I have often thought that real life stories are much funnier than sitcoms or jokes most of the time. This seems to be mainly because the bizarre events of our lives are too strange to be funny if it weren’t for the fact that they actually happened. The following is a true story from my days in High School, many years ago. Well, it is true to the best of my memory. This is the first in series of posts about the events of the summer prior to my Senior year. Stay tuned for more posts in the series.
Note: While I have kept as many details as possible completely honest, I have changed all of the names of the people in these stories. I didn’t think it would be fair to write about them in the way that I have if I hadn’t protected the real people a bit. In the case of one particular person, I don’t remember his real name anyway. Also, please don’t take anything I say in this story to be tacit approval for the way I or anyone else acted. I was in High School, and sometimes acted like quite a punk.
In High School I was really, ridiculously into music. I was in Marching and Concert Band (Fall/Spring) and Jazz Band. These 2 classes justified the energy it took for me to drag my teenaged self out of bed each morning, do homework for classes like Physics, and navigate the intricate social workings of High School society.
Also added to the mix was choir, which I didn’t really particularly enjoy, but it did succeed in getting me closer to the band room for one more hour of the day. It also had other benefits. For one, I could secretly laugh at the egos of the choir divas,* ninety-nine percent of whom all band members considered to be pretend musicians. Also, I had the opportunity to continually enjoy the mannerisms of our choir director, Mr. Saxton, who seemed to be one of the few people I’ve met who are complete caricatures of themselves. Finally, this class allowed me to have half of my entire schedule comprised of music classes.
The downside to this arrangement was that it required me to take some of the non-music classes that were required during the summer. At that time and place there were two types of people who took Summer School classes: students who were far more concerned with building up their disciplinary record in order to give them street cred than they were in actually holding a High School Diploma, and students like me who were taking core classes in advance in order to free up their schedule. These classes were about 70% full of the hooligans, and therefore were staffed by teachers who had somehow left certain sins un-atoned for, landing them in pedagogic purgatory.
One particular summer, prior to my Senior year, I took Economics, a class that I passed easily with a 102%. I was never a super-genius student, but I did take advanced classes and could always get high marks if I decided that I wanted to actually apply myself. I was however, friends with all of the super-geniuses, which made me feel slightly less brilliant than I suppose I could have felt.
The teacher of Economics was Mr. Grady, who had been teaching Economics since before printed currency. He once told me that when he first started, the class was called Collecting Shells and Pretty Beads. His brother was a Math teacher at my High School, as well. Their nephew was the High School quarterback, who was dating the head cheerleader and prettiest girl in school. Her dad was the Football coach. Basically, it was Mayberry, or some perfect setting for a Friday Night Lights episode.
Mr. Grady was a nice enough man I suppose, but undoubtedly past the point of being able to handle a class of High School students. We tortured him mercilessly. First of all, since he had been teaching the same class for the last 50 or so years, his lectures were completely memorized. He would begin the morning by standing up from his desk, finding a point on the back wall to stare at, and then launching into his talk in a flat monotone.
Unfortunately, the years of practice did not help him to speak this memorized lecture quickly. Instead, every word was labored, and offset by an uhhh. Sometimes his uhhh’s were offset by their own uhhh’s. We soon began to count these over the course of his lecture.
Each day a new student would be assigned to tally the day’s uhhh’s. It was determined by vote prior to his arrival (always at the exact moment of the bell) and no student could be handed the position twice. Double uhhh’s were celebrated by the students out loud by lightly slapping our desks for a few moments. His record for the summer was 243 uhhh’s and 81 double-uhhh’s during a single class. The class erupted in applause at the end of that lecture. -Ryan
Stay posted for further episodes.
*If there is a male form of diva I don’t know what it is, or if it matters. But I secretly laughed at the male divas even more than the female ones.