THE TWELVE DAYS OF FESTIVUS
Day Eight: Grade Seven
Grade seven was a somewhat fun year. There was a neat-o eclipse that happened and despite being warned several times, Betsy looked directly at it. Betsy said she was seeing spots, and the science teacher told her that she was lucky to see at all. Mr. Sweatingham. Yes, that was really his name. What kind of a teacher comes to the table with a name like Sweatingham? How are students supposed to come up with clever nicknames when the real name is worse than anything we could conjure?
Mr. Sweatingham was a thin dude with a crooked smile, squinty eyes, and neatly groomed "Steven Harper to the side part" hair. He always wore sweater vests for some reason, and most students dreaded getting too close to Sweatingham for fear of his rancid coffee breath. Mr. Sweatingham wasn't a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination. But his name was Sweatingham, so we had to dislike him. He also pronounced "film" as "fillum," and his voice occasionally squeaked when he talked.
One week during my seventh year at school, the school was "taken over" by some sort of arts group. The philosophy of this group was to make learning fun, I suppose. The educational value of this week of arts provided was debatable, but it made for a fun and slack week, so I didn't complain. Instead of math, language arts, and science, we had classes about calligraphy, painting, and dance. There was even a course on how to sew plush toys and puppets.
This class was my favourite of the week. The goal was to make some sort of plush creation as a gift to friends or family. But a few of us rebels decided to do something a bit more...entertaining, instead. Travis came up with the brilliant idea of making voodoo dolls of people we knew. I took it a step further and said we should make them of our teachers. Travis chose Mr. Hatt, a miserable, balding, four-eyed ginger with a chip on his shoulder and a penchant for yelling. However, Hatt never really rubbed me the wrong way. I instead chose Mr. Hilton, our super-spazz industrial arts teacher (and man did that guy flip out a lot) and good ol' Mr. Sweatingham.
My Sweatingham voodoo doll was by far the best. He was made out of a pair of pantyhose, stuffing, and some tweed-like material for his pants. All quite accurate. I didn't give him a shirt, because there was no argyle material available. I drew it on instead. With button eyes and a safety pin nose, my voodoo Sweatingham was a work of art. We wasted no time once our creations were completed. Using sewing needles of varying sizes, we poked and prodded the dolls. I have no idea if it worked at all, but we weren't feeling we had done enough.
At the end of class, I decided to show Mr. Sweatingham my creation (leaving out the fact that it was a voodoo doll and that I had tortured it a mere minutes before). Mr. Sweatingham laughed and seemed to be almost flattered that I made it. Unfortunately, he had no idea what was going to happen to it...
Later in that day, during gym class, the arts group changed gym to some sort of nature walk. We had to walk the 2km run route and draw things that we saw around us. The voodoo gang took no part in the drawing. We had better plans. We took out our voodoo dolls and began to boot them up into the air. Sweatingham took a nasty beating when I smashed the doll into a tree trunk, causing it to rip a bit when it got caught on a piece of bark. Fortunately we brought spare needle and thread, so a quick operation and Sweatingham Jr. was good to go.
As we walked, we ended up travelling parallel to East Lake Blvd in Airdrie. The fun could now really begin. Without really thinking, I launched Sweatingham Jr. out into the road. I waited for cars to pass by. Sadly, cars avoided the doll, likely because they feared it was filled with nails or bombs or whores. But after a short while, we struck a jackpot! A car drove over Sweatingham Jr. and Sweatingham Jr. tussled and danced under the vehicle before being spat out the back. It was awesome! But the best was yet to come!
A few moments later, a big cube truck came barreling around the corner. Mr. Sweatingham Jr. didn't stand a chance. The voodoo doll got run down by the front wheel and then bounced due to the draft under the vehicle. Then, somehow, the doll got hung up on something under the truck. I could see Mr. Sweatingham Jr. jiggling beneath the chassis of the truck, being beat against the back tire repeatedly. Tears came to my eyes from all the laughter. Travis chucked Mr. Hatt Jr. into the street as well for some nasty hit-and-run action. Thinking Mr. Sweatingham Jr. was gone, I continued walking back toward the school.
As I approached the intersection at which I had to turn to get back to school, I looked on to the road. A twisted lump of nylons and exposed stuffing lay still in the middle of the road. Mr. Sweatingham Jr. had escaped his terrible fate! I retrieved the doll from the road and carried it back to school. It was in such bad shape, nearly in two! It was going to take more than a little thread to fix him now. I got back to the school and began heading back to the room in which all the materials were located so I could fix Sweatingham Jr. Unfortunately, while I walked down the hall, Mr. Sweatingham exited the staff room and saw the doll in my hand.
"What happened to it?" he asked, his mouth moving to a crooked smile and expelling the epic coffee break.
"We had a little accident with a truck. We have to get to ER, stat!" I jokingly said. Mr. Sweatingham's smile faded and he looked downright pissed. He stopped me and asked me again what happened. I bent the truth and said that a fellow student threw the doll into the road and it was run over and now I wanted to fix it. Mr. Sweatingham didn't believe me, I'm sure. He gave me a dirty look and said that we should "have a talk about respect soon." I continued on my way to fix the doll.
Sadly, the doll was beyond repair. The pantyhose were all ripped and raggedy, and where it wasn't torn it still had runs through it. It was truly a lesson of the dangers of walking (or being tossed) into a street without looking. Anyway, the head was still good, so I snipped it off, sewed it up, and attached it to my backpack with a key ring. For no reason other than to piss Mr. Sweatingham off.
Mr. Sweatingham never mentioned the doll again, nor did he engage me in a "respect" talk. But I'm sure he saw his doll's head dangling from my backpack for the remainder of that week. At some point before the end of the week, someone stole the voodoo doll head from my pack. I have no idea who it was, but I have a suspicion it was Mr. Sweatingham. Double-entendre "head" jokes aside, I'm sure he just wanted it to be destroyed.
Little did Mr. Sweatingham know...I had made a spare. :)
See you tomorrow for Day Nine!