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Questioning My Own Existence

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I’m really starting to question my own existence. Yesterday was just my final proof that I don’t really live in this world. I guess I’m in some alternate reality or some crap like that. Okay, so I’m just being a tad bit sarcastic as usual, but it always seemed funny to me how I was left off of any and all lists that my name could be on. It’s not that no one thinks I exist, just anyone related to any educational establishment, apparently. Deep Run and VCU.

It started my Freshman year of high school. I had purchased a yearbook, but for some reason the lists at the end of the year had absolutely no indication that I had ever paid for one. The next year, when the student information sheets that everyone in the entire Henrico County Public Schools system receives to verify and update name, address, and other contact information, I didn’t get one, and they said they weren’t sure if there was a record of me in their information database. They had one somewhere and finally figured it out, but how’s that for strange?

Well, yesterday was my final indication in case I needed any more proof that I do not exist on this earth, at least according to any educational entity. I was at the Alpine Bagel Company inside the commons at VCU trying to grab a bagel before class. Not so much to ask, right? Well I guess I was wrong. The girl looked me straight in the face and took my order, I paid for it, and then she forgot she was supposed to make mine. After waiting for ten minutes while seemingly fifty more people were served who were in line behind me, she apologized and said my bagel was coming right up. Well, apparently it slipped her mind again and she served a few more people before I walked up to the counter and watched her make the freaking thing. I was like one of those dumb magic shows on prime time TV where they’re like “Watch closely as Veronica is sawed in half; this camera will not cut away…”. I barely blinked as she smeared cream cheese on my bagel until it was nestled safely in my hands.

So I wanted my typical Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks to go with it. I walked over to the Cabell Library to get my fix of my favorite drink, and, yep you guessed it, repeat situation. They forgot me once there, which I guess is a better track record than the bagel place, but wow. I’m gonna have to start lighting traffic flares from on top of my head and wave around sparklers or something to make sure people know I’m around I guess. Maybe a flashing LED “Trevor needs food just like everyone else in line” wouldn’t hurt, either. I’ll just wear it around my forehead or something.

West Virginia Considering Giving Middle Schoolers Rifles?

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You’ve got to be kidding me. With all the issues with kids bringing guns to school, they’re doing this? West Virginia wants to bring back hunting education in their middle schools. Yeah, okay. That’s just a wonderful idea! The supporters of the plan below say that they would teach kids other things besides hunting skills, such as how to whittle a stick, apparently, claiming that that’s something today’s youth need to know how to do. Absolutely vital! Shoot, the last stick I whittled was a pencil. And that was years ago before I had mechanical pencils. And it was with an electric pencil sharpener, too. Anyway, the whole reason they’re considering bringing this back is because there’s a declining number of people in West Virginia getting hunting licenses. Anyone ever consider that’s because, on the contrary, there’s an increasing number of cars on the road these days and there’s more roadkill than ever? That’s the West Virginia equivalent of going to a butcher shop. Why kill the cow when you can select the best cut of meat and cook it right on up? Wait, I didn’t say that, did I?

A bill introduced by a Wyoming County [West Virginia] senator could bring hunter education back to the state’s middle schools.

“It’s about time,” said hunter-education instructor Don Shumake. “I got a big smile on my face and clipped it out of the newspaper.”

Children would be instructed in everything from survival skills to gun safety, but the guns would either have dummy ammunition or be disabled. Sen. Billy Wayne Bailey, who introduced the bill, doesn’t envision West Virginia’s middle-school students firing real guns during class time.

Hunter education in schools in nothing new. The program’s roots are in West Virginia middle schools.

The course teaches the dangers of guns and the respect one must show a firearm, it also teaches boating safety, has an extensive hypothermia section and first aid, including bleeding and respiratory management. Children also learn survival skills.

Hunter education is especially important since many children don’t receive such instruction at home, Shumake said.

“People donĂ¡t have somebody to show you that when you cut a stick, you cut away from you and other life lessons,” he said. “They are getting more than just a shooting education. They learn about firearms, it’s not fair not offer it to children who really want to understand. I would rather see them look back and say `boy, I’m glad I had that class,’ instead of saying `boy, I wish I knew what I could have done.'”

Superintendent Bill Niday said some hunting classes have been taught in Wood County Schools, though they have always been optional for student participation.

“I can remember at times the Department of Natural Resources have done some classes in the schools,” he said. “I know that some physical education and health classes have touched on aspects of that. At Parkersburg South High School, part of their physical education program is archery.”

Niday said as long as such courses are left up to the discretion of administrators and students, there shouldn’t be an issue.

“If schools have a need, I don’t see a problem,” he said, “but I would hate to see that become a mandatory part of the curriculum.”

Shumake said the program would lighten the load of hunter-education classes. Those classes held in the fall, especially just before deer season in November, fill up rapidly and those who wait to long to enroll will likely miss that year’s deer season. The state requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1975, to complete the course before buying a hunting license.

West Virginia, where roughly 320,000 people participated in the gun season for bucks, may be the only state in the country contemplating such a bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hunting is a huge part of life in West Virginia, but, mirroring a national trend, the number of hunters buying permits has been declining for years.

The state sold 154,763 hunting permits to residents in 2006, according to the Division of Natural Resources, a 17 percent drop from 1997. Although West Virginia still ranks in the top six nationally for sales of nonresident permits, the decline is being felt at the state Capitol.

Nationally, the number of hunters 16 and older stands at roughly 12.5 million, a decline of 10 percent from 1996 to 2006, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

You Know You Go To VCU When…

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Wow, I saw some weird things today at school. First off, there was a guy riding a unicycle down the sidewalk in what looked like a genuine attempt to get to class rather than a spectacle. Second, a group of ten guys were in the bathroom at the library standing in a line, backing up one step at a time to see how far back they could read the small print “Please wash your hands” sign. There were a couple other things, some of which I won’t even repeat on here, that I guess are just commonplace at VCU. The funniest thing about all of them, though, is that nobody even thinks anything of them at all. I’ve always found people watching to be interesting, but never so much as at VCU.

On a kind of sad note (for me), it looks like my best friend, Jen, is probably going to end up going to Liberty next year… if so it’s really gonna suck here without her. We’ll see what happens.