There’s a comedian in every classroom. I suppose that’s where my boyfriend began his crafty and celebrated skill as a comic, making his mark as the class clown throughout high school. I only wish I’d been a fly on the walls to hear all the rascality, and done some crazier things myself. Born a worrier, not a warrior, I was far too afraid of being shoved off to boarding school for misconduct, or entrusted to the care of strict disciplinarians in some foreign nunnery. So I chortle abundantly at my suitors never regrettable stories.
There’s nothing like a three week teacher sabbatical to bring out the beast in buddies. He and his inseparable accomplice were handicapped…with diseases of disruptiveness, dodgy attitudes, report card altering, and hall pass-ititus, curable only with graduation. Or expulsion, whichever came first. Both mischief makers were caught cheating and the teacher told one of the culprits, “Gee, your answers look exactly alike. Must be ESP. See your pal’s paper for comments.”
Forced to have separate desks, their speech instructor went out on leave and was replaced with an elderly substitute teacher, so the hellions immediately switched seats so they could sit together. On the instructors first day, she asked the students to write an outline for a speech. My funny guy filled the page in with Japanese symbols. The teacher noticed the paper asking, “What is this?” His chum replied, “My friend here is a foreign exchange student from Japan and I’m his interpreter!” Both boys started babbling in what sounded like east Asian dialect, which was nothing but a bunch of meaningless nonsense. The all American look of the kid didn’t even sway the gullible woman. She replied, “Oh how wonderful. Tell him welcome to our country!” It prompted stereophonic shrills of laugher from other students which still didn’t phase the teacher. The silliness went on for three days before the long suffering principal got wind of it and pegged the boyish blunders. “That wasn’t Walton and Gonzales was it??”
My loverboy has since lived a successful life despite his sidetracking and wisecracking. Now he gets a hundred percent approval rating. Or at least from young waiters and waitresses, since he doesn’t leave the usual 15-20% percent tip. He practically funds their college tuitions. And for every joke they tell him, he’ll up it ten bucks. He figures those kids work hard…. something he wasn’t familiar with after spending most of his time goofing off. He must have missed English class an awful lot because the smarty pants sometimes ends a sentence with a proposition. He loves it when I write about him. I’m not doing anything different than any other fond and fun loving girlfriend wouldn’t do.
This all prompted me to remember my own class clowns back in Michigan. My biology teacher screamed at one kid for letting all the frogs loose in the teacher’s lounge, and for pouring chocolate milk into one chubby gals white go-go boots. Which was worrisome when I owned white go-go boots as well. I had a date once who drove me through a car wash and devilishly decided to roll down the windows on my side of the vehicle. One thing I’ve realized about stinkers. They don’t have a whole lot of friends, so they’ll do anything for attention. Another hooligan wasn’t exactly part of the proper Cleaver clan. In fact he was more Eddie Haskell-ish and one hellava self barberer. He came to school with his head shaved in polka dots. Quite often he spent the night in the basement of his friends house and they’d sneak out. They came home blitzed, thanks to the bevy of available booze at a local party. Drinks at midnight don’t sound that unreasonable unless they are served two at a time, in gigantic tumblers, with a generous mixture of alcohol. One of them barfed while climbing back into the basement window, leaving lovely remnants of egg shells. His friend couldn’t understand why he saw such a thing among the slop. Little did they know the prankster party host laid out unpeeled hard boiled eggs purposely to see if anyone would be sober enough to de-shell them before eating.
One classmate of mine had a consistent stern grip around his upper arm from our principal since he skipped school so often. Our foreign language teacher told him that appearances were important. In order to affirm her verbal accuracy, he showed up to class fluttering around in a French maid outfit. And he always had excuses for not doing his homework. He told our educator, “I’m not procrastinating, I am assertively delaying the period of any assignment until my enthusiasm has pinnacled.” With that answer, I thought for sure he’d become the future president, or at least a word scholar. He got suspended for skipping school, and sarcasm.
My association with clowns hasn’t changed much. Especially since earth can be a multi-ring circus. And if I remember anything else about school, it was always dang cold outside. I couldn’t figure out why my dad wouldn’t move his family to the warmth of Hollywood so I could pursue a career in anything stage related. Mom said it was because they were short stock brokers in Michigan and that if I knew anything about industrial averaging, I too could become a financial analyst. Except I figured my brain would work a whole lot better given a warmer geographical location. Which influenced me to make my own move to California. As it turned out, I started my clowning around much later in life with this quirky style of expressing myself. At least here I know the difference between sub zero and zero funds in a money market. And that you gotta laugh at life and the cost of living. I may be older, but I’m trying to stay young, resourceful, playful, and relentless. I’ve tried calling that clown Betty White three times this month.
(Posts can be seen in the weekend editions of The Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)