I was fortunate enough to have gone to Junior High and High School in WY during the mid to late 70's. Wyoming was undergoing a massive energy boom at
the time and had one of the finest school systems in the nation (highly paid teachers and small class sizes). The schools wanted for nothing in terms
of equipment and facilities. This all due to the massive energy windfalls (which went to the school systems).
In Junior High School it was mandatory every student take at least one vocational class. I took them all. You'll laugh, but I even took Home-Ec. Two
of the top classes were Wood Shop and Industrial Shop. This story is about Industrial Shop.
Industrial Shop was broken down into several segments, Drafting, Metal Shop and Automotive Shop. It took 3 years to complete. The teacher of
Industrial Shop was a guy by the name of Mr. Profizer and he was a character.
Mr. Profizer was short, built like a fireplug. He was an old machinist who decided to become a teacher. I don't think I ever met another person as
committed to truly "teaching" people as he was. If you wanted to learn something this guy would do anything in his power to make it happen. For all
his great points he also had some quirks, and he was a complete hoot as a result.
First off, he was always late for class. I mean like every single day, late. He was usually doing something to get everything ready for the class. As
a result he would assign someone take attendance and keep some semblance (controlled riot) of order until he showed up. There were several students he
took under his wing each year. The odd thing was they were usually the students who gave him the most crap and grief. Needless to say, yours truly was
among this group. These were the students assigned to keep order (yeah right) and take attendance. (don't worry, this story is actually going
The other quirk Mr. Profizer had was, he always said "ahhhhhhhhh". It seemed like he said it between about every other word. Consequently, we'd tease
him about it all the time, imitating him, which drove him even more insane.
Before class each day Profizer would put some object he wanted to talk about on his desk (then disappear into the shop somewhere). It was usually
something cool and unusual. It absolutely drove him bonkers that the kids would show up and immediately start monkeying with whatever it was he'd put
on his desk.
So this one time I showed up and instead of taking attendance I stood up in front of the class and picked up whatever widget he'd set there. I put on
this real serious face, leaned on the front of his desk like he always did, held up the widget to the class and started imitating him..."Okay all you,
ahhhhh, knuckleheads, ahhhhhh, listen up! I have no, ahhhhh, idea what this, ahhhhh, widget is, but I brought it to, ahhhhh, entertain you...." (after
a couple of years of Profizer's class I had his impersonation down pretty damn good).
All of a sudden I heard some snickering from a couple people, turned around, looked and Profizer was right behind me. OOOOOPS!!!
So he got all excited; started hootin', hollerin' and jumpin' up and down (like he usually did). (I think he might have even chased me around a little
that time while I played keep-away with his widget). When the dust settled I was at my desk and he managed to restore some order. I've long since
forgotten what the hell was on his desk that day.
Anyway, the next day I decided to show up really early for his class to scheme up an even better show. True to form, there was something on his desk
(and lemmme' tell ya, I'll never forget it!). I had no idea what it was. So naturally, I picked it up
...I felt like I'd been hit by Hank Aaron with a Louisville Slugger!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!
In the next room I hear this maniacal cackling, laughing and snorting coming from Profizer. "What the hell is this thing????" I asked him. In between
the fits of laughter he tells me to bring it to him. "NO WAY! I ain't touchin' that thing again!!!" says me. He tells it won't do anything now, but
hurry and bring it to him.
Well, it turns out Mr. Profizer's mystery object of the day was a hefty fully charged capacitor. He shows me how it works, charges it back up again
and tells me to go set it back on the desk (in between snorts of laughter) along side about four others and not say anything.
Kids start coming into the class and the usual suspects head right for his desk. First kid picked one of the caps up, but managed not to short it out.
Second and third kid, almost simultaneously,...BAM!!! BAM!!!
..."OWWWWWwwwwww!!" They both immediately drop
the cap. The 4th kid is standing there holding it in his hand, frozen like a statue in mid-move, like he's holding a grenade (which he kinda was), not
daring to move.
By this point Profizer is laughing so hard he's banging on the wall. I really thought the old dude was gonna' have an aneurysm he was laughing so
And that, my friends, is how I learned my first lesson in real electronics! How many other 13 year olds do you know who know what a capacitor is
and/or what it does? And in less than 20 seconds, a short little teacher with a speech impediment in backwater Wyoming, taught a lesson five students
(at least) would never forget...even 50 years later!
Thanks, Mr. Profizer, you truly were a great "teacher", and a hell of a good guy!
edit on 6/10/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)