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Nobody can say I was a high school dropout.
I was more of a sneakout.
There's always at least one class that a student thinks is stupid,
and mine was swimming.
I already knew how to swim, so:
Subtract the time spent undressing and dressing,
lining up, taking roll call, getting instructions,
taking showers, and snapping towels,
there was about ten minutes left for actual swimming.
An inconvenience and a waste of time.
You could always tell who had who had been to Swimming:
The boys looked like greasers and the girls looked like Tiny Tim.
Our swimming coach was strict,
and kept us on our toes by periodically
piercing our eardrums with a police whistle.
Fortunately, he was nearsighted as a mole
and you could bribe a buddy to call your name at roll call,
and get away with it.
As soon as you accomplished this maneuver, you were a fugitive.
It was hard to get out of school and back in again
without bumping into a teacher, who was also sneaking around,
but who would eagerly turn you in.
Hanging around inside the school,
under the nose of the enemy,
was some of the best combat training I ever got in public school.
Sometimes I'd carry an official looking paper in my hand
and walk briskly up and down the halls,
seemingly on a vitally important errand.
Forty minutes of this and you're really bushed!
Only amateurs hide in lavatories.
That's where the Gestapo looks first.
Sneaking into a study hall and pretending to read,
while listening to the big clock click is like Chinese water torture.
In a remote top floor corner of the old school
was a little used hallway where you could hide out.
It was affectionately called: "Death Row",
because of some graffiti left on the wall by an earlier criminal.
It was written:
"In Memory Of Those Who Died Waiting For the Bell To Ring."
Often while hiding in the silence of that dusty corridor,
approaching footsteps would make us hold our breath and break out in a cold sweat.
Usually it was just a fellow skulker,
who would then rub our wrists to bring us out of shock.
It was like guerilla warfare.
Copyright © May 27, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.