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High School Hijinks

The prankster strikes again. This time he is in High School.

We all remember high school. It was filled with fond memories of friends, first loves, teachers, bullies, jocks, cheerleaders, snobs, nerds, geeks, socialites and the rest of the students. There was one group who stood out from all the rest. This group or in some rare cases an individual was the “prankster”. The prankster was the person who teased and coaxed others to be targets of some unfortunate planned incident that was funny, humiliating or downright hilarious.

Today they may be thought of as bullies. But when I was in high school they were just students who were having fun. Most of the time it was harmless, not meant to hurt or damage anyone or anything. Each class in high school had its own pranksters and they sometimes competed to prove who was the best. The seniors were always the ones who seemed to win, because they had been doing it longer and honed it to a fine art.

This is the story of one senior prankster who was the king of them all. He was the ultimate prankster. He pulled off the most elaborate pranks. He got others to do the pranks. Best of all he rarely got caught and when he did never got punished.

The school loved his pranks because they were not aimed to intentionally hurt or harm anyone. They were mainly done to disrupt classes, assemblies or confuse people in the hallways. Everyone in school knew who he was and, while he was not necessarily very popular or sought after, he had his circle of friends who protected him and looked up to him.

Here is the confession. I was that student when I was in high school. I graduated high school in 1964. I was one of three students who had perfect attendance, grades and test scores. Yet if you looked at the class rankings I was always listed third. It happened that the rankings were done alphabetically within groups. There were two others who had the same ranking as I. Their names came before mine alphabetically so I was always third.

I won the crown of ‘King Prankster’ when I was a junior because I would virtually have a new prank every day of school. Some were minor and others grandiose. I will describe some of the things I did to make school life more bearable. Remember these were done almost 50 years ago so attitudes and rules were different. If done today they would certainly end in detention, suspension or being expelled from school or in some cases maybe criminal prosecution.

Prank One

My favorite and most simple one was to disrupt a very boring class. Typically that was English for me when we were reading or studying the poetry or plays of William Shakespeare. At the time I did not like either but today I do. Every male student carried his books and gym clothes in a gym bag. This gym bag today would be a backpack.

To make this prank more interesting it was better to have two or three accomplices as well. Before class we would meet and pass out wind-up alarm clocks and set them for different times throughout the class. When class started we would sit around the classroom to confuse the source of the disturbance. We would make sure the clocks were wrapped in a towel to soften the noise.

The clocks would go off and be slightly annoying and break the concentration of the whole class. By the third clock everyone was not interested in studying anymore. The best was the last clock. It was not wrapped in a towel but hidden strategically in the wastebasket beside the teacher’s desk under some papers. When it went off the whole class would erupt in laughter. The teacher would try to contain herself because she thought it was funny by now, but she also had to be in control. Most often everyone knew I had done the prank, but never proved it.

Prank Two

This one is for the girls. When I was in school, the girl’s tennis team had practice right after school every day. They had to carry their rackets with them everywhere they went because they would not fit in their lockers.

Again this was a coordinated effort by a few students. Also I was the instigator but never the perpetrator of the prank. We had real desks in school not chairs with arms that were used to write on. The books and other items carried by students were stacked in one corner of each desk.

When women walk they sway their hips. Some sway more than others and it was not uncommon for this swaying to move things on student’s desks.

One girl who was good at exaggerating her sway would get up during class to sharpen her pencil. While she was walking down an aisle her hips would move striking a tennis racket knocking it to the floor. The first time it would wake everyone up and they would be watching and waiting for it to happen again.

On the way back to her desk our hip swaying young lady would take a different route to knock more than one racket to the floor. When this happened everyone burst out laughing and the class was a total loss for the day. The hip swaying young lady was never punished as she was only walking in the aisles. They never could prove that I did this one but alas I did.

Prank Three

This prank was never done in a classroom, but could have been. The jocks in my school, as they do now traveled in packs. I likened them to wolf packs but that was a personal thing no one else’s.

People who hang wallpaper for a living have these wide narrow trays for holding water to wet the paper. They are pretty stable and don’t tip very easily. I figured that one of these trays spanned a good portion of the double doors that were fire doors in the hallways. These doors had a decorative molding around them that had a wide edge capable of holding one of these trays.

One day out of curiosity I put a tray on the molding lip and connected a piece of yarn to the tray and the door. I tried pulling the door and it could dump its contents and never fall on the person going through the door.

No one liked the jocks that walked the hallways because they were bullies, rude and obnoxious. I decided one day to get them good for being that way. So with the help of a couple of friends we rigged a few doorways to spill a combination of paper confetti and glitter down on them.

We rigged four doorways to get a broad effect that more than one group could see. The doors were in halls frequented by the jocks. The word spread around the school that something was going down and people were waiting to see it happen.

Four different groups hit the doors quickly and down came the confetti and glitter completely covering them from head to toe. It got in their hair in their mouths all over their clothes. They got so flustered and angry, but when everyone was laughing at them they all cowered and slinked back to the gym.

Once again the non-jocks ruled the school for a little while. They never figured out it was me who planned that one. They never really tried to find out because if they asked questions they were reminded of the humiliation they suffered. The prank had a lasting positive effect on the jocks.

Prank Four

This last prank was not a prank per se but became a celebrated event in my school. As a junior in high school in Honors English we read a lot of plays: Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Waiting for Godot etc. Part of this reading was to memorize and recite Hamlet’s soliloquy. I for one was not fond of the play nor did I want to learn that passage and get up in front of the class and recite it.

I decided to take a firm stance and refused to learn it. When called upon to recite it I informed the teacher that I had not learned it and refused to learn it ever. She let it go and when it came to the last person to recite she called on me again. I gave her the same answer. She was not very pleased to have a student defy her like that in class. She let it drop at the time.

The next day however, I was told when I came to class to report to the Assistant Principal’s office. I my school the Assistant Principal was the mean one. He handled all the discipline problems and punished the bad guys. I went to his office.

I sat in the waiting area looking innocent and ready to knuckle under if confronted. When asked why I was there I responded that my English teacher had sent me there from class. I was there all period and was told to go on to my next class.

The next day the same thing happened. I was in his office for a while. He came in and said hello. He knew who I was because of my academic record and other good things I had done. We went into his office and chatted for a while about things, but not the speech.

He finally asked me why I was being so stubborn about not memorizing the speech and reciting it. He said if it was stage fright he would listen to me and give me the A grade. By now I had time to think of a good reason for not learning the speech. I was ready for him. I told him I refused to learn the speech.

He was a reasonable man and wanted to know my reasons. I sat there pretending to think, just to keep him off guard. I spoke up and gave him the following argument.

1. In the future would the fact that I did not learn this speech hamper me?

2. Would the speech guarantee me a better job?

3. Would it get me into the college of my choice?

4. Would it help me get more money other than on a quiz show?

5. Was learning this required by educational mandate?

To all these questions his answers were NO. I concluded then that the learning of the speech was not necessary to the betterment of me as a person so therefore I did not have to learn it.

The Assistant Principal sat there for a few minutes thinking trying to come up with a convincing argument to my reasons. He shook his head and put up his hands in surrender. To this day I have not learned the speech. I have read it many times and can recite part of it, but never all of it.

The end result was I became a folk hero who beat the school. It was common knowledge that I had successfully done it. However anyone after me trying to use the same valid reasoning was going to be severely punished. The faculty openly did not like what I had done, but secretly a few congratulated me on standing up and defending myself admirably. So now in my mind I had beaten the school and had friends in the students and the faculty.

I was “King of the Pranksters!”

A word of warning, all of these pranks if done today will result in severe punishment.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

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