Crazy Things Your Teachers Told You

Jason English

Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else's reply, whatever you want. Very casual. On to this week's topics of discussion...

1. When I was in middle school, a teacher told us a wild story about Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics. Owens, he said, was struggling with the long jump. In practice, he repeatedly faulted by stepping over the line. Hitler witnessed this, we were told, and put down his coat on the white line, forcing Owens to take off before it. The trick worked. Four gold medals later—including one in the long jump—and Owens had become a legend. All thanks to the Führer.

I don't know whether our teacher was joking, confused or flat out lying. (I later learned Owens did credit German competitor Luz Long for helping him during qualifying.) Nothing else happened that year to make me think the teacher was nutty or racist (or both). What's the craziest (false) thing a teacher ever taught you? How long did you believe it?

2. We seem to get an awful lot of wrong number calls. This morning, Meals on Wheels left a very urgent message regarding food delivery—"If I don't hear from you by 8:30, I'll assume you don't need your meal today." (I called back and set her straight.) On several occasions, we've had a hospital give detailed instructions to an elderly patient who doesn't live here. Have you had any strange encounters with people calling someone else?

3. Not counting the place you call home, what's your favorite city? Your favorite country?

4. What's one website or podcast we should be reading or listening to?

Have a great weekend!

[See all the previous Friday Happy Hour transcripts.]