"Just hope that you don't get hit by lightning..."
The middle-aged teacher mentally struck himself on the forehead. But what exactly do you say to a 14 year-old who has just informed you that she has a piercing in her most private place? In a panic, he had wracked his brain for an appropriate response. There being none, he settled for what seemed the safest route. Science was something he knew.
Her eyes darted, confused. "Why?" she finally managed, practically dumbstruck.
"Well, I'm just saying that when an individual is struck by lightning, you see what I'm saying, when that electricity is passing through that person's body, if there is any metal touching the body it will melt right into the skin."
The diminutive student who had moments before worn a gloating grin suddenly blanched.
"Actually, I know a woman who was hit by lightning in a parking lot. She was wearing a gold chain around her neck - like this, see - and when they got her to the emergency room they had to basically dig that thing out, all the way around. Just thought you should know."
The girl stood frozen for a moment, then stammered something unintelligible and walked rigidly out of the classroom. His guilt played tag with self-satisfaction, but he finally concluded that he had done the best thing. Kids these days are unlike any generation before. Amazing.
This story was related during a university lecture by a geography professor who also happens to be a middle school teacher. I have done my best to stay true to his original tale, although some details have been added.