When I substitute I always start off with a story. The kids in my classes who know me wait for the stories. So recently I told them about a great prank that was played on me during my time as Athletic Director at Mergenthaler Vo-Tech HS, a school located in the Baltimore City School System. I was there between 1980-1990.
I was the "Guru" of health back then. People would come to me for advice on what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, and ask about various exercise plans that they could use and keep up with.
One day in 1983 I had a doctor's appointment. They drew blood for various tests. One was a cholesterol screening. A few days after the test the Doc called me and said, "We need to talk". I said, "About what?". He then proceeded to tell me my cholesterol level was in the "HIGH" range and with my family history we needed to do something about that. So from that time until now I've taken three little pills that keep me on this side of the grass.
After I heard this news from the Doc I walked around in a gray "funk" for several days. My coaching staff, a bunch of fun-loving guys and gals, got tired of my moodiness and decided to do something about it. One day I walked into my office and on the walls, where I had many athletic artifacts saved from years of collecting, were little tags hanging by strings from each piece. I read the first, "In case of Schlenoff's death I claim this football helmet". My football coach's name appeared on the tag. I looked at another and the tag read, "In case of Schlenoff's death I claim this fencing sword", signed by my wrestling coach. All around the room my coaching staff had claimed all my "stuff" in case of my death. At 1st I was upset and then I started to laugh. What a bunch of morons.
But that's not all... a few days later the School Police Officer came to my office and asked me to come with him, he had to show me something. He took me all the way to the other side of the building and tried to open a locked door, which he couldn't. I said, "What's going on?", he answered, "must be the wrong set of keys, I'll show you this later". So back to my office we went. As I put my key in the door the School Police Officer start to back up. "What's wrong?", I asked. No reply. As I opened the door, to my utter amazement, on my desk was a full-size, pine COFFIN. After a few well-placed utterances by me, I heard some snickering in the adjacent office. My entire coaching staff, including the Principal of the school, were hiding in that office and they all started bursting out laughing at the same time. I started to laugh also until one of these jerks told me to open the coffin. When I did, out jumped my Assistant A.D. yelling "Surprise". After realizing I was going to make it through this prank without a major breakdown, I also laughed. These clowns had been in the basement of the school and found the coffin used in a school play sometime in the past.
Some time soon I'll tell you about another major prank (this one took a lot of planning on everyone's part). We did these things just to keep our sanity while in the teaching profession.