When Teenagers Get Bored

I was with an unlikely group of classmates. It was a lazy Sunday evening near the end of my senior year, and we were cruising the streets of my small hometown. The four of us had time on our hands and were itching for something to do. My dad had told stories about seniors upholding tradition. Now there is an idea worth pursuing.

The party of four included our driver, George, the straight “A” student, generally associated with the “smart kids” who behaved themselves. Dickie was next, one of our few black students – great with his grades and a good athlete, not prone to getting in trouble. On the other hand, there was Clark, who was considered crazy, weird, and unpredictable. Then there was me.

The Plan & Execution

It’s another story of how and where we acquired nearly a dozen little “banty” chickens. What we did caused a major uproar in the small town of Geary, Oklahoma. Here is the crime that was intended to uphold a school tradition.

Our smallest conspirator entered the high school through an unlocked window in the gym. Once inside the school proper, we stood on desks in several classrooms, lifting the ceiling panels momentarily in the newly modernized school. We placed the chickens in the overhead open area that ran the entire length of the school building. It was dark, and the chickens quickly went to roost.

That did not seem like enough, so we went to the shop and grabbed a quart of bright yellow enamel paint and a small brush. I painted on the large glass windows at the front of the school, “Chickens for sale—see Al Long” (our school principal).

We decided that was not conspicuously prominent. We drove to the newly built, not yet opened, car dealership on the main highway through town and painted “Chickens for Sale—See Al Long” across the huge plate glass windows. Under that, I painted “Low Overhead,” thinking myself quite clever to add the expression used by salesmen of the day. We eventually went home, finally satisfied with our hard work, definitely upholding tradition with a bang.

The Consequences

We arrived at school the following morning and witnessed pandemonium. Noisy roosters were crowing, hens were squawking, and all were pooping in that overhead, especially under the skylights over the seating areas above the classrooms. Stinky evidence of their presence was on desks, seats, and the floor.

Students and teachers disrupted classes for hours by chasing the chickens, still in the overhead, from room to room, unsuccessfully removing them. Finally, someone removed a few overhead panels and left them open. The chickens finally began to jump down, and a new chase ensued! Banty chickens are wily and fast at eluding pursuers.

Later in the morning, I was called to the principal’s office. Clark and Dickie were already there. The Principal, the School Superintendent, and the Sheriff were present. They grilled each of us individually, threatening jail if we didn’t reveal the fourth person involved. Due to our refusal to reveal George’s name, they gave us the paddle and assigned restitution.

When I got home, my mother and father were shocked, ashamed, and angry with me. I was puzzled. Was I not upholding the tradition my dad had previously related?  Putting a cow in the second story of the school library? Or putting a Model T on the roof?

Who Was That Fourth Person?

Years later, I ran into Al Long, who had since retired. He asked me who that fourth person was. I said it was George driving his mother’s car. He stared with disbelief and said, “Why, after all this time, are you still protecting the identity of that person?” My insistence that it was George, his favorite grade “A” student, was useless. I’m sure he went to his grave believing he didn’t find the culprit.

Upholding Tradition & Other Experience

I was quite the instigator in High School, although, in my defense, we never did actual harm. When I look back on my years in school, I was playing sports, reading hundreds of books, fighting bullies, and dreaming about pretty girls. The whole experience was educational, including dreaming up and executing pranks.

After all, we were doing our duty to uphold tradition!

Jerry Life Activities & Ideas

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