more memories from a juvenile delinquent

Back in the day ( what does that mean, anyway? ten years ago? five hundred ? my childhood?)  everyone had to buy their own padlock for their lockers, they weren’t  built into the locker like they are nowadays.

We  (me and  my partner in crime, Scuz )hatched a new plan. We casually stood around and talked to our friends while they were unlocking their lockers and memorized the combinations. We got about ten locker combinations.

We came in really early and switched them. Some of them we put on backwards so that the numbers were facing the locker. You would have to get down on your knees and try to lift the lock up to see the combination and then it still  wouldn’t open.  We also selected people who all didn’t know each other.

And this time, as a protective measure, we selected people that didn’t know me or didn’t know Scuz, so we would not be targeted as the obvious perpetrators.

This one was a victory. We were never suspected.

Well, we were never accused, anyway.

the school sleepover

One night Scuz and I  decided to spend the night in the high school.  Another venture for which we would no doubt be arrested nowadays. Scuz  has carefully hidden her checkered past from her three sons, whereas I have entertained my daughter with stories of my questionable character for years.

We hid in the auditorium at first, on the stage under the grand piano.  We brought submarine sandwiches which we unwrapped and began to eat while we waited for everyone to leave the building.  And then… Drama Club!   They came in to rehearse!  We had never thought about that.  There we were, under the piano, and suddenly the smell of the ham and cheese and olive oil was so strong we were sure people could smell our subs two blocks away. We would surely be discovered.  But we weren’t.  After at least an hour of quietly chewing and crouching under the piano the Drama Club left.  We got up and stretched and as we ventured out from behind the curtains we had another rude shock.  The janitorial staff!  The building was crawling with custodians! Something else we hadn’t thought about.

As I think back, I wonder. Did we ever think about ANYTHING? 

Scuz stepped behind a stage curtain just before a custodian walked in. Her black high topped converse  sneakers stuck out from behind the curtain.  How could they not spot her?  But they didn’t notice.  We  snuck out and tried to get in a classroom.  It was locked. And so was the next. And the next.  They were all locked! Why?  Why would anyone try to get in a classroom if they didn’t have to?  We had figured we would steal hall passes and look up people’s grades. Possibly  leave a souvenier in a desk.

When we were in 8th grade, Scuz  found a baby frog that had been run over by cars about a thousand times and had flattened out till it was like a piece of cardboard. She held it up to her lapel.

“You think it would make a nice pin?”

After 8th grade graduation  we snuck in the classroom of a particularly deserving teacher and left it in her desk.  I would hope that an entire summer  in a hot desk would have done wonders for its odor, but the guts had been squished out of it pretty thoroughly.

Anyway, the high school sleep over caper was pretty much a wash out after we climbed up the clock tower and found a box of food to be used in case of air raids.  We had done the old,

“I’m spending the night at her house, she’s spending the night at my house,”

routine with our parents. Now we had the dilemma of  how to get back in our houses at eleven pm.  We told our mothers we had a fight.

Don’t try this at home. Professionals only.

Speaking of things that no one found out about — my best friend, Scuz and I (Scuz was a shortened and pejorative form of her real  name) grew up on HARRIET THE SPY.  If you haven’t read this book, go buy it and read it immediately. So what if you’re thirty five? Pretend it’s a gift.

Anyway, the two of us spent time thinking up creative ways to torture various people of our acquaintance. One of these victims was The Mop.

The Mop sat in front of me in homeroom and had a lot of hair. I suppose I must have liked him and that’s why he was a target, but that’s beside the point.

We  had the brilliant idea of putting a pink bunny decal on his locker.  A permanent decal.  You bought them in paint stores. They were for baby furniture. You  put them on furniture by rubbing a wet sponge over them and they stayed forever.

We bought a really really big, really really pink bunny rabbit. We stayed after school one day and did a really really wonderful job of applying it to his locker.

It would never ever come off.

The Mop went to Burke and told her what we had done. He knew that the only teacher who would know for an absolute fact that we would do this to him was Burke, and that she was  the only teacher we were afraid of. She called us on the carpet.

“Get rid of the bunny.  Now.”

We tried to deny all knowledge.

“What? What are you talking about?”

She gave us The Look.  “Don’t even try.  Go.”

The problem was that it was a permanent decal.   You couldn’t remove it.  That was the point.

Eventually we had to scrape the paint right off the locker to get it off.  It stayed scraped up like that for years.

Um…is the statute of limitations up yet?  When I reflect on this now, I recall that not a single adult stopped to ask what we were doing, and that nowadays we would be arrested for vandalism.