It was one of those tragedies that could have been avoided. It was both indulgent and unnecessary. Twenty-four university geology students on a field trip were crowded onto a lookout in the mountains. The lookout collapsed and the students fell thousands of feet down the cliff to inevitable death.
Let us compare details of two university students to better understand the sadness of what happened.
Donna Bella was enrolled at university to get a degree in Geology. She was bright, intelligent, and quite frankly full of herself. Her father (I know him from work) is a civil engineer. He said to his spoiled daughter, “You can do better than that”, and through various connections secured Donna Bella a grant to study nuclear physics at a rather prestigious institution. That is why Donna Bella wasn’t one of the geology students standing on the mountain lookout that collapsed.
On the other hand, Minnie-Martha had enrolled in geology and was standing on the mountain lookout when it collapsed. Obviously her father didn’t have the money to buy his daughter a degree from a prestigious university. Actually, she was my daughter. I cannot bear to say more. Enough said.
Some people think they can get away with things scot free. Not so, which is why I applaud the unidentified driver of the hit and run yesterday that ran over that selfish know-all called Donna Bella. She was crossing the road and the car didn’t just clip her; it went slap-bang wham full on. It was very satisfying.
Paddy was a bit of a plodder. At school he struggled with most subjects, but he was good with his hands and wanted to be a mechanic. A mechanic he became! He fixed mainly trucks. He was very good at it and enjoyed it very much.
Royce was good at everything. At school he got the top marks in nearly every subject he took. He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but the world was his oyster. He went to university and took economics. There’s good money to be had in that! After a year he got tired of that and thought he’d change to a degree in sports health. After all he held his previous school’s record in the high jump. Towards the end of the academic year, Royce thought he’d gone in the wrong direction and didn’t even turn up for the exams. Geology was his thing. A career in that would be both academic and outdoors.
“It’s good that Royce is checking out his options,” said his delighted parents. “So often young people go straight into a career which doesn’t suit them.”
After eight years at university “checking out his options”, Royce got a job at the local warehouse stacking cartons.
Throughout his childhood, Bonito loved Nature. He collected leaves of different plants and pressed them. He knew their names, both Common and Latin. He had pet macaws, and bred them. He even had a pet chinchilla!
Throughout his adolescence his love of Nature never wavered. His parents had a few acres, and he was allowed to have an alpaca. He called it Juan Carlos.
It was a natural step, when he left school, to begin studies to become a vet. He would become a specialist in veterinary services for farm animals. How exciting it was to begin the course in Biology at the university!
In the second week, the students had to dissect a guinea pig each. That was the end of Bonito’s dream. He walked out of class and never came back.
(This is my attempt to use a phrase in the passive voice! Grammar was never my strong point!)
It’s terrible. There was blood from one end of the bathroom to the other. Rosina’s body was on the floor. The rest of us had gone to the pub for the evening and left Rosina home because she had a chemistry assignment to finish as part of her university papers.
Rosina was a bit of a nerd. She never took part in any of the fun the rest of us students had. We would get most of the academic stuff out of the way by the weekend, so we could party. I admit, there were some recreational drugs, but it was pretty harmless. Rosina had threatened to report us, but she never did.
This weekend we were all at the pub except for Rosina who stayed in the shared student apartment to do her chemistry paper. The body was found when we got home.
Anyway, the bathroom was cleaned. Rosina was put in the chest freezer for a bit until people sobered up.
Most of Virgil’s friends were having a hard time in their first year at university. It wasn’t the tuition fees that were difficult; parents looked after that side of things in the main, and they had readied themselves for such expenses for years. And it wasn’t the cost of text books for each paper studied that was the great hardship. Parents had planned for that aspect as well.
What really got Virgil’s friends was the cost of booze. They were young only once, and the price of weekend partying was pretty crippling. And yet Virgil managed. He always seemed to have spare cash for partying on Saturday nights. His parents were not that well off. Virgil’s friends asked him his secret, but he wouldn’t tell. Surely he wasn’t a thief.
What Virgil had discovered was that, once he was in the system, a few minutes at the sperm bank a couple of times a week to make a deposit was all it took. Getting booze money was a pleasure.
The first year students at the prestigious university of agriculture had a week of orientation. They were introduced to all aspects of the subjects they would study over the next three to five years. Some would become farmers, some vets, some agricultural advisors. Some would specialize in horses; or sheep, or crops, or poultry, or household pets, or whatever.
At the end of the week, there was a meet-the-staff evening, with nibbles and drinks. Frances attended. She was on the university staff. She enjoyed watching the students attempt to ingratiate themselves with the staff members. “Ha! Ha! Ha! Professor! What a funny joke!”
Frances was surrounded by a gaggle of students; like wasps around a hummingbird feeder. How the students greased, and flattered, and sweet-talked!
“And what exactly do you lecture in, professor?” one student asked. Frances had been introduced as one of the more important people in the university’s Zoology Department.
“Call me Frances,” said Frances. “And, oh! didn’t I say? I clean out the pig sties.”