Thursday, November 03, 2005

Flight 1984

AKA. Watch as I get added to the terrorist watch lists!

Back in the heady days of the early ‘80s (1983 to 1984 to be exact), I was in the Fourth grade. This was the year where the girls got taken aside and educated about some secret that boys would be horrified to learn later in life. The year where I discovered math does in fact suck. My English teacher read “James and the Giant Peach” to the class. That year in school my homeroom teacher was Linda Moats (she was also our science and social studies teacher) and we were seating at tables of four kids each. My table mates were Matt, Connor, and Daniel. I do not know if I knew Daniel or Connor before this year, however I know we all quickly became friends and started hanging out, as much as kids that age can hang out when they don’t live on the same street. We complimented each other fairly well, with Matt and I acting as a break on Connor and Daniel’s enthusiasm for havoc. While we were not disruptive in class, in later years Mrs. Moats would describe our class to me as the most criminally creative class she ever had.

At some point during the year we were studying Switzerland and as part of this study we were going to take a “trip” to Switzerland. We were supposed to make a list of everything we were packing for the trip and then come the next day prepared for our flight. When we got in to class the next day, Connor, Daniel, Matt, and I got a few strange looks as we sat down at our table bedecked in tropical print shirts, sunglasses, and baseball caps. Everyone else had brought various heavy coats and the like, clearly prepared to spend some time in the Alps.

At the appointed time we moved stuff around the classroom so we could arrange the chairs in a couple of rows to represent an airplane. A couple of kids were appointed to be pilot and copilot. We all boarded the “airplane”, turning our packing lists in to the teacher as we went, and shortly we were headed to Switzerland. About ten minutes into the flight the four of us produced our cap guns and proceeded to hijack the flight, demanding that we be flown to Cuba. The teacher went along with this as we slowly decimated the lesson plan and scored a pretend tropical vacation rather than a pretend visit to Switzerland.

To this day I cannot remember who decided this was a good idea, however we were not subtle about it at all. Beyond our manner of dress, our packing lists were rife with clues as to what was going on. I believe Daniel was in charge of listing the bomb on his packing list (this was how terrorists did thing back in my day, before they realized all it took was a box cutter), however the rest of us listed swimsuits, more Hawaiian shirts, tanning oil, sandals, and SCUBA gear on our packing lists.

As I think about us doing this there are three things that come to mind. First, there was something clearly wrong with us. Who thinks of doing this to an imaginary trip? Second, what was Mrs. Moats thinking by letting us pull this stunt? Third, if some kids pulled this today they would be hell to pay, even in a pre-9/11 world. We had toy guns in school. We threatened people. Today we would be looking at expulsion or worse. Our parents would be called on to the carpet. Newspaper articles would be written. Pundits would be wringing their hands wondering what is wrong with the youth of today.

It saddens me that this is where we are as a society now. Barely 21 years (Holy Crap!) and what was a harmless joke and amusing anecdote back then, would become an incident of national importance today. Damn.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha! ZOMG that's hilarious. James the imaginary plane hijaker. But then again, with your secret ninja ways, it was probably easy.

~TamiJean

Anonymous said...

You should link to your hikjaker southpark picture in here, like you did with the ninja.

nikki said...

i love this story. you are such a nut.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of high school english comp class when we were given extra credit stories to write with prompted first lines...
mine was something like, "You never know what you're into while your into it." and I proceeded to write a story about a female IRA bombmaker who got double crossed and all that good "Mission: Impossible" stuff... I had details on how the bomb would be built into the car and the trip cord was attached to the windshield wipers... everything down to getting shot in the head, but the bullet being at such a shallow angle that it didn't enter my skull...
and I got fuckin' commended for that story... good thing it was the year before Columbine... otherwise my ass would have been grass...
way to go man! you are on my list of recruits for taking over the imaginary world.rk