Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Funnies: School Humor

Yesterday the state school librarians' listserv was buzzing with a fun topic; librarians were asked to share funny things that had happened in their schools and libraries this year. A school can sometimes be a prison, but any time you get that many young inmates together in one place, funny things happen. Kids are funny creatures (I mine Ainsley for funny blog topics almost daily.)

This story was my favorite:

We are all sharing the daily funnies at our school and one primary teacher shared this one.

She was working on a paper and asked a student to bring her some white-out from her desk. The student said he didn't know what white-out was so she explained it was white and in a tube. He went to her desk across the room, then held up an item and yelled across the room, "Is this it?" It was not.
It was a tampon.

I haven't had very many funny things happen in the library in recent years. The atmosphere of my current workplace in rather serious. Oh, I do get the occasional gem in the spring when I have to read student portfolios and a student will either misuse a word for humorous effect or have something so off-the-wall in their writing that I get launched into giggles (this year, I read a short story where the main character had a pet tiger named "Chinga." If you know any spanish, think about what "chinga" means in spanish. Here's a clue: we used it a lot in our R-rated spanish skits. After about the third time I read, "Chinga the tiger said...", I lost it a little bit.)

But I do have some tales I've heard from others over the years.

Sit back and enjoy. I apologize if you've heard any of these from me before, but these are worth sharing with the "newbies." Almost all have their humor derived from teachers themselves, who are supposed to be superhuman but occasionally slip and have moments of human absurdity.

1. The Apple
One guy who graduated a year or so after me from college, a short but burly fellow with a quick tember, surprised us all by announcing he was pursuing teacher certification. While subbing at a central Kentucky high school, he one day had his back to the class to write on the board and was interrupted when a cafeteria apple was hurled in his direction, splattering against the board. He turned on the class, red-faced and ready to explode, and said in an angry Kentucky drawl:
"Who's the bitch that threw the apple?"
He didn't stay in education long.

2. The Wiper
I've had a lot of interesting administrators in my teaching career.
In my current job, I have respect and admiration for them all. At one school where I taught English and Jason taught music...well, not so much.
Jason was in the faculty restroom one day washing his hands. He heard a voice behind him calling his name.
When he turned around, one of our assistant principals was in the stall behind him. With the door open. Even though each stall had doors which closed and locked. This guy had dropped trou and was finishing his business, doing what a guy usually goes into a stall as opposed to the urinal to do. As he got Jason's attention, he reached back and wiped.
When Jason and I met up later that day to go home, he said, "You won't believe what happened to me today." A decade later, I still don't. At least, I don't want to.

3. Somebody call Chris Hansen...stat!
My husband in the late 90s went through what I now like to call a Michael Scott phase. You know how on The Office Michael takes every opportunity to take a remotely sexual-sounding comment and make it icky by adding, "That's what she said!"? Jason for a while did something similar, but his catchphrase was, "Oh, you can..." and then whatever you said. For example, if I said, "I just spilled your milk," he would say, "Oh, you can spill my milk" in a tone best described as lascivious.
One December afternoon he and his choir kids were decorating the stage in preparation for their holiday concert. The kids got the idea of wrapping pretty much everything on stage in Christmas lights, including the piano.
One of his very sweet sopranos stood perplexed with a handful of white lights.
"Do you think I should go down here?" she asked Jason, looking at the legs of the piano.
Jason forgot where he was and who he was talking to.
"Oh, you can go down!"
We held our breath the rest of the year and waited for the lawyers to call.

4. Elbow Grease
This is from when I was still in school. Now that I am in education, it's even funnier.
A particularly ditzy girl in my class was trying to clean up some instrument from a science experiment. She began to get frustrated.
"You need to put some elbow grease into it," said our science teacher.
"Elbow grease? What's that? Do you have any?"
"No, I don't," the teacher said coolly. "I'm all out. But I'll tell you who might have some..."
And thus he sent her all over school to look for elbow grease, sending notes ahead of her so that each teacher he sent her to got a heads-up and knew what was going on. She was gone all period, and almost the entire school was playing along.
"I got some!" she came in to the lab yelling. In her hands she held a plastic jug filled with something (probably water...I hope) and labelled with a handwritten sticker that said, "Elbow Grease."
I don't know if he ever did let her in on the joke.

There's one more I can think of but my husband would have to tell it. It involves him, an early-morning arrival at the school building to meet choir kids for a field trip, a building key that didn't work, and the fact that coffee is a laxative.

Those of you who work with teachers and kids daily...chime in with your favorites. We're in the last days of school, and we can all use a laugh.

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