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Trouble Comes In Many Forms

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2021

When I was a teenager, I went to a boarding school for “troubled teen girls” for a short period of time. I was physically ill after finally being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and my missing school was leading my grades to drop to the point where I was on the verge of being kicked out, so they enrolled me for a few trimesters as a way for me to catch up. A lot of the girls were suffering from severe behavioral issues and returning from wilderness camps, so it was a pretty intense group of kids.

Most Internet use was forbidden except in connection with schoolwork, and all of our computers in the computer lab faced inward so the teacher who was running the computer lab could see our screens. There were also very strict blocks that blocked almost everything except for educational websites. They’d never had any issues, until me.

I was annoyed at these restrictions and wanted to talk to my friends via email and post on forums. It was nothing malicious at all; besides my health issues, I was a pretty good kid. Unfortunately for the school, I was the first student that happened to know about using proxy servers to get around these restrictions.

I was constantly alt+tabbing, using tiny windows, and being on the lookout for when the lab monitor looked my way. This went on for months before a couple of students found out and asked me about it. I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to cause trouble, and I knew that everyone suddenly having access would be impossible to hide. Of course, that meant that they went and told the principal about it.

They had no idea how I managed to do it. Even the so-called IT people for the school had no explanation! Frustrated, the principal forbade me from entering the computer lab again until I told them how I managed to get around the restrictions.

Unfortunately for them, I was leaving the school soon after anyway, so it didn’t make a difference. Amusingly, they wound up calling my parents because of the “trouble” I was making and complained that I was being uncooperative.

I don’t remember if anyone else managed to figure out what I was doing, and years later, my mom admitted that she was so proud to find out that the “trouble” I was making was being the first person to outsmart the school just so I could check my email and post on some gaming forums.

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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Hpapy BRihdyat!!1

, , , , | Learning | January 17, 2021

When I turn eighteen — the UK’s legal drinking age — the very first thing I do is to run to town and start smuggling alcohol into my boarding school’s dorm.

Naturally, being a kid with no knowledge about picking alcohol and on a budget, most of the wines I buy are cheap and foul tasting. Every time I open a bottle I don’t like, I usually dispose of the contents by pouring them into batter and baking cupcakes out of them. By a happy coincidence, a whole lot of my classmates and friends have birthdays around this time, which means no shortage of baking opportunities for me. Amusingly enough, everyone agrees they like my new cupcakes more than the old ones.

But then, one of my friends wants a jelly cake for his birthday instead of a regular cake. That’s nothing I can’t handle, so I make the mixture, pour in my latest batch of horrible wine, and make a big jelly cake out of it.

The very next day, I present it to the birthday boy, who happily blows out the candles, cuts the cake, and takes a bite out of his slice.

Birthday Boy: *Suddenly freezes* “There’s alcohol in this.”

The entire room goes silent, and everyone turns to look at me. I should mention that [Birthday Boy] is a prefect, and there are no less than three other prefects in the party crowd. Also, the staff room is practically across the corridor.

Me: “No, no, no. That’s just Ribena! It’s my secret ingredient. It’s not wine or anything!”

I immediately grabbed my cake and beat a hasty retreat back to my dorm. I then proceeded to eat almost the entire cake by myself in one sitting to dispose of the evidence. It was delicious. And apparently, there was still enough alcohol in the thing that I actually felt tipsy after eating it.

Thankfully, none of them reported me. Nevertheless, I learnt my lesson.

The next time I made a jelly cake, I made sure the alcohol had been fully boiled off before pouring it into a mould.

Can’t Wait For The Ten-Year Reunion!

, , , , , , | Learning | April 15, 2020

My boarding school just closed due to a global outbreak. This happens on the last night where we can stay in the dorms. As we’re all international students in our final year, it gets pretty emotional once we realise that we’re not coming back. Already half of our schoolmates have gone back home and we won’t see them again.

House Parent: “Okay, boys, as you know, there’s been a shortage of alcohol hand sanitisers in the region. [Chemistry Teacher] and [Biology Teacher] are rigging up a distillery to make sure that [Nearby Village]’s stockpile doesn’t run out. If any of you have any liquor they’d like to surrender, I’ll turn a blind eye, just this once.”

That’s true. I’m taught by both of those teachers and have seen the apparatus, or at least its prototype. And for the record, most of us are over 18 — UK’s drinking age — by this point.

Me: “Can I keep my wine? I don’t think that its alcohol content is high enough.”

House Parent: *Scandalised look* “Bring it out anyway.”

We start shuffling in and out of the common room, dragging our contraband to the room. For some reason, everyone has decided to surrender not just the alcohol, but all of our contraband. Before long, there’s a small mountain of alcoholic beverages, e-cigarettes, regular cigarettes, and some weird pills.

House Parent: “[Dormmate #1], I am disappointed in you. You’re a prefect, for God’s sake! And [Dormmate #2], you’ve been here for years; I always thought that you were a good student. And [My Name], you’ve always been harsh on rule-breakers. So, how is it you have nine, nine bottles of wine in your room?”

The two prefects brought out an impressive supply of vodka and cigarettes. Including my nine bottles of wine — I was expecting to not be allowed back to town, thus I bought enough to last until summer — the three of us brought out roughly half of the contraband.

House Parent: “And the rest of you? How is it that over a third of my dorm has been smuggling in contraband?”

Dormmate #3: “Actually, sir, some of these belonged to the guys that left. They handed it to us before they went home.”

Dormmate #4: “Yeah. Some of them still have stuff stashed away. If you let us into their rooms, we can get more out.”

House Parent: “Great! Is there no one in my dorm that has not broken at least one of the rules?”

We all shuffle about guiltily.

House Parent: “Seriously, boys?”

Me: “Welp, sir, it’s our last day here. Just lighten up a bit, all right?”

House Parent: *Sighs* “Fine. Fine. Just take your wine and go.”

Dormmate #2: “Hey, sir, seeing as it’s our last day here, can we have a party?” *Gestures at contraband pile* “We’ve got plenty of supplies here.”

Our house parent closes his eyes for a long time.

House Parent: “Fine. Just this once. No liquor, no vaping, and no smoking.”

Me: *Grins* “I’ve got ice cream! Seeing as I’m heading home tomorrow, I’ll share it with everyone!”

Dormmate #5: “I’ve got chocolate!”

Dormmate #6: “I’ve got waffles!”

And then we all had an impromptu party, eating ice cream and drinking our sorrows away. We said our tearful goodbyes, promised to keep in touch, and confessed to all of our various crimes in front of our house parent, who reacted with a mix of disbelief, exasperation, and disappointment.

My wine supply came out reasonably unscathed as everyone found it too sweet, but there was no more beer, cider, or less sweet wine left by the time we went to bed. 

It was oddly touching, considering that I found most of those people barely tolerable on most days. But now that we’ve gone our separate ways, I wished that that night where we got drunk together lasted forever.

Armoring Up For The Ultimate Prank

, , , , , | Friendly | March 24, 2020

(I’m sitting with one of my friends during dinner. The conversation rolls around to her sister, with whom my friend is in the middle of a — several years long by now — prank war.)

Friend: “So, I need ideas on how to pay back that little b****. Got anything?”

Me: “You mentioned that your house had a suit of armour, right?”

Friend: “Yeah, that piece of junk my dad found in a thrift store.”

Me: “How about you put on that suit of armour, wait until your sister wakes up in the morning, and then jumpscare her.”

Friend: *homicidal joker grin on face* “Ooh, I like the sound of that. Problem: I’m not sure it’s even wearable. And it’s covered with dust and cobwebs.”

Me: “Can you try to get your father to put it on? Say that you’re curious if it can actually be worn and talk him around into wearing it. That way you can both confirm if it can be worn and how to put it on.”

Friend: “Oh, that’s a good idea. Two birds with one stone.”

Me: “Better, I imagine that your father would not want to wear something that is filled with spiders, so he’ll probably clean it first, which means that you won’t have to wear a dusty old suit.”

Friend: *excitedly* “And I can video him doing it. If he gets stuck inside it’ll be a big hit on [Video Site]! Five birds with one stone. Man, you’re a genius.”

Me: “I prefer ‘devious mastermind,’ but anyway, that still leaves the million-dollar question: will your father wear the suit of armour?”

Friend: “Yeah, I can convince him to do that. He’s quite the nut job. Once, my uncle and I managed to convince him into dancing naked on the abandoned railway bridge near our farm.”

Me: *OMGWTF face* “What?”

Friend: “Yeah, a rain dance to piss off the sky. We videoed it. Getting him to put a suit of armour on will be easy. Oh, I can’t wait for the weekend. This is going to be so fun!”

Me: “Show me the video of your dad in the armour at some point. And good luck with the prank.”