Sunday, January 20, 2008

Anne Frank's Dustpan

Trivialities are basically the main ingredient of online chats but at some point during my aimless banter with Xienah I was reminded of two of the most horrific concepts that plagued my high school life. No, it’s not zits, hormones going amok, having to fill out thousands of silly slam books, acid washed jeans, or inhaling carcinogens wafting the hallways from mindless abuse of hairspray by female students whose teased bangs can serve as shields against nuclear warheads attacks. The two sickening things I mean are the ones I cannot bring up without hugging myself and rocking like a ball in some corner while humming Always Look At The Bright Side Of Your Life. That, or letting my dormant Serial Killer to surface.

01. Cleaners.
02. Formal Theme.

These two concepts have instantly claimed their rightful spot as dirtiest words in my vocabulary.

I don’t know about you but I attended a school where every classroom has bright yellow cartolina paper with letterings espousing “Honesty Is The Best Policy,” “Don’t Do Unto Others What You Don’t Want Others To Do Unto You,” “Cleanliness Is NEXT to Godliness.”


I suspected our homeroom teachers, whoever designed those insane wall-tacked reminders and the school principal shared the same crack dealer.

In the interest of those who are spared of these ghastly activities let me explain. The concept of Cleaners is this: the number of students in every class or section is equally divided by five to correspond to each day of school week. Then you are assigned a respective day to be the designated homeroom Cleaners. As in unpaid janitors for that specific day. Early on, we students grasped the concept of exploitation and imposed child labor before it became a trendy touchy topic in modern social issues. And here’s the clincher: if you fail to clean the room with your co-cleaners, they will list your name in a log sheet wherein you risk two things. One, the penalty of one peso per failure to clean and two, sliding off the class adviser’s goodwill which maybe linked to you having lousy grades.

This sordid affair naturally made my rebellious streaks wide-eyed. I not only rebuffed this odd imposition but I mocked the airheads who follow these rules like narcotized ducks. I slap their foreheads with a sticker that proudly announces their meek obedience: Uto-Uto.

Up to this day I haven’t chanced on a single headline of DSWD representatives raiding schools that impose Cleaners Racket and shoving into jails the abusive schoolmasters. I suspect the DSWD people share the same crack dealer with principals and have equity shares on the collected penalties. Come to think of it: there are gazillion pupils and students doing cleaners in schools everyday and in a single day the collection of penalties will be sufficient to meet the minimum to open a private banking account in offshore branches of Credit Suisse.

I hate this cleaners shit like I hated the cheesa fruit. I defied authorities and ignored the ire of my fellow classmates whenever I refuse to touch a broom, a dustpan or a window wiper. Come on! Is this supposed to promote industriousness among students and educate them on the value of cleanliness or a glaring evidence of the school's inept janitorial services? If the ones who are paid to clean the rooms are getting paid for not doing their jobs then how come none of them had the decency to offer payroll participation?

As a result I am labeled difficult, lazy, uncooperative, insubordinate, yadda yadda. Yes, at a tender age I am my teachers’ and dumb classmates’ delinquent manifestation of what a visible headache looks like.

“Why are you refusing to clean/pay the penalty for failing to clean the room?” I would be interrogated.

“Why are you being a member of the Gestapo?” I am tempted to answer, instead defiantly blurts “I don’t see any connection in scrubbing the floor and getting a perfect score in Trigonometry.”

“You are very stubborn. I am not pleased by your unbecoming behavior Loudcloud.”

“Stubborn, yes ma’am, but not stupid.”

“I want to talk to your mother.”

“I’m not sure my mother would want to talk to you.”

The vein in her forehead becomes prominent as it throbs to the same thump as the bass lines in Nirvana’s Lithium. I suspect that to rid of her daily migraine she recommended me for acceleration. I have funny mental images of her sometimes jolting upwards from sleep, beads of sweat spurting from her hot pores when my impish grin creeps in her dreams. Methinks her tics and memories of me are still being kept in check by medications.

Formal themes. Now this is where I was educated on the concept of subjectivity, lousy tastes and injustice.

As we all know we have had composition papers officially called Formal Themes. We buy Formal Theme Books to write on our monumental opuses as partial requirement for completing the subject. Encouraged with a teacher's misguided beliefs that somewhere in our zit-riddled heads a Tolstoy or a Capote just waits for an opportunity to wake up, we wrote away like laboratory mice on Prozac overdose. This is hilarious because we habitually turn in grammatically-fractured, cliché-infested, incoherent drivels and the most blood-curdling sentimental naïveté that, when showed to us as adults, will drive us to Psychiatric attention en masse.

But nobody had the presence of mind to challenge the most idiotic topics in which we are made to write about. “What did you do during school vacation?” “Describe Your Pet.” “What do you want to be when you get to College?”

Here’s where I fume. No matter how well-thought out or original or at least, different my compositions are I get a measly 85% percent while the most dorky, mundane, stupor-inducing writings of the cheerful assholes who suck up to the teacher that will embarrass a brand new Dyson gets a sterling 100%. I have learned to distrust the hackneyed tastes of authorities. What can I say; I learned jadedness in English 101.

So I hit back by challenging the dreadful mediocrity of classmates and instructors by being a wiseass for my own warped amusement.

“What did you do during school vacation?” "I discovered the joys of masturbation and has been wanking off till three in the morning. It was personally satisfying." My rating? A bold all-caps red Panda Ballpen scrawled “See The Principal.” What did they want, I lie? What if that’s what I did during the vacation? Jerks.

“Describe your Pet.” "My Pet is our household's unchallenged comedy star: it curls in the rug all day and shits on the couch, sending my mom into hysterics. Her turd reminds me those beads being drank by Chinese folks. And let me describe the smell…”

“What do you want to be when you get to College?” "I want to be the same person only with bigger allowance and the stamina to screw sorority babes all weekends." I didn't actually write in the sorority bit but the teacher got my gist. The expression on her face must have been priceless.

My formal themes, I was later told, were the source of hysteria in teachers’ room.

And I was too young and ignorant then to demand for royalties so I can pay for my crippling Cleaners penalty dues.

(post script: this post can only be made possible by going home at two a.m. after gargling tequila. i will likely disown this entry when sobered up. or not.)


datu, the wilted prune. said...

i had that cleaners thing back in elementary school. only there if you don't clean you suffer the ire of the fascist director who either a) screams and wails at you at his office while you squat like an idiot, b) puts you in front of the stage for the whole school assembly in flag ceremony to laugh and ridicule at hile you squat like an idiot, and c) let you clean the whole school with an escort ready with his whip should you choose to defy--after you squat like an idiot.

now you shouldn't wonder why i ended up here in manila.


Hehe. Funny.

I remember back in grade 5, our class adviser made us do things that would make Pol Pot wince. For one, she'd make anyone who violates her random rules clean the toilet sans gloves or other cleaning apparatus. Buti na lang, I was such an obedient kid back then.

igno said...

Nice loud. Uber funny post.

I think this brought about my creativity on making sorties and handles. I usually dropped the line i-have-asthma.

Tama ka rin. Kaya madalas naming pinagsisisi ang mga janitor by overflowing the urinals.

XienahGirL said...

i do have the tendency
to bring out
the creative juices
of bloggers
whenever they talk to me
via WayEm.

i should get paid.

do i need to comment?
i mean
i actually said my piece
through our chat
last time, right?

echoing a banter
is never good.
it might ruin
the holy reputation
of you comments box

Q The Conqueror said...

Argh. I admit it. I was boss man back in grade school. >_< And frequently kissed teacher ass.

But looking at it now (since my younger sisters tell me things), I should have rebelled more. Hahaha. And yes, you have a point. What's the use in hiring janitors when you become the cleaners yourself? Tsk tsk tsk.

loudcloud said...

datu - now you triggered another thing to complain about: squatting/push ups during CAT (high school equivalent of ROTC)! haha.

misterhubs - yikes! salmonella! obedience has its rewards in your case.

igno - overflowing urinals! oooooo, the memories! haha. seems like you and your classmates are not the only ones resorting to this revenge tactic! LOL.

xienah - you are not only a goddess but a muse to warped bloggers. never mind collecting fees. isn't slobbering in your feet in adoration not payment enough? hehe.

Q! - yes there is such evil glee from rebelliousness. it's fun messing with the heads of authorities. LOL