Big giant head


In Other News

Hey, anybody out there want to help me out? Or, perhaps more importantly, help other people out?

One of my side jobs is being a Community Manager for It's a site affiliated with former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, devoted to providing information and resources for self health care. My section, Addiction & Recovery, is geared toward just that: addiction and recovery from all sorts of addictions, everything from alcohol to gambling to drugs to you name it. We have public message boards you can post questions and answers on, but the main thing we do is host chats at the site. For example, I host the chat "Living With Sobriety" every Friday night from 10 - 11 pm EST in the Sanctuary chat room. Feel free to drop on by to visit some time.

So what can you do for me...and others? I'm always looking for people to host chats for my community. We have four chats going now on alcohol, prescription meds, and internet addiction, but I'd like to add some more and I need hosts to do it. So. If you'd like to devote an hour or so of your time every week to host a chat on just about any topic related to addiction and/or recovery to just about anything, I'd sure love to have you. It's an unpaid position, but there are perks that go with it that I can tell you about after you step up and volunteer. Interested? Lemme know.


Thursday - May 13, 1999
A Touch of Class

Well, that wasn't so bad. The Excel class, that is. It had been coming, I knew it had been coming, but I didn't really want it to come. I'm not that comfortable with Excel yet and I don't like teaching what I'm not comfortable with. I'll teach Outlook on autopilot any day -- I'm our resident Outlook expert -- but the prospect of teaching that Excel class gave me the heebie-jeebies. The only way to get comfortable with it, of course, is to work on it.

Procrastinator that I am, I kept putting it off. Each month, I'd get the new schedule and breath a sigh of relief when I saw I wasn't scheduled for Excel. Oh, good, I have more time to prepare, I'd think. And then, of course, I wouldn't. And then this month, there it was: Excel. Me. Uh oh. No more time.

I went through this when Word came up in the rotation, too. Yes, I know: "Word? Puh-leaze." Yes, Word. We all use it, we all think we know it, but when it comes time to teach a roomful of people how to use it we find we don't know it quite as well as we thought. Format Painter? Autotext? Columns? "Uh... You do it like this ... I think. You know, this is an excellent time for us to see how the Help function works." It's hard to fake your way through this stuff when your monitor is projected on a screen for all to see. Preparation is a must. Unless, of course, you like looking stupid. I don't.

So Excel was coming up and I'd been putting it off. Last two nights: cram session. By last night I felt okay about it. Not great, not solid, but okay. Sort of. I'd be fine, just as long as they didn't ask me anything hard. Like, say, how to enter data in a cell. Or what a cell is. Or how to open Excel. Oh yeah, I was ready.

Last night was djarem karet (I'm probably spelling that wrong) time: The Hour That Stretches. The class was at 8:30 a.m. this morning, less than 12 hours away, and that was just too soon. So I stayed up late. Really late: 3:00 a.m. Cramming? No; surfing the net. Wasting time. Stretching that hour out as far as it would go. If I went to sleep, then when I woke up it would be as if that time had passed in a blink. The class would come faster, you see? So I stayed up late just to be aware of time passing, so 8:30 would stay further away longer. Every minute I was awake was a minute I could enjoy not having to teach the class now.

Oh, stop laughing. I know it's stupid, but it has its own twisted brand of logic if you think about it long enough. At least it does at 3:00 a.m.

So anyway, 8:30 came soon enough and it was Go time. And I went. And I killed, baybee, killed! They loved it. Solid 5's (the highest rating possible) on the evaluation forms the students fill out at the end of class. I don't put much stock in those scores -- I usually get 5's in everything I teach and I figure they don't know any better because they don't know what I'm not teaching -- but I guess I didn't tank too badly if I didn't get 3's...or less. It has happened, you know. Not to me, of course, but it's happened.

So now there's a new crop of freshly Chuck-taught hospital employees out there, feeling good about themselves because they know how to use Excel. That pride won't last, of course. Sooner or later somebody's going to tell them: That's not Excel, you idiot, it's Wordpad.


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Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins