It seems weird to think about it, but grade school was roughly 40 years ago. That’s like, a whole lifetime ago. Of course, I don’t remember a lot about those days, but I remember enough. Probably more than enough. And since I have these memories, I might as well implant share them with you. You know what they say, “misery loves company.”

Qualls vs. Qualls

My best friend back then was Eric. For whatever reason, we gave each other nicknames. No, sorry. We gave each other nickname. Singular. And, once again, for whatever reason, we called each other Qualls. I remember when the movie Kramer vs. Kramer came out (a movie I’ve never seen), our families were cracking jokes about us being Qualls vs. Qualls. Cute.

Over time, the name evolved. One evolution was spurred by a song. Not a real one, but a song a mentally disabled classmate sang. It was a talent show of some sort and he sang “Q and X. Q and X.

That was the extent of the lyrics.

Well, Qualls and I adopted the song and we began calling each other QX and QR. Not sure where the R came from, but it became part of our identity. Eventually, we shortened it further and we simply called each other Q. Sadly, it had nothing to do with creating cool British spy tech. That wasn’t even on our radar at the time. (See what I did there?)

What the Bleep

Ever ingenious we (thought) we were, we were always looking for ways to defeat the system. Or find workarounds.

Being in grade school, swearing was off-limits. Being in a Christian grade school, it was really off-limits. But we didn’t let that stop us. We just simply censored ourselves the way they did on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, which was definitely on our radar.

One day we were outside during lunch, sitting on top of a brick wall that separated a utility box from the building. From our high perch, we yelled out censored obscenities. “You mother bleep“, “That’s bull bleep“, “Don’t be a bleep hole.” But, instead of saying “bleep,” we actually made the bleep sound. It was quite comical (to us). We made our point and never once said a naughty word.

Sadly, the school principal didn’t see it the same way. Apparently intent matters too.

My First Hack

The school I attended was run by one of the local churches. The same church my family attended. This often meant that my school classroom was also my Sunday School classroom. The school desks were mostly around the perimeter of the interior walls so Sunday School was huddled in the middle of the room. Right where all the library books were kept.

One day while listening intently to the lesson, I felt the need to take a marker and write my name on the front my Bible. You know, in case it got lost. Only it wasn’t my bible, it was one borrowed from the school library. Nor was it my name that I wrote, but of one of my school buddies: Les Gutches.

Side note: I’m not sure why I even remember his name. He only went to the school for a minute. Maybe because it’s one of the few things I actually wrote down! I just decided to Google his name and, I kid you not, I think this may be him. Right age, location, and he even looks like I remember, just older.

I digress. The following Monday, we get to school and it just so happened that someone was cleaning up the library area and spotted Les’ Bible. Only it wasn’t Les’ Bible, but the school Bible with Les’ name written across the top. Les, of course, was disciplined for defacing school property like that.

(Les, if you find this story, I apologize for getting you into trouble. But totally worth it.)

On Pins and Needles

It was right about this time that Q and I thought it would be funny to put tacks on the teacher’s chair. We had the Sunday School room access and found the opportunity when the door was left unlocked between classes.

But we had a problem, the chair was cushioned, and all we had were push pins. We quickly found out that push pins won’t stand pointy end up on a cushion. What were two trouble-making boys to do?

Ah-ha! Problem solved: Elmer’s glue.

Yep, we glued about 10 push pins to the teacher’s chair.

In all honesty, I expected our frail 70-year-old teacher, Mrs. Tuttle, to see the tacks on her chair before she sat down.

She did not.

It didn’t take the school long to figure out who did it. Both Q and I got into trouble that day. And honestly, I have always felt bad about that. I can imagine what plopping down into a chair with thumbtacks glued to it would feel like.

Yeah. Ouch!

Swatting it Away

That was back in the days when schools still swatted students for bad behavior. At least my school did. My parents didn’t mind, which was totally unfair because after getting swatted at school I’d go home to get the homemade version of the same.

I had attended that school for about four years and I got swatted by the principal at least once each year. That was the year I swore that I wouldn’t get swatted at again. And you know what? After this time, I never got swatted at school again.

At home was another matter entirely.