High School Horrors

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High School Horrors

Postby Imp-Chan » March 6th, 2013, 1:36 am

Story time! What horrible and/or hilarious things did you do to subvert your high school?

I hijacked my drama class for about four weeks. Instead of studying the curriculum, my friend and I organized us into an improv-based charity fundraiser right after 9/11. We practiced by watching "Whose Line Is It Anyway" in about half our classes, with improv drills during the rest of them, and then introduced an adversarial coin-based voting system to encourage the audience to keep donating. We also held a bake sale at intermission, during which the teams carried our respective buckets around and did quick improv to try to improve our odds of "winning." We actually raised about $600 for charity, which I think is pretty good all things considered.

In that same drama class, that same friend and I took the assignment to perform a skit and turned it into the short performance that was the seed for Shakespeare or Bust. It was modeled on a few of our favorite performances from the RenFest, with a generous helping of Shakespeare, and it devolved into a prissy glove fight. It was terrible.

The assignment to make a short film we turned into a musical about an Unemployed Philosopher's Guild. It was also terrible.

More stories about other classes can follow, but right now, I want to hear yours! What wacky hijinks did you all get up to in high school?

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Re: High School Horrors

Postby Graybeard » March 6th, 2013, 11:10 am

My contribution on this one wasn't an intentional subversion -- quite the contrary, it was as unintentional as it could be -- but it came close to being "horrible" beyond any reasonable description. In the following, certain names and facts have been changed to protect the guiltyinnocent...

By our senior year, my friend "Tom" and I knew we were going to college to major in chemistry, and after taking the high school's advanced (not AP, this was before modern AP) chemistry class as juniors, we continued to hang around the chem lab, partly because of our college plans and partly because the chemistry teacher, Mr. G., was a really cool guy. (I would eventually be part of a cabal that tried, successfully, to get him and a comely Spanish teacher hooked up; the last I knew, they had been married for a very long time ... but that's another story.) As part of that hanging around, we became "teaching assistants" for the beginning chemistry class. One of our jobs, the main one really, was to mix up stuff for Mr. G to use in demonstrations in the lab.

So there was this one demonstration that Mr. G wanted to do on electroplating. I don't remember the exact formulation of the solution that was supposed to be used, but I do recall that it included a goodly amount of a copper compound based on cyanide(!). This by itself isn't as scary as it sounds; "ferrocyanides" and "ferricyanides" are common in chemistry labs and are relatively innocuous, no bigger a deal to handle than stuff like sulfuric acid, which we were entirely competent to do. So we set to work mixing up the solution, and immediately broke one of the cardinal rules of bench chemistry: if you can't read the label on the reagent bottle, do NOT use the reagent. We found a big container of such-and-such cyanide, and while the label was a little blurred, surely they wouldn't have had any of the really hazardous cyanide compounds -- like sodium or potassium cyanide, which were used in executions -- in a high-school chemistry stockroom, would they? So we carefully measured out the appropriate amount of the stuff and added it to the electroplating bath ...

... And only when that bath started to bubble, which it very definitely was NOT supposed to do, did we realize we had made a serious mistake.

I looked at Tom. Tom looked at me. I believe I was the one who first yelled "LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!!", but it really didn't matter. We left the lab post haste, pausing only to tell Mr. G that "something" was wrong with that solution. He then proved he was either a great deal braver, or a great deal dumber, than we were, and went back into the lab to neutralize the thing(!). Fortunately, we hadn't yet added enough acid for lethal quantities of hydrogen cyanide gas to be produced, and he was able to get it dealt with. Also fortunately, we were doing this after school, so that nobody else was able to wander along and either see what complete dumbasses we had been, or do something to make it even worse, like getting killed by the fumes that we had already released.

To this day, I don't know why that stockroom held literally a town's worth of lethal doses of sodium cyanide, which was in fact what was in the bottle with the barely legible label. I don't think I want to know. We probably saved Mr. G's job (again, we liked the guy very much) by not pursuing the subject any further, although the bottle was old enough that it had probably been put there by the previous chemistry teacher, who was a complete ass. I think he disposed of the nasty stuff; I don't know how, and I don't want to know. There were no further repercussions, anyway. We both went off to college, and although I lost track of Tom, I'm pretty sure that he went on to major in the hard sciences, just as I did. But I learned a safety lesson from that, and nobody had to die to get it across ... although it was close.
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