Surviving Grade School: Detention & PE
[Editor’s Note: This article is a retelling of an original work by comedy troupe Radio F of which Dracophile was a member of prior to Twilight Foundry.]
I spent my years as a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grader at a small town elementary school. It was during this time that Radio F was assembled and also during this time that a lot of our material for our old joke tapes was recorded. Needless to say, as practical jokers I was not a shining symbol of “star student” although in a stroke of irony because of my high grades I was given one of those stupid Channel 3 News “STAR STUDENT” bumper stickers anyways. This article is actually two stories in one (two for the price of one now that is a deal): my frequent visits to the “In School Suspension (ISS)” detention room and also how much of a bitch our drill sergeant “physical education” teacher was. If you wanted to come up with a mathematical formula to describe the two stories’ correlations it would look something like this:
Before we get into me being sent to detention a million times a week I should first introduce you to our PE teacher. I am about 110% sure she was bipolar with a tendency to always be in what scientists call “Perma-PMS” mode. Basically anything you said or did to her was like playing a game of Operation, sometimes you’ll get away with goofing off but most of the time you’ll touch the sides and be rewarded with a loud buzzing sound and blinking lights (and a shock if the rubber came off of your tweezers). Best of all, much like the bright red light shoved up the Operation guy’s nose, the teacher’s face would turn red when she was pissed off. Needless to say, at any given time she would have been a perfect (but pissed off) spokesperson for blood drives.
I shared a PE class with RKPTJg, and if you’ve kept up with your RFSHQ trivia, he’s the fellow that I started Radio F with. We had a perfectly sane teacher during second grade, but once we turned the corner into third the shit hit the fan. For starters this was before the school had the money to build a gym or any kind of nice indoor area for exercising, when I attended the school we had a tiny portable trailer building that all of the jump ropes and basketballs were stored in and a huge concrete slab with all kinds of designs painted on it for playing four square, basketball, or some bizarre version of Monopoly crossed with Snakes & Ladders. This area took up about a fourth of the plot of land that was outside of the school, right next to it occupying the next fourth was the playground, and taking up the entire remaining half was just empty space that was fenced off so we couldn’t escape.
It was on this field that RKPTJg and I ended up doing a number of things that got one or both of us into trouble, but before I continue on with the ridiculous reasons behind my incarcerations you should know what the ISS room was like. Normally ISS was a bad thing that you never wanted to be sent to, it was the equivalent of Room 101 in 1“; people were dehumanized there and tortured until they were mere shells of what they used to be. ISS was drawn up to be some godforsaken place where everyone killed each other over saltine crackers, but in reality it was really just a really quiet room with a bunch of desks that were sectioned off where at any given time the room temperature was about forty-eight below. Overseeing this entire operation was a little old lady in the corner of the room who was always writing things down on a pad of paper. The real rules of ISS were “sit down and be quiet”. The punishment varied depending on the class, but for PE all you did was sit there and copy the rules five times off of a printed out copy of the rules, then you just sat there until the period was over. You could sleep, you could draw; you could do whatever the fuck you wanted as long as you weren’t loud.
Take a minute to remember where I lived during this time: South Texas. We have three seasons here, “hot”, “really hot”, and “not as hot as the first one but still uncomfortably hot”. Many a time I was confronted with the mental dilemma of “do I really want to be out here sweating every ounce of salt out of my body or do I feel like chilling out in ISS where it’s nice and cold.” Any idiot knows the answer to that question.
“Hey teacher! This class licks my butt!” I shouted from the back of the crowd.
“Dracophile, go to ISS” was always the response.
Sure everyone laughed at my “misfortune” of being busted yet again but the joke was on them. While they were outside with the potential to dry out and explode into dust I was safe inside my own little cubicle of the ISS room drawing pictures of classmates getting hit with trucks and dinosaurs and passing the paper under the cubicle wall to RKPTJg where we laughed and were told to be quiet. How often had we been sent to ISS? The PE class rules were seven points long; I had been in there enough times that I no longer needed the copy of the rules to write them all down. At one point in time after explaining some ludicrous reason for being sent down to the ISS room the teacher said I could go back to class if I wanted, but I contested her and said I’d rather stay here and I was honest, I said I liked the atmosphere. Cold and quiet, just like my apparently blackened heart. Clearly ISS was the better choice, and despite what everyone says about kids not getting exercise and eating like shit, I’ve been eating the same mix of fast food, TV dinners, Chef Boyardee, and home cooked meals for almost twenty years and I’ve been about as active as the average American, and I’m not overweight at all. There’s a difference between making entire McDonalds franchise restaurants run out of stock and eating like a normal person.
With that reference to kids shaped like beach balls I think it’s time we redirect our attention back to physical education, most notably that giant grassy field where most of our “active” exercise took place, since if you fell down on the concrete it was guaranteed to fuck you up pretty hardcore. I was sent to ISS for a number of retarded reasons, ranging from not being able to touch my toes without bending my knees to somehow not doing jumping jacks the “right way”. One day that I was guaranteed a day off without having to go to ISS again or sacrifice my grade though was the dreaded “Lap Day”, which had a really simple premise: run around the perimeter of the grassy field and pick up straws for every lap; a lap was considered all the way around and back to the teachers who both had a handful of brown and white coffee stirrers.
There’s a reason why RKPTJg and I both had “STAR STUDENT” bumper stickers (and also a reason why we both ended up graduating in the top 10% of our class), we aren’t morons. The first time we had lap day we knew these were just stirrers from Wal-Mart so we bought a bag of them for no more than about a buck fifty and just brought some with us to class on those days. We ran one lap so that the teacher would at least see us take a straw from her. By then she would lose count because of all the students, so we would just quietly break off from the grass field and go sit in the shade over at the playground which was strategically blocked from view by some poorly placed trailer buildings. She would blow her whistle which meant that this was your final lap and to stop and come give her your straws so she can tally your score. Five straws was an “A” for the day, and wouldn’t you know it just so happens that we had some straws stashed in our pockets that brought our final count to five. We did this for two years until she moved us all to a different concentration camp that didn’t have a place to hide, so we just walked and brought straws anyways.
Toward the middle of my third grade year, when we were first learning how to deal with this insane teacher we had, one day she told us that kickball was on the menu. For those not in the know, think of kickball like baseball plus soccer and minus any kind of intelligent planning whatsoever. It was my turn up to “bat” and the pitcher rolled the ball my way. I felt like being an asshole so I kicked the ball as hard as humanly possible with the tip of my foot. The rubber dodgeball immediately left my foot heading opposite the way it traveled at an upward angle. As soon as I kicked that ball I knew where it was heading and realized I just made a stupid mistake.
There was a loud rubber “THUD” as the ball made contact with the pitcher’s face, snapping his neck backwards and sending him straight to the ground. The ball hit the kid so hard that it busted his lip and gave him a bloody nose. From second base RKPTJg got to see the spectacle from behind and after a few seconds of silence we both started laughing uncontrollably as the pitcher writhed on the ground in pain while the teachers were asking if he was okay. I wasn’t aiming for the kid’s face but it literally just flew up there like it was a magnet and we were laughing more out of nervousness than hilarity, although in retrospect the way he fell down was pretty hilarious. Once the kid got back up he was escorted to the nurse’s office by the PE aide.
“Dracophile, RKPTJg” the teacher said, “go to ISS.”