Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 13

One of my good buds from college was a Religious Studies major. In fact, he ended up earning an MA in it, but has since taken to teaching high school kids because the lecturer market has tightened so much recently.  I remember he took a class with a professor from sub-Sahara Africa. His name was Dr.---Man, I can't remember, but I want to say Dr. Kiko. Either way, he's not there anymore I'm sure.  Nonetheless, he taught African regional religions and focused a lot on common sense --much like Buddhism does. He would call students one of two things. If they came to class and participated, they would be called "Wisdom Kings" and "Wisdom Queens". However, the students who chose to skip the class were referred to simply as "foolish".

My friend claimed that he was always called a Wisdom King and I'd believe it. He was pretty well grounded even if he did look like an Irish Jesus. If I was in the class, I would have been called "foolish". Even with perfect attendance, I firmly believe that I was then and still am a bit "foolish". Dr. Kiko would have had fun with me. 

To prove my foolishness, I'd like to share a story. First of all, I'd like to say that my current profession is full of foolishness. I won't say that I'm surrounded by actual fools --that would be unfair-- but I can say that I'm surrounded by people who do perfectly foolish things.  For instance, the moment I arrived at the office today, my manager pulled me into to her office. On her desk was a piece of paper that was titled, "Monkey Business: Korean Room Salons". I had read the article already and knew that if it was sitting on the desk of my manager that some genius teacher had decided that it would be a good topic for their discussion classes. 

Room salons in Korea are quite interesting to discuss with friends, family or perhaps even colleagues, but it just doesn't work in a language class. Explaining sex act terminology to groups of low-level English speakers is a disaster waiting to happen and, in this particular class, most students demanded refunds or to be switched to another class. That's a headache for management. It damages our reputation and pretty much forces me to have a sit-down discussion about ethics and professional responsibility with people who should damn well know better.

"So, tell me about the room salon class," I started.

"The students chose the topic. I gave them five options," he confidently chimed back as if he was expecting such a reaction.

"Fine, but you still chose to include that one as one of the options."

"Yeah, I didn't read the whole article before."
"Wouldn't that have been a good idea? You know, just in case some overly crass language was included."
He was now looking down at his Ipad rather than at me. Weak, rude and cowardly.

"Yeah, I guess. Sorry."
And that is how it goes in the wonderful world of managing foolishness. I make my case. They hear it; deny it and then ignore it. Not that I want to, but I can easily can them and if I employed Korean management styles to such a situation, this fellow would be packing his bags for California. I don't though. I try to be understanding considering the fact that being fired from an English teaching gig doesn't simply mean rewording your resume. Immigration has to get involved as do landlords, housing managers, directors, banks and a laundry list of other people.After my super successful meeting with this guy, I needed to discuss it further with my boss. She, however, is pretty busy and our schedules never seem to match-up, so when I saw her in the hallway I decided to have a little walk-and-talk with her. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, but this time it didn't go as smoothly.

"Alright, I talked to ________ and he said--"
Just as I said his name, he popped up from around the corner. He had heard the first part of our impromptu conversation about him. Not only that, but he was walking up the same hall we were walking down. I had to either end the conversation or continue on. I ended it, but my silence was so damn awkward and forced that we all ended up losing in this situation. I was extremely foolish not to wait until the proper time and place was afforded to us to discuss such a situation. Now, I feel like I'm a brown-noser trying to shit on my teachers rather than stick up for them. I should have kept my mouth shut and waited.
"After all, even fools may be thought wise and intelligent if they stay quiet and keep their mouths shut. -Proverbs 17:28

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