The Ballad of Dick Loro Diphen

Wow, the last year and a half has been a real doozy, hasn’t it?

It sure has for me and my wife, anyway.

But instead of talking about all that, I thought it’d be more fun to revisit the past.

One Happy Day in High School

It’s not often that I tell a personal story about me on this here blog, and it’s less frequent still that I tell an embarrassing personal story.

Nonetheless, today we’re breaking the rules.

And yes, it is all true.

Where I went to high school, students would sit in individual desks that had a wrap-around section in the front for writing.

But, for some reason, the desks in the science classrooms were all two-seaters (two students at one desk). Furthermore, whereas the wraparound desks usually were brown on top, the science desks were always black on top.

Sidebar: I’ve seen a lot of black, two-seater desks like this in Romania and Moldova, and it always makes me go “Science!” in my head.

I can’t say I ever particularly enjoyed any of my science classes, but they weren’t the worst, either.

And then, One Happy Day, we got a substitute teacher.

Since he was just “parachuting in” for the day, he didn’t give a shit about what we were supposed to be learning, and so he announced to a roar of approval that we needed to close our textbooks because we would be watching a film strip instead.

Brief Explanatory Pause

A film strip is a “video” that is physically encoded onto a long reel of special plastic called the film.

In order to play the video, you pass the film in front of a bright light (which then projects the image onto a screen) before re-spooling it onto a second reel.

For some probably quite interesting bureaucratic reason, every single projector in our school was a very distinct shade of blue-green.

Anyway, because my school was quite cheap, most of the film strips we watched in class were from the 1950s and 1960s.

Back to the Happy Day

Sure, watching a film strip is better than trying to calculate moles. But I wasn’t exactly jazzed to watch yet another boring moral lecture about my posture.

That is until Mr. Substitute said that we had to sit in pairs, in alphabetical order of our last (family) names.

I can no longer remember who had been my usual deskmate in that class, but I definitely remember the young woman with a last name similar to mine who sat next to me the day we watched the film strip.

To say I found her quite attractive would be a bit of an understatement, but we didn’t exactly move in the same “social circles.”

Therefore, that 45 minutes of sitting together in a semi-dark room with a silly old film strip to “clown on” (make fun of) was my “in.”

Oh my goodness, we both had a blast. I remember laughing so hard and then trying to stifle it, and the pain of that, just like it was yesterday.

That experience really was wonderful, and I have enjoyed talking to women ever since.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, that young lady and I never dated, and I don’t even think I ever really spent much time with her again, at least not now that I can remember.

Mi-Ai Dat Cu Flit

But, of course, we’re not really here to talk about my awkward adolescent fumblings, are we?


That film strip that I was using to get a pretty girl to laugh was produced by the United Nations.

The film strip was in black and white, and it showed white men in old-school Colonial clothes happily power-blasting indigenous people with white dust.

Meanwhile, some nasal-sounding narrator was informing us of just how great and kind and awesome everything was going to be for these poor Third World bastards now that malaria was on its way to being eliminated forever.

Oh, yeah.

That is the same malaria that killed 409,000 people in 2019.

So, not eliminated at all.


A few months ago, I went looking on the internet to see if I could find that old UN movie.

There was no joy in that endeavor, but I did find something even better.

It shows Western-trained, highly educated public health experts “proving” to some illiterate indigenous folk just how safe and awesome and cool the chemical DDT was.  Hell, you could even eat it for breakfast!

And then the indigenous guy in front looks up and says, “Nope. Poison is poison.”

The white guys on the scene there in Kenya and the audience watching this film strip at the time were clearly thinking, “Oh my god, those superstitious savages! Clearly, they have succumbed to misinformation from anti-DDT accounts.”

And yet here we are all these years later and people still don’t realize that the indigenous guy was right – public health experts really are trying to fucking kill us all.

3 thoughts on “The Ballad of Dick Loro Diphen

  1. What are you trying to say? we used to call it “wooden tongue” or to paraphrase Eminescu
    E usor a srie versuri (stupid scribblings in your case)
    Cand nimic nu ai a spune


    1. Are you really unable to see the analogy to current events? How can you be so obtuse – is it deliberate?


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