>In college I took Animal Physiology with Dr. Joe Williams, and he liked to start lecture with something he called “Happy Minute,” which entailed some sort of funny picture or joke that he would put on the projector. Poor Joe invariably ran into technology issues, though, and his Happy Minute often stretched into five or ten or fifteen. In addition,
some most of his humor was just…not very funny. Maybe it was generational. After a few weeks of this I resigned myself to wasting 5-15 minutes of each lecture and made sure to bring a crossword puzzle with me.
Fast forward three years and I still remember Joe Williams, not necessarily for his work on hyperthermia in the Arabian oryx, but for Happy Minute. I now begin most classes by showing downloaded YouTube clips of people getting in accidents, children acting stupid, cute fuzzy animals, or some combination of the above, and many of my students ask what the daily video is. Why do I do this? Mostly for my own entertainment, since I never get tired of watching David After Dentist or You’re the Best Chinese Hurdler Around, but it gives kids something to pay attention to while they’re waiting for their computers to boot up and I’m taking attendance and dealing with other housekeeping issues. It also lightens the mood and gives them something to smile about. No, there is no ultimate academic purpose to it, but I hope they remember it just as I remember dear Joe Williams and his Happy Minute.