Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fatsos, Lockdowns & Stella

Just in case anyone out there was even a smidgen concerned about whether I survived the end of the semester hoopdedoo, well dear peeps, the answer is obviously a resounding and unequivocal “yes.”

But more importantly, I even survived the teacher in-service lockdown re-enactment extravaganza.

And trust me, the fact that my head didn’t implode on its own or a gaggle of crazed teachers didn’t throttle me with their hall passes probably isn’t nothing short of a miracle. I probably have Saint Jude to thank for that.

Last week, administrators and the regional SWAT team decided it would be a nifty neat-o idea to run us through a man-with-a-gun-lockdown-re-enactment extravaganza after the kids left for the day. Normally I would have been just a smidge put out about the whole thing seeing as how I had papers to grade and another 47 yearbook pages to wade through. And, oh yeah, let’s not forget the entire next semester to plan educational stuff for as well as the upcoming newspaper deadline. And then, of course, there’s my desk to tidy up (OK, OK, OK, so that’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime).

Still, I wasn’t annoyed by the teacher in-service lockdown re-enactment extravaganza because, quite frankly, my eyes were beginning to glaze over, and I needed a break. Besides, running around with the SWAT guys seemed a tad more fun than looking through those 47 yearbook pages or doing any of those other things.

So with that in mind, I punctually joined my compadres in the auditorium to receive our instructions. It went something like this:

“Blah, blah, blah, blah…and there will be loud noises…blah blah blah…blanks…blah blah blah …sounding like gunfire… blah blah blah…yelling…blah blah blah…we don’t want any pregnant teachers participating… blah blah blah…”

Before I could stop myself, the words just rolled out of my mouth…“How about old and fat teachers? Can they still participate?” I quipped.

More than a few beady eyes glared my way.

“Me,” I said, “me… I was talking about me! I’m old…I’m fat…”

Oh my, I thought, it’s a good thing my Starbucks-guzzlin’-hall-monitor-compadre is thin. (She was the only one who walked with me down to our assigned classroom for the re-enactment.)

After we all selected one of the designated classrooms with our “teacher.” The lockdown commenced. Doors locked. Lights off. Flash. Bang. Boom. Yelling. Yelling a lot. Someone yelling loudly for Mary over and over and over again. (I thought it would be much more amusing if our bad guy yelled “Stella” and said so… Below is a video clip of a Stella yelling contest or there’s a big blank spot if your school blocks such things…)

About that time, teachers in my room started turning over tables, barricaded the locked door and hid behind the tables.

I, however, remained in my chair and whispered to my compadres hiding behind the tables, “You do know that bullets can go through tables, don’t you? You do know that, don’t you?”

“Oh,” they said.

Jeez Louise, what movies have they been watching?

Later, we reconvened in the auditorium to discuss our “feelings.” Now, those of you who know me, know that’s about the point where my head wanted to implode. Still, it was rather a bit fascinating to hear my peers talk about how scared they were etc.

Now, before you decide to join the Richie Hata’s Club and/or start sending me nasty posts or emails, please note that I do understand the need to take these drills seriously and do what you’re supposed to do, but you also need to understand that I’m not much of a scaredycat either and tend to handle stress with a rather warped sense of humor. You see, I spent too much time as a police reporter covering crime and too many years married to my accident-prone husband.

Back in the day, I interviewed criminals, trained with a SWAT team for a story and even witnessed a police shooting. So you can see why I didn’t flinch once when my husband inadvertently blew up my flower bed (although I did hit the deck) or why a man-with-a-gun-lockdown-re-enactment extravaganza left me slightly unfazed. I am just a tad jaded. Real life scares me enough–pretending doesn’t.

I will tell you, though, what did scare the bejeebers out of me that day.

Right before the touchy-feely session, my principal got on the mic and said in a very, very serious tone something about how I needed to remain after the meeting.

I almost broke into a cold sweat–almost–wondering what in the Sam Hill I had done.

“Apparently Carol said something about putting a wig on Tim, tossing him out in the hall and calling him ‘Mary,’” he said.

“Well,” I said, “I thought someone should take it for the team.”

Everyone laughed.

Perhaps there won’t be rush to join the Richie Hata’s Club after all.


Clix said...

According to the episode of Mythbusters we watched last night, y'all should've just gone and jumped into the pool!

Anonymous said...

Pretending frightened them? Wow. Ok.

Obviously I'm as jaded as you are.

Melissa B. said...

We had a lockdown simulation last year. I was in the Xerox room by the library. Those not in their classrooms were supposed to turn out the lights where they were and lock the door, if they could. I kept Xeroxing. A county cop came into the room and said, "I'm a bad guy. And you're dead." I liked the fact that the winner of the "Stella!" contest bellowed "FEMA!" Nice touch.

Unknown said...

You sound like the kind of person i want to be in a lockdown with. We'd be buds for sure. Thanks for the chuckle! (Simulations are LAME!)

Mr. McGuire said...

This sounds familiar. Lockdown practice last year--two doors, no locks. Hhhhmmmmm, maybe this wouldn't work too well in a real situation. And all I could think, "let me outta here." At least that part was realistic.

dancer_jo said...

We had a sim like this several years ago at my previous school (where I was newspaper adviser). The yearbook adviser and I hid in the darkroom. No one ever found us, but when an assistant principal came to give us the "all clear," she accidentally sent us down the wrong hall and straight into the mock crisis. Needless to say, we ended up hostages. I'm sure the principal was overjoyed and probably wished the SWAT team would have kept us!

HappyChyck said...

Simulations and reenactments? Geez. Those are extreme. We just pretend like there's some crisis until we have lockdowns that are REAL. There was only once that it was because there was an armed man running through the halls. The other times there are just armed men running around neighborhood.

Feeling the pain, though. We have an emergency evacuation drill next month. I'm a little worried because I keep losing kids in the monthly fire drills. Last year we had an emergency evacuation FOR REAL and everyone lived.

blah blah blah said...

I am the yearbook adviser in the previous comment. That darkroom was a great hiding place. Maybe I should hide out there during in-services! :-)

Lightly Seasoned said...

Please don't tell my building admin about this.