I spent the last few days in a training seminar on mental health first aid. It was very interesting, and I think is beneficial to anyone, regardless of their field. No matter where I am though, it's the little things that catch my eye and amuse me.

First off, one of the instructors is part of a roller derby team in Moscow, Idaho — The Rolling Hills Derby Dames. She was not shy about recruiting and told me about their "Fresh Meat" days. Apparently, on Wednesdays any woman can come out, regardless of skill, and learn how to be a roller derby dame. After they attend so many Wednesday sessions and master skills such as speed and blocking, they can join in the real fun.

The instructor was a petite woman in her early 40's and she looked me up and down and said, "You should come and join us. I could knock you down. You're like a brick house. It would be fun." Let me just say, I have never been called a brick house, burly maybe, but never a brick house. The thing is, it was not at all offensive. It was said with such admiration and challenge that it was hard get worked up about it.

Later in the day, while the instructor was asking questions of the class (there were also four satellite campuses participating on the screens) she asked one question and no one responded. Everyone just looked blankly at her, or averted their eyes hoping the lack of eye contact would deter her from calling on them. Then she said something that made me laugh out loud and cause the class to look at me suspiciously. She looked at the monitor holding one of the satellite areas and said, "Why don't you give us your take on this." Everyone started looking around for the unlucky student, and the instructor said, "The red shirt. Tell us what you think."

Some of you are unsure why this is funny, but anyone who has ever known someone really into Star Trek gets it. The guy in the red shirt always dies. They are the ones who are dispensable — you never learn their name, and they always meet a sad fate. This student never did come to an untimely end during our training, but it would have happened in a sci-fi flick —I imagine some heavy equipment would have fallen on her head or something. 

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