School is back in session and I’ve found myself reminiscing about my days as a participant in the grand American educational system. When I was a student I often wondered if I would ever make use of the things I learned while in school, and I’m pleased to say that I do in fact utilize the material which I so painstakingly mastered. Those of you who know me understand that I’m not talking about algebra. Nor am I referring to biology, chemistry nor history. Indeed, I’m not alluding to English either. No, I’m speaking of something of a far more practical and useful order: goofing off.
As I consider the past, I have come to realize that seventh grade was something of a watershed year in my quest for the utopia of zaniness.
In seventh grade we had a rookie teacher in home room named Miss McMaster – a ravishing beauty that every boy in the class fell in love with on day one. And, as you may guess, that spelled disaster for poor Miss McMaster. I (along with all the other boys I’m sure), determined that I would win the heart of Miss McMaster. And, being a seventh grade boy, I decided that the best way to accomplish the task was to be the most obnoxious creature on the face of the earth. Yet, mine was not a meanspirited obnoxiousness. Oh no! Nor was that the intent of the other boys. Instead, each of us had determined that the best way to a woman’s heart was though rough and ready displays of imaginative wit and raucous humor. If we failed in that, our comedic bag of tricks would be enlarged just the same.
One item that I’m sure Miss McMaster really enjoyed was the ole’ “worms under the chalk eraser” gag. You know the one – pick up the eraser to reveal a bunch of slimy worms. I, however, decided to add a new twist; I smashed the eraser on the worms. Hoo-boy! You should have seen her face when she smeared worm guts across the picture that Pete Zortlocker had drawn on the chalkboard of she and I kissing.
Then there was the time that Kerry Klast put a cat in her desk drawer. In order to let her know that the cat was there, I was supposed to ask for the scotch tape (the tape and the cat were in the same drawer). Miss McMaster seemed a tad startled when the cat exploded in her face. I was forced to ashamedly admit that I had not placed the offending feline in the desk. Meanwhile, Kerry had jumped out the window during the confusion, doubled back into the school building and appeared at the classroom door well after the event – thus neatly avoiding blame.
Another time we had Steve Shimhaven (a boy known to be emotionally unbalanced), decoy Miss McMaster into the hall by requesting a bit of counsel concerning a personal problem. While teacher and pupil were gone, the rest of the class (the boys I mean – the girls just stood around and told us how rotten we were), swapped the entire classroom end to end. Now, this was a pretty difficult gag. The student desks were no big deal but that teacher desk was heavy and moving it from one end of the room to the other without making any noise was quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to relish our triumph for long. A couple of those goody-two-shoes girls spoke up only seconds after Miss McMaster reentered the room, thus short circuiting the shock value of the stunt.
And so, I want to take this chance to encourage each and every one of you students out there to embrace the myriad of opportunities that your school affords. Don’t worry if you bomb out in algebra and chemistry: What you learn in the less orthodox disciplines may someday make you an employee to be reckoned with at Mayflower Movers.