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Staying Cool In More Ways Than One

, , , , , , | Learning | March 24, 2021

My boarding school has been reopened cautiously, but we’re faced with a whole load of safety precautions. The one that grates the most is that we have to take and submit our temperature twice a day, every day — once in the morning, once in the afternoon.

My houseparent gets tired of us forgetting to submit our temperature, so the person who forgets the most temperature checks has to send twice-daily reminders to the dorm WhatsApp group for a week.

I get stuck as the first person. After a few days, I get bored and decide to have some fun.

Me: “Roses are Red,

Violets are Blue,

I’ve submitted my Temperature,

And so should You.”

Houseparent: “As a literature teacher, that is painful to read. If you’re going to do poetry, please at least do a proper job.”

Me: “Challenge accepted.”

The very next day”

Me: “Thermometers between lips,

Wait ‘til beeping ends,

See what it predicts,

And temperature, send.”

Dormmate #1: “Are you really going to say every reminder in rhyme?”

Me: “Now I will.”

This lasts for the rest of my week, my poetry getting more and more elaborate, until it reaches a fourteen-line Shakespearean sonnet.

Me: “It’s the end of the week,

Sunday is nearly gone,

I know we’re all weak,

But turn your thermometers on.


“Place them between your lips,

And wait for the beeping to end,

See what it predicts,

And temperature, send.


“Alas, my time as monitor is out,

My heir’s task is great importance,

You will not be a layabout lout,

Challenge: Beat my performance!


“The victor will gain great glory,

The loser will find his end gory.”

The next victim on reminder duty replies:

Dormmate #2: “Challenge accepted.”

And thus began an informal competition between those of us on reminder duty, with progressively more elaborate and absurd reminders. My heir’s reminders were all memes. His heir rapped all of his. That person’s heir wrote the reminders as lyrics of a song. The next person sang the aforementioned song in a homemade music video. His successor made a jazzy remix of it. I wonder what will be next!

And yes, temperature submissions have significantly improved since we turned the reminders into a game.

This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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