When a Pineapple Sours

Let’s harken back to the days of middle school. Good friends, great hair, better teeth, and silk jackets. Everybody loved middle school, right?

School was only as good as your buddies in class and your teacher. Well, one year I had it good. Class full of friends and the best teacher. Not because she taught the best, but because she was the female version of this guy:

Fresh out of college and a former babysitter of mine. I knew her (and she knew me) – and I was the envy of the class. A class full of kids worshiped me!

To make it better, this was also the lunch class, so we had extra time with the teacher and each other.

At some point during the year, boys remembered to be boys and we started pulling pranks on each other. Silly stuff really, but it made you stay on your game. If not, you were bound to end up busting a ketchup pack or sitting in someone’s food.

Food like pineapple.

On one particular day, our table decided to pull the pineapple in the chair trick. We gathered all the pineapple chunks we could muster and placed them in the lone empty yellow chair – hoping, maybe even praying, the future user wouldn’t notice.

He didn’t. He and his light gray cotton, sweat pant material shorts never saw it coming.

We had so much pineapple in the chair, the entire bottom of his shorts were soaked. The light gray suddenly became dark, dark gray. But only on the bottom.

Apparently is was only funny to everyone else. He was not amused. And neither was my teacher.

At that point, our paths diverged. The kid rounded up some new shorts (and probably underwear) from somewhere and we were called to a conference. The teacher was no longer happy. And she no longer looked cute, but scary.

And I don’t do scary. And I don’t do trouble. I speak a mean game and can be snarky, but disappointment eats me up.


My stomach was now in knots.

She brought everyone back to class and made us wait in the hallway, where she would soon conduct our conference.

Now I’m really a mess. I’m starting to get the cold sweats and my knotted stomach is making funny noises that hopefully only I can hear.

The conference begins and I’m sinking lower and lower, doing the best I can to not throw up or mess my pants. I would so like to be anywhere else – preferably the bathroom – alone.

As I’m doing my best to hang on, a girl returns to the class late from lunch. She stops just outside the doorway and breaths in deeply. Her nose crinkles and face sours – “Damn! One of you boys stank!”

And proceeds to head into the classroom.

Apparently that was enough to break the tension as the teacher concludes the conference, sends us back to the class, and never mentions it again.

She didn’t need to. I had learned my lesson.

Never wear lightly colored cotton shorts to school.