My junior year Chemistry class was taught by Mrs. Raymond: a prim and proper older lady who dressed very frumpy. Mrs. Raymond took Chemistry very seriously. Unfortunately, Mrs. Raymond had Jimmy Farmer in the class. Jimmy was on the twenty year program to graduate from high school. He was forced to take each class at least twice before they would pass him. That was alright with Jimmy though. Jimmy believed if he had to take a class twice, at least he would get noticed and stand out.
You see, Mrs. Raymond had a real way with words. One morning, she was lecturing about the differences between physical and chemical changes in substances. This was real exciting stuff. The whole class was passing out in their desks from boredom, but when Mrs. Raymond used “beating meat” as an example of a physical change in substances, the whole class perked right up!
“When you beat meat, the chemical content of the meat doesn’t change, but the beating of the meat makes it softer.” She clinched her fist and performed an up and down motion to demonstrate. “This is an example of physical change.”
She continued with the up and down motion while the class snickered.
Jimmy popped his head up from his desk. “What do you beat your meat with?”
“A wooden mallet,” Mrs. Raymond answered. “Jim, it’s good to see you back with us again.”
“When I beat my meat, I just use my fist, and my meat doesn’t get softer, it gets harder!” Jimmy replied trying to sound as serious and naive as possible.
Mrs. Raymond shot him a bewildered look through her cat-eyed glasses.
“No, Jim. When you beat your meat, it should always get softer!”
“Not mine! When I beat my meat, it always gets harder!”
Mrs. Raymond shook her head in confusion, while the class struggled not to explode into laughter. Tears welled up in my eyes from trying not to laugh, while other kids were falling out of their seats!
“What’s so funny, class?” Mrs. Raymond asked.
“Okay class, let’s move on to our discussion of single and multi-cell organisms”.
Ugh, not another one of Mrs. Raymond’s organism lectures. It seemed like that was all she ever talked about.
“How many different one celled orgasms are there?” Jimmy questioned.
“Jim, it’s organism!” Mrs. Raymond intoned.
I sat in awe, watching the exchange. They were like two fencers jousting back and forth in poetic motion.
“It’s not orgasm…. it orGANism!”
“Yeah, that’s what I said, orgasm”, Jimmy replied emphatically.
“Jim, it’s not ORGASM, it’s orGANism!” Mrs. Raymond took a breath, then in her nasally frustrated sounding voice continued, “Orgasm refers to the high point of sexual arousal and organism is a little creature!”
“Oh, I thought it was the same word!” Jimmy wisecracked.
“No Jim, they are two distinctly different words. Do you understand now?”
“Yes, Mrs. Raymond, so I guess it would be okay to say, the little Orgasm had an Organism!”
The class broke out in laughter.