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A Textbook Case



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My friends and I grew up in a small town, attending its public grammar schools but then going to a Catholic high school in a nearby small city.  Given the fact that we were in a parochial high school - and in The City, and thus most definitely out of our element -  we occasionally needed to blow off "a little" bit of steam.  This is especially true given the personalities involved.

Some of the means we came up with were relatively harmless (and constructive). Some, um... less so. Without further ado...

A Textbook Case

We had a study hall in what was colloquially known as the "lecture room" - a big hall with seating for a couple of hundred, intended for the "old style" lecture, where students would sit contentedly and listen to some wizened old codger spiel forth. Since that style of teaching had fallen out of fashion, the lecture room was used, more often than not, as a study hall.

Another feature of the school was the crowding - the only way the place could make ends meet was to accept more students, which meant more bodies in a building designed to accommodate less.  As a result, there were some fifteen hundred of us, where there should have been no more than a thousand or so, tops. When the bell rang, we had five minutes to change classes or go to our lockers and return to homeroom, before a second bell sounded and we were late (and facing detention).

Now, being that it was a private high school with a strong college preparatory program (and serving a more "gentrified" area of the city in question), textbooks weren't on loan - they were purchased by the students (or their parents).  With such a rushed schedule, some of the students (particularly those from some of the wealthier families inhabiting said Fair City, who could afford to be a bit on the careless side) left theirs behind.

One particularly grueling day, when more steam was needed to be blown off than usual, I happened to have a study hall in the aforementioned lecture room the last period of the day.  I sat in my seat, awaiting the final bell (and the next opportunity to swim my way upstream against hallway traffic to homeroom), and growing increasingly disgusted at the pile of garbage (candy wrappers, papers, ...) strewn around me.  That particular day, though, I saw amongst the other junk a physics book - which I picked up and brought it with me back to my locker, to homeroom with my book bag, and onto the bus.

I have no idea how the topic of discussion began, but somehow we decided something evil should happen to that book. This Something Evil should involve the lost and found cabinet in the school's main office - which was the rightful home of said textbook anyway, given its disposition.  Given my penchant for such "spooky" things, I was probably the first to come up with the idea of cutting out the middle of the pages with a razor blade, leaving a "hidden" cavity within. This, of course, left open the matter of with what to fill said cavity, prior to placing it in said Lost & Found.

I honestly don't remember who suggested, um, That Which Ultimately Became The Filling.  All I know is the book was still in my possession, and the ball was in my court.  And it was a PHYSICs book, after all.  In my defense, I was a freshman in high school and in a new environment full of strange, intimidating people, coming off an experience as the proverbial nerd of a small-town grammar school, and anxious to prove myself. Oh, did I.

Yes, I cut out the middle of the text with a razor. And, yes, I took the resultant hollow book into the bathroom with me. And yes, the aforementioned filling found itself into said physics book, which was wrapped in plastic and kept in the cellar till the following day, when I (carefully) transported it in via the school bus, and placed it (unwrapped) in the Lost & Found cabinet... the day before Christmas break began.

On our return, I checked the cabinet. The book was gone, but the memory lingered on...

 
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