this is NOT a blog post

A few months ago, Field Notes sent out blue exam notebooks along with an assignment. Submit an essay about a notable event in high school. I wrote the following essay about an event in my senior year Astronomy class. Since the grading is now complete (I did not win the contest) I thought I would share my work with you, dear readers.

My astronomy teacher had an air of grumpiness that I found appealing. As a high school senior, I appreciated the lack of false pep I saw in more than a few adults. My phoniness radar was dialed in. The fact that my astronomy teacher didn’t care about putting on a happy face for his students made me appreciate him. He was there to do a job, and he did that well.


In his classroom there were two doors, but we only used one. The back door was locked, and to make it even more clear for us dimwits, my teacher taped a sign on it that read “THIS IS NOT A DOOR.” (Emphasis his.) Me and my friend Mike found this endlessly amusing. At the end of class, we’d head for the back door, read the sign aloud in mock surprise, then turn and use the front door along with the rest of the class.


One day my teacher was out sick and we got one of those substitutes who sits at his desk reading a paperback for an hour. A free period! As long as we didn’t burn the place down, the place was ours. Mike and I decided to be productive. We made signs, dozens of them.







We taped them to the appropriate places. For “THIS IS NOT A CEILING” we taped the paper to the ceiling. “THIS IS NOT AN ASTRONAUT” was taped to a poster of an astronaut. It was actually the only true statement we made, since it wasn’t an astronaut but a photograph of one.


By the end of the period Mike and I had labeled most of the room. We took a moment to enjoy our handiwork then went to our next classes. During the day, I wondered if the signs would stay up long enough for my teacher to see them the next day.


Mike and I nearly burst into the classroom the next day. It was the most excited I’d been to begin a class, possibly in all my years of high school. We were disappointed to see that all our signs were gone. My teacher made not a mention of them, which led me to believe either students or some poor janitor had removed them.


My girlfriend had astronomy class later in the day. She told me later that my teacher had entered the classroom early that morning to find our signs everywhere. He said it was him, alone in a classroom, removing signs from everything and laughing hysterically the whole time.

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