Man, I loved hogging the drinking fountain in elementary school. There was only one too, in the ENTIRE school. (Great Northern – it was a two-story brick building, housing give-or-take forty kids, K-6th.) “Neiner, neiner, neeeeiner.” Drink, drink, drink. Then I’d do that thing where I’d fake like I was finished, wipe my sleeve across my mouth even, for added effect, just to bend down and drink some more. Haha! That was the best. Especially when I’d get the kids I didn’t like waiting behind me. They wouldn’t say anything. Of course not. That meant defeat and losing when yer twelve years old is simply not acceptable.
So twenty seconds would go by, and then ten more, and then twenty seconds after that, until finally they’d get so impatient, they’d go to the bathroom and drink from the sink faucet. I’d get to a point where I couldn’t swallow anymore cuz I was choking on the water from laughing so hard. It’s tough enough trying to muffle laughter when yer a fifth grader, but when kids start resorting to the bathroom sink because you currently hold all access to the water fountain, shit just gets soooo much funnier. I guess it’s the equivalent of asking for a water cup at Mickey D’s and in turn, filling it up with Mountain Dew. And then giggling quietly in the corner booth with the rest of yer friends because, dude, you just scored a free cup of pop. Take that Ronald! Mwahahaha!
Karma would always find a way to bite me in the ass though. I’d get back to the classroom after the pass over period to find my spelling test on my desk, a big red ‘F’ smeared across the front of it.
“What the hell is this!? I don’t deserve this!”
“Yer right, you deserve an F minus. But unfortunately they haven’t put that into the grading scale yet.”
I’d look to my friends for help with that sad frowny face, you know the one. Mouth open, nostrils flared, eyebrows resembling upside down pinball flippers. Like when the heating bill’s a hundred bucks more than last month. (“That’s it honey, we’re switchin’ ta blankets and bonfires. Blankets and bonfires!”) Haha. My friends would always side with the teacher though. Always. It never failed. I suppose power in numbers is a little less effective when yer in elementary school, but come on, I was all for trying new things.
“Huhu, you spelled ‘green’ wrong? How do you spell ‘green’ wrong? Huhu.”
“Don’t give me crap, Davey. I mixed up the past and present, okay.”
“Green’s not a verb, Bree.”
The teacher would write that ‘F’ in the darkest shade of red he could find, too. Just for me. All the other kids’ letters would be perfectly placed in the left corner of the page, all pretty and fancy and cursive and sparkly. Some a playful blue, others a happy orange. Shit, even the D’s were written with one of those nifty purple highlighters. Then you’d get to mine and it would look like something just got murdered. (You’d search for caution tape and a body, but come back with pieces of soggy marker paper and a guilty Sharpie.) All you’d see was red. A page of red. And the ‘F’ was like, fucking CARVED into the paper. It took up the entire page, so you knew it was mine from like eighty feet away. I could hear kids whisper from the back seats.
“There’s Bree’s. So much for a writing career. Huhu.”
“Huhu, true that. What a loser. Hey could I get a drink of yer water, man? What? It’s not my fault the line was long.”
Actually, I was a pretty good student in my younger years. Didn’t talk very much, kept to myself a lot, got my shit and got out. Kinda like Wal-Mart’s motto, but personified. Haha. However, despite being a goody two shoes, I was constantly assigned the front desk. (Come on now Teach, aren’t the bad kids supposed to be sitting where I am?) But no. Even if the seating arrangement was alphabetical, I’d STILL end up in the front of the classroom. Usually by some stupid chart the teacher printed off. I guess to make it easier for substitutes to take attendance? Whatever the reason, I absolutely hated it. It pissed me off too, cuz I knew I had no power to change it. Can’t say I didn’t learn anything though. Haha.
I can honestly sit here and tell you, without hesitation, that I was the BEST cheater in the ENTIRE fifth grade. Sure, there may have been only six of us, but I’ll take credit where it’s due. Haha. Seriously though. I wouldn’t even refer to it is as cheating. I called it ‘adaptation’ and I was damn good at it. Of course, I had to be. I sat in the front desk for Christ’s sake. Standard cheating procedures were way too hard to pull off when yer front and center and texting wasn’t an option cuz I had no phone back then.
So I experimented here and there, found some things that worked, found some things that didn’t (writing notes on my palms in ballpoint pen before lunch had its downfalls), and eventually came across a creative little method known to most as “The Pop Bottle Label Switch”. It’s genius. You’ll need a color printer and the process is rather time consuming, yet very VERY effective in the long run.
Buy the biggest plastic Mountain Dew bottle you can find. (It doesn’t hafta be Mountain Dew, anything light in color will do just fine.)
Peel the label off gently, making sure not to rip or bend any part of it.
Scan the label with the printer and open it with Photoshop or any program that allows you to add text to yer image.
Smudge out the ingredients section and replace them with yer notes.
Print off yer ‘new and improved’ label and re-stick it in the same spot it was before. (I always used a small piece of double-sided scotch tape. It looked the best cuz it fit perfectly and I wouldn’t have any excess tape hanging off the sides.)
When you take yer test, don’t bring the ‘notes’ out right away cuz it’s too suspicious. Wait for like a good five minutes and then take a casual drink, leaving yer drink on the corner of the desk when finished. I cannot tell you how many times this has worked for me. The results are too good to feel guilty for. Haha.