“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
– Oscar Wilde
“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
– Oscar Wilde
I wandered in, a few minutes late by the clock on the wall. There was a lot of noise in the room as the students dropped their bags on the floor and found their places. Some of them appeared to know each other, probably from the previous course. Me, I was new and a stranger to everyone. Just the same, I was determined to try my best to make a good impression.
“Call me Pete” the instructor said. “Line up and get ready to begin.”
I got a little nervous as everyone seemed to know where to position themselves and what to do.
“Ok, start, circle round the mat. Go!” He blew the whistle and everyone started running around the expansive matting that covered the wooden floors. “Five” He shouted. Everyone turned in unison and ran in the opposite direction. I hesitated, unsure of what I was meant to be doing and just avoided crashing into the guy who had been in front and was suddenly behind me. I ran with the others feeling my heart rate jump. “One!” he shouted. Everyone dropped mid-step and placed their left hand on the floor for just a second then continued to run. “Two!” he shouted. The same action was repeated with the right hand. “Five!” He shouted. Everyone turned again and this time, I was quick enough.
By the time we stopped, I was out of breath. Pete had us do press-ups, crunches, stretches, more running and some seemingly impossible positions on the floor that I didn’t think my back was capable of performing. I was please to find I was wrong. I bent, ran, stretched and panted with all my might. When we finished, I looked at the clock. 20 minutes had passed and that was only the warm-up.
“Dear God”, I muttered. I was handed some sparring gloves and placed within arm’s reach of a chap that was about 70lbs heavier than me, if I was being generous. He was clearly not a stranger to Krispy Kreme. Pete came up to us. “You’re both new, so I’ll put you together.”
I held my breath. This guy was twice my size.
When Pete demonstrated the first move, I thought, no problem. We were meant to take turns practicing and Pete nodded approvingly at my technique. I was careful to go slow and demonstrate that I understood the manoeuvre, but didn’t put too much strength into it. My partner took his turn. He moved quickly, too quickly for a drill and planted me face first onto the mat. A clumsy slap to the front of my neck left me gasping. He could kill someone with his carelessness, I thought.
Pete, having praised me for my balance a moment before, was helping me up. When he was reassured that I was ok, he had words with the other guy.
Two weeks later, having skipped a class waiting for the bruises to clear up, I returned. I found out that my sparring partner of that day dropped the class when an advanced student dropped him to the floor. He had tried to be rough with the wrong person and this time, Pete had not stopped it.
It’s funny. Whenever I walk into a new learning environment, I accept that there are going to be people in there that know more than me or show better aptitude. In the end, we’re all there to learn and to cooperate, not show off. Teamwork should be the order of the day.
So, have you ever felt like a prize idiot on the first day of class? Have you been befriended, felt isolated, excelled when you didn’t expect it, in short, describe a memorable 1st day at anything.
Writing Prompt: The First Day of Class
Fred opened his eyes and shaking off the leaves from his coat stretched his legs. The burrow was warm. Winter has given into spring and he could already hear his mother in the other chamber.
As he wandered through the burrow, he remembered happily that he agreed to meet his best friend Benny for a game of hide and seek.
His mother called after Fred as he ran toward the burrow opening that would open out into the sunshine. “Don’t be late again! I’m making a special treat tonight.” She said.
Fred ran across the field toward the farmhouse where he and Benny met every morning to play.
Benny woke up late that morning. Startled at the late hour, he ran to the opening of his burrow eager to get to the field to play with Fred.
He hopped with all his might through the field towards the farmhouse and when he got there stopped for a breath. As he calmed down and began to look around for Fred he realised he left the burrow without breakfast. His little stomach began to growl, so he hopped to the farmhouse hoping to find something to eat.
When he got there, he saw something so special that he had to hop straight back to the field to find Fred. What he saw was perfect for sharing but he would need Fred’s help.
When Benny got to the field, Fred was waiting for him. “Where have you been?” Fred said.
Benny caught his breath. “Fred, you’ve got to see this! I’ve been to the farmhouse and there’s something you’ve got to see.”
The two of them ran as fast at they could to the farmhouse.
When they got there, Benny took Fred around to the farmhouse kitchen window where he showed his friend their prize.
Resting on the window sill was a perfect, hot apple pie that had been set there to cool in the morning breeze.
“This looks perfect! I’m starving!” said Fred. “But how are going to get to it?”
Benny looked at his friend’s long thin body. “Fred, stand up straight.”
Fred stood on his hind legs and stood up straight and tall.
“Perfect!” said Benny. “If you climb on my back and stand up straight, you can reach the pie!”
“That’s brilliant, clever you!” said Fred.
Benny struggled to hold still and strong as Fred clambered up onto Benny’s back. As they wobbled, trying to keep their balance, someone else noticed what they were up to.
Georgia, the farmhouse cat had been chasing some birds in the barn when she heard noise coming from the back door leading to the farmhouse kitchen. As she turned the corner, she saw Benny and Fred and instantly understood that they were trying to reach the pie in the window.
“We’ll see about that.” She thought and slowly moved through the tall grass towards them.
Fred stood tall and stretched with all his might. His little arms were just long enough to reach the pie. As the tips of his claws gripped the edge of the pie dish he turned his head and saw Georgia sneaking towards them.
She was just about to pounce when Benny looked over and saw her too. “Fred!” he shouted.
Just as she jumped towards them, Fred moved quickly and pushed the pie dish off the window ledge, sending it crashing onto Georgia’s head.
“Run!” Benny shouted.
Fred leaped off of his friend’s back and the two of them ran across the field back towards their burrows.
Looking back, Fred could see Georgia gaining on them.
“Quick, Benny! Follow me home. My burrow is closer!”
They ran with all their might and just as Georgia drew her claws out to reach them, they jumped into Fred’s burrow to safety.
“Just wait.” Georgia called after them. “I’ll get you for this someday.”
When Benny and Fred caught their breath, Fred mother called them. “Where have you two been?” Fred hung his head, too embarrassed to answer. Benny dropped his head too.
“Well, I told you not to be late again. So, if you can’t get home in time, you can’t have the treat I made today. Off to your room!”
Fred scurried off to his room with Benny trailing behind him. As they moved past Fred’s mum, they saw what was on the table behind her – an apple pie!
– The End
We stood listening to the high-pitched noise of the fire alarm. When it first went off, everyone at the office froze. I could tell we were all thinking the same thing. Is it just the weekly drill or do we have to go through the bother of getting our coats and marching down the stairs to the pavement outside? We looked at each other, waiting to see who’d move first and then finally, as if understanding penetrated all of us at once, we gathered our things.
As I stood out there, I thought it might be an April Fool’s trick gone wrong. It was typical that at the precise moment that the rain fell hardest this morning, the alarm went and we stood there outside Brown’s with only three or four umbrellas among about twenty-five of us.
It got me thinking about some of the juvenile, if not amusing, tricks I’d seen over the years. Today, Lisa, our office manager changed the letters on Paul’s (our PPC manager) keyboard to read “sad” instead of “asd”. I’m wondering how long he’ll type before he spots that one.
In High School, a couple of us stuck “Out of Order” signs on all of the stalls in the girl’s toilets except one, just before the lunch break and over 1,000 students were let out of class. Childish, I know, but basically harmless.
Have you been at the receiving end of a prank? Have you ever orchestrated one? Do tell and don’t spare the embarrassing details!
Enjoy April Fool’s Day. 😉
Nate The Snake
A truck driver is heading west across the Arizona desert. He
has been driving all night, and as the sun starts to rise,
he feels the need to stop and commune with nature. He pulls
to the side of the road, parks, and walks out into the sage
As he is standing there, looking around at the beauty of the
early morn, he notices a lever sticking out of the ground.
After a few moments, he walks over, walks all the way
around, and then reaches out to grasp the lever. Just as he
does, he hears a voice say, “Don’t touch that lever.”
The driver jumps about two feet off the ground, and as he
comes down, he looks around. No one is to be seen. Thinking
it was just his imagination, he again reaches for the lever.
Again the voice yells, “I said don’t touch that lever!”
Being more prepared, the driver senses the location of the
voice and looks down under a sage brush. There he sees a
The driver, in much astonishment, said, “Was that you that
The snake said, “Yes. I have to keep people from touching
that lever. If the lever is moved, it will be the end of the
The driver, still rather astonished, said, “What is your
name? And will you talk on TV?” The snake said his name was
Nate and that he wasn’t interested in going on TV; anyway,
he had to stay and watch the lever to see that it wasn’t
moved. The driver said, “Look, I will get the networks to
send out camera crews. That way, you can inform the entire
world about the danger of the lever.”
Nate thought that over and allowed as how there was a great
deal of sense to the idea. The driver, true to his word, got
the network camera crews out. They put on broadcasts in
which Nate warned the entire world of the dangers of moving
A few weeks later, another truck driver was going through
the area. He was following an oil tanker, and the tanker
sprang a leak. When the driver’s truck hit the slick, it
went out of control, and he found himself headed straight
for the lever. He remembered seeing Nate on the TV telling
about the lever and so he knew that if he hit it, he would
cause the world to end. He strove, with all his might to
maneuver the truck. Finally, at the last moment, he was able
to swerve, but he ran over Nate, the snake, and killed him
The truck driver was heard to say “Well, better Nate than lever.”
The instructions were simple. Get up on the table and hold still.
I stretched out on the long, white table while my best friend held my hand. Having been through the experience before, I thought it best to go with someone in the know.
“Tell me if it hurts.” The fellow said. “Some people experience a bit of discomfort and sometimes feel the need to throw up. Let me know, ok?”
I could tell by his tone that he thought I might fall into this category, but I said nothing. Don’t mess with someone holding a needle.
“Can you please indicate the right spot?” he asked.
I glanced up at Bryan. He smiled a reassuring smile and gave my hand a squeeze. I promised him I’d go through with it. We made a pact. If he did it, I had to as well.
“Bry, you know what I want. Can you show him?”
“Sure.” he said and pointed. “Right about there.” He said.
I felt the cool transparency paper on my skin and then a bit of rubbing. When the paper was lifted, the artist looked up and Bryan. “Is that it?”
“Looks good to me.”
“Ok,” the artist said, “Here goes.”
The needle drove into my skin and although it pinched a bit, it wasn’t as painful as I had expected. However, after a few seconds, something didn’t feel right.
“Ah, can you hold on a sec?” I said and twisted around to look at my back. There was nothing there, the skin was unmarked. However, there was a distinct black line far lower. Dear God, I thought…
“Is that the right place?” The artist asked.
“Well, it’s too late if it isn’t, isn’t it?” I said and looked up at Bryan.
“What?” he asked innocently. “Ahem…It’s about three inches lower than I wanted.”
It was too late, I was scarred for life. There was nothing for it but to let him finish the job.
When the job was done, it looked great, but I knew that forevermore, no one would see my new tattoo unless I really really wanted them to. For future reference, if you’re ever going to get a tattoo, make sure you check the position before the needle strikes and never trust your friends with anything that to do with your body…
Writing Prompt: Permanent Marker
Ever do anything you wish you could do over but there was NO WAY you could ever fix it? Pick an incident and tell us about it. Create a story from the that critical moment you can’t take back.
– Mark Twain
Ok, I know I said I’d stick to the list, but a couple of books have come my way and they need to be added…
1. We Need to Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
2. The Samurai’s Garden – Gail Tsukiyama
3. The Street of a Thousand Blossoms – Gail Tsukiyama
4. The Dressmaker – Elizabeth Birkelund Overbeck
5. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
Although I’ve read Toole’s masterpiece before, it has been over 10 years since I read it and I found a ragged copy in my bookshelf the other day. They way it fell off the top shelf when I was tidying was an indication that it had grown tired of just sitting there letting other works of fiction pass it by and decided to do something about it. Well, having obtained my attention, I feel it deserves it’s due perusal having gone through so much effort to once again see the light of day. I promise, however, that this time it will not settle back into its place on the shelf once I have read it. I’ll pass it along, leave it on a bench in the middle of the Royal Gardens or on the bus on the way to work. Someone else should have the chance to read this marvelous farce. So, to whomever eventually adopts this book, enjoy!
Have you ever been in a situation where you were so bored you contemplated doing something outrageous just to break the monotony? Have you ever sat in a boring meeting playing bullshit bingo (a game where you tick a box on your notepad every time someone uses industry jargon, e.g no-brainer, team-player, touch-base, setting our stall out, etc)? Have you ever sat in a waiting room at the doctor’s office or dentist, been stuck on a crowded train between stations without a book, newspaper or headphones, or been at a family gathering listening to the various, if increasingly exotic, non-fatal ailments of older relatives?
There are some moments in life when we just want to do something shocking to remind ourselves and those around us that we have a pulse, life was not meant to be spent in these tedious ways. Put yourself or a character in a B-O-R-I-N-G situation and find a unique way to get them out of it. Make those around you or your character react, what are the consequences? Have fun, that’s what life’s all about.
Today’s Prompt: Watching the paint dry
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.