Life & Times

Trip to the bathroom can turn into pipe dream

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I don’t see how kids today can become bored, especially in school. They have so many neat things.

Take computers, for example. Man, if we’d had those, you couldn’t have pried us out of the classroom, but since we didn’t, we would try anything to get out, even for five minutes.

There were only two ways to get out of class. One was to fake sickness, which would get you sent to the school nurse. First, the nurse would stick a thermometer under your tongue.

Then, after determinin’ that you were fakin’, she would send you back to your room with a note instructin’ the teacher that perhaps extra homework would make you feel better. The second method was to raise your hand and ask to go to the restroom.

There was an art in bein’ allowed to go to the restroom. Girls didn’t have to learn this art. If a girl raised her hand, the teacher would send them on their merry way, because girls don’t lie, at least not about goin’ to the restroom. Boys, on the other hand, would put on a performance that would surely win an Academy Award, if they gave them out for that sort of thing.

They would raise their hand, holding the raised arm with the other, with a look on their face of a desperate individual in need of permission to take care of an urgency.

They would wave their arm in the air while makin’ sounds such as “Oo, oo, oo.” The teacher would usually look up from what she was doin’ peer at the boy over her glasses and say slowly, “Yyyyyyes?”

“May I please be excused?” was the proper question. We were not allowed to say “restroom,” or “bathroom.”

“After you finish your math problems,” she might say.

“Yes, ma’am,” the boy would answer. Then in a voice low enough for only those around him to hear, he’d state, “That’s why I wanted to go in the first place.”

Once, while in the boys’ restroom, we discovered a pipe comin’ up from the floor. It had always been there, but we never paid it any attention before. A friend named Jack was lookin’ at it and asked, “Hey, where’s this pipe go?” We all shook our heads. We didn’t know, or care.

Then Jack bent down and yelled into the pipe. “What’s goin’ on in there?!” Suddenly, we heard screamin’. Girls screamin’. The pipe was connected, somehow, to the girl’s restroom. This piqued our curiosity, but the bell rang and we had to get back to class. One of the girls informed us that the other end of that pipe came out in one of the stalls in the girl’s restroom.

Like I said, we had to go back to class, and although the teacher was tryin’ her best to teach us somethin’ useful, I could not concentrate. I was tryin’ to figure what use the pipe might have for some fun at someone else expense. Then, it hit me, and my arm shot up. “Oo, oo, oo,” I said.

“Yyyyyyes?” came the response.

“May I please be excused?”

“Well, OK, but hurry. We are about to do fractions.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “I sure wouldn’t want to miss that,” and I took off.

Just as I entered the hall, I saw the girl’s restroom door close. Somebody had just gone in. Good.

I ran into the boy’s restroom and bent down over the pipe and yelled. “Hey! Would you mind movin’ over? We’re workin’ down here and you’re blockin’ the light!”

I expected to hear a scream or somethin’. But there was nothin’. Somethin’ was wrong. I waited for a minute and then started for the door. I opened it, and there stood Mrs. Payne, a former teacher of mine, lookin’ down at me.

When I say lookin’ down, it’s because Mrs. Payne was over six feet tall. I looked up at her face, which at that time was located about three feet above mine, and I noticed that she didn’t have that pleasant smile that she always wore. It was then that I was struck with the knowledge as to who was in the girl’s restroom.

“Heh, heh,” I said nervously. “That sure is a pretty dress you’re wearin’.” That didn’t work. Mrs. Payne grabbed me by the arm and proceeded to drag me down the hall to Mr. Hanson’s office. Mr. Hanson was our principal. He had an electric paddle hangin’ on the wall in his office.

I had never seen this paddle used on anyone, but I heard the horror stories about it. I wasn’t sure if this paddle would shock you or paddle you fifty times a second. It depended on who told the story about it, but I do know it was a great deterrent.

Mrs. Payne was walkin’ with purpose, with me in tow. My short legs couldn’t quite keep up with her stride and I dept stumblin’, but she kept me upright with the death grip she had on me.

She walked right into Mr. Hanson’s office and crammed me in a chair and proceeded to inform the principal what had taken place. When she finished, Mr. Hanson looked at me, then stood.

He excused himself and walked out and closed the door. I heard a noise that sounded like snickerin’ from behind that door. Mrs. Payne looked at me, stood, and went out the door herself. I heard Mr. Hanson apologize, then I heard him snort, and then I heard full-blown laughter from both Mr. Hanson and Mrs. Payne. I was confused. In a few minutes the door opened, and Mr. Hanson walked back in wiping his eyes with a handkerchief. He took several deep breaths and tried to speak.

“Rusty….. uhum……Go back to class, uhum, and don’t you ever do anything, heh, heh, like that again.” Then he buried his face into his handkerchief and started either laughin’ or cryin’, I couldn’t tell. He raised his had and waved me out without lookin’. As I walked into the outer office, I noticed Mrs. Payne sittin’ in a chair. She looked at me and she had her smile back. She just shook her head as I walked out.

When I got back to class, my teacher was livid. “What took you so long?” she asked. I told you to hurry back. I’ve a good mind to send you to see Mr. Hanson.”

The only thing I could think of to say was, “Been there.”

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