Overheard in the Halls: Part 22

St. Angus in the Grass, as with every other school in the US, was affected by the mess this spring. We went to online teaching, which we’d suspected might happen, so we sent the students off on Spring Break with all of their books and materials. Some staff and faculty worked in the building, but only if they had no option, and getting in and out was a major challenge. Those in the building were all masked, unless we were alone in the classroom, away from the door.

Sr. Botanica: So, I’m missing these. [Shows list of students and their books]

Me: {Shows own list] So her, him, and him are both on The List.

Brother Vector: [Holds out list, looks at ours] Those three, plus Sister B and I share Fruit-filled Freshman.

We all hear steps, and promptly move six feet apart. Sr. Scholastica appears from the shadows of the corner of the hall and walks toward us.

I can see Brother Vector’s grin despite the mask. He holds up three fingers, then two, then one.

Teacher chorus: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Sr. Scholastica: No! Not until Saturday at four, when graduation ends.

Teacher chorus: [Unison groan] Awwwwww.


Voice from the Dark Classroom: And so as you can see, bioluminescence is not limited to animals.

I peer into the biology room and observe Sr. Botanica holding a glowing piece of something up in the air.

Sr. Botanica: I’m sure you all read the article about the bioengineered, glowing cats . . .

I tiptoe off.

Half an hour later, I come back up the hall and observe that the lights are now on and Sr. Botanica is packing up a fancy webcam and so on.


Me: [Silently] Oh no!

The Copier of Doom no longer dominates the work room. It stands, unplugged and mournful, at the far end of the space. A plastic-swathed new monster with a digital read out and other strange things lurks beside the door.

As I hurried up the darkened hallway to my classroom to count books, I find a similar scene at the secondary workroom.

Ms. Declension, the semi-retired junior Latin teacher, points her iced-tea can at the new beast.

Ms. Declension: Just when we thought the worst had passed. Corona virus, Fr. Pax being transferred, on-line teaching, and now this. We’re doomed.


Fr. Pax: [at meeting for select faculty] . . . and Mr. Long-Slavic-Last-Name will supervise traffic flow.

Mr. L-S-L-N cracks his knuckles and bares his teeth.

Voice-From-Beside-the-Door: How come he gets to have all the fun?

Fr. Pax: [glares in a door-ward direction]

Not Miss Red: Does this mean Sneaky Senior will be parking in the pond?

Mr. L-S-L-N: [studies ceiling with intense focus]

Fr. Pax: [almost under his breath] SIGH.

Faculty: [shared whispers and grins]

13 thoughts on “Overheard in the Halls: Part 22

  1. Copier of Doom v 2.01; nothing is ever stable until version 3.3. But then comes the Good Idea Fairy with a Wonderful New Feature.

    • One of my grandfather’s favorite sayings (he was an engineer) was “Better is usually the enemy of good”

      • Dear Lord, yes! I had more than a few arguments with an integrated circuit designer who felt we could get a fraction of a percent off the size of his design if we only spent a day or three redoing the layout. He didn’t understand (or accept) the fact that the cost savings on the device were going to be outweighed by the extra time spent, and wouldn’t be paid back for years, and that in beer money.

        OTOH, *I* wasn’t the one to give that designer death threats. Well, it was more like a threat to maim, but it wasn’t me. Honest!

        FWIW, said designer dropped out of the profession to become a dentist. [Shudders]

  2. Ah, I recall the shop teacher’s creative efforts to keep us from parking in the teachers’ lot.
    Good times.

    • When I was a senior a friend and I were building a hot rod. We bought an old Impala to get the engine and transmission from, but no junkyard would take the carcass since it didn’t have a valid title.

      One night we towed it to the school and abandoned it in the principal’s marked parking place.

      For the next week there were increasingly angry announcements over the PA system, demanding anyone who knew anything should immediately come forth for punishment. As if.

      During the entire time, the car… evaporated. Someone took the wheels and left it sitting on blocks. Then someone pulled the hood, doors, and front fenders. Left the trunk lid, though. Then the seats vanished. Then the windshield, carefully cut from the gasket. By the time a wrecker hauled it away, there was just a skeleton.

      A few months later, another car showed up in the same parking place, but the school had it hauled off a day or two later without all the fuss. I heard that cars would randomly appear there for years after I left school. Hey, it was really hard to get rid of an old car without all the proper paperwork…

  3. Ah yes, the copier from hell… now postponed until fall, which means it will have fifty new fault codes, massive changes in operating parameters, connectivity issues, and tricky paper jams…

    • [thinks of ancient times, when you just put your sheet on the platen and stood there pushing the COPY button until you had enough copies. Which were blurry black-and-whites, no grayscale, on shiny paper that liked to curl up, and usually had streaks and stripes from scratches on the toner drum.

      Fast-forward to modern printers with embedded web servers, gigabyes of storage, network connectivity, and cheesy 2-line, 20-character LCD panels with two-button controls that would have made a 1980s VCR designer proud.

      The machine at one client site won’t work unless I tell it ONE COPY each time. Every other copier in the known universe, “one copy” is the default…

      There are good reasons for the (mostly) undeclared war between the Computer People and the Copier People…

      • I believe it. The computer in my classroom has four printer drivers for two printer/copiers. Two are labeled “workroom” with no other indication as to which workroom, or even if they are the current network links. I just print things out elsewhere and make copies at the copier.

        • Back when wifi was a new thing, there was a sysadmin tale of the office printer that would randomly print “stuff” that nobody would own up to. It was one of the big printer/copierss that required an user group or security code so each sheet could be billed to a particular department, so it wasn’t a case of people randmly sending it print jobs.

          Some months later they determined the (unsecured on wifi) printer was getting jobs from a copy shop across the street. The printer had the same name as one at the shop, so the one at the shop *ususally* got the job… but every now and then it was slow to respond, and the office printer would step up. The copy shop would observe nothing came out of their printer, so they’d send it again, which usually worked…

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