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The Pencil Drop

John Gruber said this in linking to this article by Seth Godin:

Back in elementary school, I was the kid in class who organized the pencil drop. The trick to long-term success was to identify the class narcs and make sure they, i.e. the narcs, didn't know I was the one who started it. And if you really wanted to drive the teacher nuts, you'd do it with books, not pencils.

And here I was thinking I'd done something semi-original back in eighth grade. Mr. Onest, the earth-space science teacher with the Dairy Queen hair twist up front, despised me for what were, in retrospect, valid reasons. At one point he accused me of cheating on an open-book test, despite the fact that I'd scored about 30 points higher than the supposed source and finished 25 minutes ahead of him.

But that's beside the point. In eighth grade, when I wasn't busy sawing chunks out of the large wooden desks we had ((I sat with Adam Smith and, having just passed my "pocket knife" certification in Boy Scouts and in possession of a card attesting to my knifing abilities, thought that this granted me the right to carry a pocket knife to school. Which I did virtually every day my entire eighth-grade year, without incident. Except to a desk, of course. Teachers were aware of this, as I'd pull it out in order to help open boxes or things. Different times, people.)) or sticking foil gumwrappers in the electric sockets ((The lights literally went out once for a full second, and Mr. Onest never noticed.)), I was plotting ways to bug or get on the nerves of Mr. Onest. Asking him if there was a gaseous cloud around Uranus got old, so I devised "the schedule." Every three to five minutes, a new event would begin to occur around the classroom. Pencil dropping was one of those events, as were book-droppings, question-askings, gum-chewings, bathroom-break-takings, window-openings-and-closings, and more. Though we had a few narcs, as Gruber alludes to, they too despised Mr. Onest enough to keep their mouths shut, even if they chose not to play along.

Mr. Onest never did send me to the office for this, despite the obvious fact that I alone was responsible. Back then, I like to think that, in his mind, he was doing a Mr. George Burns finger shuffling while sneering and saying "You may have won the battle, Barzeski, but I will win the war." The reality was probably far less satisfactory - that he'd forgotten his medication, simply didn't care anymore, etc.

3 Responses to "The Pencil Drop"

  1. I was always a fan of the cough at 1:43 gag. 🙂

  2. Given your age, I'd say you were in his class very late in his career (he started teaching in the late 1950s). I assure you he wasn't off his meds, but rather didn't give a rat's a$$ about these sorts of things as he'd been experiencing them for thirty years and was eagerly anticipating retirement.

    Thanks for the chuckle,

    Conest the Librarian
    (one of his sons)

  3. [quote comment="47694"]Given your age, I'd say you were in his class very late in his career...[/quote]

    Yes, he retired a year or two after I had him in class. He was replaced by a hottie from Union City (didn't think I'd ever type those words… :-P). Anyway, her name escapes me.