Friday, August 13, 2010

Workout Snowflakes

I joined a gym three months ago, and only just now decided to take advantage of the one hour session with a personal trainer that comes with my membership. I was told to expect a fairly good workout and a person to help me with either the machines or with the free weights.

I arrived for my appointment five minutes early, as instructed when I made the appointment (so that I could get the most of my time). Jonas was 'just finishing with a class' and so I waited outside the trainer office. A 20ish young man with a blank expression walked into the office without looking at me, sat down to his computer and pulled up a schedule sheet. Now it was 10am, and my appointment was supposed to start. I wondered if THAT was my 'trainer.' The young man opened IE and went on Facebook. Ten minutes later, the woman at the desk looked at me apologetically, and got Jonas the Snowflake off FB. He came out, introduced himself, and asked me to sit down at a table. We talked about what I was looking for, and I told him I wanted him to show me upper body and abdominal exercises with free weights or body balls as I had never really used them. He asked me what I did for a living. "I teach English over at Snowflakes R Us CC' I answered. "Oh boy," he said. "I took English Composition over the summer at Flakes ORama CC (we have a lot of CCs in my state) and my professor was such a mean person. She gave me a C-! A C-!! Do you know that I cannot advance with a C- and it won't even transfer to anyplace else?" I sure as shit do. "It was not fair! I came to all the classes and everything! Do you think that was fair?"

Okay. I guess I am the snowflake because I did not just leave. Instead I said I was not sure, but could we get started with the free weights? Jonas took me to a machine, and I had to remind him that I was not interested in the machines. "This is an excellent machine," he said. Oh dear. The appointment deterioated from there, and after showing me exactly two free weight excersises, Jonas tried to convince me he was a diet expert ("Weight Watchers is a bad program. I heard they encourage you to eat cake. You should look into MY diet plan; I can help you lose those 15 pounds in just three weeks!"). I told him that I had lost 25 pounds on WW and never been asked to eat cake, and he changed his mind immediately. "Oh, well, I trust WW. But if you work with me, and you are not losing weight fast enough, I'll have to insist you go on MY diet program." When I asked him about maybe a few more exercises, he took me to an abdominal machine, and told me he knew another way I could use it. "Just lay on the bench here and do pulses (I had told him I did pulses already and wanted something different). Doesn't that make your stomach work hard?" He seemed pleased he was able to improvise a 'non' machine exercise for abdominals for me. He then told me I could Google any free weight exercise I wanted from the privacy of my own home and once again, he seemed proud he was able to offer me this bit of advice. He was completely clueless; this is nothing less that any of us would expect from our snowflakes. I was much nicer to him than he deserved, and beat a hasty retreat. All told, I spent 20 minutes of my life I can never get back with Jonas.

I complained, and got an appointment with a female ex-body builder "about your age" who knows everything about free weights---"You'll love her" I was assured. The training manager told me that Jonas was very young, and (in a low voice) "not very smart" but that they were trying to train him and he was improving.

So this is where snowflakes end up (or at least one of the places). But a C- seems awfully close to a C to me. Jonasthesnowflake did not actually strike me as a hopeless case. He seemed more lazy than stupid, and I am sure he has never been forced to think critically or seroiusly about anything in all his 20 something years. I really do think his Composition professor would have been kinder to push him hard and let him get an F. Maybe that would wake him up and make him THINK.


  1. I've had "physical therapy" majors in my classes before. They were "not very smart" either. After my mom had to have PT after a car accident and surgery, my assessment of that "major" was re-affirmed. Dumb as dirt.

    Wanna know who actually surprised me? The future gym teachers I had in one class. I was left with nothing but a positive impression of them. Too bad their job prospects were about as bright as humanities profs.

    I wonder how long Jonas's incompetence will be tolerated before he gets his biggest F ever. (Fired.)

  2. While I was teaching at a local snowflake emporium, I noticed that a lot of them weren't just studying something in their respective departments but also learning to be personal trainers.

    After reading this, I think I know where some of them ended up as Jonas reminds me of some of them.

  3. @Meanest Professor Ever: Very nice snowflake comment about PT majors and PTs. So, do you know the origin and insertion of Piriformis? How about torque production in the knee extensors? How about open versus closed-chain kinetics? Want to bet that a PT knows these things? Just like the snowflake that judges our abilities, what gives you the right, or ability, to judge?

    I also love the "surprise" you expressed about those "future gym teachers". Why don't you let someone express that they are an idiot as opposed to determining by major. Idiots and savants show up in all fields, as exhibited by this blog. I don't judge all hard science folk by the stinky, unkempt and socially inept ones I've known. Maybe I'm acting like the Geico Caveman; but don't be a snowflake while railing against them. Kind of ruins the whole effect.

  4. Actually, a Personal Trainer is different from a Physical Therapist. Furthermore, Jonas had no education at all, really, since he had not moved on from Composition yet, and that is required for even a Certificate in my state. But I'd say he was not even a 'real' personal trainer (even though he probably went through some kind of 'certification program' with Planet Fitness). He was a snowflake, pure and simple.

    My experience with Physical Therapists has been nothing but wonderful, and the AS degree my college offers for Physcial Therapy certainly does not attract the snowflake population.

  5. "The Professor,"

    I was not commenting on PT majors as majors. The comment was actually about their ability to give instructions, like Bella's trainer was unable to do. Since my mom encountered no less than 5 who proved unable to actually teach her to perform exercises that would improve her physical condition (and routinely had to be reminded why she was there and wat exercises she was supposed to do -- despite the big chart they looked at every time), it is tangential that I am also worried that their knowledge of the human body might be as lax as their ability to, oh, I don't know, explain how to perform an exercise that would enable my mother to walk without falling over. Oh, and also remember to help her when she's struggling with the exercise instead of swanning off to chat in the corner about getting drunk the weekend before.

    Anecdotes, dearest, anecdotes. Broad, vague generalizations of snowflake behavior and their impact on our personal encounters with them.

    And the "surprise" was that the future gym teachers actually had an interest in learning how to, in my case, write a research paper. Considering there were future doctors in the class who could care less about doing research, and the general attitude at that school is worse than anti-intellectual in most cases, you might want to consider that my "shock" was specific to the context of my own students' devotion to a topic that had NOTHING to do with their "real life" career choice.

    In short, take your condescending and inappropriate scolding and shove it. I also notice you targeted my comment and not Bella, the original poster who also made similar connections between snowflakes and their future jobs. Which makes me think I just accepted trollbait from yet another dissembler.

    Well played, troll.

  6. Bella, 2 comments with your clarification:

    1- I know that trainers and therapists are different professions. But PTs also have to give the same sort of instructions as trainers. You expected to be taught how to do exercises, the same as PT clients do. My mom encountered the same lackadaisical attitude from a handful of PTs. My encounters with PT majors in a classroom not related to their major indicated the same snowflakey behavior. Ironic? Or an indication that the professions may draw the same sort of people (at least at my school)? There have been many negative reactions to kinesiology majors too, right? Lots of undergrads openly resent being forced to take ANY class outside their major, or are we supposed to pretend that doesn't happen either, like all the problems we see with Ed majors? No, no...those patterns are all illusory, right?

    2- If Jonas took a college class, then isn't he a college student? If not, why did you post your story here on College Misery? There were assumptions implicit in your story, unless you're now going to re-write it (in your mind) so that it's not an indictment of college-level snowflakery. Or are you now just confessing to making fun of uneducated people? Maybe The Professor will tsk-tsk you for that.

  7. Meanest, I was not trying to imply he was not a college student. He told me he was. I only meant he had not earned any degree, or even certification, as of yet. So I was wrong to say he had no education at all. Sorry about that. He had nothing to SHOW for the education he had attempted so far. And I was definitely complaining about snowflakes in the spirit of this blog (or attempting to LOL!). He's been wasting his and his professor's time and I was sorely tempted to tell him his poor proffie had almost certainly been too generous with that C-. But of course, since I was not there, I cannot know for sure. I always worry some snowflake who squeaks by in one of my classes will make me look bad later on when the inevitable question is asked "How did this clown even pass ENG 101?"

    I'm not really sure about Physical Therapists. I have had to work with two. Both were very smart and helpful. The two year degree we offer is actually Physical Therapy assistant, and at my college, we are told to steer snowflakes away from that program. I absolutely agree the two professions are very similar. It would be nice if the Personal Trainers had as much education as Physical Therapists are supposed to get!

  8. Note: "The Professor" is not the founding editor of Rate Your Students.

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  10. @College Misery: Sorry about my handle, it is from an old Blogspot blog. I didn't intend any confusion. I used it before I found RYS (R.I.P.).

    @Meanest: Sorry it took awhile, just coming out of my drunken, post-semester stupor. Not a troll, just saw something I disagree with strongly enough to comment. I didn't make a comment to Bella because she didn't make a sweeping generalization about Jonas' field, just a statement about Jonas. Agree, disagree, she didn't malign a whole profession with a broad stroke.

    Hypocrisy thy name is Meany. You complain about condescension. Yet, that is what you did to both the therapists and me (and for the record, I am not a therapist). I object to the generalizations, not a statement about an individual or a few individuals (Jonas is most likely a snowflake). Anecdotes are always weak evidence for anything. This is especially true when claiming an entire profession is "dumb as dirt." I am sure your students have claimed you did a bad job teaching, hence their bad grade. That doesn't make it true. Even if what they said was true, that wouldn't (or shouldn't) reflect on the whole teaching profession, just you. And to judge the quality of all patient care, in all patients seen by these individuals based on one case (your mother's) is specious. I have worked with patients sweet as pie, who try hard, but still don't get it. Sounds a bit like some of the "nice" students we get. It isn't that they don't try, they just may not have the aptitude for the task. Then add in things like a stroke, hearing impairments, cognitive changes, well, you get the idea. You think teaching causes us to suffer, try patient care at any level. You want to dislike individuals, fine, just don't make such a crappy generalization. There are some brillant PTs and PTAs, and some crappy ones (and the ones your mother dealt with maybe bad).

    You provided a weak statement, I called you on it. If you turned in a paper with a thesis that weak, unsupported, everyone on this page would give you an F. To quote Clarice "You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself?"

  11. I love the ad that appeared on the right: "Become a Personal Trainer."


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