Tricks of the Trade

Regrettably, Matthew Baldwin's Tricks of the Trade blog doesn't seem to be online anymore. The basic idea was that people would send in their, well, tricks of the trade. (This included hobbies.) My favourite was from a graphic designer who said that if you have a boss or customer that needs to criticize something, anything, in order to feel good, you should just include some stupid mistake in your work, such as an obviously inappropriate colour, and then that would be what would be criticized, so you'd end up with a piece of work that would be just as you wanted it to look like in the first place. I wondered whether this would also be a good strategy for submitting articles to peer-reviewed journals, but it seems rather risky. Anyway, given that the blog's gone, I thought I'd post the tricks I know here.

I Former Young Football Player

There are three main sources of pain in children's football:

a) Ball into the stomach. Given that before adolescence, there are basically no muscles there, this can be extremely unpleasant. The instinct is to go into a foetal position. That's exactly wrong! What one needs to do is to straighten up and put one's arms into the air.

(I've wondered why, then, evolution has programmed us this way. My best guess is that usually it wouldn't be that you'd accidentally get a ball into the stomach, but that you were being kicked to pieces by someone else. In that case, going into a foetal position is not necessarily such a bad idea.)

b) Kick to the bone. This can hurt quite a bit (which is why most football players wear shin protection). In this case, ice spray is very helpful. It's called ice spray because it's a spray that's cold. I've never bought a can, but I bet it's cheap and you get it in every pharmacy. Superparent has ice spray on him or her at all times. Do not apply to wounds.

c) Ball into the balls. Well, there's not a lot you can do except to assure the youngster that the pain is going to pass and that that, in itself, is going to be a good feeling.

II English Teacher

My sister used to be an English teacher in Germany. One day, they had the "London" module on. One of the pupils insisted that there was no way she could pronounce the word "tube".

Sis: Tell me, I can't remember, what's that Internet page called where you can post and watch videos?

Pupil: [perfect pronunciation] YouTube, of course!

Sis: And there you go.

As she said, you gotta know your customers.

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