January 7th, 2005

krazy koati

You think you've seen the sun

We had a seminar, from the counseling center, about what to do with students who've suffered from the tsunami. Unnecessarily distracting me was the counselors refusing to clip microphones on their clothes -- instead holding the clip-on microphones in their hands, so everything they said was too quiet or too sibilant. They also spoke in that aggressively gentle voice that I think is meant to be theraputic but strikes me as patronizing, and that seemed inappropriate in talking to people who just needed to know how to avoid making students' emotional turmoil worse. Also they pointed out they didn't have printouts of the slides but would e-mail them, and if we had questions please write them and pass them forward. Every five minutes.

Their slides identified way more stages of grief than I remembered. In middle school I learned of five stages, but they've got 13 now. I was surprised to learn the rough rules I'd figured out for talking on the mucks with people who have personal crises turn out to be almost exactly right (shut up and listen; empathize but don't say things like ``It's not that bad'' or ``you'll get over it''; don't ask for every sordid detail). This may be evidence that every furry suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from middle school.

It was a weird experience; the counselors knew any talk is more effective if it's lively and humorous, but that's the wrong tone for the topic. The emotion of the presentation kept swinging back and forth. I suppose I learned from it, but it was unsettling.

Trivia: Alfred Russel Wallace's middle name is short one `l', due to an error by the Usk (Wales) Registrar of Births. Source: Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov 1920-1954, Isaac Asimov.