Pranks in High School
Sometimes high school was boring. When things got dull, several of my friends and I found ways to liven up the days. Yes, we did some crazy and childish things just to irritate the administration. They always thought everyone should just sit around and talk quietly, never moving around, never doing anything that was out of the ordinary. My friends and I never wanted to stir up trouble, we just wanted to see who would respond to our actions. One day we played jacks in front of the library just to see if the administration would stop us. Yes, we played hopscotch in the hallway. And yes, the principal and vice-principal stopped us both times and said we were inciting riots. That was the mind set of the times. No one was supposed to make waves, or make the administrators move out of their offices.
There were times when students would slip into class late, being helped through a window while other students occupied a teacher. We thought we were so smart, no one could stop us. In physics class the teacher patiently explained gravity but his carefully planned experiment went awry. He dropped one metal ball and while an apparatus shot out another. Gravity was supposed to make the two metal balls hit at the same time, thus making one sound and one sound only. When the teacher launched the two metal balls, there were two distinct sounds. The class watched eagerly to see why gravity failed and to see the professor’s consternation. I was amused because I was sitting where I could see my friend, Norman. I could see Norman carefully timed the experiment and dropped a third ball just after the physics teacher launched the two balls. The experiment was attempted over and over, all with the same results. The teacher grew increasingly frustrated. He tried one last time. He dropped one metal ball and attempted to launch the second ball. The rubber band slipped and the launch failed. However, there was still the second sound. That’s when Norman’s trickery was exposed. He had a lot of explaining to do. That’s why Norman was more careful the next time.
On a regular school day, in physics class again, Norman brought in a gadget. I’m not sure what it was and I’m still not sure. All I know that during class Norman plugged it into a socket and all the lights in the building went out. That was always a mystery to the administration because no one ever told what happened.
There were other friends equally creative and used their talents from time to time. Lockers became a target after one young man’s love was spurned.
We all knew that lockers were used by every student at school. They were used for books, for changes of clothes, and for personal items. Lockers were necessities. Students opened them before school, after school, and between classes. Because they were used so commonly our attention focused on what could cause disruption and excitement. It was thought that the lockers were secure and beyond the thinking of students. One day my friends and I sat idly talking about lockers and how some of the numbers seemed to fit patterns. The more we discussed the numbers the more we realized they were not random. We tried some patterns and discovered one that worked with one lock, then another, and then another. In short order we discovered the codes that opened all the lockers. For two weeks we caused havoc with our new found knowledge. We exchanged books, and then clothes. We put boys’ things in girls’ lockers and then did the opposite. Students who were normally calm became angry when their space was invaded. Uncomplimentary words were exchanged. The principal and staff were divided about the cause and about solutions. The problems multiplied until Clay, one of our group, took things too far. He decided to get even with his former girlfriend by adjusting her locker. With our help he moved some of her books, stacked other books in her locker so they would fall, and finally he tied a plastic spider to a string, carefully designed to swing out into space (before her eyes). It was a bold plan and well thought out. When everything happened as expected we smiled, but when the girlfriend shrieked and fainted, everything changed.
The school administration realized that someone was behind all the chaos. Of course, school officials and staff could only surmise who the offender was. No one ever told.
Because of all the increased campus scrutiny, four of our group decided to take the high jinks away from school until things cooled down. I’m not sure who came up with the next bright idea, but it almost proved our undoing. We borrowed two cameras. The cameras had flash bulbs but were without film. We did not want to take pictures and we were not into blackmail. We only wanted to raise mayhem by shocking people. We did not consider consequences. With that in mind we mapped out all the places where young lovers were known to frequent. Late at night we drove to the first spot, pulled up next to a car where we could only see the tops of two heads, pointed our cameras and pretended to take their picture. The bright FLASH brought them up quickly. Their eyes were wide with fright. They tried to hide. My friends laughed as we sped off but I was full of chagrin. It didn’t seem right. We went to three more places with the same kinds of results. I was really feeling mean to violate the privacy of others but my friends were still having fun. “One more,” someone urged. And we headed towards the lake. A car was parked by the edge of the water. We could see no one inside although several articles of clothing were strewn across the top of the front seat. FLASH! FLASH! Two cameras went off. “Hurry up. Let’s get out of here,” someone said, just as the car sputtered to a stop. A huge man began unfolding from the other car, angrily cursing and waving a baseball bat. “Get the car going, before he gets here!” We knew we were clearly in the wrong, therefore we didn’t think of fighting him off. We just wanted to escape his wrath. The car sputtered and came to life. We sped off before the man reached us. We talked about our misdeed and vowed never to do that again. It was mean spirited, hurtful and downright dangerous. Eventually our luck would run out if we continued to cause trouble. Did we stop? Not exactly. But we did graduate and we learned from our mistakes. We split up and went to different colleges, staying away from friends who could influence us to commit bad deeds, and opted to focus on family and friends instead. The years have passed and I wonder where my friends are and if they are successful. I wish them the best and hope their sons and daughters were taught kindness and peace, love and gentleness, and how to be wise, unlike their fathers. My children too, have had to learn how to treat others well, learning on their own, hopefully not learning the sins of their father.