be you please? I don'tknow who else to turn to. There is probably one kid in every grade who gets picked on, and I am very worried I'm going to be diat kid. Last year, I had some really good friends who were always around and we were kind of looked up to, so it felt safe. I still worried some kid woidd call me "gay" or "fag." I know those kinds of kids and all they have goingfor them is being obnoxious and being able to push odier kids around. But here at high school things seem more serious, my old friends are off doingodier diings, and I don't feel safe. And now die names have started for real. Wliy woidd someone target me? I don't bodier anyone. And I don't think I look or act like I'm gay or anything. I'm just me. And I thought diat we were supposed to "celebrate our 78 differences." The really big disappointment for me is diat it seems like every little diingthat sets a person apart in school is used to put them in some kind of category, like jock or brain or popular or gay. Idon'twantalabel, evenifl coidd be labeled. I'm just trying to work diingsoutinmyhead, and it isn't easy. I don'twant to disappoint anyone. Idon'twant people to diink I'm a bad person or a pervert or a freak. I'm sure lots of kids are thinking aboutwhatdieylikeanddon'tlike, and dream aboutwhat their life will be like. Whydol have to make some grand pronouncement about who I am rightnow? Maybe diings will change. But in the meantime, I'm scared. What am I going to do? 79 Book Review on Recommended Reading for Risk Unit by Graham Title: Nibbling on Einstein's Brain: The Good the Bad and the Bogus in Science Author: Diane Swanson Illustrator: Warren Clark Publisher: Annick Press, 2001 Nibbling on Einstein's Brain is a good book to read for this unit because science has a lot of influence on whether we think something is risky or not. For example, you might hear on the news that your favourite food is dangerous to your health. If these studies are wrong, you might give up a snack you love. If the studies are right, the study may have saved your life! But how do you know? The author, Diane Swanson, suggests you don't have to be a scientist yourself to know the difference between good and bad science, you just have to be aware and ask the right questions. These are a few of my favourites: 1. Who funded the research? Could the research have been affected by the point of view of the funder? (Like when cigarette companies did research showing that cigarette smoking was completely safe.) 2. Was the research published in a professional scientific journal? If it was, it means that other scientists who are experts in their field have a chance to say whether the research is properly conducted and the results are correct interpretations of the research. This is called peer reviewing. 80 3. Did the sample of people (or rats or whatever) used in the study represent the population scientists are suggesting the results apply to? You can't use everybody in New Stilton in a study to see if a drug works to clear up warts, so scientists use a small sample. But do the results of a study based on this sample (say female nurses at the New Stilton University), apply to adult males or children? In summary, this book has a lot of good information in it. I highly recommend it. 81 Chapter Nine U r g e n t L o c k e r D o o r C o m m u n i q u e t o C & G UJe should talk. Meet me after school (that is today - Tuesday) at the tree inhere uie had all that fun that time, remember? I mill not be late. Don't you be late either. L. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Tuesday, November 1st I am really mad. I turn all my attention toward being a supportive friend to Graham, and when I track him down at lunch to apologize for being a crummy friend he's SITTING IN THE LIBRARY WITH CYNTHIA BL1MKIEH I'm out of the picture just a few weeks and I'm replaced. Thanks a lot. Okay, buddy, I'll try to be supportive, but you just lost yourself a cheerleader. And I'm back to wandering around the school with no one to talk to because Cole has gone to pick up a new board for a snowboarding trip with his dad. This is probably a good thing because he's a little flipped out over Graham and the "gay " thing. I kept asking him, "So what if he's really gay ? He's still Graham. He's still our friend." He just shook his head. He's probably worried that someone on the wrestling team is going to pick on him. I keep going over that last conversation with the smokers in my head. How come a person (like Carly, for example) can be so awful (and everyone knows it) and yet can have so much power? How come everyone who knows the truth doesn 't just stand up and say "We've had enough of your mean girl routine, sweetie, turn it off or you 11 be treated like the loser we all know you are." Maybe a dose of her own medicine would be good for her. 82 Or maybe that would just make us as mean as she is. So why are some kids so mean, anyway? So, like, is Graham taking Cynthia to the dance on Wednesday? I don't expect you to know. He probably is. And I've gone to all the work of setting up a "friendship intervention" for after school. Maybe he's just pretending to be gay to get my sympathy. And if he brings Cynthia he's a dead man. I'm pretty crabby right now as you can tell. A cigarette would probably calm me down, but no. I'll sit in front of my locker and eat carrot sticks instead. Graham's Journal Entry-November a Well, what a couple of friends I have. Sometimes you dunk you really know somebody and then it turns out diey are die weirdest people you know. Today after school Cole, Lindsay, and I met at the tree we used to like to climb. Lindsay started things off by saying, "You are probably wondering why I called you here today." And dien Cole started to snort / laugh and dien proceeded to pout at his end of die tree branch. Lindsay continued on widi, "I think we need to consider diat just because we are in anew school it doesn'tmeanweletold friendships fall apart," (look who's talking) "and just because we are discovering new tilings about ourselves, and diat this might coincide widi die first serious high school dance, does not mean we should totally neglect odier friends who might want to go." I was sure she was talking about die gay thing, so I took a deep breadi and said, "Look Lindsay, just because somebody called me gay, does not necessarily mean I am gay. I'm notreally sure what I am at diis point in my life, except cold and worried diat someone is going to see us up in diis tree." At diat point Cole looked a litde more cheerful, and Lindsay just looked 83 confused. Then she barked at me, "I don't care about that. You're taking Cynthia to the dance, aren't you?" Cyndiia? Tothedance? I hadn't really diought about diat. I don't even know if I'm going to go. In fact, die whole thing worries me. I told Lindsay diat Cynthia and I were just doing a project togedier, aldiough she is really nice and could use a few friends. It's not always easy being a brain, especially widi a name bike Blimkie. And dien Cole launched in on how since die theme of die dance is Retro Boogie Dance Party, and since he just happened to find diese amazingly awful seqidned jumpsuits diat his mom had in a trunk from her days as a party disco animal, we should go as ABBA. And he was so excited about it, he missed the fact diat Lindsay and I did not look very enthused. In fact, Lindsay looked horrified, dien said, "Oh yeah, Cole, like I want to prance around and give diat gang even more reason to humiliate me." As for me, dressing up in a sequined jumpsuit and prancing around may not be die best school career move either right now. Cole's Journal Fri. Nov. 4 I am writing this from the front seat of my dad's vintage Mercedes Benz and T am trying to recover from being SCREAMED at for slamming the front door. I am terribly sorry, Papa, that I pose clear and present danger to your car. No no, you pick the next CD, I can't hear anything anyway! Except please don't make me listen to Green Day doing their favourite Burt 84 Bacharach hits. Even the thought of it makes me queasy. Oh no, sorry, that's Dad's driving. So, I got outa Dodge City for a while, which is good because there are a few things to think through: 1) The Graham Situation. Graham didn't say yea or nay to being gay. I'm confused and don't know what to say (a brilliant poet, even under stress). 2) Do I still have to go to the dance with JC? How do I get out of it without putting my life at risk? 3) How am I going to get the assignment on STDs done while I am fulfilling my destiny as a SKI GOD? 4) Various other issues, including a math exam on Monday and a wrestling tournament on Tuesday. 5) Most important, who will be the fourth member of our ABBA ensemble? If I am stuck taking J C , will she be into it? I think not. She ain't a kindred spirit when it comes to ABBA, or humour, or anything for that matter. My dad was impressed, incidentally, with my STD homework. He says kids should know about these kinds of things, and the sooner the better. Then he launched into this speech about his f i rst girlfriend, and wasn't it time for me 85 to start playing the field? "By your age I had women pretty much figured out." Yeah, right bad. Big talker. When did life get so complicated? Could I be suffering from burnout or perhaps post-traumatic stress? I probably just need some serious recreation! 86 Notes on classroom roundtable discussion on parental pressure T H E P R O B L E M : Parents who put pressure on their kids to: • Be better at school. • Spend time with different kids. • Do more sports. • Do less sports. • Join school clubs. • Talk about their day at the dinner table. • Be more competitive. • Find out what you are good at (I'm only thirteen!). • Get into university and get a good job (see above). • Stop chewing fingernails, talking on the phone, saying "like," staying out late, being rude. T H E B R I G H T SIDE IF Y O U H A V E P A R E N T S W H O P R E S S U R E Y O U : • They are showing us they care (in their own twisted way). • They can help us out when we actually want help. • We can enjoy our victories and accomplishments with them. • Sometimes they have good ideas or information. T H E D O W N S I D E IF Y O U H A V E P A R E N T S W H O P R E S S U R E Y O U : • Their dreams are not my dreams. I 'm living their life not my own. • They don't always understand the situation. • Their enthusiasm is embarrassing. • I want to do my thing in my own way and at my own pace. • I feel the pressure like a shaken up pop bottle ready to explode. 87 They make me worry that I 'm not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. They make things more complicated than they should be, which makes me want to be six again. I lose my confidence when they are around. W H A T Y O U C A N D O A B O U T IT Take deep breaths. Talk to the problem parent. Pick a good time when they are listening, look them in the eye, be respectful of their opinion whether you agree or not, and state your case. Try to describe the pressure you are feeling so they understand. Be aware that anxiety can lead to depression, and sometimes kids try to make themselves feel better by smoking, drinking, or using drugs, which wil l actually make them feel worse. If things are bad, talk to a teacher, the guidance counselor, or another adult you trust for some support. Work on your stress. It wi l l calm you down and wi l l give you a chance to decide what is really important. Imagine yourself in a peaceful place, warm and calm. Breathe deeply. Repeat. 88 Chapter Ten Lindsay's Risk Journal - Sunday, November 6th, 2:00 a.m. You wouldn't believe what's happened. Cole had some kind of boarding accident and no one knows where he is. Graham found out when his dad saw it on the late news and he woke Graham up telling his mom about it. Graham's dad said that when the story about a young boarder who had gone missing came on he had this bad feeling ... and then there was Cole's dad standing there with the search and rescue party. They think Cole must have been boarding out of bounds. His dad started looking for him around 7:00 p.m., and then a lift guy reported seeing him before the chair closed around 9:00. By 10:00 p.m. they called out search and rescue before it got any later. But they couldn't find him. I just got home from babysitting when Graham called. I thought I caught the phone before it woke up Mom and Dad, but then they say they never really fall asleep until I am safe in bed (like I am an infant or something). Graham told me all about Cole disappearing, and of course we both wanted to go right away to help with the search, but our parents agreed that there probably wasn 't a lot we could do before the sun came up. Dad phoned and left a message with Cole's mom that if there was anything we could do to please call. Mom thought that the RCMP got a hold of her in Kamloops and she was probably on her way. The parents decided we should try to get some sleep. Sleep ? Yeah, right. There is no way I can sleep. All I can do is worry. I even tried praying, which makes me a serious hypocrite since I haven't been to church since I visited my cousin and we got dragged to Sunday School after the Easter egg hunt when I was nine. Nothing this bad has ever happened before. Cole could be dead. When I talked to Graham, he sounded 89 pretty worried too. It's hard to know what he's thinking sometimes, because he goes sort of quiet when he gets upset. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Sunday, November 6th, 11:30 a.m. We 're on the ski hill in the lodge. Waiting. No word yet. This morning seemed totally unreal. Graham and his mom and dad pulled up to our house at 5:00 a.m. like we planned and they didn't look like they got a lot of sleep either. We all went in our minivan. It only took an hour and a half to get up to the ski village, and then we weren't sure where to go, so Dad found the local RCMP detachment and we went in to ask them. The RCMP officers were really official, but they were still nice to us. They could tell we were worried. They said that we could go to the ski-patrol station on the mountain to check-in, and they would direct us to where Cole's family was waiting. We would have to stay out of the way, he said, but if we were able to offer support to his family, it would be appreciated. He said it was a long night for them. I think the situation really sunk in when he said that. I'm not the only one who is scared. And I'm not the only one who doesn 't want to think that Cole could be dead. We parked and found the ski-patrol station. There was actually a reporter and camera woman there interviewing the head ski-patrol guy. When they were done, Graham's dad approached him and told him we were family friends, and offered our help. The ski-patrol guy pointed us toward the lodge where Cole's family had gone in to warm up. 90 When we walked into the lodge, Cole's mom started to cry. It felt weird and uncomfortable and really sad. I think we were all crying. Now we are sitting here drinking hot chocolate and coffee and waiting, with people kinda staring at us and sometimes whispering. The dads are taking turns checking in at the ski-patrol station. The moms are tidying up paper cups. Graham is walking around pretending to read the plaques that say how high the mountains are, and I am just staring out the window when I'm not writing. No one is saying much. What is there to say? Lindsay's Risk Journal - Sunday, November 6th, 7:00 p.m. When a smiling ski-patrol volunteer came in at around noon, we knew they'd found him. He was on a bluff, very hypothermic, but alive. The rescue people in the helicopter spotted him and the ski-patrol team made it down with a cage to pull him up. We got to the station as he was pulled in and he was awake enough to see us and hear his dad totally lose it. His dad was mad. We were surprised, but we all felt pretty emotional, I guess. They took him to the hospital in a helicopter that was stationed down the hill, and we all stood there feeling relieved but totally drained. Graham's dad thought it would be a good idea for us to get something hot to eat while Cole's family sorted things out at the hospital and got him comfortable. I was surprised how hungry I was and how good the food tasted. When we finally got to see Cole, he was a little stunned from the painkillers they gave him for his ankle. But he seemed really glad, and a little surprised, to see us. We asked him how he was doing and told him we were really glad he was going to be all right and then that was basically it. There were a lot of us, and his mom and dad in the same room is kinda tense, so we wanted to get out of 91 there. On the way home we just kept asking ourselves, "Why did he do it? How could he be so dumb ? " And we were relieved too. He said to tell you he didn't get his assignment on STD done and he will probably need an extension. Graham's Journal Entry - Tuesday Nov. 8 Yes, I realize di at it is very cliche but near dead, experiences do bring people closer togedier. On Monday after school, Lindsay and I went to see how Cole was doing, and we had a really good talk. He said hedidalotoftjhmldngwhUehew'aslyingthere freezing to deadi. He wondered what he woidd look like when someone finally rescued him, and if he woidd wake up if he happened to fall asleep, but he also dioughtaboutLindsay and I and howwe have managed to be friends over the years, despite all die stages you go through growingup, including die girl /boyhatingstage, and die "teenage" experience. If we lasted diislong, he figured, we were meant to be together as friends, and he really hoped he didn't die so we diree can keep doing nutty thing's and graduate together. And he thought maybe me being gay wasn'tsuchabad thing because then Lindsay andlwoiddn'tget together as acouple and leave him out. Lindsay and I bodi felt embarrassed at that comment, I diink, but it was okay because Cole looked so pathetic with his jammies on and Ms cast. And dien he joked about how he woidd totally understand if I had a crush on him, and then I was definitely embarrassed. I really don'twanttodiink about this rightnow, and I'm definitely not ready to talk about it, even with them, so I just said, "All I can say is diatyou are more bike a brodier to me dian anyone and I don't dunk that's ever going to change." So diat was good 92 to get out of the way. And it feels like he is going to be able to be supportive, which is the kind of friend I always thought he was. After doingall this sharingl was surprised diat Cole didn'twantto talk about why he was boardingoutof bounds atnight. Linds and I just really wanted to knowwhat he was thinking, taking that kind of a risk. He seemed very embarrassed about the whole tiling, which is not like Cole. I figured he'd be boasting like crazy. I know that the follow-up story in die local news diis morning said diat Cole's dad coidd be charged for die expense of calling out search and rescue, as die situation was " entirely preventable had clearly marked ski boundaries been respected." And I also know the wrestling coach was disappointed-well, mad—diat Cole wasn'tgoingto be in the tournament on Tuesday. It was the first tournament ofdie season and diey had been looking strong. So I guess die poor guy is in die doghouse, so to speak. We know he hasn'tlost all his zip though, because he really wants to make it to the dance. He says his sister is going to get him a wheelchair, if we don' t mind pushing it for him, and he drinks die ABBA diingwill be even better widi one member spinning around. You've got to give die guy credit. Lindsay looked pretty lukewarm on die idea, and looked even less endiusiastic when I suggested that Cynthia coidd be die odier girl member. (JC stopped Lindsay in die hall today and asked her to tell Cole diatitwas very convenient diathe fell off die mountain because she was not interested in going to die dance widi him anyway.) I figured I woidd try to appeal to Lindsay's kind side, so I told her that Cynthia really needed some friends and how she always thought Lindsay was cool. 93 I don't think diis ABBA diing woidd be happeningif we weren't feeling so badly about Cole. I think it may go down as the most self-destructive thing any teenager has ever done. Except maybe snowboarding out of bounds at night. Cole's Journal Wed. Nov. 9 I've done some stupid things in my time. Mistakes; I've made a few. Oh crap. I can't even think of anything funny to say right now, because there is nothing funny about what I did. I feel like such an idiot I just want to die. Of pain and embarrassment. I f everyone doesn't hate me already, they should. The weekend snowboarding with my dad started off okay. We got to the hotel, and got our room (of course he has to make lovey dovey with the desk clerk). We dump our stuff and head for lunch and Dad has two beers, cause it's his holiday too, right? And then we head out to the slopes and snowboard about three runs together. The chairlift is a good place to talk, I guess, so Dad asks me all about school and wrestling. I told him about all the stuff steroids can do to you and he says, "Well, sometimes you've got to take a chance to get ahead." I guess I'm not getting "ahead" enough for him. Then 94 he sees these two women in the next chair and when we get off, I snowboard down one direction and he follows them in the other direction, and he's gone. I finally catch up with him as I'm coming back into the hotel lobby. He's sitting at the bar with the "girls" and he sort of waves me away. So I go back to the room, order a hamburger from room service and play with the X-Box. I was feeling kinda bummed, you know, and then I started feeling kinda mad. Like, I thought this holiday was about being together with my dad. Then I thought * * * * it (strong language alert,) I'm gonna work on a front-to-backside combo, so off I went with my board. I thought I'd make things a little more exciting and find some fresh powder. I am really sorry that I made everyone worry. And I ruined my mom and my sister's weekend. I feel awful that I scared Graham and Lindsay. I can't believe their parents came up too, just to search for me. The search and rescue guys were great, even though I could tell I was in trouble. They were kind of like the cops who pull my dad over when he speeds. "Hi there. Were you aware you were going 100 km in a 50 km zone? May I see your driver's licence, please?" They said to me, "You are a very lucky young man that we located you. Were you aware that you were boarding out of the official 95 resort boundaries?" After they figured out my ankle was broken, they joked that I would probably miss my ballroom dancing lessons for the next few weeks, and that's when I remembered the school dance, and the wrestling meet. They strapped me into this little cage thing, hoisted me up, then slid me down to where a crowd of people were. Dad looked really relieved but then he lost his cool and started screaming at me. I guess he might have to pay for the search. At least I'm alive, eh? For about three seconds after I spotted the TV cameras I thought it was going to be cool. Ha Ha Ha. Real cool. But I passed out from the pain so I didn't really give it too much thought after that. Apparently I got a ride in a helicopter. Sitting on that rock behind the cliff I fell off of did give me some time to think. I figured out I don't care what other people think about my friends; they are my friends and I'm sticking with them because I can be myself with them and they make me feel safe. I imagined them missing me. And I knew without a doubt that they care about me, and they even make me a better person. I was never so sure of anything before and it kept me going. I t was an amazing feeling. I wouldn't recommend this kind of weekend to anyone, though. I don't even think I'll be talking about it much. I'm not sure what I 96 thought the payoff would be for night snowboarding out of bounds, but I can tell you, it wasn't worth it. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Wednesday, Nov. 9th So here is something kind of cool. Cynthia was really concerned about Cole, and sat down with me in the library while I was waiting for Graham at lunch, and we just talked and talked. She's nice! Not in afakey way or anything, just nice. And not too goody-goody like I thought she 'd be. I told her the pain in Cole's ankle is starting to ease off, but that he's still really embarrassed about the whole thing; especially after he discovered that the TV news crew filmed his dad bawling him out. He felt pretty mad that they made the whole point of the story how kids have to stop boarding out of bounds, but he hasn't said anything more about it. I wonder what other kids are going to say when he's back to school. They are sure talking about him now. You know how people gossip. I heard someone say they thought he died of hypothermia. I had to laugh, mostly because I was so relieved they were wrong. Cynthia and I started to talk about our worst babysitting jobs ever. Hers was when one of the kids threw a dirty sock on the reading lamp after she thought they were asleep, and the kid turned the light on and then really did fall asleep. She could smell this awful smell and when she found out what it was, she thought the kid was unconscious from breathing fumes from melting dirty socks. So she started to shake him and he started screaming just as the parents got home. "Whatever would we do without flame retardant material? " Cynthia said, which I found hilarious because it's just not something I'd hear from the mouths of Carly and the gang, and just the way she said it... smart and funny at the same time. She doesn't take herself too seriously. My worst babysitting experience was when 97 the Jacksons' three-year-old peed on the kitchen floor and tried to clean it up with the hose he brought in from the backyard while I was changing the baby's diapers. Talking to Cynthia was so great I was getting kind of excited thinking I might actually have a new friend! I was hoping I didn't look too excited though, in case I came across as needy, which does not appeal to a lot of people. And then she got sort of nervous and said maybe we could do something together, like a movie or something sometime, and I thought, I bet she's feeling the same way I am. Maybe we can go on the weekend. I guess Graham was right. She likes me! And she's nice! Who cares if people think she's a loser. I'm starting to think that being a loser is highly underrated. Thursday November 10 Dear Ms. Petticrisp, I want to thank you for suggesting I go see Mr. Muser. We had a great talk and he really made me feel a lot less stressed out about things. He made me feel way better about feeling totally confused. And scared. He was definitely honest about die bully thing, and said it's out diere. Lots of teachers try to do their best to protect kids, but there are still some who aren't as sensitive as diey should be, and there are plenty of teachers who are just plain scared to bring the whole diingup. Thanks for not being one of diem. And dien there are die kids who seem to think they will feel better about themselves if diey mash someone else's feelings into the dirt. Did Mr. Muser ever have good advice for dealingwidi things. I am especially relieved diat lots of smart kids get targeted widi this kind of stuff, and workinghard at school gives people somediing to focus on if diey are getting picked on, something to feel good about, and a first class ticket into university, where diere are people who are actually tolerant! Light at the end of die tunnel, even though it's alongwayoff. Mr. Muser said that 98 there are people and organizations to help kids who think they might be gay and how to tell your parents and stuff like that. But I'm not thinking about that right now. I'm just thinking about everyone being alive and happy (relatively speaking) and friends again. And like Mr. Muser says, you've got to work on liking yourself, whether other people do or not, because ifyou don't, you're going to miss out on a wonderful life, whoever or whatever you are. Oh, I almost forgot. You need a gypsy modi update. Well, things were not going well, as you will remember. I hadn'tbeen to anymeetings since the one with die big brawl, but plans were made for stopping the spraying by protesting. And then the most amazing diing happened. TMsguy from the university pest management department contacted everyone bye-mail and said he had been followingthe newspaper coverage of the problem, and maybe diere Mas a way to get rid of die moths widiout aerial spraying. He has no issue with the chemical they plan on using, he befieves it's safe and diey may have to go ahead and use it. But he thought that if the whole community got out and searched for die moths and their egg masses imderneadi shrubs and picnic tables, thatmaybe they could find outif they really need to do the big spray. So a couple of people from the university are going to organize a search and everyone is going to get instructions on what to look for, and next Satiirdaymorningwe'llallbelookingforgypsymoths. Atleastlhopeweallwillbe. Do you think you coidd give us our volunteer work credits for something bike this? That might get more people out. I'm going to talk to die school newspaper staff and see if I can get them to rim an article on it. This whole thingmakes me think of the discussion we had in Socials about war and alternatives to fighting. Sometimes when you least expect it, a diplomatic 99 solution arises. Thank goodness in this case, because there was no way they were gettingme into the gypsy modi costume! Lindsay's Risk Journal - Monday, November 14th Cole has dragged us into some crazy stuff, but this is amazing. We are actually going along with the ABBA thing at the dance Wednesday night. He had us over to his house last night to try on the outfits and make them fit, even though he said his ankle was killing him. They are amazingly awful and sort of wonderful at the same time. I don't want to ruin the surprise, but think "Elizabethan-Disco-Outer-Space-Trailer-Park. " Cole has a motorized wheelchair that will keep his ankle up, and he has choreographed ABBA's hit song "Dancing Queen." And Cyn (formerly known as Cynthia) fits right in. It's like she has been part of the group forever. We laughed so hard practicing that we all forgot how damaging this is going to be to our reputations. Being "Gong Show " bad is one thing (which we are not) but giving our enemies ammunition to trash our names for the next three years is totally different. I am worried about my old "pals " thinking that this ABBA thing just proves what a loser I am. But Graham ... he must really be sweating. Anybody who feels they need to call him names is going to have a field day with this. Are you coming, Ms. P? 100 Lindsay On... Quitting Smoking Author Disclosure: 1) I am only a quasi-expert on this because I wasn't a hard-core smoker. 2 ) I 'm not trying to nag or judge or anything like that. 3) I had lots of support from my parents. It could have been way tougher. Introduction Everybody knows that smoking is bad for you. Even smokers who say that it is their right to smoke probably want to quit. The thing is, quitting is really hard. In fact, it can be as hard as trying to get off heroin. Since I've never been hooked on heroin, I 'm not sure how that feels, but it must be bad. The problem is that sometimes you smoke because it is bad for you. Y o u want to be a rebel and live dangerously. M y advice is find some other way of being nasty or cool. Because after you start, the danger doesn't really feel like fun danger, it just feels like you smell bad everywhere, and you are spending a lot of money. And worse, before you know it, it's hard to stop smoking. But don't give up. Y o u can stop. A l l the websites say you can, and it's true. What to Expect When You're Quitting 1. headaches or stomach aches 2. crabbiness, jumpiness, or depression 3. lack of energy 4. dry mouth, sore throat 5. desire to eat a lot Note: This sounds bad, but it doesn't last that long. It goes away. 101 How to Quit Smoking 1. Quit now. The more you smoke, the harder it is to quit. 2. If your first try at quitting doesn't work, keep trying to quit. Learn from your mistakes. 3. Find some buddies to quit with, or do it on your own. 4. Get some information on how to quit. There are really good websites. 5. Don't get sucked into the advertisements. Smoking won't make you sexy, outdoorsy, more feminine, more masculine, or more beautiful in general. Cigarette ads are really about a company trying to make money. 6. Pick a date to quit, throw out all the cigarettes, wash all your clothes to get the smell out, and let your friends and family know so they can support you. 7. Avoid the things that make you feel like smoking. Go for a walk instead of a smoke. 8. When you really feel like you want to smoke, do some deep breathing. I didn't believe it, but it is true! This really works. The need to smoke wil l pass in a few minutes. See instructions for deep breathing below. 9. Drink lots of water and have low calorie snacks ready. The hunger pangs do not last like real hunger, so try to ride them through. Y o u can do it! 10. Treat yourself to something nice. 11. Write down ten good things about being a non-smoker and ten bad things about being a smoker. 12. If you are smoking because you think it wi l l help you escape your problems, even for a few minutes, then think how much better it would be just to try to fix the problems. Get some good advice and figure what you can do to make things better in your life. If you can quit smoking you can definitely do this! 102 Deep Breathing Made Easy (This is from the guy whose grandfather owned J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. He is spending his life trying to stop kids from smoking and helping them quit. He swears that a few deep breaths wi l l get you through cigarette withdrawal and other stressful events in your life too!) 1. Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly. 2. As you exhale, close your eyes and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. (My note: skip this if you are really worried about how you look, but keep going with the rest.) 3. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out. Yes, it sounds a bit weird, but i f you practice you wil l be able to use it for any future stressful situation you find yourself in. And it wi l l be your greatest weapon during cigarette cravings. 103 Chapter Eleven Cole's Journal Thurs. Nov. 17 Hur gar det? That's "How's it going?" in Swedish!! Cool, eh? So? Was that a fabulous, amazing night last night or what? Here is a little something I wish to share with you in case you have students in the future who are in need of assistance. I f they ever find themselves poster boys for irresponsible behaviour, and being bawled out on the TV news by their father (my mom said an auntie in Newfoundland saw it on her local news), create a diversion. Give the folks the best doggone ABBA inspired performance they ever saw in their whole doggone life. Yeah, Baby! I want to send Benny, Bjorn, Anni-Frid and Agnetha a great big valentine. I used to think their music was lame, but there is something about those super simple lyrics and goofy costumes that just makes people feel good! In fact, if you can't feel good listening to "Dancing Queen," then there is something wrong with you, Baby. Seriously. Lindsay was all worried that doing this thing was going to get her picked on by the death stick girls, and Graham was worried the "fag" label was going to be crazy glued to him forever, but I can honestly say he looked very manly as 104 Benny with his mustache drawn on with an eyebrow pencil and his hair parted on the side. And the girls looked perfect in the jumpsuits and blond wigs. I was seriously worried that they were not up for the job when we practised. But they went wild in performance!!! You saw them!!! They were Dancing Queens. I t was like they were possessed. And of course, I was a superb Bjorn in my wheelchair, I must say. How my sister found a motorized one for the evening I'll never know, but I owe her big time. We were worried when the music came on and people started to snicker and leave the dance floor. But that was just what we needed to take command. We just danced our hearts out—well, I wheeled my heart out—and by the time we hit "Night is young and the music's high," we were unstoppable. Did you see how the D J even moved the lights around for us? When he started the music again after all the applause and everyone went wild for an encore, we felt pretty high, let me tell ya. We totally rocked. I f anyone wants to diss us, well, whatever. This was our moment. And something even better has happened. We three have re-bonded. And it feels like Cynthia was always a part of our group. I have to tell you, I was worried. We seemed to have acquired a few middle school dementors since we 105 got to Bigby Stilton High, and while I don't totally understand exactly what we were all battling against, there seems to be some peace right now, like we all had a huge dose of chocolate. Or maybe this little exercise in dramatic lip-sync was just the trick to chase the dementors away. (I'm not taking this Harry Potter schtick any further. This is not English class.) I had already figured out that good friends, and these particular good friends, are really important, especially when things get nutty, but I was really worried I was going to lose them. My little ski adventure made me realize that they are worth making an extra effort for. And when I saw the extra effort they made for me, coming to search and doing the ABBA thing ... well, let's just say ... Gack— major lump in the throat. So how 'bout those Canucks? Thanks for the extension on the assignment I owe you. I have to give the wheelchair back by noon tomorrow so I think I'll take another day to let the old ankle bone connect to the leg bone. I love the idea of being pushed around, but the thought of my leg getting whacked at the hands of inexperienced wheelchair chauffeurs does not excite me, nor does using the elevator that the janitor uses to transport putrid lunch remains. And I'll catch up on the journal. You'll notice I've carefully pasted the notes into the back. I tried to keep them free from kitchen table food remnants. And I'll be back in 106 class ASAP. I'm not missing a minute of the unit on sexuality. Ding Dong! Plus I have our lunch hour library powwow to plan for. So "Ha det sa bra!" for now, Teacher! (That means "Have it soo good/ Bye!" in Swedish.) Cole Lindsay's Risk Journal - Thursday, November 17th Last night was so amazing. And it was so much fun! I was nervous but after the music started, and there were a couple of snickers, I just thought, "No turning back now, Girlfriend. Just go!" And of course if we had jammed out at the last second, we'd have looked even stupider. I never would have guessed that Cyn could dance! When I looked over I could see she was just loving the whole thing, and I forgot to worry about what everyone else was thinking. It was amazing. And even Carly and her posse were clapping and cheering. Although I can honestly say I don't really give a damn, Charlotte (or whatever that chick's name is from that movie). The evil spell is broken. At least for me. If this is being a loser, then I like it! In fact, I feel positively ... positive about school now. The pressure to do things you don't really want to do is off. You don 'tfeel mean all the time. You laugh at things that are actually funny. So what if someone thinks you 're a loser. No one has to tell them that they suck. No, that's being mean again, isn't it? If they want to come over to our side they can, they just have to be nice like we are. Or try to be. You know what I mean. 107 We just strolled into the library like the Royals today at lunch! It was a great feeling having all kinds of good attention after last night, but it was a better feeling being our gang with our own library table again. And I didn't worry about the smoker girls until after the last bell, when I had a momentary panic attack in the hall. And then I took a deep breath, then two more to feel really "centered." DO NOT TELL MY MOTHER I WROTE THIS. I CANNOT BE SEEN FOLLOWING HER ADVICE. And I thought about my friends and how Cynthia was waiting at her locker for me to walk home and I felt calm again. That breathing thing actually works, and not just to help cigarette cravings go away. We are going to get together and see what's left to do for your class this term. Maybe we can work on that assignment on emotional intelligence for extra marks. Anything that does not involve earwax. Our science project. Yes, Cole's idea. Don't ask. Graham's Journal Entry-November 17 Well, we survived die ABBA extravaganza and I have to say, it was a lot of fun. Actually it was a riot. I looked so good with a mustache people didn't even notice diat I was wearing a dorkyjumpsiut. Linds and Cyndiia really stole the showthough, to be perfecdy honest. The whole performance was a huge hit, and that's what people want to talk about when diey see us, so great! AndllBgiu-e^flcanpiiUdiatkindofthingoffwithoutdyingof embarrassment or beingharassed to death, I can get away widi recruiting kids to help search for gypsy modis next Saturday. Thanks for giving kids their volunteer credits for doing diis, and thanks for volunteeringyourself! It's going to be great. People are even donating cookies and hot chocolate. And the New Stilton News is going to come and do a story on die whole dung. Imagine! Everyone working togedier and getting along! The bad thing is diat 108 itis supposed to snow, which makes lookingfor white eggmasses kind of a challenge, but we'll do our best. Ijustwanted to say about the odier stuff... well, everydiingis finerightnow. I think I'll know when die time is right for dealing with everydiing. Knowing my friends are behind me makes a huge difference, and despite the upheaval of startingin high school, we are tight again (not in die sense of being drunk, or physically fit, but emotionally close). I have also taken great comfort in somediing Cole's grandmother used to say. She was die one who was incarcerated for a brief time for her kleptomania. She'd say, "Living well is die best revenge." Well, I'm planning on living well (without stealing anydiing, of course), having fun, and staying involved instead of worrying. You know, Ms. Petticrisp, this unit has been quite a rewarding learning experience. Being able to share stuff has been a lifesaver,butl'm really grateful for die encouragementyou have given us. I really learned a lot doing the gypsy modi thing, and I diink diat die chance to look at a situation from different points of view is very sick (see Cole' s last assignment for clarification of this terminology) .I'm going to work on die school newspaper and look for more "issues" diat need all sides of die story told. Mymom says that kind ofwork is not for die faint of heart, but I diink I'm up for it. It seems bike there are risks widi everydiingyou do in fife; you justhave to followyour gut instinct, I think. And havinggood friends to look out for and who look out for you is pretty important. They make you feel brave. But getting out diere and surviving it all makes me feel even braver. 109 Cole's Very Late Assignment - Nov. 20 Hi Ms. P., Here's a little something I cooked up for ya. My posse helped me with moral support, and no, it is not an assignment on sexually transmitted diseases. I know we've talked about them at school before, but it actually makes me feel a bit nervous, if you want the truth. I think I'll be ready to face it again next month. So this is on skateboarding. And rumour has it I'm handing in the coat of arms assignment for extra marks too. Prepare to be amazed. I gotta stay on top of things from here on in. Mrs. Folley said she could use us members of the fabulous ABBA ensemble in the drama club. She wants to adapt Captain Underpants and make it a musical to do for the elementary school kids in the district. Rock on, Mrs. Folley! I think we're up for that challenge! Later Lovely Lady Cole 110 Skateboarding ABCs compiled by Cole WARNING NUMBER ONE: If you are not naturally inclined toward skateboarding, hanging out, or being cool, etc., use of these words will be detrimental to your self-image (if you have one). That is, you're going to sound stupid if you throw these words around in the wrong company. Feel free to use them with other dweebs, but be prepared to be laughed at if anyone cool overhears you. WARNING NUMBER TWO: These particular slang words have been selected with the teacher audience in mind. Some SK8 slang is not very polite. A lot of it deals with getting hurt in parts of the male anatomy related to sexuality that are very sensitive, if you know what I mean. I tried to leave that stuff out. A is for ASPHALT HANKIE - grinding your face into the asphalt B is for BACON - great big red scab and BONGO SLIPS - hurting your bum C is for CHEESE GRATER - when you fall and shred your face up but there are still chunks of skin hanging off of it CHUD - rough chunky cement not suitable for skating on F is for FRACTURED WRIST - this happens a lot, especially for Newbies in the first three weeks of boarding G is for GRIND TAPE - this is the sandpaper-like stuff on the top of the board to keep the rider from falling off so you don't get GROUND BEEF - when you go for a grind and you slip off and you're bleeding H is for HEAD INJURY - not good. Can put you in Pampers for the rest of your life. This is why we wear a helmet, people. And apparently it is important that it fits properly too. Ill H A L F - P I P E - a wooden ramp on which a skateboard is ridden J is for J I M B O - when you can flip a trip and get one foot on it without the other one K is for K A - B I F F - when you fall off your board really hard L is for L I P - the edge of any obstacle that a skateboarder rides M is for M U L L E T - a very sexy hair-do N is for N U T S H W A N K E R - you can guess this one. (Sorry, I couldn't resist) O is for O L L I E - when you jump with your skateboard P is for P I V O T - a trick where the truck touches the top of the lip Q is for Q U A R T E R - P I P E - a ramp which is equal to one quarter of a 360 pipe R is for RIPPER - a really good skater S is for S I C K - which means cool T is for T . B . C - Total Board Control V is for V E R T - getting vertical on your board—very sick. Lindsay's Risk Journal - Monday, November 21st So, I guess we have to wrap up this term's assignments. I will just have to keep a journal for myself now, but it won't seem nearly as much fun as writing to share it with someone and being forced to search out the occasional insight. Unless you give us a journal assignment for career planning... But I figure you '11 come up with other interesting assignments that will force us into learning whether we want to or not. It's funny. I'm not so flipped out about stuff anymore. It feels like ifyou face things that seem kind of scary and just learn about them, it's not so bad. Information actually gives you a sense of control over things. Cool, eh? Were you aware of that? What am I thinking? Of course you were. I can just hear you saying, "Yes and more importantly, good information helps you make wise, independent choices too." Yeah yeah yeah. 112 Things are getting busy here at the old Bigby Stilton High. I might just join the drama club. I think it would be kinda fun to play a Wicked Wedgie Woman. I'm definitely going to let the lacrosse thing go. I can goof around with Graham and Cole but it's not really my thing. I'll find some other form of physical recreation. Us healthy nonsmoker types need lots of opportunities for fitness and fun, you know! We are back in the swing of things in the library, and today we did some "brainstorming" on our emotional intelligence coat of arms. Jeeze, where do I start? I was thinking about everything that has happened since we started high school and since I turned thirteen and how I feel now, and wow. I figured out that friends are pretty important, and they can really keep you going, but family members can actually be helpful too. Who would have thought that?? And while I thought being more "mature" was important this year, I figured out that I can just be me and that's okay. Way less stressful. I learned I can survive bouts of insecurity, just like I survived food poisoning from the macaroni salad at last year's family barbecue. I just hope if and when I feel that way again I can remind myself that things can't be that bad because I have friends and family who love me, and stuff to do that makes me happy. And I learned that my gut gives me some pretty good advice, if I'm smart enough to listen to it. So yeah, that's me right now. Journal at ya soon. Lindsay 113 Petticrisp on... Your Life Welcome to my life skills class! Y o u may be wondering, "Why do I have to take this dumb course anyway?" Wel l , a class like this one might offer you a few tips on how to tackle your academic work more successfully. But more importantly, it wi l l help you make better choices in and out of school, and help you take responsibility for how the events in your life are going to unfold. You are ultimately in charge. You are in the driver's seat. Y o u are the big kahuna, the chief executive officer of your life. A n d as every top executive knows, to make good decisions you need good information and good advice. Sometimes you turn to your friends, and sometimes friends are helpful. But they may not have the expertise you need in a particular situation and they are probably struggling with the same questions you are. What I want you to start thinking about in this class is how to make well-informed decisions that are really good for you. Many of you have chosen to reflect on the risks that are popping up in your lives right now. I think you might be surprised by the variety of risks you face, and how much responsibility you actually have in dealing with them. So welcome, I 'm glad you are here, and let's get started. I think we are going to have a great year! 114 Petticrisp on... Media and Sensationalism Do you ever get angry with reports in newspapers and on T V that seem sensationalized? Are you concerned that news events are made to sound more frightening and more dangerous than they really are, maybe to increase newspaper or magazine sales or improve a show's ratings? The news media presents and follows stories that are of interest to people—stories that are new, unusual, and likely to affect us. This means they cover stories that worry people as well. Right now in New Stilton readers and viewers are looking for answers to big questions like "what are the chances of my kid getting sick from this meningococcal outbreak?" Public health professionals can supply the media with answers to questions like how many kids typically get sick from meningococcal each year, how does the disease is spread, and how you can avoid getting sick. But no one can answer the question, "Is my_ kid going to get sick?" There is a lot of uncertainty with health risks like this one, and that scares people. Risk information is also very complicated. We trust public health professionals and reporters to do their best to explain complex medical information. But sometimes reporters don't have a lot of time to file their stories, or they don't have a solid background in science. Sometimes editors limit the size of the story, or even the content. Sometimes the experts we rely on to explain things disagree with each other. This is going to happen because science can tell us a lot, but there is always more to learn, and sometimes even experts just plain don't know. Sometimes experts give explanations that are too simplistic. Then people feel scared and insulted. Or people just plain don't trust experts or their answers to the tough questions. So is it always a news reporter or writer's fault i f you're feeling that your life is risky? Probably not. Uncertainty is a big part of understanding risk. And even trying to explain risk can be a risky business. 115 Petticrisp on... What Worries You? A chemical spill may scare one person, while pesticides on an apple may scare another. How do people decide what's risky and what's not? We are surrounded by risks: products with chemicals, cars that produce exhaust that harms the environment and our lungs, food that is genetically engineered. We can't just get rid of them—we are dependent on a lot of these things, and living without them just means living with different risks—not having properly preserved food, or enough food, or medicines, for example. Government policy makers are often responsible for assessing and managing everyday risks on our behalf. They typically pay attention to the big risks and seek out the best research available. Then they manage risk the best way they can, hopefully rejecting products and practices that are dangerous and replacing them with something better. We make our own type of risk assessments based on knowledge, experience, and personal beliefs. Most of the time this works pretty well. But sometimes we think the risks that we choose for ourselves (smoking, skydiving) are less risky than risks that are imposed on us by others (pesticide spraying by the city, a nuclear power plant built nearby). We often think that catastrophic events like plane crashes are more risky than familiar events like car accidents. We think of events that are dreaded, like a terrorist attack, as more dangerous than a common event like a heart attack from being overweight. A n d we tend to see new risks, like genetically modified food, as more frightening than old risks, like overexposure to sun. Are these risk assessments accurate? Maybe not. Is understanding risks this way wrong? Nope. Everybody does it, even scientists. But when it comes to making our lives less risky, we have to give careful thought to how we decide what's risky and how risk decisions are made on our behalf. 116 Petticrisp on... Imrnunizations Immunizations work by helping your immune system recognize and quickly attack organisms that cause sickness or death. A vaccine contains a small amount of a dead or inactive germ. It triggers the production of antibodies that fight that specific germ if it is introduced into your body. Y o u can't catch the illness that you are being immunized against from the vaccine. Nor does triggering the production of antibodies weaken the body's immune system. It simply helps people fight off particular diseases they may be exposed to. Many diseases that people are currently immunized or vaccinated against are rare (thanks to vaccines), but they may still be active in other countries and can spread, so getting immunized continues to be very important. There are risks to being immunized. A few people experience an allergic reaction, a sore arm, or a bit of a fever as the immune response to the vaccine starts to work. These risks are very minor compared to the risk of not getting immunized. People who are not immunized and come in contact with the disease may not only experience the disease, but in some cases, fatal side effects. Some people believe that getting immunized poses far greater risks, including a weakened immune system or other disorders like autism. Leading health organizations and scientists in the field take these concerns very seriously, but so far no evidence has been found to support them. Uncertainty wil l always exist, however, and that leads some people to distrust the medical system or dismiss recognized scientific procedures. The take-home lesson is to look into all sides of risk issues like immunization. If we want safe medical practices, we need good science and public debate. A n d we need to accept that there wil l always be some uncertainty when science and risk are involved. 117 Petticrisp on... What is a "Risk" Anyway? The scientific definition of risk is a little complicated. A health risk is something that could harm you or cause you to experience a loss (your life, your arm, your ability to think, for example). But how do people who study risks, and work to reduce risks, define the term? They need to know what is a big risk and what is a small one. Scientists define risks this way: hazard x exposure = probability or risk Hazard is something that can harm you or expose you to loss, like an explosion, cancer, or brain damage. Exposure to something is how much of a substance or event that is suspected of creating a health risk. Probability describes the "chance" or likelihood of something happening. While this formula makes identifying a risk look easy, it isn't. Unlike determining how many Smarties there are in ajar, finding a number to represent hazard and exposure is very complicated and sometimes impossible. What the formula does give us is a way of understanding the nature of risk. It tells us that as the hazard of a chemical (for example), or the exposure to the chemical, increases so does our chance of being harmed. So when we can't just say no (like we can to things like drugs or cigarettes, for example) we can work on reducing the risk by reducing the hazard, the exposure, or both. 118 Petticrisp on ... Depression Everyone gets depressed at some point in their lives. But like lots of illnesses, you can get a case that goes away on its own, or you can get a case that needs some help to get it under control. If you are depressed you might be feeling irritable, tired, uninterested in activities, restless, or worthless and sad. You might also have a hard time sleeping, eating, breathing or even just paying attention. You may feel sweaty, shaky, and your heart may race. You may feel like staying in your room a lot, or you may feel like taking risks even though you don't know why. If you have a number of these symptoms and they last more than two weeks, you may have a major depression and need some help. If you are thinking about death, and think things would be better i f you weren't alive, you need some help right away. Today. Y o u need to talk to an adult you trust, like a family member, a trusted teacher or doctor, and they wi l l help you find a way to start feeling better. Depression is a very common mental illness that is easy to treat once you get help. Sometimes finding ways to see things in a more positive light can help get rid of minor cases of depression. Sometimes talking to a mental health professional can help people who question their worth, or feel bad about themselves. The right person can sometimes help to change the situation that is causing someone to be depressed. A n d in some cases, counseling and anti-depressants are needed to correct chemical imbalances involving neurotransmitters (that regulate mood) and endorphins (that are responsible for producing positive moods). So i f you are feeling like you can't cope, or your bad feelings lasts a couple of weeks, check in with someone you trust. There is lots of hope for you even though you are feeling that things are hopeless. 119 Petticrisp on... Steroids and Sports Supplements If you have old comic books at home, look for the advertisement inside the cover of the skinny guy and his girlfriend who get sand kicked in their faces at the beach. The skinny guy decides the solution is to fight back so he sends away for a pamphlet to get pumped up. I always wondered what was wrong with that girlfriend. She actually wants to be with a big moose of a guy who bullies people on the beach?? Well , obviously the ad never worked for me. But it did work for plenty of other people who were "sick and tired of being soft, frail, skinny, or flabby." A n d what's really amazing is that silly advertising messages like this one are still being used. Except they're not just pushing pamphlets on Charles Atlas weight training anymore. The ads are for chemical steroids and supplements that you drink, pop, and inject. Now I know you're thinking, "Yeah, Ms . Petticrisp, you don't have parents and coaches who are breathing down your neck about "doing your best." Why should you care?" Well , I don't want crazy hostile health problems in my class, for one thing. A n d I hate to see you waste your money. The latest research shows that i f steroids and other supplements work at all, it's only in specific types of performance (short-term sprint vs. endurance) for a short period of time. A n d supplements like creatine can cause you to dehydrate and even die when exercising in hot weather. So go pump some iron like Arnie i f you want to bulk up. A n d don't forget to get lots of exercise, eat good food, and learn to like the body you are in. 120 N E W STILTON PUBLIC H E A L T H DEPT. (brochure) H E A L T H , WEIGHT LOSS, AND TEENS The "Teen Years" are full of challenges and opportunities. For many teens, body type and weight issues are the most challenging at all. Unhealthy eating means many Canadian teens are experiencing high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. But the teen years are a great time to establish healthy eating practices that wi l l pay off for the rest of one's life. What are unhealthy eating habits? A unhealthy diet - Eating is no longer about survival, but pleasure and convenience. Our diets have shifted from food high in complex carbohydrates and fibres (cereals, potatoes and grains) to diets with highly processed, synthetic food compounds, sugar, saturated fats, and calories. They don't contain a lot of the vitamins, minerals, and fibre that are in complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. And we're super-sizing our servings of this unhealthy food. Less physical activity - More people live in cities and work in jobs that do not involve physical exertion. We are not burning off the calories that we are taking in. Focus on weight loss vs. healthy weight - Images in advertising and the media set unrealistic and unhealthy standards, especially for girls and women. Bad dieting practices include not consuming enough healthy sources of food energy, using liquid or food supplements, diet pills, vomiting, or suppositories. These practices can have long-term, harmful health effects. 121 Feeling and looking good! Here's how: - Find out what a healthy weight is for your body. See your family doctor. - Don't skip meals, especially family dinner and food prepared at home. Eating out means more calories and less healthy food. - Eat when you are the most active and not just before you go to bed. - Eat smaller portions, stop when you feel full, eat slowly, and savour each bite. - Don't eat because you are bored, lonely, depressed, or while you are watching T V . - Cut down on pop, diet pop, fruit juice and fruit drinks. Drink water instead. - Avoid trendy diets and diets with prepackaged food or drinks. These are expensive short-term fixes and they often make you feel unwell. Definitely stay away from diet pills. They can be addictive. - Don't be too hard on yourself. Everyone has a weak moment, and everyone needs a treat now and then. Eating healthy is a long-term proposition. - Find a sport or physical activity that you enjoy and get out there and enjoy it. Walking with a friend or even a peaceful power walk on your own is cheap and easy i f you are not a sports-oriented person. - Get your parents to fill the fridge and cupboards with healthy foods and prep them for easy eating. 122 M s Petticrisp on... Emotional Intelligence So you come to school thinking that the whole point of the exercise is to get better grades. Wel l , surprise, surprise. Being intelligent isn't just about being "smart." We actually want you to develop some emotional intelligence as well. So what is that, anyway? Emotional Intelligence is the ability to: 1) Recognize your emotions 2) Manage your emotions 3) Motivate yourself 4) Recognize emotions in others 5) Develop healthy relationships This may sound a little too touchy-feely, but it's actually really important and deserves some proper discussion. This is because your emotional intelligence has a lot to do with the other intelligence; how well you do at school, how you manage the kinds of risks we've been talking about, and the success you achieve in life in general. Understanding and taking responsibility for your feelings helps you bust through the garbage that gets in the way of working and learning and making good decisions. It also helps get you through rough times, like starting in a new school or dealing with life as a teenager. So where do we start? First we get past the idea that feelings are silly, wussy, wimpy, or unimportant. This doesn't mean we are going to go crying all over town, or go jump on the couch on Oprah. We are just going to recognize that we have a range of emotions, others have them too, and they are important. Improving your emotional intelligence wil l not only make your life better, it makes school a better place. Because when people recognize feelings, both their own and others, they want to look for ways to resolve conflict with less confrontation and more respect. This even works with difficult parents, believe it or not! 123 Clippings for Risk Journal from Graham Note: I chose these two letters because I think they represent two sides of the gypsy modi debate. It is hard to imagine comingup widi a solution diat is going to make everyone happy. The New Stilton News LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Moth potion attracts moths for years Editor, New Stilton News: We are concerned about the massive trapping of gypsy moths in our community, and the possibility of B t K being sprayed i f more gypsy moths are found. The traps being used contain synthetic versions of the sex hormones produced by the female gypsy moth to attract the male. But what do we know about these biologically engineered chemicals? Specifically: 1) What are the long term effects of these chemicals? 2) Can the human body exposed to these hormones start to produce the moth hormone? We could end up attracting more moths. 3) What happens when these chemicals break down and contaminate the area? 4) What happens when these chemicals are inhaled? Or tracked into the house on kids' sneakers? No trapping or spraying should take place until long-term studies are conducted. We must not allow ourselves to be used as guinea pigs for the chemical industry any longer. Sincerely, B i l l Smith, S C A R I 124 The time to act is now. Enough SCARI pseudo science Editor, New Stilton News: Recently your paper has published a number of alarming allegations from the newly formed S C A R I group. They seem to think that the gypsy moth poses no threat to our community and they trot out one conspiracy theory after another to promote their anti-chemical agenda. Have they any idea the devastation these insects can have on parks and forests? I 'm all for limiting the use of dangerous chemicals, but let's see the science to back up their claims. Think of what is at risk: not just the trees in our community, but forests, the plant and nursery industry, Christmas tree farms, not to mention trade with other countries. I know this is a hot topic, especially because it involves spraying chemicals around kids, but let's be realistic about our options. To do nothing is not one of them. Sincerely, Betsy Anderson, New Stilton Gardener 125 Petticrisp on ... The Problem with Probabilities Probabilities are how likely something is to happen. For example: "there is a 50% chance of rain today" or "the probability of being blinded by exposure to chemical Z Y X is one in ten million." Probabilities can be really useful in helping us make decisions, like whether to take an umbrella to school or whether to ban a chemical from use. But probabilities and other statistics can be tricky. For one thing, they can be difficult to understand. For example, does "50% chance of rain" mean "rain 50% of the time," "rain over 50% of the area," or "50% chance of some measurable rain?" A n d what does it mean when they say "one in ten million risk of being blinded by chemical Z Y X ? " Does it mean I should stop using it? Or does it tell me I should just use less and wear protective eye wear? Probabilities can be tough to interpret. Another problem is that probabilities don't acknowledge the uncertainty involved with risk. For example, does a rat going blind from exposure to a chemical necessarily mean a human wil l too? Are there circumstances that make the rat more or less sensitive to the chemical? Their size and the dose of chemical they are exposed to, perhaps? Probabilities can also be a problem because while they are often used to suggest the chance that you wil l be harmed by a substance, they don't recognize the chance that you can be harmed by not using the substance. They don't tell us about the alternatives to chemical Z Y X . Are they safer or more dangerous? If there are no alternatives, what are the risks associated with not having chemical Z Y X available? When we are talking about risk, we often cast chemicals in the role of the bad guy. But i f chemical Z Y X helps manage a disease like diabetes, then we need to think again. Making decisions about risk is never easy. 126 Petticrisp on ... Chemical Risk Do you worry about the tiny particles of chemicals and pesticides we track into the house on our shoes? We are all more aware of risks associated with chemicals because of what we've learned from the history of tobacco and pesticide use. But how do scientists understand chemical risk? A chemical's hazard, or ability to harm, is called its toxicity. The toxicity of a chemical or substance is its ability to cause harm by doing visible damage, or decreasing the performance or function of parts of your body. Many chemicals can cause harm, but when a small amount of the chemical can be harmful, it is considered toxic. The chemical structure of a substance—what it is made of, what atoms and molecules it contains, and how they are arranged—is the most important factor in how toxic a chemical is. What determines your exposure to a risky substance? 1. How much of the substance is required to cause harm (toxicity) 2. How the substance enters your body (routes of exposure, skin, inhalation, ingestion) 3. How much enters your body (the dose) 4. The length of time you are exposed (the duration) 5. Reaction and interaction (other substances you are exposed to) 6. How your body reacts to the substance compared to how others react (sensitivity) It's hard to determine how chemicals affect our health. There can be between 10 to 40 years between the start of exposure to a suspected carcinogen and the appearance of cancer, for example. And it is often difficult to determine if an increase in cancer is due to exposure to a particular substance or exposure to something else. Cancer research is also difficult because it would be unethical to expose people to chemicals suspected of being 127 carcinogens. Instead researchers expose animals to large doses in order to detect a possible increase in cancer. For lots of people, this is an ethical issue as well. Does this type of research represent real risk to humans? Research shows this type of research to be valid. But there is a lot we don't know about chemicals, and it's often what we don't know that worries us. How low doses of pesticides affect our health is a huge area of study and uncertainty. There wil l always be uncertainty in scientific research, and because of this, science can be used and misused in political debates. Some people feel i f we don't know what damage a chemical does, we shouldn't use it until we do. Other people feel that chemicals should be used until the research proves they are dangerous. Sometimes all we can do as individuals is "pick our battles." If chemicals worry you, look at a wide range of scientific opinion on what exactly you need to be worried about. Look at where the research comes from ( an industry organization or an independent university study). If a chemical in a household cleaner is a concern, and you can replace it with something else, then by all means do. If you feel like you want to do more, maybe you want to get involved in social advocacy. It is an important part of our democratic political system. But also think about a career in science. We need good brains like yours to help us answer the tough questions and look at the uncertainty surrounding chemical risks. 128 Petticrisp on... Sexual Orientation What is sexual orientation? Sexual orientation is determined by who you are physically and emotionally, and who you are romantically and sexually attracted to. Heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite sex, homosexuals are attracted to the same sex, and bisexuals are attracted to both sexes. Transexuality is when someone's sense of who they are sexually does not match with their physical attributes. Sexual orientation is different from sexual behaviour because it is more about feelings and self-concept. People may not always express their sexual orientation in their behaviours. What if you aren't sure what your sexual orientation is? It may take some time to figure it out. It's normal not to be sure and it is normal to worry. Some people go through a period in their lives where they experiment, but this doesn't determine sexual orientation. Discovering your true feelings happens over time. It may happen when you are emotionally ready and you find someone you really care about. It won't be just about sex, and you don't have to have sex to know whether you are homosexual or not. It wi l l be about talking, spending time together, and physical closeness. Is sexual orientation a choice? No. Y o u can't chose to be gay or straight. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. And although we can choose 129 whether or not to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a choice that can be changed. Family members or religious organizations or others may pressure young people by suggesting that being gay is an illness that can be cured with treatment. They may be able to make them feel guilty about being gay. But the reality is that being gay is not an illness, it does not require treatment, and it is not changeable. The American Psychological Association is concerned that so-called treatments for being gay can do a lot of harm. Gay kids can suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts, and support from a mental health professional is definitely encouraged i f this is the case. You may not be able to choose your sexual orientation, but you can choose who you share this information with and when you feel comfortable sharing it. Y o u can also choose how you feel about yourself. There are good books for teens that can help you decide and give you some reassurance. Where does homosexuality come from? There are different theories, but most scientists agree that sexual orientation is the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive, and biological factors that shape people at an early age. There is a lot of recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, plays a big role. Why do some people react so negatively to gay people? "Coming out" can be the most difficult thing a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person can ever do. They fear rejection, prejudice, and violence. Research conducted in California in the mid-130 1990s suggests that one in five lesbians and more than one in four gay men have been the victims of hate crime based on their sexual orientation. People who have the most positive attitudes toward gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals are people who know a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person well, as a friend or co-worker. This suggests that people who have negative feelings toward homosexuality are basing their feelings on stereotypes and prejudice, not actual experience. Another problem is how we define masculinity in our culture, especially during adolescence. Being masculine is so highly valued that sometimes anything not masculine is something to be hated. This means anti-female and homophobic behaviour is often viewed as acceptable, and it can result in gay kids feeling like they are bad people, and even deserving of verbal and physical abuse. We need to do much more to promote masculinity as based in strong character, rather than physical attributes and behaviours that are "macho." Traits we associate with maleness or femaleness are commonly shared by all of us. 131 N O T E S C H A P T E R O N E Career and Personal Planning (CAPP) Curriculum B C Ministry of Education Curriculum Subject Areas and IRPs (Integrated Resource Packages) for Personal Planning K to 7. 28 July 2005 www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/irp_hce.htm Appendix A - Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Personal Planning K - 7 . Nov. 24, 1999 www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/pp/ppapa.htm Meningococcal Infections Health Canada. 11 Oct. 2005. ("It's your health" and "Statement on Recommended Use of Meningococcal Vaccines") www.hc-sc.gc.ca (search Meningococcal Vaccine) //yourhealth.calgaryhealthregion.ca (search health topics - meningitis) Apr i l 2004 meningococcal C infections Apr i l 2005 www.bchealthguide.org/kbaltindex.asp World Health Organization meningococcal fact sheet M a y 2003 www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fsl41/en/index.html Health Risks National Research Council Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D C : National Academy Press, 1989, 31-34. Wil l iam Leiss and Christina Chociolko. Risk and Responsibility. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994, vol. 236, 3-16. M . Granger Morgan. "Risk Analysis and Management." Scientific American. July 1993, 32-41. Paul Slovic. "Perception of Risk." Science. Apr i l 1997, vol. 236, 280-185. Smoking Risk The Foundation for a Smokefree America (founded by Patrick Reynolds, grandson of the founder of R.J . Reynolds Tobacco Company) www.anti-smoking.org Health Canada Youth Zone 6 Oct. 2005 www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/tobac-tabac/youth-jeunes/index_e.html quitting smoking, reasons not to smoke, what's in tobacco www.coolnurse.com/smoking_quit.htm 132 C H A P T E R T W O Meningococcal News Headings "Meningitis suspected in student's death: 13-year-old Surrey girl who died Thursday was fine the day before." Vancouver Sun. 21 May 2004, B5 . "What causes infectious diseases?" Wellness Options: Outbreaks, no. 14, 2003, 14-15. Webcast with Vincent F. Macaluso, M D . Produced 17 June, 2004. www.coolnurse.healthology.com (search meningitis 101) Michael Hanlon. "Days of Fear." Toronto Star, 18 Jan 1992, D l , D4 . Toronto Public Health fact sheet. "Immunization information about vaccines against invasive meningococcal disease." www.toronto.ca/health Hand Washing Sherwin B . Nuland. The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story oflgnaz Semmelweiss. New York: W . W . Norton, 2003. Gael Jennings & Roland Harvey (illus). Bloody Moments: Highlights from the Astonishing History of Medicine. Toronto: Annick Press, 2000, 42. Mad Cow Disease Douglas Powell and Wil l iam Leiss. Mad Cows and Mother's Milk: The Perils of Poor Risk Communication. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997, 3-25. Dawn Walton. "US profits from mad cow." Globe & Mail. 6 Nov. 2003, A 9 . Allan Freeman. "Ban dangerous fee, experts say." Globe & Mail. 29 M a y 2003, A 8 . Clifford Krauss. " Canada Quarantines Six More Ranches in M a d Cow Case." New York Time International. 23 May 2003, A l l . Douglas Powell. "The mystery of mad cow disease." Globe & Mail. 24 Dec. 1993. Mark Kennedy. "Mad-cow disease's youngest victim." Vancouver Sun. 13 June 2001, A12-13. Pan-American Health Organization "In Focus: M a d Cow Case Prompts New Measures." www.pahp.org/English/DD/PIN/ptoday07_mar04.htm "Eight questions consumers should ask on the threat of mad cow disease." 30 Jan 2003 www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2003/pr5/en 133 Media and Risk Ellen Hopkins. "Everything Gives Y o u Cancer." Mirabella. Feb. 1991, 99-101. Sheryl Gay Stolberg. "Science, Studies and Motherhood." New York Times, 22 Apr i l 2001,3. Doug Saunders. "Manufacuring media bias." Globe & Mail. 22 March 1997, D2 . National Research Council. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D C : National Academy Press, 1989, 117-142. Risk Perceptions M . Granger Morgan. "Risk Analysis and Management" Scientific American. July 1993, 32-41. Paul Slovic. "Perception of Risk." Science. Apr i l 1997, vol. 236, 280-185. National Research Council. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D C : National Academy Press, 1989. Immunizations Center for Disease Control - Information on National Immunization Program. 29 July 2004 www.cdc.gov/nip search vaccines frequently asked questions Critique of anti-immunization campaigns. 27 March 2004 www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/immu/immu00.html Maggie Fox. "Autism surrounded by misunderstandings - experts." 20 Feb. 2006. U S National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_30056.html "Childhood Immunizations" 11 Oct. 2005. www.hc-sc.gc.ca/iyh-vsv/med/inimuniz_e.html C H A P T E R T H R E E History of Risk Vincent T. Covello and Jeryl Mumpower. "Risk Analysis and Risk Management: A n Historical Perspective." Risk Analysis. 1985, vol.5, no.2,103-120. L . Oppenheimer. Ancient Mesopotamia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. 134 Steroids Elaine O'Connor. "Teens are toning up the hard way. Supplementing the look: Dietary aids can be cause for concern, experts warn." The Province. 14 Aug. 2005, B9 . Bonnie De Simone. "Schools' Prevention Efforts A i m to Halt Rise of Steroid Use." New York Times. 5 June 2005, 4. "What Steroids Can D o to Y o u ! A n Article for Parents & Teens." www.coolnurse.com/steroids.htm "Everyone else is using them ... why not me? The truth about anabolic steroids." 1 Dec. 2003 www.canadian-health-network.ca (search anabolic steroids) Hand Washing "Why is it important to wash our hands?" Aug. 2004 www.canadian-health-network.ca/ search: hand washing Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. "Hand washing: Reducing the Risk of Common Infections." 1 Nov. 2004 www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/washing_hands.html American Society for Microbiology. "Another U S airport travel hazard - dirty hands." 15 Sept. 2003. www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-09/asfm-aua091103.php Definitions of Risk M . Granger Morgan. "Risk Analysis and Management." Scientific American. July 1993, 33. National Research Council. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D C : National Academy Press, 1989, 30-33. Ken Friedman "Understanding Risk" based on Dorothy Patton "The A B C s of Risk Assessment." EPA Journal. Jan/Feb./Mar 1993. www.lehigh.edu/kaf3/public/www-data/risk/riskass.html C H A P T E R F O U R Household Chemicals Chemicals being monitored by E P A ' s major program systems. 15 June 2002 www.epa.gov/enviro/html/emci/chemref/ Labour Environmental Alliance Society "CancerSmart Consumer Guide" 2005 http://leas.ca/CancerSmart-Consumer-Guide.htm 135 Depression Gary Goldberg, PhD. "Depression: A n Overview." www.coolnurse.healthology.com search: depression Rama Pemmaraju, M D . "Understanding Childhood Depression." www.coolnurse.com/suicide.htm search: depression "Facts about Teen Depression." www.mooddisorders.on.ca/teens.html Andre Picard. "Kids do get depressed and need properly tested drugs." Globe & Mail, 29 Apri l 2004, A17. Smoking and Breast Cancer Anne Mcl l roy. "Teen smokers risk breast cancer." Globe & Mail. 4 Oct. 2002, A l , A 6 . Andre Picard. "Breast cancer risk doubles for women who smoke, study finds." Globe & Mail. 3 June 2005, A l l . Book Report Diane Swanson & Warren Clark (illus.). Nibbling on Einstein's Brain: The Good, the Bad and the Bogus in Science. Toronto: Annick, 2001. C H A P T E R F I V E Emotional Intelligence University of Missouri Human Environmental Science Outreach and Extension. Building Strong Families: Challenges and choices in research based educational programs. 6 Oct. 2005. http://outreach.rnissouri.edu/bsf/selfesteern/ Edutopia: The George Lucas Educational Foundation. "Emotional Intelligence: The 'Missing Piece. '" 22 Feb. 2001. www.edutopia.org/php/article.php ?id+Art_6680&&key=020 Emotional Intelligence Activities for pre-teens ages 11-12 www.operationhomefront.org/downnnloads/Emotional_Intelligence_l 1-12.pdf Tommye Lou Richardson. "The Importance of Emotional Intelligence During Transition into Middle School." Middle School Journal. Jan 2002, vol. 33, no. 3, 55-58. 136 Healthy Weight Susan Black. "Beyond Fat: Childhood obesity is a serious health problem - and one that schools can help address." American School Board Journal, Jan. 2004, vol.191, no.01. Leslie Beck. "Stop weight's gain on teenagers." Globe & Mail. 26 Oct. 2005, A19. Michael F . Filosa "The Rich Get Fatter, A n d Sweeter." Wellness Options: Diet and Health, no. 16, 2004,12-13. "Fabulous Foods For Y o u ! " www.coolnurse.com/fab_foods.htm " B M I Calculator - Frequently Asked Question" www.getkidsinaction.org/l_obesity/bmicalculator.php ?n=4 Crystal Methamphetamine Health Canada information on Crystal Meth. Jan 2006 www.bcpharmacists.org/resources/FYIandQA/ Gypsy Moth "Pest Detection and Management Programs" 17 Feb. 2006 www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/ispm/gm/ Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Forest Service background to gypsy moth 3 July 2002 www.cfl.scf.rncan.gc.ca/imfoc-idwcf/ficheinsecte_e.asp?id=9506 Canadian Food Inspection Agency Gypsy Moth Policy. 13 Nov. 1996 www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/protect/dir/d-96-19e.shtml B C Ministry of Agriculture and Lands background on Gypsy Moth. 19 Jan. 2006. www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/gypsymoth/ Christopher Lewis. Letter "Moth potion attracts them for years." Royal City Record/Now 27 Apri l 1996, 6. Editorial "This little egg hunt is long overdue." Royal City Record/Now. 18 Dec. 1996, 6. Greg K n i l l . "Gypsy moth eggs found in New Westminster." News Leader. 4 September 1996,3. Theresa McManus. "Spray opponents rally." Royal City Record/Now. 9 March 1996, 1. 137 Alcohol US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institutes of Health. "The young teen's place for information on alcohol and resisting peer pressure." www.thecoolspot.gov/index.asp "What is alcohol and background material." http://science.howstuffworks.com/alcoholl.htm "Effects of Alcohol on the Nervous System." http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/alco.html Health Canada "for every high there's a low - be drug wise." 2 Oct. 2006 http://drugwise-droguesoisfute.hc-sc.gc.ca/index_e.asp "Information on how to make informed decisions about your health." 8 Sept. 2005 www.hc-sc.gc.ca/jfy-spv/youth-jeunes_e.html Osteoporosis http://coolnurse.healthology.com/focus_article.asp?b=coolnurse&f=osteoporosis&c=osteo porosis_buildingbone&pg-2 http://www.osteoporosis.ca/english/home/default.asp?s=l Probabilities National Research Council. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D C : National Academy Press, 1989, 129-131. Sheryl Gay Stolberg. "Science, Studies & Motherhood." New York Times. 22 Apr i l 2001, 3. Peter McKnight. "How to read science: reports on research can be a minefield. Step carefully." Vancouver Sun. 14 February 2004, C5. Chemical Risk Gloria Galloway. "Experts weighing life's many risks." Globe & Mail, 12 July 2005, A 6 . "Natural Hazards and Risk Assessment" www.woodrow.org/teachers/esi/1997/53/risk.htm Gina Kolata. "The Painful Fact of Medical Uncertainty." New York Times. 22 Apr i l 2001, 3. Ken Friedman "Understanding Risk" based on Dorothy Patton "The A B C s of Risk Assessment." EPA Journal. Jan/Feb/Mar 1993 www.lehigh.edu/kaf3/public/www-data/risk/riskass.html 138 Sexual Orientation Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Answers to questions from LGBTQ." 24 Feb. 2006 http://www.teenwire.com Capital District Health Authority Public Health Services, Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. Teen health website with gay, lesbian, and bisexual links. 24 Feb. 2006 www.chebucto.ns.ca/Health/TeenhealtlvLinks/glb.htm Vancouver School Board policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two spirit or those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, www.web.apc.orgrjharnick/a/vsbpolic.html Donny Coram's High School Diary, 4 Sept. 2003 http://gaynofolk-net.nrfolk.on.ca/life-on-brians-beat/aaa/couldiha.html Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. 2006 www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/educator/educator/index.htm Resource for middle school teachers and curriculum specialists, classroom resources www.safeschoolscoalition.org/RG-teachers_middleschool.html National initiative by Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation about issues like sex, HIV/AIDS, violence, alcohol and drug abuse www.talkwithkids.org/sex.html Sexual orientation: questions and answers www.coolnurse.com/homosexuality.html American Psychological Association. "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality." 2006 www.apa.org/topics/sbehaviorsubl.html Barry MacDonald. Boy Smarts: Mentoring Boys For Success At School. Surrey, BC: Mentoring Press, 2005. CHAPTER NINE Parent Pressure Daniel J. Denoon. "Student Stress Starts Early. The Problem: Premature Pressure by Parents, Peers." 22 Aug. 2002 www.webmd.com/content/pages/1 l/40244.htm Coping with pressure http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/school/ Maurice J. Elias. "Middle School Transition: It's Harder Than You Think." National Association of Elementary School Principals. Winter 2001 www.naesp.org/ContentLoad.do ?contentId=519 139 Patricia Leigh Brown. "Latest Way to Cut Grade School Stress: Yoga ." www.aaafengshuiandyoga.com/yoga/Yoga-stress.html Terrorism "Maintaining a Healthy State of Mind . For Middle School Students: How might I feel after an act of terror?" 23 Feb. 2006 www.redcross.org/preparedness/cdc_english/CDCasp C H A P T E R T E N Search and Rescue Maurice Bridge. "Education only way to avoid deaths on slopes." Vancouver Sun. 12 Jan 2006,B1,B4. Skateboard Terminology www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/morgue/2001/2001_03_28.skateboard4.html www.boardpass.com/skateboard/knowledgebase/skatedefinitions.asp 140 


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