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The Not-So-Great Pumpkin

Halloween is upon us. How I love Halloween. Halloween is especially great when you’re in elementary school in the early nineties. Parading through classrooms as a pirate, pumpkin contests in the media center, partying with candy and games while that one kid stands alone in the hall, and of course, the most fulfilling busy work art projects of the year.


It was 1991. I was in second grade. We were all tasked at creating a jack-o-lantern of crumpled orange construction paper on a black construction paper background with yellow construction paper features and green embellishments: construction paper. I have never used as much construction paper in my whole life as I did in elementary school. Nobody has. I bet the industry would cave if not for projects such as this.

School was winding down. Lunch had passed, math, social studies; we were in the remainder of the day. Where busy work lives. The whole class was tearing off little bits of orange paper, shaping them around the end of a pencil, and gluing them to their black paper sky. As many had done, to keep my desk clear for the task at hand, I had placed my sheets of orange paper on my seat. Tearing the bits from between my legs and applying them as described. As the minutes passed, and the time moved slowly toward the end of the day, I heard a faint call. It was nature.

No big deal, school would be out soon and I would be able to relieve myself. As I sat tearing and crumpling orange paper over my pencil, the call turned into a yell. Clearly, waiting until the bell was no longer an option. I raised my hand. Almost immediately, I realized that the teacher had left the room. It was the nineties, and teachers were allowed to leave a class full of students unattended for extended lengths of time. In an effort to drive this fact home, my fellow classmates also informed me of the teachers’ obvious absence. My body panicked.  The yell in my bladder turned quickly up to a scream. Like the phenomena in which the human body amps the urge into overdrive as soon as home is in sight. Only home wasn’t in sight. Not even close. In a foolish effort, I raised my hand even higher. I frantically threw up my left arm, creating a figure four, holding up my right. Whether it showed or not, I was in a sheer panic. My peers continued to inform me that the teacher was gone. A fact I well knew yet was apparently unable to comprehend in my predicament. I only had one thing on my mind. I fought and squirmed. Hand firmly in the air. And I lost the war. The screaming from my bladder faded as warm urine filled my desk chair. I slowly lowered my hand.

Moments later the teacher walked back in the door. If my classmates took the time to let me know of her return, I didn’t hear it. I was in a daze. I sat silently and stared into nothing. When the bell rang, I slowly stood up, making sure that nobody was watching. I looked down, contemplating what I would do to clean the inevitable puddle on my seat. Nothing. The orange construction paper that I had been sitting on had absorbed what my pants hadn’t. I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I told no one, stuffed the wet orange papers into my desk, and escaped.


A few days after the incident I completed my pumpkin masterpiece. Soon after placing it on her desk, the teacher called me back. She informed me that, while my pumpkin was very good, if I were to move some of the darker orange pieces to spread them out it would look more balanced. The darker orange pieces, she said. It may have been in my own head, but I would have sworn there was something behind her voice when she used those words. She could just as well have said, “Move around those stinky urine ones. At least make it pretty. By the way, I know what you did.” I did as she asked, and for the rest of the season, my pumpkin was prominently on display in the halls of Hugo Elementary. The only one with mysterious dark orange pieces in perfect balance with the light. I never brought the project home. It was a great Halloween.

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Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 04:40 AM

LOL. That's classic. I can only recall that my best friend's sister was stationed in Germany while she was in the Army, and she taught him how to call someone a "dumb head" and a "sh*t head" in German. I don't know why I remember that to this day.

fuschnikt Posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 04:32 AM

Vaporman..I have to answer back with this..

6th grade, German class. It was our first year and very early. We were supposed to create a board game in German. My group decided a cool idea would be if the player were swallowed by a giant snake. A German snake.

Being so early in the year, we had to ask the teacher how to say "snake" in German. I volunteered, and upon asking the teacher she gave me this look. She said nothing. Simply wrote a word on a small post it. Handed it to me, again, with that look.

Walking away, I thought that was so weird. then I looked at the paper. I guarantee, to this day, she thinks I just wanted her to say the word.

Our game was called, "The German Snake," or "die deutsche schlange."

pikachulover Posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 02:06 AM

I wet my pants at school too, but I wasn't as lucky. The other kids saw, and I was in the cafeteria.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 11:43 PM

I'm still baffled as to why you still used the urine-soaked pieces in the final product, but that was pretty epic. People talk about the infinite uses for duct tape, but now we have to consider construction paper as a slightly more colorful and expensive alternative to sawdust or sponges.

NLogan Posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 09:03 PM

Awesome. Just awesome.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 08:36 PM

HA!!! Oh man. Though I have never had to go through such a thing, I feel like I can sympathize.

Once, in around the third grade I believe, the class was huddled together in the dark of our school room, watching some kind of film (likely something educational, but I can't recall now). Our teacher had worn a long dress that day, like just about every other day I imagine.

As I was sprawled out with my back on the floor watching the film, she asked me to sit up so she could pass by. I told her to just go over me. She smirked and said something to the effect of "no", though more words were likely used. I insisted she do so. This went back and forth for a short time, while the other kids laughed. I personally did not understand the problem with just stepping over me.

Finally, I relented and allowed her to pass after I sat up. Afterward the other kids told me that she did not want me looking up her skirt (which had absolutely NEVER crossed my mind). Of course few of them believed that.

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