An Afternoon Dose of High School Laughter

We all know that eating, growing and sleeping are some of the natural processes living things have to go through.

A lot of the time the episodes that make us laugh come from people’s attempts to defy nature: the man who dyes his hair! The female boss who fakes a deep voice and stern look! The mother who swears no boy will get anywhere near her ‘innocent’ daughter.

When I was in high school, we the ladies would not go for lunch. How could we? What would our stalkers or the boys think of us? Would they conclude that we were too broke and therefore, probably, not worth a second look? We also wanted to remain slim! We would feign being okay as the boys and a few bold girls made their way to the dining for food.

So, we would, instead, settle for snacks, which in most cases only provoked the hunger to bite even harder. Nonetheless, the charade made me slender, something I liked. There was this particular day of the week, when the lunch was katogo (mixture of beans and cassava chops).

After days of posho and beans for lunch, katogo was a welcome break. On this day, no one cared, we carried our dishes to the dining for the food. We consumed some, left some for supper and some for tomorrow’s breakfast.

In the afternoon, as usual, the biology teacher made it. He was not one of those who would lose a relative or become sick so that they would miss a lesson. Yet could not accuse him of being interesting. So, his lessons were a struggle. We were also so bogged down by the food to the extent that the enzymes were overwhelmed too.

This allegedly caused us unwelcome drowsiness that led to intermittent dosing. My neighbour to the right, Joe Mary, was renowned for sleeping with his eyes open. I somewhat think, he had fashioned this as a defence mechanism against the ‘no-nonsense’ teachers. He was so meticulous at it that before we found out, we thought he never dozed. Only to see him falling suddenly.

Joy Mary was a tall, dark, shabby adolescent, with protruding eyes that made him scary. This, plus his ridiculous name, made teachers pick at him and his peers to mock him. He had had an infatuation for me, which I did not quite appreciate.

For instance, I found him funny but grossly repugnant for my sense of attraction. His name did not help matters, for I would muse with the idea of introducing him to my peers, let alone parents, “Mbu Joy Mary is… … … … … ” How ludicrous!

Moving on, half the class was asleep, he, in particular, with his eyes open.

“What is the difference between respiration and transpiration?” asked the teacher.

Everyone awoke and watched in silent apprehension.

“Joy Mary, give us the answer.”The teacher called.

Joy Mary, obviously in another world altogether, did not hear. The teacher called again. Everyone’s eyes turned to Joy Mary in open sarcasm, only to notice that his mouth was ‘watering’ the book before him, as his head swung forwards.

You should have heard the deafening laughter we all laughed, except the teacher who felt insulted. As the neighbour, I nudged him to wake up. He was startled by the sound of hollow laughter not being aware of his surroundings. Then, his countenance darkened into foreboding contortion.

The teacher glowered at him in disdain. “Get out of my class, you newt! You call this a bedroom?” The teacher declared as he sent him packing.

Later on, in the evening, he told me, “That biology teacher is very jealous of me, because I am handsome. Little wonder, everyone laughed at him! Don’t you find me handsome, dear?” He asked with a big grin.

Source : The Observer

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