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Revenge of the Almost-Expired Milk

June 8, 2020

It looks so innocent but caused so much chaos. (image via wikimedia)

I promise I’m not going to describe anything gross in this part of the story.  Some authors would describe what happened because they get a kick out of shocking readers, but I’m not like that.  What the gross thing looked like and sounded like doesn’t matter in this story.  It’s what happened afterward that matters.

So let’s get the gross part out of the way.  The short version ( you can read about it here) is that in sixth grade I got into a milk-drinking contest at the end of lunch with a kid named Kevin.  He won, but after lunch he started feeling nauseous.  And of course, right before class started, Kevin had made a slow dramatic walk to the classroom door, but right before he got there, he… you know.

Since some readers have queasy stomachs, I’ll fast-forward a couple minutes (and finally get to the story joined-in-progress).  The teacher showed up right after it happened (lucky her!), and we filed out of class and sat in a line in the open lobby by the principal’s office.  Kevin went to the nurse.  I’m pretty sure it was a simple diagnosis.

Once we were out of the classroom, I felt like I could breathe again.  We watched as the cleaning crew (I don’t remember what they looked like or what they carried) entered the classroom. All I can remember is that we only talked about how Kevin had done something gross and disgusting.

“Ewww,” one kid (I think his name was Chris) yelled. “That was gross!  It looked like a flood of….”

“Aaaaaak!” another kid (I think his name was Ben) shrieked.  “That was disgusting.  It sounded like a bucket of….”

A bunch of boys and a couple girls were clamoring about how what had happened was gross and disgusting, and they were so loud that I couldn’t get a word in.  Even the girl who had screamed (in the previous episode) was excitedly describing how gross and disgusting everything had been.  It was a shared traumatizing experience that would be blamed on Kevin for the rest of the year.

We probably would have compared gross and disgusting observations all afternoon if our teacher hadn’t told us to shut up.

Back then, teachers told students to shut up all the time.  Nowadays, parents would complain that the teacher was being verbally abusive.  Now that I think about it, parents would also complain about the teacher leaving kids in the classroom unsupervised for so long (in the previous episode).  And parents would complain about lunch ladies passing out unlimited cartons of almost-expired milk (in the first episode).  I guess everybody used to get away with stuff back then.

As we sat in enforced, temporary silence, it occurred to me; Hey, I was the milk-drinking champion of the 6th grade!  I had to think about that for a second.  Yes, since Kevin had failed to digest all of the consumed milk, I was the 6th grade champion.  All I had to do was to NOT do what Kevin had done. And I felt fine!

Yes!  I was the champion!!  This was something to be excited about.  I couldn’t wait to rub that in Kevin’s face, especially after the way he had immediately taunted me after lunch.  I was going to say something to the class.  In an exhilarating moment of victory, I took a deep breath, and then…. and then…

Some kid gave me a note to go to the principal’s office.  That was a letdown.

I don’t remember our principal’s name, but I remember that she used a switch.  This was in the rural south in the mid-late 1970s.  Corporal punishment at school was expected.  School administrators were fired if they didn’t beat kids often enough (I’m not sure that rumor really was true).  Once or twice a week a student in the lobby would hear the CRACK coming from the office and then see a kid walking out holding his butt.  You never heard that CRACK on girls, though.

Our principal lady was old, but most of the ladies at school were old.  I was a little scared of her because I’d heard the CRACK and I’d never talked to her before.  All I remember is that I didn’t have to wait long.  As soon as I stepped into the main office, the clerk pointed me to the principal’s open door.  As soon as I stepped into the principal’s office, the principal told me to sit down.  As soon as I sat down, she started asking questions.

“Did you have a milk-drinking contest at lunch?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Did you drink multiple milks during lunch?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Did you throw away any unused milk?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Did you induce your friend to throw up in class?”

“Excuse me, ma’am?”

“Did you cause your friend to throw up in class?”

“No ma’am.”

The principal didn’t give me a speech.  She grunted, I think in disapproval, and handed me a slip.  I knew what it was, a detention pass for after school that day.  I’d seen enough of these.  They’d never been issued to me before, but I knew what they looked like.  I wanted to ask why I was being punished, but I was afraid to.  I just took the pass and read it.  The bottom said:

REASON-Being stupid.

I looked at the principal, and she said, “I expect that kind of behavior from Kevin.  I don’t expect it from you.”

I hadn’t known she was even aware of me.  I just left the office, and I never talked to her again.  At least she hadn’t used the switch on me, I thought.

The story is kind of anti-climactic, but so is most of life.  Yeah, Kevin and I drank a lot of almost-expired milk, but the milk won in the end.  Kevin had thrown up in class and was embarrassed about that for a long time.  I had to sit in detention for an hour after school and missed the King Kong vs. Godzilla after-school movie on television.

I mean, I got home that afternoon just as the battle between the two monsters was getting started, but I couldn’t watch it because my parents yelled at me for getting home late, and then they yelled at me for having gotten detention.  To be fair, they laughed when I told them what had happened.  Unfortunately, by the time I was back on their good side, the movie was over.  Remember, there was no way to record TV back then.  Now with the internet, I can watch those old monster-fight movies any time I want.

I found out later that Kevin hadn’t been sent to the principal’s office at all.  He had kept faking like he was sick with the nurse so he got to go home early.  I wouldn’t even be able to brag to him that I’d won the milk-drinking contest because there was a girl fight before school the next morning, so by the time class started, nobody cared about the previous day’s contest.  Back then, girl fights were unusual, so that’s all anybody talked about.  From what I understand, girl fights happen all the time today.

So whether this was a tale or a legend or just a simple story of revenge, the almost-expired milk Incident is one of my few sixth grade memories that stand out.  I learned from this to not get goaded into acting out somebody else’s stupid idea.  I learned that you can get into more trouble than people who have committed worse deeds than you.  But most importantly, I learned that if you’re going to drink almost-expired milk, don’t drink too much because it will get its revenge, one way or another.


From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. You were robbed! And the switch? Ooh, that’s brutal.

    • I’m wondering if the almost-expired milk caused the girl fight too. It sounds far-fetched, but that almost-expired milk was clever, maybe even devious.

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