By Jeff Salter
We’re blogging about school days this week and I couldn’t help remembering that I was there to have a good time. Yeah, I graduated with a B+ average, in about the top 15% of my class, but I was definitely no angel in high school. Here’s one example:
I had never taken a high school speech course, but sometime after my appearance in a one-act play, the speech teacher recruited me to present an oral interpretation at the statewide Speech Convention at USL. [At the time I was pretty puffed-up about that invitation, but as I look back on it now, I’m assuming somebody cancelled and she needed to fill the slot.] We did a lot of work on it: I’d read and she’d coach; I’d read and she’d change. Finally we had the thing worked into a really good dramatic reading.
My good buddy L.L., a debate delegate, rode in the same car with me on the long drive from Covington to Lafayette. We arrived, checked into a motel, and immediately began investigating the female students from other schools, there for the same convention.
It didn’t take long for L.L. and I to start cutting up. [I should explain that when he and I were together, we had about triple the moxie we’d have if on our own.] We spotted some nice-looking girls on the balcony near our first floor room. Right out of the blue, L.L. and I started acting like Igor and the Frankenstein Monster (I don’t recall who was which … or maybe we even switched). Having gotten their attention, we went over and started climbing up their balcony! Suddenly we spotted several large boys (evidently classmates of these girls) who were headed toward us with definite menace. We dropped down, skedaddled into our room, and hid behind the bed! Ha … it was somewhat difficult to appear nonchalant as we arose, but we made an effort!
That night we all went out to a restaurant for supper and I was at a table with L.L. and two other guys. When the waitress asked what we wanted to drink, I thought I’d flirt with her a bit, so I ordered a beer. [I was not yet 17.] Well, either she didn’t know I was fooling or she decided to call my bluff, because she returned with a Michelob draft. Now I was really in a jam! If a chaperone caught me drinking, I would be in deep [poop], so I had only one choice. I drank the whole thing, chug-a-lug, and then took the (evidentiary) glass back to the kitchen! The guys at my table were astonished. And the event must have caused a mild commotion, because even girls at neighboring tables were watching my incredible drama unfold.
The next day was the actual schedule of convention events at the university campus. The speech teacher “assigned” A.G. (a talented and lovely cheerleader) to be my guide (to the right place), my comforter (since this was my first competition), and possibly my chaperone (to keep me out of trouble … ha). Well, I couldn’t have asked for a more attractive companion. To make a long story short, I finally did my interp and we learned later I was awarded a Superior, which was the highest rating. After my event was over, A.G. left and I went to watch my buddy L.L. in his debate. While I was there, I wound up being a time-keeper for one event.
After L.L. was through, we were both free until the competition of the one-act play performances that evening. [Since our play had an all-girl cast, we were involved only as spectators.] So we went exploring in the areas surrounding the campus. It was probably natural we’d find a pool hall which served beer, and we certainly did. It was called “Rack-m Sack-m” and it has provided many rich memories (some heavily embellished). While there, we each had one or two beers and we flirted with everything in a skirt. In the retelling, L.L. says we got into a game with two female pool sharks, but that sounds unlikely. I think we just played pool and drank beer. Anyway, we were pretty pleased with ourselves by that evening and probably enjoyed the competition plays even more because of our slight “buzz” from the beer.
One of the nights, L.L. and I set some firecrackers near the pool. I put a lighted cigarette on the fuse so we would have several minutes to create an alibi. Sure enough, when the firecrackers started going off outside, we were right in the middle of a room full of students and chaperones. Shortly, the motel manager came to that room and asked if any of us were responsible for the firecrackers. “It was none of our students,” maintained the chaperones, “because they were all right here when we heard the noise.” Worked like a charm!
I could go on, but I think this extended example gives you an idea of my scholastic attitude during school and my sense that creative mischief was usually worth the trouble even if you barely escaped getting caught.
What was the most mischievous thing YOU ever did in high school?