Overheard in the Halls: Part Fifteen

Me: Nice copier, good copier. [strokes top of copier]

Thpth, thpth, thpth. Beep beep.

I collected my pages and eased out of the workroom and down the hall. Fr. Pax marches in behind me with an arm-full of documents.

I pause to glance into the study-hall to see if anyone is, indeed, studying. From behind me I hear—

Beep BEEP BEEP! [sound of crinkling paper]

Fr. Pax: Irritans damnosum!*

I walked briskly to my classroom.


Small Freshman: Miss Red, Miss Red!

Me: [bracing for trouble] Yes, ma’am?

S.F. : Because of your lesson and that magazine I got a first in history and in geography! [hugs me, races off]

Me: [Blinking and trying to sort out just what happened] Um, congratulations?

Fr. Romanus and Mrs. Declension should get far, far more credit than I do.


Fr. Romanus strolls past with four colors of copier paper in hand, heading for the big copier. He’s making flyers for the pre-Shrove Tuesday fund-raiser breakfast.

I had to go to the office to leave make-up work for one of my students who was struck by the Dreaded Lurgy – upper respiratory version. From the teachers’ work room I hear,

“You… What?!? How dare you?”

Sister Scholastica emerges, puts one finger over her lips, and we tip-toe away.


Small Sixth-grader: That’s not long enough.

Taller Associate: How about gynecomastia?

Small Sixth: Ooh. [counts on fingers] Six syllables. Perfect!

Later that morning, I found Mrs. Oxford, the sixth-grade English teacher, sighing at the coffee maker and adding a dollop of creamer to the Coffee That Shall Not Be Slighted. “Never again.”

Me: Hmm?

Mrs. Oxford: Never again will I allow the students to make their own spelling tests for each other.

I don’t mention that she said that two years ago.


Brother Vector lost the toss to organize the upper-division teachers’ luncheon. Almost every month, a third of the teachers and staff make lunch for everyone. This being a religious school that tries to focus on the higher things of life and the spirit, there is never a trace of competition or bragging about these occasions. Never. Really. Pinkie Swear.

Br. Vector: So, we’ve had soups, a sandwich day, and Thanks-be-Its-Not-Turkey. Our options are Mardis Gras, Valentines, and yes, the anatomically correct heart-shaped Jello mold is off limits again this year, or something else. Someone suggested Fasching and Carnival.

Everyone looks at me. I try to look innocent. The biology teacher droops with disappointment.

Mrs. Verbum: Taco bar. It’s not Lent, not on Wednesday or Friday, and we will be spared a King Cake.

Señora Creer: I can provide decorations.

No one voices any objections.

Sr. Scholastica: Valentines Day desserts, however, are recommended.

Br. Vector: So noted. [writes] I will have a sign-up sheet next week. Otherwise we will have ten packages of tortillas, three jars of salsa, and fifteen desserts.

Now everyone tries to look innocent.


*This is the semi-official name of a species of gnat.


22 thoughts on “Overheard in the Halls: Part Fifteen

  1. Small Freshma gave me a good chuckle. Accept the thanks – sometimes learning happens sideways, with a different perspective. SF got things to click that way. An associate of mine got that kind of engineering revelation from a broken shoelace, in a Eureka-like moment.

    Copier tales make me laugh and groan. How to put the phrase “charismata for copier and office electronics healing” into a job advertisement, as a desired skill?

  2. But a Fasching themed event is an excuse to cosplay, using one of those creepy anime big eyed masks, as Perche from Mondaiji.

  3. Be thankful for the copier! I am old enough to remember the spirit copier from hell and the purple the purple fingers of doom. Also having to letter all my tests and hand-outs by hand because I was so bad at typing

  4. Spared a King Cake? Is it the hideous amounts of sugar, the towering piles of cream cheese, or the unpleasantly surprising *crunch* “Oh, there went a crown… I found the shilling.”?

  5. One wonders if the sixth actually knew what gynecomastia was… And copier stories abound in EVERY organization! We had one support type who routinely blew up the copier, to the point that she was asked to have someone ELSE copy anything she needed done… sigh

  6. I looked up “Irritans damnosum” anyway, using Bing. “Overheard in the Halls: Part Fifteen” was the first hit.

      • Oh I didn’t doubt you, I just thought it was funny that the first search hit was your School Daze commentary.

  7. *sigh* There are times I wish I had a photocopier. Then there are days where I remember my college days, where we would run from one end of the school to the other to find a working, student-accessible photocopier, and they’d all be broken, forcing us to leave campus and find one outside that hopefully could be used. Inevitably, we’d end up in the University of the Philippines campus ‘shops’, where photocopying, bookbinding, etc could be done…

    I do not miss those days.

  8. I wonder where one finds an anatomically correct heart mold… and if there are molds available for any other internal organs…

    • Years ago, $SISTAUR wanted a brain Jell-O mold and figured looking around during the pre-Halloween build-up would be a good time to look. It wasn’t. We summed it up, and so much else as well, as “All skulls, no brains.”

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