Document 185511

BA., University of Calgary, 1986
M.A., Simon Fraser University, 1990
Ph.D., Simon Fraser University, 1998
(Children's Literature)
April 2006
© Lori L. Walker, 2006
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
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 l m 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.
A n d 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
50% - Select four health issues of concern, research, write a paper,
and present it to the class.
25% - five weekly exercises worth 5% each
25% - attendance and attitude
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.
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
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 highrisk 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.
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 first 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.
From: [email protected]
Subject: Class Notes
Date: Sept 11 9:07:17 PM PDT
To: <grahamb @>
CC: <[email protected]>
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
* 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
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.
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
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
storiesfloatingaround. Someone said Jasper Thomas diedfrommeningococcal, but he
just wasn'tbackfromholidays 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 andfluseason and everyone thinks they have meningitis.
Hie newspaper headlines are alarming and confusing, to say the least. One says "NO
ANXIOUS COMMUNITY.'' Someone heard that parents werefightingover 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 ifyou do get the shotyou
could still get sick ifyou 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.
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.
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
Bad bacteria in unpasteurized cheese
a. Bungyjumping
3. Catdander
4. Degradation ofvitiunins in microwave broccoli
5. Dirty cross checking in lacrosse
6. Hair loss
7. Lead poisoningfromplastic 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
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...
- 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
- 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
4. Another terrorist attack
5. Radiation from computers
6. Brain damage from cell phones
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
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? G o 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
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
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. W h y 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. W h y don't they just make it go away? What about the
beef producers in other countries? They are making serious coin off our country's
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
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 tryout. 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
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
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.
You told us that in early civilizations they didn't think about the concept ofrisk. 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 ofthe 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
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
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 thingifit 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!!!
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 selfimprovement. 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.
brought this topic up with two of my associates, and one (of the female
variety) said I'm being an idiot A G A I N 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 G."
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 oftimeon 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?
You asked us to follow Cole's example by picking the top riskfromour 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 kill the germs.
6. T R U E Y o u need to scrub hands with soap for 10-15 seconds before washing it off. A n d
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
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.
10. F A L S E A used Kleenex is an all-inclusive holiday for germs. B l o w your nose, throw
out the tissue, and wash your hands with soap!
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.
/ 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.
Ifinally 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
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.
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'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,
-1 need it to make the wrestling team
-1 need it to fit 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
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
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,
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
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.
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 Ifeel 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.
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 herface. She had a bag from the drugstore next door and she announced, "Girls,
finally going to do it. I'm going to lose those extra pounds I've been carrying
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
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.
Linday's Personal Risk Management Assignment - Oct. 7, 2005
Instructions: Select a risk that concerns you and answer the following questions.
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
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
M a i l thinks this message is Junk M a i l
From: [email protected]
Subject: yakkin'
Date: Friday Oct. 7, 2005
To: [email protected]
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.
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.
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.
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
Urgent L o c k e r Door Communique to Lindsay
from C & G
This is in the e u e n t t h a t y o u do not r e c e i u e a n d / o r r e a d an e m a i l c o m m u n i q u e f r o m G. sent during c o m p u t e r lab this
a f t e r n o o n . M e e t us a f t e r s c h o o l at the f r o n t d o o r s . M i s s i n g o u r
usual e x c h a n g e of i r o n y a n d c l e u e r b a n t e r . Plus we n e e d y o u r
help on the h o m e w o r k a s s i g n m e n t .
Hu r e u o i r , m a p e t i t e p o t a t o b u g .
M a i l thinks this message is Junk M a i l
From: [email protected]
Subject: hello how are you?
Date: Tuesday Oct. 11
To: [email protected]
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
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
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
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.
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
knife. But I still cry when they come back to their family new and improved. I don't know
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.)
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 first 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.
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,
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
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 W H A T 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 first 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
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,
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
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 ofpeople who got die letters went on die web to look up information on die
problem, and diey hit dtis website that talked about overuse ofpesticides 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
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.
Cole's Journal Wed. Oct. 19
Hey! Principal Glade announced there was going to be a school dance. Dingdong! 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
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
" 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...
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
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
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. H o w 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 kill 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
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.
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 J C 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,
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
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
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
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 hardtimeseeing different points ofview 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.
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 ofgypsy 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
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
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
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 J C
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. It 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.
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
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
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.
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 ofsomeone 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 email 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 ofit! I don'tlike that kind of attention. I like to flyin under die radar, as
you know.
Carly and J C ' s fact sheet on Osteoporosis
You may be saying to yourself, "I'm young and
beautiful. Why should I care about...
What is it anyway?
K n o w n as "brittle bone disease"
One in four women over fifty and one in eight men are at risk of fractures from
Develops over a long period of time so you might not know you have it until it is too
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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. Ijust 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 offdoingodier 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
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?
Book Review on Recommended Reading for Risk Unit
by Graham
Nibbling on Einstein's Brain: The Good the Bad and the Bogus in Science
Diane Swanson
Warren Clark
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.
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.
Chapter Nine
Urgent Locker Door Communique to 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
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.
Or maybe that would just make us as mean as she is. So why are some kids so mean,
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
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 diefirstserious 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
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
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 S K I 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 first girlfriend, and wasn't it time for me
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!
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.
D o more sports.
D o 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
T H E B R I G H T 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 :
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.
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.
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 will 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 will calm you down and w i l l give you a chance to decide what
is really important. Imagine yourself in a peaceful place, warm and calm. Breathe
deeply. Repeat.
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,
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
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.
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
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
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 someonefinallyrescued him, and if he woidd wake
up if he happened to fall asleep, but he also dioughtaboutLindsay and I and howwe have
managed to befriendsover 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 asfriends,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
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 disappointedwell, 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, ifwe 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.
I don't think diis ABBA diing woidd be happeningifwe 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 ofbounds 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
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-tobackside 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
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. It 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
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 didfall 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
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 ofstuff, and workinghard at
school gives people somediing to focus on if diey are getting picked on, something to feel
good about, and afirstclassticketinto 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
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
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
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 themfit,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?
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.
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. A n d 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
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.
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. A v o i d the things that make you feel like smoking. G o 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 will 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
12. If you are smoking because you think it will 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!
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 will 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. A s 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
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 will be able to use it for any future
stressful situation you find yourself in. A n d it will be your greatest weapon during cigarette
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
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. It 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
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
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.)
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,
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.
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."
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
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 myfriendsare 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 brieftimefor 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 ofview 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 infife;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.
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
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
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 R I P P E R - 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.
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 forfitnessand 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. Ifiguredout 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
Petticrisp on... Your Life
Welcome to my life skills class! Y o u may be wondering, " W h y do I have to take this
dumb course anyway?" W e l 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 will 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.
Y o u are ultimately in charge. Y o u 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!
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 k i d 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_ k i d going to
get sick?" There is a lot of uncertainty with health risks like this one, and that scares
Risk information is also very complicated. W e 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. A n d even trying to explain risk can be a risky business.
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? W e are surrounded by risks: products
with chemicals, cars that produce exhaust that harms the environment and our lungs, food
that is genetically engineered. W e 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.
W e 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). W e often
think that catastrophic events like plane crashes are more risky than familiar events like car
accidents. W e 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
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.
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 i f it is
introduced into your body. Y o u can't catch the illness that you are being immunized
against from the vaccine. N o r 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 will 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 will always be some uncertainty when science and risk are involved.
Petticrisp on... What is a " R i s k " 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.
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. Y o u might also have a hard time sleeping, eating, breathing
or even just paying attention. Y o u may feel sweaty, shaky, and your heart may race. Y o u
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 will 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.
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, M s . Petticrisp, you don't have parents and coaches
who are breathing down your neck about "doing your best." W h y 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.
N E W S T I L T O N P U B L I C H E A L T H D E P T . (brochure)
The "Teen Years" are full of challenges and opportunities. F o r 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 will 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. A n d we're super-sizing our servings of this unhealthy
Less physical activity - More people live in cities and work in jobs that do not involve
physical exertion. W e 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. B a d 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.
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.
- A v o i d trendy diets and diets with prepackaged food or drinks. These are expensive shortterm 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.
M s Petticrisp on... Emotional Intelligence
So you come to school thinking that the whole point of the exercise is to get better grades.
Well, surprise, surprise. Being intelligent isn't just about being "smart." W e 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. W e are just going to recognize that we have a range of emotions, others
have them too, and they are important. Improving your emotional intelligence will 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!
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
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?
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? O r tracked into the house on kids'
No trapping or spraying should take place until long-term studies are conducted. W e 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
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. T o do nothing is not one of them.
Betsy Anderson,
New Stilton Gardener
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
will 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 will 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.
Petticrisp on ... Chemical Risk
Do you worry about the tiny particles of chemicals and pesticides we track into the house
on our shoes? W e 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. H o w much of the substance is required to cause harm (toxicity)
2. How the substance enters your body (routes of exposure, skin, inhalation, ingestion)
3. H o w 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. A n d 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
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. H o w low doses of pesticides affect our health is a huge
area of study and uncertainty.
There will 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. W e need good brains like yours to help us answer the tough questions and look at
the uncertainty surrounding chemical risks.
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 will 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. A n d although we can choose
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.
Y o u 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-
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.
Career and Personal Planning ( C A P P ) Curriculum
B C Ministry of Education Curriculum Subject Areas and IRPs (Integrated Resource
Packages) for Personal Planning K to 7. 28 July 2005
Appendix A - Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Personal Planning K - 7 . N o v . 24, 1999
Meningococcal Infections
Health Canada. 11 Oct. 2005. ("It's your health" and "Statement on Recommended Use
of Meningococcal Vaccines") (search Meningococcal Vaccine)
// (search health topics - meningitis) A p r i l 2004
meningococcal C infections A p r i l 2005
World Health Organization meningococcal fact sheet M a y 2003
Health Risks
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Smoking Risk
The Foundation for a Smokefree America (founded by Patrick Reynolds, grandson of the
founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company)
Health Canada Youth Zone 6 Oct. 2005
quitting smoking, reasons not to smoke, what's in tobacco
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"Meningitis suspected in student's death: 13-year-old Surrey girl who died Thursday was
fine the day before." Vancouver Sun. 21 M a y 2004, B 5 .
"What causes infectious diseases?" Wellness Options: Outbreaks, no. 14, 2003, 14-15.
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Hand Washing
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M a d C o w Disease
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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 A p r i l
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Risk Perceptions
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National Research Council. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D C : National
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Maggie Fox. "Autism surrounded by misunderstandings - experts." 20 Feb. 2006. U S
National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
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History of Risk
Vincent T. Covello and Jeryl Mumpower. "Risk Analysis and Risk Management: A n
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L . Oppenheimer. Ancient Mesopotamia.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
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 A u g . 2005, B 9 .
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."
"Everyone else is using them ... why not me? The truth about anabolic steroids."
1 Dec. 2003 (search anabolic steroids)
Hand Washing
"Why is it important to wash our hands?" A u g . 2004
search: hand washing
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of Common Infections." 1 N o v . 2004
American Society for Microbiology. "Another U S airport travel hazard - dirty hands." 15
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M . Granger Morgan. "Risk Analysis and Management." Scientific American. July 1993,
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Household Chemicals
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Healthy Weight
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"Fabulous Foods For Y o u ! "
" B M I Calculator - Frequently Asked Question" ?n=4
Crystal Methamphetamine
Health Canada information on Crystal Meth. Jan 2006
Gypsy M o t h
"Pest Detection and Management Programs" 17 Feb. 2006
Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Forest Service background to gypsy moth 3
July 2002
Canadian Food Inspection Agency Gypsy Moth Policy. 13 N o v . 1996
B C Ministry of Agriculture and Lands background on Gypsy M o t h . 19 Jan. 2006.
Christopher Lewis. Letter "Moth potion attracts them for years." Royal City
27 April 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 N e w Westminster." News Leader. 4 September
Theresa M c M a n u s . "Spray opponents rally." Royal City Record/Now.
9 M a r c h 1996, 1.
U S 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."
"What is alcohol and background material."
"Effects of Alcohol on the Nervous System."
Health Canada "for every high there's a low - be drug wise." 2 Oct. 2006
"Information on how to make informed decisions about your health." 8 Sept. 2005
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 A p r i l 2001,
Peter McKnight. " H o w to read science: reports on research can be a minefield. Step
carefully." Vancouver Sun. 14 February 2004, C 5 .
Chemical Risk
Gloria Galloway. "Experts weighing life's many risks." Globe & Mail, 12 July 2005, A 6 .
"Natural Hazards and Risk Assessment"
Gina Kolata. "The Painful Fact of Medical Uncertainty." New York Times. 22 A p r i l 2001,
Ken Friedman "Understanding R i s k " based on Dorothy Patton "The A B C s of Risk
Assessment." EPA Journal. Jan/Feb/Mar 1993
Sexual Orientation
Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Answers to questions from LGBTQ." 24
Feb. 2006
Capital District Health Authority Public Health Services, Dalhousie University Faculty of
Medicine. Teen health website with gay, lesbian, and bisexual links. 24 Feb. 2006
Vancouver School Board policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two
spirit or those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity,
Donny Coram's High School Diary, 4 Sept. 2003
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. 2006
Resource for middle school teachers and curriculum specialists, classroom resources
National initiative by Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation about issues like
sex, HIV/AIDS, violence, alcohol and drug abuse
Sexual orientation: questions and answers
American Psychological Association. "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual
Orientation and Homosexuality." 2006
Barry MacDonald. Boy Smarts: Mentoring Boys For Success At School. Surrey, BC:
Mentoring Press, 2005.
Parent Pressure
Daniel J. Denoon. "Student Stress Starts Early. The Problem: Premature Pressure by
Parents, Peers." 22 Aug. 2002 l/40244.htm
Coping with pressure
Maurice J. Elias. "Middle School Transition: It's Harder Than You Think." National
Association of Elementary School Principals. Winter 2001 ?contentId=519
Patricia Leigh Brown. "Latest Way to Cut Grade School Stress: Y o g a . "
"Maintaining a Healthy State of M i n d . For Middle School Students: H o w might I feel
after an act of terror?" 23 Feb. 2006
Search and Rescue
Maurice Bridge. "Education only way to avoid deaths on slopes." Vancouver Sun. 12 Jan
Skateboard Terminology