School Anecdotes

For years, I went to a school called Birdwood High school. Everything was good and much mayhem was experienced by all. Notable incidents included the infamous James Miller chip-packet destruction - one day James Miller had bought a packet of chips from the canteen, and Dylan saw him struggling to open it. Never being one to let others go unaided, he leaped at him and with his outstretched hands, popped it open. Predictably the packet opened from the bottom and they spilled onto the floor, much to everyone's amusement. Five minutes later, he was sipping from his carton of Classic Chocolate with all dignity when once again Dylan leaped at him. His natural instinct, of course, was to throw the carton of milk over his shoulder.

Another funny time was when Nick would always bring the most generic reconstituted fruit juices in his lunch, every day without fail. Naturally he had a reserve of these in the bottom of his bag, so Dylan procured one, bound it tightly with sticky tape and lobbed it over a verandah to where some people always played four-square. It exploded on a wall and covered someone affectionately referred to as Mattress, and from that day onward, he hung out with us instead, much to our irritation.

For some reason on hot days, people would get bottles of soft drink, refill them with water and puncture small holes in the top. These made ineffective water cannons, and the younger years would race around the yard spraying each other and occasionally us. I advised that action be taken, so Dylan grabbed the nearest 8th year, wrestled him to the ground and lobbed his water bottle into some distant bushes. Naturally our chemistry teacher, Doc Davis saw it without appreciating the intricacies of our respectable upholding of the school rules.

People would occasionally marvel at the way I would bring fruit to school every day. In those days, fruit would always have small stickers attached for the purposes of irritation, and with fingers sticky from apple juice, they were often difficult to flick into a bin. Instead, we decided to claim a steel verandah support that we often sat near and paste them on in a solemn vertical column - a testament to our healthy eating habits. Among them were some choice bright orange stickers that I found on some mangoes at home. Our aim was to establish an unbroken line from ceiling to ground and then varnish over them, but unfortunately I left the school before this was achieved and Dylan was once again caught by Doc Davis and commanded to peel them all off.

One unforgettable character was Simon Poynter. Often the butt of jokes, he was always quick to pound you with a heavy fist. His hairstyle was interestingly reminiscent of a Lego mans' clip-on hairdo. After I left and people were old enough to drive to school, my friends once tied his car to a wire mesh fence with a steel cable. When he left to go home that day, he hopped in his car, stuck it in reverse and tried to leave. He couldn't understand why he wasn't getting anywhere, so he gunned the engine harder. Eventually the wire broke and he was able to go home, but his gearbox was never the same. Another time, a group of people lifted his car and rotated it in the parking lot until it was perpendicular to the normal parking direction and he had no clearance with which to leave. A normal person would have paled at the challenge, but not Poynter. Because he'd left early, there would be no waiting around for others to leave for him. From the classrooms, it was possible to hear him slowly alternating his way out, until he drove into one of the adjacent cars. There was a silence, before he zoomed out of there. Later the perpetrators were sought, until Bradley "Beano" O'Brien admitted to single-handedly masterminding the whole thing and the teachers were content to believe it.

For a while Dylan and I were singlehandedly striving to make a rocket that we could launch up into the air for some obscure reason, so we spent many afternoons mixing fuels, rolling tubes and buying every single available Party Popper and sparkler from the supermarket. Once when I was carrying about five packets of each to the checkout, the cashier said "Oh, are you having a party?" to which I looked confused and said "No". We'd cut them up on his lawn to turn them into more interesting things, and naturally every time someone mowed it, the sound of cutting grass would be interrupted by small explosions. Eventually we managed to make one rocket that flew about ten metres up into the air. It was quite cool.

In year eleven my family moved from Birdwood to Aldgate and I was given the choice of changing schools. I decided to stay at Birdwood High and before I knew it, I was enrolled at Glenunga International High. This was vaguely disconcerting because the uniform was more strict than the Birdwood policy of "blue jeans and something else blue". It was a few weeks before anyone knew my last name, but I hung around with some people until I'd assimilated myself, and thankfully most of them were great people. Recess times consisted of eating food, throwing food at people they didn't like and burying rubbish in the earth and occasionally debating the whereabouts of things that had previously been buried. Typically at lunch people would hide each others' bags and kick footballs around, or play hacky-soccer. Once during a tech studies class I was using an overarm router and someone put Michael "Spanky" Nankivells' school bag next to it so that it filled up with finely ground medium density fibreboard, which would have been amusing if I hadn't felt so intimidated by him (after someone asked him how to spell "VCR" and he was unable to do it I realised that he wasn't really a threat to anyone but himself). Tech studies classes almost always culminated in people putting anvils in each others' bags. In year 12 Stewie made one of those boxes that you put over the top of a curtain rod and when the moderator saw it, he laughed.