Defenders of Time! (with a hair of father’s day)

I’ll be honest week two at LANL wasn’t near as entertaining as week one. The vast majority of the week consisted of trying to stay awake in lectures and praying for extreme amounts of patience and charity towards a colleague of mine.

There were some highlights though. I was offered my first alcoholic beverage this week, whilst attending one of the most terrible park concert series that I have ever been to. Let’s just say the bar band “Igor and the Red Elvises” was bad enough that there were more open containers in this park then there were people. Turns out in a town where 1 in 4 have PhDs there is still some awesome white trash. I almost took some pictures but skin tight alligator skin booty shorts and the like are just too much for a family friendly website.

As to the alcohol offer, it was simply a kind gesture from a new friend here and I almost decided to make that the topic of my thoughts today, but then we had the word of wisdom lesson in church today so I felt like I would be beating a dead horse.

Let’s see. Other highlights include seeing the world’s largest pulsed magnetic field lab, which I could spew forth nerdom about for a good while but I will just summarize by saying, giant equipment is awesome. I also got roped into playing a deck building harry potter game which was fun, for the first hour, but after two and a half, I was ready to let Voldemort rule the world.

So I am plumb out of inspirational words and stories today, but I have been thinking about sharing an oldie but a goodie and reading my brothers awesome blog post today ( put me over the edge. Be warned thought don’t expect to be anywhere as well entertained.


Back in the winter 2010 I was a pretty rough around the edges senior at Sky View High School in Smithfield Utah.  Not rough in a edgy sense, but rather at that point in my life I had pretty well concluded that if high school students were doing dumb things, it was by their own foolish and educated choice and they needed to know it. So rather than being charitable towards many of my peers immaturity, if I found their actions were cramping my style would call them on the floor about it. Needless to say such deeply committed beliefs didn’t win me and congeniality awards. Thankfully my mission did a lot to smooth my shortsightedness but sadly that wouldn’t be for another 8-10 months.

So with that preface, picture me walking into my first hour Nutrition class. Now I probably ought to mention that, at this point I had been girding my loins for this class for a while. You see, nutrition was a concurrent enrollment class that counted for a heft general up at Utah State. As it just so happened I had just watched my brother take the class on campus and almost get destroyed by its memorization and monotony, so I figured I better sign up and take it while I was still in high school where the classes were typically easier.

So with academic credit being my only motive to attend, I was further girded because the instructor had gotten some serious notoriety among my peers. The trimester previous a few of my very best, and almost angelic friends, had been sent to the principal’s office by here and at one point and apparently she had even tried to send the whole class down to his office at one point.

Knowing my friends and knowing myself, I knew I was in for a treat. When I got to class, my worst fears started to come true. Lady Gaga was blaring over some over-sized speakers and there sat my instructor who by looks alone struck me as someone who was trying harder to hip with the students than be a leader of students.

The composition of the class presented another dilemma for me, as I recall two-thirds of the class was what I saw as junior groupie girls who had taken the instructors fashion and sewing classes and had fallen in love and the last third was a perfect storm of some of my very, very, best friends, who were only there to get the credit and no doubt would make quite an audience for any shenanigans I caused in that class.

So the semester started rolling along, as a topic, nutrition actually was something I was interested in, but felt I had a pretty good grasp on thanks to a dietitian sister who was also diabetic, as well as a diabetic, Agricultural scientist, father. Nutrition wasn’t a joke at my house. I am still paranoid I am going to e.coli poisoning or Hantavirus before I die (no I don’t eat mice, nor their droppings). So I felt like for the most part this class was a little beneath me.

So I rolled my eyes a lot in class and made a lot of snide jokes but nothing to exceed the usual that I did in most classes, and not enough to catch the attention of the instructor. However things started to escalate when she started lecturing through our “Channel One” time. Maybe you did or maybe you didn’t have the pleasure in your high school, but Channel One was the 15 minute news report where Lisa Ling told us everything that was happening in the world. By our senior year, no one watched it, but teachers risked riots if they tried to consistently infringe on this 15 minute student social hour.

After about two weeks of having the television turned off after it would magically turn on each day, a friend and I found ourselves lamenting our plight as we left class one Friday morning. As a joke I mentioned to him how funny it would be to get a universal remote and magically make the TV turn back on after she turned it off. Not thinking of this as more than windy aspirations I was both surprised and overjoyed when on Monday of the next week my friend showed my what he had acquired from the dollar store. Rushing to have it ready before class, we ran to one of our favorite teachers classrooms and programmed the remote on his identical TV. He told us that he washed his hands of any of our mischief. We called ourselves the defenders of time.

So with the tool in hand, we formulated a plan. No one person would use the remote two days in a row and we would use it sparingly, just enough to disturb but not so much to raise a flag. I had the first assignment. That Monday about five minutes after she had turned the television off the first time, right in the swing of her lecture, I pointed the remote through the meshy pocket of my coat and fired. That day we only disturbed a little. Tuesday it happened twice and somewhere around Thursday or Friday she ripped the power cable of the TV out of the wall and screamed to my third of the class that she knew it was one of us.  As we left class, one of our friends ever so sneakily plugged the TV back in. When Monday rolled around and Channel One came on. She surrendered, our guerrilla insurgency had won the day.

Truthfully I probably ought to stop the story at this point. To this day I have no regrets towards the defenders of time incident, but sadly, this was only around midterm, and the escalation had only just begun.

As you might imagine, going to high school in Logan Utah approximately 95% of our school was at least to some degree or another of the Latter Day Saint (LDS) faith. The majority of our instructors handled the church and state thing quite well recognizing that the faith’s culture was prevalent but recognized that there were still topics they had to cover. One would think this wouldn’t be much of an issue in a nutrition class but this instructor who I already was struggling with took it upon herself to point out every time science deviated from the teachings “Of a certain predominate religion” (her words not mine). This began to bug me to no end and in class at one point I even called her out on it during her lecture. It didn’t go over well and I am still not sure how I didn’t get sent to the principal’s office.

The climax, however, hit when we started talking about diabetes one Thursday morning. As I mentioned previously, I am no stranger to the disease, or at least Type 1 of the disease. The type that, unlike Type 2, was due to no nutritional fault of their own had severely altered the lives of my father and sister. So it should come as no surprise that on that morning when she began to tell all my peers that all diabetics were nothing but over weight fat-fats and refused to even mention that there were different types, I just about lost my mind. Now I will be honest and say right here is where my  memory gets a little hazy, which sadly I will admit compromises the grandeur of this story just a little bit. You see, I cannot remember just what “fact she stated,”  that she claimed applied to ALL diabetics, I believe it was something to the effect that all diabetics were obese if not morbidly obese but I can’t be sure. Whatever it was that she said, without being called on, I declared to the class that what she just said was blatantly wrong and was misrepresenting diabetics. rather than getting mad at me she seemed to take it as a challenge.

Somehow I made it out of that period alive, but after school that day, one of my friends who had the same course and instructor, later in the afternoon told me to watch out because in class they had been informed that I was full of crap. Even a stranger I had never met before came up to me and asked what I did to light this teachers fuse.

The next morning I went in with a hoody on, kept my hood up, and swore I would just shut up and make it through the shortened Friday class period without saying a word. But to my chagrin the class started with the words “as you may remember, yesterday Mr. Rupp and myself got into a little bit of a discussion.” I was doomed. She would always lecture from her computer behind us as she ran her power points and at this point she flashed some slide about diabetics with obesity or some such. She told what she had read thanks to my challenge (which by the way didn’t address my point in the least) and then finished her little spiel with the question “Now what do you think about that Mr. Rupp?”

Despite my hopes, instead of punishing me she decided to provoke me, and 18 year old Ty was not about to back down. Ignoring her question, and her gaze (she was behind me after all) I turned to my best friend Austin, and loud enough for the whole class to hear I sad “You know Austin, you can wrestle with a pig in the mud all you want, the funny thing is, however, that even though you are both going to get muddy, only the pig is going to enjoy it.” There was an audible gasp from the groupie section of the room, but mostly just pure silence. I moved my gaze forward and felt the lasers of her eyes bore into the back of my head. I had done it this time. I was done for. But after a moment no reprimand came, rather her sobs were audible as my nutrition teacher ran and locked herself in her office.

After ten minutes we all just left class. I felt awful, but just a hair vindicated as well. Needless to say my already questionable reputation among the lady bobcats dropped a few more points as the story spread through the school. I went home that day with some awesome guilt and being the push over that I am, pried my dad away from his newspaper and told him what had happened. His simple response to my story was “Well you know what you have to do.” This was typical of my dad, no punishment, rather, he just appealed to my already large amount of guilt. When a similar incident occurred in 7th grade, there was no being grounded or privileges being revoked, just a firm expression of disappointment and the assignment to read a 500 page Miss Manners book (Which I highly recommend, despite being a little dated).

So bright and early Monday morn I went in and apologized to my teacher. Using my best Henry Kissinger impersonation I expressed regret for the way I had publicly aired my grievances about her instructional style rather than approaching her in private. She started crying again and accepted the apology. Miraculously I was off the hook. The rest of the term I just kept my nose to the grindstone and kept my comments to myself.

Truthfully the best part of the story came at the end of the year at our school awards assembly where again I was seated next to my friend Austin. When they were about announce the teacher of the year award we joked at how funny it would be if our nutrition teacher got the award. Turns out she did. We were stunned. As she got up to the podium she was again weeping and expressed to the audience that she was speechless then she said that she “hadn’t been speechless since Ty Rupp was in her class.” To make matters worse somewhere in that auditorium my mother was seated because I had just gotten some dumb award for being a nerd, and even though I had shared the story with my dad, my mom had some interesting questions when I got home from school that day. Whatever the case somehow my nutrition teacher managed to get the last word in.

Looking back I have mixed feelings on the event, with hindsight being 20-20 it seems both the student and teacher were at fault, the student for being a punk, and the teacher for provoking the punk and slandering diabetics. But even with that regret I still love telling the story.

Well if you made it this far Kudos to you, you probably deserve a purple star or some-such. At some point I am going to have to go back and polish this up. At this point however I’ll leave it here as my Sabbath story,  which on this father’s day goes out to my dad, who for the longest time has been the best at reminding me in which direction I really ought to be pointed.

-Ty Rupp


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