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Inspirational Reads

What I Should Have Said Wednesday: Shop Class

January 19, 2011

I don't know if this is the start of a blogging meme. I don't know if anyone else would be interested in this. I don't know if I have enough stories to generate momentum to keep this thing going.

What I do know is that this story has been dancing through my mind for a while, and I wasn't sure how to tell it. It doesn't really fit into a TMI story. And the story just kind of peters out if told any other way. Plus, I just finished reading Mike Birbiglia's book, and I remembered that he had a bit where he would tell a story and then pause and then say "What I should have said was nothing." Well, this is a bit of a twist on that.

Okay, I'll also admit that I shamelessly threw Birbiglia's name in there so that he would find my blog while he's Googling himself while eating pizza in bed. Maybe then I can crack into the comedy world and I, too, can have women ask me backstage if I think their boobs are two different sizes. I'm daring to dream today, friends.

Back to the story.

In middle school, specifically seventh and eighth grade, we were compelled to take shop class. One whole semester was dedicated to doing nothing but making stuff with our hands. Crappy stuff, but we were supposed to make it nonetheless. In seventh grade, we worked with plastics. In the eighth grade, it was all wood.

I was terrified of eighth grade shop class. Not so much because I wasn't used to working with wood (I was in the eighth grade, after all, I had been working with a specific kind of wood for a couple of years at that point), but because the previous semester Stu McDaniel had had a...we'll say "lapse in judgment"...and had tried to stop a band saw with his forearm. The band saw would have none of that, and filleted Stu's arm open, from wrist to elbow, all the way to the bone. By all accounts, it was fucking nasty, and three people passed out. One of them while running one of the buffing machines.

This did not seem safe to me at all.

When people weren't dismembering themselves with large pieces of ancient woodworking equipment, we were expected to work at these high, square tables. Before we went to work, however, the teacher gave us a five minute pep talk about the latest waxing technology or what a certain saw was for, and then he'd unleash us upon the world of woodworking.

During the lecture, we all sat on the tables, which were about four feet above the poured concrete floors. One afternoon--shop class was right after lunch--we were sitting on the tables and the teacher was droning on and on about coping saws versus keyhole saws versus jigsaws and my attention...lagged. Most of the time, my attention was solidly focused on Mindi Rhamy's shirt, but today, I let my head wander off into the clouds.

As such, I began to drift off to sleep, wherein I lost my balance and began to fall. Not wanting to have my head come in contact with the concrete floor, I did what any logical person would do: I woke up. It was too late, however, and there was no way to stop my momentum. I grabbed a hold of my friend, Joe to stop my fall. He jumped and said, loudly, "What the?" This caused everyone to look over and they all realized that I had fallen asleep and nearly killed myself. Everyone laughed.

I loved the attention.

As everyone quieted down, I turned to my friend, Ron, who was sitting beside me. "Oh man," I whispered, "I think I just shit my pants!"

Ron laughed. I don't know why, but making Ron laugh was something I really enjoyed. There was just something satisfying about making him laugh. Then Ron asked the follow-up question that begged to be asked: "Are you serious? Did you seriously shit your pants?"

Now, what I should have said was "No, man, I was just trying to be funny. You know, maybe flash a little of that sardonic humor of mine, show the ladies how witty I am, make them laugh. I hear they like that kind of thing. I didn't really shit my pants. That would be disgusting."

What I did say was "Oh, yeah. Just a little, but man, I think I shit in 'em."


You know, middle school is hard enough as it is. You've got a crush of emotions coursing through you, hormones are racing, acne, grades, and you've got a reputation to maintain. Well, it's really tough to maintain that reputation when suddenly, because of one feeble attempt at comedy, you've suddenly become known as the guy who shit his pants in shop class. The title, much like the shit-filled drawers that you've imagined into being, sticks with you for the rest of the year. And "news" like spreads through the school. Fast. I had second-graders giving me shit about...shitting my pants. And you can't haul off and punch a second-grader in the mouth for being obnoxious.

Trust me, friends, you don't want to be known as the guy who shit his pants in shop class. Fortunately, the ignominy of that particular title has faded with history, but it sure as hell made my life rough for six months until I got to high school.

And it's kind of sad that high school is your escape from the embarrassment of middle school.


Bev said...

Oh man, that is rough!

Although, I hear some chicks are into that sort of thing. So, ya know. *cough*

Hey look, something shiny. Gotta run!

Scope said...

Hey, if shitting your pants in shop class is cool, then consider me Miles Davis.

SkylersDad said...

I knew a kid that cut off his thumb on a band saw. Shop class isn't for the weak...

Hart Johnson said...

I dug shop... probably because the class only had 4 girls in it and I was the coolest one *shifty*

But yeah... the boy I liked occasionally sprayed a little when he laughed (I blamed his braces) but there was no poop involved.

Ed said...

2 stories.

Middle school shop class. The teacher asked me and another student to move a band saw that has out of order due to an electrical short. He obivously pick us because we were hulking He-Men who had muscles like Greek gods. Anyway, douchebag has us lifting and moving this thing, BEFORE he unplugs it. Electrocution (?) is NOT fun. Talk about almost shitting your pants. It literally paralyzed us on the spot. We couldn't move, couldn't let go. The teacher was like, "Oops. Let me get that plug." Then he was all, "Suck it up boys. It's only a little 220."

Second story:
Working as a medical assistant at an urgent care clinic on the weekend. Guy comes in and says he had an accident with his saw. Turns out kickback is a bitch when running a circular saw. Nearly filleted his thumb all the way.

Jay Ferris said...

I feel as if I've completely missed out on some crucial childhood milestones, having never shat myself, nor first hand-witnessed a classmate fillet themselves.

Scratch the hostile fay said...

Yeah, I remember shop class. The teach had a couple of "helpers" (read: mentally retarded boys who couldn't sit still in a NORMAL class)/ One of them thought it'd be funny to hit my ass with a board. It was a small board, but a board nonetheless. NOT APPROPRIATE.

Good times.