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Why Fools Pay Later or Jacobsonian Relaxation Techniques Really Work...

Updated on February 7, 2010

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Why Fools Pay Later or Jacobsonian Relaxation Techniques Really Work...

Mathematically speaking, I have little interest (no pun intended) in this title or for that matter this topic; however, do you remember someone telling you (perhaps way-back) that what you do may eventually sting or bite you or perhaps what goes around (by you) comes back around (to bite you)…

Well it is time to take a trip back to the 70s; yes the infamous era of disco, platform shoes and mullets (although in some countries – I happen to focus on Canada; mullets lasted well into the 90s-although I believe they surfaced in the 70s). My chronological age was 14; although, my mental age/maturity level was approaching 12. I went to the infamous Thornhill Secondary School (TSS) from 9th grade until graduation after the 13th grade. Yes I said 13th grade (don’t go there). What is worse than 12th grade; I would argue 13th grade. Enough said. Thank God, it was abolished as unnecessary and inhumane not unlike that Guantanamo High or naming your school after a historical massacre – Matanzas (High School).

I believe it was 10thgrade; picture our computer science class, it had no computers in 1975 -76. It really had nothing except a substantially brilliant teacher; however, the cards (FORTRAN) were stacked up against, and I do mean against our “teach”. Darcy (Darc Angel), Nic (Nicotine), I (Con) and a few other potential “terroridiots” referred to him rather sarcastically as Mr. Mr. Bivill. Although we joked, bantered and on occasion made fools of ourselves we did like him and respected his degree of expertise. We just thought we were abandoned, of no focus/attention by our relatively useless public high school and/or administration; thus, our resistance movement would be felt by the “grunts” (the front line teachers, guidance councilors, librarians especially if his name was Jerrrrrry). Of course this would be a significant flaw in our resistance movement. We should have impacted school, county - level administrators and parents-community to bring about change (more profoundly)...

Now we come to the subject at hand, namely computer science. Picture a computer science class with no computers (yes I did say no computers, if my brats ever complain about their computers; man oh-man, are they going to hear it from me). All we had were relatively uncomfortable desks and a chalk board. That was it! Our other town’s high school (Thornlea or “Thorn & flea”) had a big mainframe computer that we did get to see and use once every other month (we simply placed our FORTRAN cards in their precious “mainframe” and received an output on computer paper).

I believe it was February and it was another of many dreary days in Mr. Mr. Bivill’s class. It was the beginning of the end for me; I was beginning to hum to myself something like this FORMAT, READ, READ INPUT, TAPE, WRITE, and WRITE OUTPUT, PRINT.... The “evil” and hideous mantra placed in my mind by Mr. Mr. Bivill extraordinaire. I had to resist and fight back; he was turning me into a machine! I must resist; therefore, I got out of my desk (no one ever did this in his class) and laid down while he was facing away from me writing hideous symbols –flow-charting on the chalkboard. I simply laid down (on my back) in an aisle and closed my eyes. I waited forever (it was about 5 minutes standard time; however, in “Bivill time” it was 10 or 12 minutes). Just a couple nights ago my “evil” sister (of no step) had been reading some book called Jacobsonian Relaxation Techniques. I picked it up and read it for about 5 minutes before I became “bored” and placed it back down. There were a few chuckles before Darc Angel (Darcy) lost it and could not resist and said Con-man are you OK? Are you suffering? He snickered. Mr. Mr. Bivill responded immediately he came to me and said Mr. Connor what are you doing? The classroom was silent; could this be the proverbial critical moment at TSS this particular school-year? I think not, telepathically came from Mr. Mr. Bivill as he calmly (deadpan) repeated Mr. Connor what are you doing? (Did he read Jacobsonian Relaxation too)? I calmly replied Jacobsonian Relaxation, ahh, sir. His hand came to his beard, he thought for a few seconds as he retreated a few steps back up the isle and then he turned around and said Mr. Connor please get up return to your seat, that floor is nasty! Nothing more was said his “teaching” continued and I can honestly say I do not remember much else about that particular class; although, I do remember another coincidental "chance" encounter with Mr. Bivill.

Roll time ahead 20 years, I was visiting Canada and spending time with my big brother Dennis (yes, the same brother who taught little Johnny how to ride a bicycle). He was opening a new high school (Milliken Mills); he was a rightfully-proud principal charged with opening/planning this particular school. I was participating in the grand tour. It was an awesome looking school! We had just finished touring their impressive Arts Auditorium when he started telling about how 21st century this school was. It was wired! I mentioned to big bro that this was impressive and I was jealous because it was the antithesis of my experience with computer science at TSS and I recalled briefly Mr. Bivill’s class and the nightmarish mantra,

Within 10 minutes he was introducing me to this man who he had brought-in to head up computer science and to help operationalize the “high tech” stuff. My brother bragged about how his knowledge was above and beyond most and how much confidence he had in this gentleman. After he stated that, he formerly introduced me to him. He stated this is my little brother John (and added he is a psychologist).  John, this is David Bivill (my jaw dropped and I simultaneously turned 3 shades of red)! Oh my God, I thought to myself. I was not prepared for Mr. Bivill’s response. He too was embarrassed! He turned a few shades of red. I was not prepared for that. My astute brother read what was happening and said “You know each other.” Mr. Bivill spoke first (on purpose) with the mastery of the way I remember Henry Kissinger not so Chamberlain-like. He said how he remembered me as a student in 10thgrade computer science and how inquisitive I was especially about psychology. I replied that I was lucky to have Mr. Bivill as a teacher; he knew so much about computers and if it wasn’t for him I may not have become interested in psychology (especially relaxation techniques). I “shook” his hand and whispered an apology. Mr. Bivill Smiled and retreated to the task at hand.


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