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.

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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.”

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On The Fence About The Club Presidency

, , , , , , | Learning | March 24, 2020

This happened in fencing club at our boarding school. We’re rather laid-back and relaxed, but at some point, another school challenged us to a match, which required us to send a student representative with the coach to help settle the details. So, the coach brought it up in a fencing lesson, stating that he needed someone to become the “club president” and help him with the details.

Our boarding school has a quirk where we call the Year Twelves “Juniors” and the Year Thirteens “Seniors.”

Someone proposed that there be an election, which prompted me to cast my vote for my enthusiastic junior. But that idea was shot down as the strongest fencer in the group decided that we should have a tournament with the club captainship as the prize, which was an even more popular idea.

Then, just when we were putting on our gear and preparing for the tournament, one of my fellow seniors argued that as we seniors were preparing to go to university, club captainship should fall to us as we needed it more on our personal statements than the juniors did. They could have their turn as club captain next year, when they themselves became seniors.

Somehow, they convinced the coach, mostly because other clubs in school had a similar precedent. I wasn’t very happy with the decision, as I considered it childish and the two seniors vying for the club captain position were basically people who joined the club at the same time as the juniors. In fact, they never even held a sword until they joined the club, unlike half of the juniors, who were veteran fencers in their previous schools. They just wanted the position to burnish their personal statements and make themselves more attractive to universities.

Regardless, the coach did not seem to notice that those two were blatantly after the position for selfish reasons and named the only other senior in the club president: me. 

He was backed unanimously by the juniors, leaving the two other seniors stunned. They then tried to argue against my appointment, but the coach shot them down. I was the last member of last year’s team, the oldest and seniormost student and the one with the most attendance, and although I wasn’t the best fencer, I was the only veteran fencer among the three seniors.

I didn’t really want the position, but I could not deny being greatly amused at the way my fellow seniors’ faces fell. Still, I offered the two of them the opportunity to claim club captainship in a mini-tournament between the three of us. Two easy victories later and I was crowned club captain. Somehow they never really came back to the club during my captainship.

The coach used a balloon sword he picked up from a fencing shop to “knight” me and offered it to me as my “sword of office.” After I stepped down as captain after the year, I was allowed to keep the sword as a farewell gift.

According to my juniors, it has now become a tradition for the coach to “knight” new club captains with such balloon swords and that they’re allowed to keep the blade after they retire.

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Navajo-No-No

, , | Learning | June 7, 2017

(This is a story my father told me about my granddad. My granddad used to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, teaching shop classes at boarding schools on reservations. The first part of this story takes place just outside of Carson City, Nevada, on a Navajo reservation. A couple of teenage boys approach my granddad during his shop class.)

Boys: “Mr. [Granddad], if you’re teaching Navajo kids, you should learn to speak at least a little Navajo! You want us to teach you some?”

Granddad: “Sure, boys. I think that’d be mighty handy.”

(For the next few weeks, the boys teach my grandfather a word or phrase of Navajo each day. One day, one of the Navajo women who works at the school comes to visit Granddad’s class.)

Granddad: *rips off one of the ‘Navajo greetings’ he’s been taught*

Navajo Employee: *puffs up and goes all red in the face* “MR. [Granddad]! WHO TAUGHT YOU THAT?! NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN!”

(Suddenly, all of Granddad’s students were very busy with their projects.)


This story is part of our Native-American roundup.

Want to read the next story? Click here!

Want to read the roundup? Click here!

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Mathematics Can’t Solve This Problem

| Learning | February 4, 2016

(One of the night staff is off sick and our maths teacher, normally a daytime-only teacher, has been working nights as well so that there’s enough staff. One morning we’re sitting in maths class before it’s time to start, when the biology teacher comes in with a letter.)

Biology Teacher: “Miss [Maths Teacher], I just dropped in to give you this before class.”

(Maths Teacher continues to stare blankly at the computer screen.)

Biology Teacher: “Miss [Maths Teacher]…” *waves in front of her face*

(Biology teacher pokes Maths Teacher with the letter.)

Maths Teacher: “Hey! [Biology Teacher]! Question!”

Biology Teacher: “What?”

Maths Teacher: “How many nights can you go without sleeping before you actually die?”

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