When We Were Idiot Children

I was perusing Guy’s blog over at The Short Fat Kid and ran across one of his posts that dealt with some of the ridiculous stuff he learned in school. One of the things he mentioned which had not been ridiculous was pencil fighting.

I think I laughed out loud when I read his comments about the art. I had completely forgotten about playing that in school, and it brought back lots of great memories about the stupid stuff we did as kids.

One of the things that I excelled at was Elementary School Origami. This is quite different from traditional origami, which focuses on creating boring things like flowers, swans, and frogs from paper. Instead, I focused on paper footballs, paper airplanes (and not just the standard ones either; I could build one that looked like some kind of spaceship), and my personal favorite – paper guns.

You know, I’ve never needed the Periodic Table in my adult life, but knowing how to make bizarre things from paper has been quite useful.

I also remember throwing pencils into the ceiling tiles while the teacher wasn’t looking to see whose pencils would stay the longest. And when I was in 3rd grade, I went to a school that had no A/C. Our evil teacher Ms Avant (whom Wes remembers well; we actually met in 3rd grade) kept a small fan under her desk that would only blow directly on her. After lunch, she would often doze in class, so some of the braver students would take erasers, bits of paper, or pencil lead and throw them into the fan. The blades would then shoot the projectiles at her legs at a much higher velocity. It was pretty fun to watch!

Micro Machines were another great way to pass the school day. They were small enough to hide from the teacher (and the snobby girls who loved to tell on you), and it was lots of fun to send them exploring the mountainous terrain of textbooks, folders, and desktops. And they definitely beat pretending that paperclips and erasers were cars or jets.

Anybody else enjoy similar pastimes in school?


5 thoughts on “When We Were Idiot Children

  1. True to TNR form I have many memories of paper guns and footballs. Never was too good at the airplanes, but I had an arsnel under my desk in paper pistols. How about those ‘Pentec’ pencils, as I recall they were the strongest and were a prized weapon in the pencil break game.

  2. Yeah, Ms. Avant was pretty mean (and definitely lazy, perhaps a member of the lazy side? ..something to ponder), and while I never mastered pencil fighting or paper folding (not for lack of effort), I could trade Micro Machines with the best of them. Besides a young guy named DeRico Houser, I was gaining quite a collection in grade school through my various side-of-the-desk auction houses.

    I remember drawing pictures of sci-fi futuristic warriors and deadly obstacle courses being a good time, along with comparing notes on written stories about hobos, spies and epic battles (oftentimes this all occured in the same story).

    Remember the paper with three lines? A top/bottom and middle (dotted line) so that your handwritten cursive letters were proportional? And who can forget grid paper?…it was fun when I was 8 but quickly became an annoyance when I hit high school geometry.

    The currency one year was metal end-caps from our shiny new desks. When our teacher found out about the disassembled portions of our desks, we all got a lecture that ended with in her screaming that we’d all grow up to be “drug dealers and theives”…ah, the good ole days.

  3. I had a teacher in the 7th grade, Mrs. Hamner, who looked to be past retirement age, and indeed did retire the next year. It was back in the day when there was no a/c, and she would not allow the big fan in the room to be used because of the noise it made (she was deaf as a post) and the class, which was an afternoon class, was on the west side of the school, catching the afternoon sun. It would get quite hot in the class as the windows were very small and did not allow a lot of air to circulate. She, like Ms. Avant, had a small oscellating fan under her desk which she kept on high all afternoon. She would say she didn’t use the fan, but it must have been almost as old as she was and the bearings must have been about shot, because it sounded like ice cubes in a blender. It rattled and made a horrible racket. Anyway, some of the boys in the front row would ask to turn on the fan in class and she would refuse, stating that we would all be hot together, while her fan would grind away under her desk (I guess she thought we were dumb as a box of rocks) keeping her legs cool. The guys on the front row started to bring BB’s to class, and when she wasn’t looking, they would pitch them into the fan under here desk. The sound was something like rocks hitting a tin roof (the fan was made of metal, and was peobably made by Thomas Edison, it was so old). The velocity of the BB’s obviously increased substantially, because she would jump everytime one of the projectiles struck her legs. She tried to act like nothing was wrong because she didn’t want to admit her fan was on, and she had to be pretty tough to bear the pain without saying anything. She would look about the room, but she never caught anyone or figured out what was happening. It was pretty funny for all of us in the class, but she didn’t seem to enjoy it at all. If her circulation had been better, she probably would have bled all over the floor.

    Anyway, your comments made me recall that year and I had to smile.

    “Good ole days” indeed!

    Thanks for the smile.

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