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The end of Term 4 crept up on me this year. Maybe “crept up” is the wrong way to put it; it caught me unawares, but hurtled towards me like a rampant herd of ravenous pubescent Year 9 guys at the first whiff of a fund-raiser sausage sizzle. It was Week 3, and then all of a sudden, it was Week 8.
It didn’t help that I was horribly sick for those 5 weeks between Weeks 3 + 8, where I don’t remember much except trying to keep my internal organs INSIDE me. I developed a phantom six-pack from coughing, and it felt like I’d expelled 4 kidneys, 3 spleens, 2 livers and a lung during The Time of Great Sickness.
I am so very grateful + glad to be back in good health, running around like a normally do!
But, despite being struck down by The Plague + being up to my eyeballs in reports + final concerts, I really wanted to do something small for all the staff at my new school, something to say “Thank You” for all the support + assistance I’d received in my first year at Pulteney. I purposely didn’t want it to be expensive; just something playful + fun that would make them laugh + show them a little of my personality + gratitude.
And I arrived at the idea of “Chopsticks + Some Breed of Round Lolly”. Yes, that would be perfect! For one thing, there was no wrapping required. All I needed to do was tape them together and bung a ribbon around them to make them look arty-farty. I could get everything I needed from Woollies. I could sit my sorry, sick self on a cushion in the middle of my living room floor and assemble these with minimum energy expenditure. And more importantly, many tired + totally over-it teachers would (hopefully) get a laugh trying to pick up + eat their lollies with their chopsticks.
I had no idea what joy + hilarity they would spread.
Armed with a basketful of these little packages, I started my rounds at school the next day. First, the Senior School Office.
Sir Maths puzzled over the package for a few seconds, then looked up and said, “Uh, NO.”
Sir English, “I’m going to be here until 2017!”
Ms English, “No worries, I’ll throw ’em into your mouth for you!”
Ms Math, “This is SO much better than finishing my reports!”
Many of the staff hadn’t arrived yet, so I resolved to come back and see what effect my present had had later that morning.
To the Middle School Office:
Ms Front Desk, “I’m starting straight away! Stuff answering calls! This is much more important!”
Ms SOSE, “Alright! Who’s up for a dual?! Whoever wins gets a free coffee”
Mr SOSE, “Make it beer, and I’m in!”
Mr Maths, “I’m so winning this one!”
To the Prep School Office, and they all cracked into their little kits and started launching all manner of Smarties, M&Ms + Skittles all around the staffroom. The Prep School Principal emerged from her office to see what all the noise was about, then started using her coffee cup as a basketball ring to collect flying lollies.
To the Head of Houses…and I’d left these behind earlier in my travels. I came back to find a high-stakes battle in full-swing, with the entire length of the office hallway being used as an elaborate launching-space for flying Smarties, a bit like you would for Olympic discus. The 4 normally very responsible Heads of Houses had even made a make-shift launching circle using whiteboard markers just outside the doorway from which to throw Smarties with their chopsticks, and created goalposts from the 4 indoor pot plants from each of their offices.
Head of House 1, “This is the first time my pot plant has been useful all year!”
Head of House 2, “Now I know why I kept it alive! For this moment!”
Curious students crowded around to see what all the noise was about. The launching circle made it impossible for anyone to enter or leave the front reception area, and the Heads of Houses were told off not once, but 3 times for being too disruptive and loud.
Student 1, “This is awesome! I never thought I’d see the day!”
Student 2, “They’ve all totally lost it! I love it!”
Student 3, “Hey Mr Head of House 3! Can I just…”
Mr Head of House, “Can’t stop now! Very busy!” He was at that moment trying to catch Smarties in his mouth. He looked very dignified with his tie flapping up around his forehead.
And my favourite of all moments; I came back into the Senior School Office to see what fun had ensued. They all seemed very settled.
Then a ripper from Ms SOSE:
“Hey Kwokkie, thanks for the cute gift! I dunno what the hell the chopsticks were for, but I ate the Skittles!”
And she fished the empty Skittles packet off her desk, chopsticks still attached, and showed me the empty packet.
From a tiny, measly little idea, conceived in desperation, came a morning of laughter, fun, and hilarity.
And I didn’t cough all morning! 🙂