The Union of Students of Ireland is badly failing the students it is meant to represent. It put out a statement warning that if students altered the age on their passports to enable them to drink in the US, they could end up in jail. This comes after four students were deported for faking their passports.
At first glance, providing this warning seems like a good thing by the USI -- in fact it points to a complete failure of duty on their part. The only reason students are faking their passports is because the union has made it so difficult to fake USI travel cards.
In the old days it took 20 minutes with a Letraset kit (if you're under 30, ask your parents) to transform your USIT card to declare your age to be anything you wanted to be (on my J1 visa I was 42).
It is the job of the Union of Students of Ireland to facilitate students in achieving their goals in life.
To the best of my knowledge, those goals boil down to drinking heavily in as many jurisdictions as possible.
So there is a clear moral obligation on them to produce a student card that allows 19-year-olds to pretend they're 33.
Gerard goes with the flow
Gerard Depardieu peed in a plane this week. Everyone has laughed at him because of this. Admittedly it was funny, and all the more so because the reports quote him announcing his intention in to urinate in French -- "Je veux pisser." This allows you to make up the stewardess's side of the conversation using left-over primary school French: "Monsieur! Vous pissez dans les toilettes apres le departure! Arretez! Vous etes incroyable. Sortez de l'aeroplane!"
We should, however, cut him a little slack; he seems to have been totally civil throughout, despite being made to sit in his chair for 45 minutes when he desperately needed to "pisser". Remember what happened to Tycho Brahe, the 17th-century Danish nobleman who was too polite to leave a banquet for the toilet while others were still eating. He ruptured his bladder and died in agony. Gerard Depardieu at least had the sense not to take the same crazy risks.
Give exam pics a bit of punch
Why does every picture of Leaving Cert results students show them jumping "spontaneously" in the air?
No one literally jumps for joy. And if they ever did, the statistical likelihood of a photographer being present and ready to take a shot is negligible.
So let's make a rule to stop using fake jumping shots. Instead, let's get the kids to punch each other in the face; it's no less realistic than groups of perfectly sane 18-year-olds simultaneously leaping into the sky and it'd make for much better captions -- "Joe Bloggs (17) knocks classmate John Smith (18) unconscious as they celebrate their Leaving Cert results outside Saint Benilda's School for the Perpetually Itchy in Borrisikane, today."
Spare us from market crash
While we're at it, can we make an agreement to stop talking about 'The Markets'. Anyone who needs to know what's happening on the stock market can get the info pretty much immediately. The rest of us don't need to be horrified with market reports that we can do nothing about, but that nonetheless scare us so much we do a Gerard Depardieu on the carpet.