BROSSART WIT & WISDOM
LIES ... EXTORTION ... COERCION ... THEFT ... VIOLENCE ... HARASSMENT ... CORRUPTION ...
YOU'LL FIND IT ALL AT BISHOP BROSSART HIGH SCHOOL!
YOU'LL FIND IT ALL AT BISHOP BROSSART HIGH SCHOOL!
There are few things I despise as passionately as Bishop Brossart High School in Alexandria, KY, as few things have provided more reasons to be detested, especially after 20 years. The tiny Catholic high school is known to be a major life destroyer. Not everything that goes wrong in the world can be blamed on Brossart, but a surprisingly large amount of it can be. In my adult life, I suffered financially, in part because of Bro$$art's naked extortion, but more because the school left me so ill-prepared for a decent occupation. The Home of the Mustangs is by far the biggest contributing factor to the world of hurt I lived in as an adult. I can't tell you how much it hurt me.
And you know what? The school doesn't give a damn!
I was inducted into Brossart as a freshman in 1987 and was expelled from this miserable excuse for a school as a sophomore on April 20, 1990, because some hoodlum vandalized my art sketchbook with ink. The principal accused me of "conspiring" with a teacher to investigate the damage by comparing the vandal's handwriting with that on schoolwork by possible culprits. (Holding victims accountable rather than perpetrators is a timeworn Republican tradition.)
Not only did Brossart fail to provide a decent education. It also extorted hundreds of dollars from me, accusing me of losing or ruining textbooks I didn't have to begin with or not selling any raffle tickets for them. And one cannot put a price tag on the emotional distress Brossart has inflicted since I first attended school there. Bishop Brossart High School is a bullying mill: Bullies were allowed to run wild, and the school administration encouraged it. This is a fact. I've seen it happen at a couple other schools, but Brossart was by far the worst, hands down.
I also firmly believe Bishop Brossart High School is a criminal enterprise - a right-wing cult, in fact. It's as simple as that. The fact that the school aided and abetted an illicit relationship by allowing an adult man to come to the school to pick up his under-aged girlfriend who attended school there doesn't help matters.
I'm not the only dissenter from the Brossart-imposed order. Fortunately, I have found friends over the years - some of whom attended Brossart themselves and are witness to the cult's lies and controlling ways - who have been 100% sympathetic to my battle against Brossart. I'm recovering slowly from Brossart's abuse, so I don't know if Brossart has won in the long run. We still have a long way to go to keep them from ruining more lives for as long as they ruined mine.
The more one thinks about Brossart, the more bizarre Brossart seems.
I began to take action against Bro$$art in 1993. I founded The Last Word - an underground left-wing newspaper I still operate from my home office - to combat the evils of the Far Right. Brossart was lampooned in every issue in the mid-'90s in a column titled "Brossart Wit & Wisdom." Each installment summarizes an uncanny quote or violent outburst at this embattled pseudo-educational institution.
If you weren't on the receiving end of Brossart's criminal activity for 3 years, it is difficult to appreciate what a horrible, rotten, nasty place it was. Brossart - which had a spotless reputation before 1987 - has become the most violent school in Northern Kentucky. In fact, I have never even heard of any other school that is so plagued with misery. Brossart has shown no sign of improving since my expulsion, thus accounting for its spectacular drop in enrollment in the years that immediately followed my imprisonment there (a fact that Brossart's defenders vehemently deny, even in the face of evidence that shows they're wrong). Parents pulled their kids out of Brossart like mad in the '90s. Apparently it recovered, but it's bound to drop again now that Brossart has become the first school in the nation to have surveillance cameras that transmit directly to police cars.
The alternative of course is Campbell County High - the local public school. The public school system of Campbell County is often agreed to be among the nation's very worst and most scandal-ridden, yet even Campbell County High is much safer and much less preoccupied with money than Brossart is.
"Share The Vision", a self-congratulatory booklet published by Brossart in the late '80s, reveals that the school even sold life insurance to fund one of its many building projects that acted as expensive gimmicks to boost the school's community standing. (By the way, I am visible in the background of one of the photos in "Share The Vision.")
There have been over 60 "Brossart Wit & Wisdom" columns in The Last Word in 15 years. Installments of "Wit & Wisdom" have discussed the time a certain faculty member set the toilet paper on fire and blamed me for it; a field trip in which pupils spit on a sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum; and other hilarious legends. In 1999 I was informed that Brossart was making SLAPP lawsuit threats against people who ran web pages that linked to my page. It is unclear what the basis of Brossart's claim would be - certainly not libel, because every word printed here is the truth. I have actually been hoping that they sue me, because any judge in their right mind would laugh Brossart out of the courtroom - and fine them for filing a frivolous suit. If my ISP told me to modify an offending section of this page because of legal threats, I would comply - but in the many years I've had this page, they've never found cause to force me to change it.
One now-outdated characteristic of The Last Word's treatment of "Brossart Wit & Wisdom" was its anonymity. Originally, if a column dealt with an event that I was directly involved in, I would refer to myself in the third person. This was to give readers the impression that I was telling the story as a reporter would, adding an element of seriousness to these quasi-comical accounts.
And for memories spanning my entire 18½-year career as a student - kindergarten to college - check out Tim Brown's School Days.
This page is a treasury of "Brossart Wit & Wisdom" vignettes, including #1 through #60. I know there's been at least one more in later years, but I haven't have had time to upload them lately. Destroy! I mean, enjoy!
#1 - THE PLOP LECTURE
The Plop Lecture is perhaps the key event of my school career, at least where Brossart is involved. It was Friday, November 18, 1988, that these immortal words were irrevocably etched in my mind: "You guys have caused me so much grief! It's like a 2-year-old: Plop, there it goes, it's gone!"
Those were the words of the unhappy principal when somebody tossed his brand-new Star Trek walkie-talkie and other household items into the toilets. He had it coming, however, for using the Walk-a-Thon as an excuse to spend a whole day showing off the walkie-talkie when he should have been protecting the well-being of the students instead.
In The Plop Lecture, the principal also exclaimed, "This is a high school! Not a nursery school or a school for the mentally incapacitated!"
Exactly! I don't know of any nursery school where kids stab each other in the hallways. But at most high schools, students don't fish pre-chewed wads of gum out of trash cans and chew them again like they did at Brossart.
(Oh yes, he also said, "That's a fucking load of bullshit!")
#2 - A HEAP OF TROUBLE
"Hey! Next person who throws their lock's gonna be in a heap of trouble! This stuff's gettin' old!"
The janitor was referring to a metal lock that a student removed from a locker and hurled down a hallway during a riot. Violence was an inevitable part of Brossart life. The school has certainly suffered hundreds of dollars worth of property damage caused by riots.
#3 - BRUSHES IN THE SINK
Thursday, March 1, 1990. The janitor had to replace the pipes underneath the sink in the art room because of numerous objects that had been stuffed down the drain: paintbrushes, bottle caps, and wax used for art projects.
The art teacher repeatedly shoved a cup of wax-logged paintbrushes in students' faces and asked, "Put any brushes down the sink lately?" He went on to say, "It's a shame, but it's not nearly as much of a shame that the brushes got ruined than that I can't treat high school students like adults."
Perhaps the destruction that dogged Brossart so often back then should be viewed as payback for the school's shady financial practices. Brossart is a proprietary institution, trying to turn a profit with every student. According to one of the ketchup-stained student handbooks in my collection, folks were fined 50 cents if caught with an uncovered textbook. The penalty was $1 for chewing gum, and also $1 to replace a lost demerit slip that cost the school a fraction of a cent. Book fees sometimes ran in double digits.
Instead of using "Charity First" as its motto, Brossart should have used "Money First." Or "Education Last."
#4 - REALLY INTO IT
Wednesday, February 21, 1990: "Those boys are so obsessed with masturbation. They're really into it."
The sophomore English teacher said this when a member of her class screamed the word "boist" in the school library.
"Baste", "boist", and "bastage" were just beginning to become popular locally as code words for masturbation (as in sentences such as, "Dudley got caught basting in the bathroom today.") The New Language - as the principal derisively called it - also brang many other touchy topics into the open.
The school probably still uses textbooks in which these euphemisms have been scrawled (that they're too miserly to replace).
#5 - ...THINKING OF YOU
Tuesday, October 4, 1988: "All these dicks and weenie-tips. You are young men now and you should use the word 'penis' instead."
The principal uttered these wise words when he called several male students to the office after a priest caught them passing notes in prayer 'n' sacraments class. The notes contained humorous rhymes, including one alleging that a local car dealer "has a teeny weenie."
#6 - A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING
Perhaps Brossart was the actual cause of the depletion of the ozone layer. Passing gas loudly and fluently seemed to be the number one pastime there.
For example, a quiet church history class was disrupted one day by students passing gas repeatedly. Snickers reverberated throughout the classroom each time.
The priest who taught the course finally became fed up and said, "The strange noises we are hearing in this class can be attributed to a lack of understanding about the anatomy."
Maturity at work, folks.
#7 - BEATING WITH A STICK
Late in 1989, the biology teacher threatened to give 5 demerits to a student who spoke without raising his hand: "If I wanted you to talk, I would have beat you with a stick. The stick would be in the form of a little yellow paper bearing the number 5, meaning intent to disrupt class."
Five demerits in a grading period was an automatic detention. Ten demerits meant two more detentions. An accumulation of 15 demerits would result in an in-school suspension.
So all you needed to do to get suspended was chew gum 15 times or defy the draconian dress code 8 times.
#8 - A PIECE OF TOILET PAPER
"Do I have to follow you around like a piece of toilet paper?!" bellowed a teacher on Tuesday, October 18, 1988.
Why didn't he just follow the toilet paper itself? Then maybe another certain faculty member would never have set it on fire.
The lecture continued: "I don't buy this little act!"
But there are some acts that you can buy at Brossart, such as the act of not being punished after slamming someone's head against a school bus window. Or the act of receiving an A for sleeping in class while those who don't have the money to pay off the school flunk.
How's that for bribery?
By the way, many folks have expressed disbelief that a school staff member would set toilet paper on fire. Though it seems far-fetched, since it doesn't fit the stereotype of a reasonable, dignified educator, there is no doubt in my mind that the individual in question did in fact set the toilet paper ablaze one day in 1990 - since he was the only person around when both fires occurred! However, according to an e-mail from a Brossart alumnus, who asked that I not use their name, this individual "setting the TP on fire doesn't surprise me."
#9 - THROW YOUR OWN HOUSE
On Tuesday, May 24, 1988, there was the usual gang-style battle at the beginning of history class, in which students toppled desks and attacked each other. But there was an exciting twist: A student grabbed the stapler off the teacher's desk and hurled it across the room. It crashed to the floor, and dangerous staples flew everywhere.
When the teacher showed up, he muttered, "Hey hey," and trudged the wreckage as if nothing had happened.
But when he heard how his stapler had been destroyed, he told the offending student, "If you want to throw something, why don't you throw your own house!"
Days later, when the school year finally drew to a slobbering close, guess who was presented with a bill for the stapler despite the fact that he had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with its destruction?
That's $16.95 down the johnnypot.
#10 - A NEW EXPERIENCE
During my second year as a sophomore - the extra year was a result of the school's arrogant dissatisfaction with my hard work - the prayer 'n' sacraments priest flew into a rage when a student ridiculed a prayer on a quiz.
"You just proved that you're a total asshole!" the priest exclaimed. He went on to say, "Why don't you study? It would be a new experience!"
#11 - KENTUCKY UNESSENTIAL SKILLS TEST
On Wednesday, May 4, 1988, several humorous incidents transpired at Bishop Brossart High School.
While making the morning announcements over the PA system, the principal shouted, "I ask everyone in the senior and junior building to SHUT UP!" Somebody sure got up on the wrong side of the bed!
A few minutes later, he threw another tantrum in his office. While he was collecting demerit slips, a student burst into laughter at the callow buffoonery that was being displayed. The principal screamed, "If I see you laugh at me again, I'm gonna knock your damn head in!"
Most of the school day was wasted on the Kentucky Essential Skills Test. Every young person in the Greengrass State was subjected to this intestine-emptying multiple-choice exam year after year after year after year. Brossart was not exempt from the statewide custom of running the event into the ground like it was important or something.
During the course of the day, somebody passed gas loudly while taking the test. A group of male students in the rear of the classroom took the blame. "Come on, boys, that bathroom humor is just for little kids," the freshman homeroom teacher calmly said.
The Kentucky Essential Skills Test was also plagued by widespread cheating, exemplified by the way the answers seemed to whisper their way around the classroom. Yet almost everybody who took the test scored in the bottom 20 percentile. Was the state education department stacking the deck with false answer sheets to make it look like Kentucky's high school students weren't up to par?
#12 - WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING TOO MUCH
Wednesday, October 12, 1988: "I knew I was expecting too much when I asked you to sit down and act normal."
Such were the high expectations expressed by the art teacher for art and music appreciation class. For many Brossart students, acting normal was a tall order indeed. Chaos pervaded almost every classroom.
#13 - AND MAKE SURE YOU'RE DOING THE RIGHT KIND OF WORK WITH YOUR HANDS!
"Or maybe you can go to vocational school, where you can do some work with your hands."
This quote spouted from Brossart's old guidance counselor, Sister Mary Starcade (so named because of her resemblance to the man who hosted the game show Starcade).
Sister Mary Starcade also used this monologue to warn me that I was unfit for college. But the fact that I was expelled proved otherwise, as Brossart is one of these rare schools where students who are expelled are more likely to go on to college than those who graduate.
Starcade was also known for her refusal to punish preps and neo-Nazis who made noises and threw debris in class.
#14 - THE MOUTH THAT MOVED
Phil Collins's hit song "Another Day In Paradise" was all the rage back in 1990, as it regaled the masses with the plight of the homeless.
On the morning of Tuesday, January 16, 1990, the principal tried to make it appear as if he was doing something to help the homeless by playing this record - in its entirety - over the PA system. He introduced the "special song" as if nobody had ever heard it before (even though WLAP-FM, the now-defunct rock 'n' roll powerhouse that all the cool people listened to back then, had been playing it for 3 months).
Of course, if Brossart really wanted to do something to make the world a better place, it would shut down and donate all its assets to charities for the homeless, but that's beside the point.
As the tune began, my homeroom teacher exclaimed, "Next mouth that moves gets 5 demerits!"
Sure enough, a student made an unusual mouth movement and was presented with a yellow slip of paper with the connotation of disciplinary action.
While examining the demerit slip later, the youngster said, "My mouth moved, man!"
#15 - THE SHIT STOPPAGE
"Then stop this shit!"
This harangue on Wednesday, May 25, 1988, was the work of the principal. It occurred in the lunchroom in full view of half the student body.
Did the shit stop? Of course not!
#16 - FART MUSEUM
In the fall of 1989, art students at Brossart took a series of field trips to the Cincinnati Art Museum.
In preparation for the outings, the art teacher advised the students not to chew bubble gum inside the museum. When one of them protested, the instructor replied, "You can chew it in the car on the way over as long as it doesn't fall out, 'cause that's what happened to my brother's car and now the seats are ruined and he had to pay lots of money to get it cleaned up. But when we get there, you're gonna have to go cold turkey." The class broke into laughter.
The teacher also declared that the museum was featuring a temporary display containing photographs of toilets.
The art museum trips were characterized by the teacher explaining each piece in relation to real-life experiences. For example, he once said, "This painting's about how you lose things and never see 'em again. I used to have a really nice pair of scissors - they were good scissors! - and I had 'em for years and years. But then I lost 'em and haven't seen 'em ever since." (Unbeknownst to him, the scissors were carried away by vandals and joined the principal's walkie-talkie in the commode's cool depths.)
Art museum mischief by Brossart students included: spitting on a sculpture; setting off an alarm by propping a sheet of paper against a painting and writing on it; yelling "boist!" into the restrooms; disobeying the gum dictum and tossing the wrappers onto the floor; and (surprise, surprise) passing gas repeatedly.
As a result, the art teacher refused to take the students to view the toilet exhibit (although it would have been quite suitable).
At the end of one of the field trips, the instructor whimpered, "You guys didn't cooperate worth a damn!" He conducted no more field trips for the rest of the school year.
#17 - MORE FLATULENT FUN
"Brossart Wit & Wisdom" has dealt extensively with a small gang of harassing, overprivileged sociopaths who attended Brossart. These young thugs influenced other students to copy their warped conduct, but they have been allowed to get away with all categories of crime because the local political machine favors them. Some of them even bribed county officials so they could get their driver's license before turning 16.
One such vicious gangster was in almost all of my classes and constantly disrupted class by throwing books, spitting, and passing gas.
One day in study skills class, a student raised her hand, pointed at the odd young man, and said, "He's back here fartin' or whatever."
The teacher gave the whole class a lecture about gross bodily noises. "I've never had to discuss this in the 5 years I've been teaching here," she remarked.
The priest who taught church history must have really meant it when he said, "The attitude really stinks in here."
#18 - BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS - TOGETHER AT LAST!
November 11, 1988: "Whoever's putting books and newspapers in the toilets better stop. We had a flood on Monday."
Around this time, this same teacher also admonished students to "don't touch" books in the toilet.
Like anybody's going to touch something that's soaked in urine?
#19 - ASH WEDNESDAY GETS REDUCED TO ASHES
A riot broke out during the Ash Wednesday mass on February 28, 1990. Two members of the senior class got into a fight over a seat and yelled profanities at each other (right in front of the bishop). The principal became angry and ordered the two students to "get the hell out!"
Most people ignored the incident and continued with their usual routine. In typing class, a student asked the teacher if we were allowed to chew gum. The reply: "Nooooo! No ABC gum either." ("ABC" stands for "already been chewed." Get it? Get it? Get it? Get it?)
And later, the biology teacher warned that some students were doomed to fail the whole course and implied that a big red F had already been inscribed on their final report cards. He said, "For some people, it doesn't matter. The coffin is already on its way and your butt's gonna be inside!"
#20 - THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
Sister Mary Donkeyface's English class often included a vocabulary quiz (which most people failed). After one test, I had to ask her to repeat question 5 because I missed it the first time. "Would you repeat number 5?" I said.
Donkeyface replied, "Number 5: 5-5-5. You got your favorite number mentioned, so are you satisfied?"
Quite frankly, no.
#21 - QUASI-HUMAN STUDENTS
"Can't you act quasi-human for a change?" the priest who taught prayer 'n' sacraments class angrily asked when a student sneezed in my direction without covering his mouth.
But it is a relevant question: Can they act quasi-human? Or even quasi-animal?
Inquiring minds want to know.
#22 - STRAWBERRY! RASPBERRY! LIBRARY!
On Tuesday, April 26, 1988, the principal threw one of his legendary conniption fits because I set my books in the middle of the floor at lunch instead of off to the side. "Let's move your library over here!" he exclaimed. His exaggerated use of the term "library" was reminiscent of the Fruit Roll-Ups commersh where a man drove around a village in a truck yelling, "Strawberry!" and, "Raspberry!" at folks.
#23 - WHAT IS STRESS?
In biology class one day, a guy who lived next to the school was outside mowing his lawn. The sound of the lawn mower pierced the classroom.
When the lawn mower stopped, the teacher said - loudly enough for the next-door neighbor to hear him - "Stress is the burning desire to beat the living crap out of some asshole who runs their lawn mower near the school building."
#24 - LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Brossart's version of sex ed is little more than political propaganda, unsubstantiated gossip, and capricious lies. The school's attitude towards sex can be summed up in one word: NO!
Parts of the course were not dishonest, but they were too vague to be useful. For example, the priest who taught sex ed - why do they have a priest teaching this anyway? - said, "Think twice before you have sex, people. Look before you leap!" He did not elaborate.
During the unit on sexually transmitted diseases, he mentioned gonorrhea.
Some wise guy in the front row crowed, "If you get gonorrhea, you're a goner!"
The priest merely said, "That's right. If you get gonorrhea, you're a goner. Believe me, if you get gonorrhea, you're a goner!"
Brossart's reputation is a goner too.
#25 - CAN WE BRING HORSES TO SCHOOL?
Friday, February 2, 1990: "You don't bring dogs to school, you don't bring cats to school, so why should you be allowed to bring worms to school?"
My homeroom teacher said this when somebody tried to put a live earthworm on a doorknob. (If it was a drug-sniffing worm, it might have been permitted, since schools are so enthusiastic about drug-sniffing dogs.)
#26 - ...MELTS ON YOUR PAPER, NOT IN YOUR HAND!
Thursday, August 25, 1988: "Write on your paper, not on your hand!"
This command was a result of the "5 out of 5" craze, in which folks scrawled the numeral 5 on the back of their hands with ink.
#27 - ONE BITE OF POPSICLE
At lunchtime, the principal and the janitor always amassed in the middle of the cafeteria. The principal would quaff bowl after bowl of soup (with his tie dangling into the bowl), and he only stopped if there was a good fight he wanted to watch. The janitor would stand there and scrape leftovers into a giant bucket. The pair would carry on a conversation about how mischievous the young whippersnappers who peopled the student body were getting. It was actually more of a monologue than a conversation, because the principal was so busy shoveling foodstuffs into his gaping maw that he only contributed a word or two.
One time, for example, the janitor complained about the violence that had become so pervasive at the school. "They throw books and locks at each other," he said.
"Lox?" the principal asked.
One other time, the janitor became upset over students wasting popsicles that were served as dessert: "They just take one bite and then they throw it on the floor!"
Although he had a legitimate gripe, the headmaster ignored him. But the image conjured by the above quote was so comical that the event has not been forgotten.
#28 - HUMPIN' AROUND
May 10, 1988, was an eventful day for teacher's quote watchers.
In study skills class - the class where somebody asked a guest speaker from the Library of Congress if members of Congress enjoyed reading the Sesame Street books in their library - we visited the school library. Since nobody knew how to behave, the teacher warned, "How about humpin' along back here and doin' your research?"
In science class, somebody muttered, "Shit happens," for no apparent reason. The nun who teached the course replied, "Ships don't just happen. They don't appear out of midair," and proceeded with a speech on how ships are built.
During English class - by which time discipline had sunken further yet - Sister Mary Donkeyface said, "My patience is thin. That's childish and it's babyish so if it continues you'll see me later." It continued, but nobody saw her later.
#29 - A TOTAL WASTE
On March 8, 1990, the art teacher harangued me about my green plastic folder that I had decorated with Liquid Paper. He began, "You're a total waste." He then accused me of defacing a table in the art room a year earlier: "You're not allowed workin' on this next project because last year you carved up my table and ruined it, and today you came in here with papers fallin' out of your folder with garbage like that written on 'em. I thought you had changed, but the stuff you're doin' just proves you're immature. Sometimes I just feel like sayin', 'Fuck this,' or, 'The hell with it,' because you haven't proved you've learnt anything in here. Just can't do it!"
I laughed at the instructor's frivolous speech, but one of my buddies asked me, "How can you laugh at that?"
Displays like these were the reason art was my favorite class.
#30 - SITTING THERE AND BULLCRAPPING
August 23, 1988, was the first day of the school year. Already, the prayer 'n' sacraments priest was in a sour mood. He gave a clear warning of the level of difficulty that characterized the course: "In other words, you just can't sit there and bullcrap." So for the next 9 months, nobody sat there and bullcrapped.
Two days later, he dashed our free time to smithereens as well by assigning the first of about 8 reports based on religious magazine articles that year. Producing a 2,000-word report using one small article as a source was pushing the limits of the possible, so I didn't do most of the reports I was assigned. In any event, the instructor snarled, "You just can't bullcrap for 2,000 words." So most students wrote about 100 words of what they were supposed to write and bullcrapped for only 1,900 words.
We actually had to repeat the whole year if we failed religion class. I'm glad I was expelled before I had to take this boring class for a 3rd time.
#31 - ABC GUM AND FAILED TESTS
Monday, May 9, 1988, was pregnant with teachers' quotes. The show began around 8 in the morning, before class had even begun, when the sophomores invited themselves into the freshman homerooms to cause trouble.
And those sophomores were a strange bunch! (During the 1988 mock presidential election, when they were juniors, George Bush carried the class 39 to 4, a wider ratio than any county in the entire U.S.) They brang bubble gum into the classroom, which would have been unremarkable except that this gum was ABC gum. You see, it was common at Bro$$art for people to pry old wads of gum off bottoms of chairs or dig freshly chewed gum out of garbage cans so they could chew it themselves. These slobs would chew the same wad day after day, week after week, month after month, and when they weren't using it, they stuck it in their folder, locker, or backpack for safekeeping. It was a revolting habit!
Anyway, on this particular occasion, one of the sophomores was carrying an enormous wad of ABC gum - it was light brown and about the size of a golf ball - in his folder. He kept showing it around the class as if it was a baby picture in a photo album, and he made it perfectly clear that he intended to chew it further. The teacher told him, "Throw that in the wastepaper basket." He did as directed, but when the teacher wasn't looking, he extracted the chewing gum from the trash can and crammed it inside his gaping mouth.
Later, in science class, it was revealed that some students skipped class on the day of the test in an attempt to avoid taking the test altogether. But the teacher didn't fall for it. She warned, "You'll get a zero on a test, that's bad, believe me. If you miss a test, you have to make it up."
But standard issue misbehavior was also widespread. When 2 students in the front of the classroom kept dropping pieces of paper on the floor and laughing about it, the science teacher said, "I'm gonna give you a demerit if you don't stop acting like you're acting. It's damn right silly."
#32 - MONEY!
Bishop Brossart High School likes money. Students were expected to bring large sums of cash to school to represent raffle tickets that they may or may not have sold. (Raffle tickets were a mainstay in Brossart's fund-raising scams.) Whether they succeeded in selling any tickets or not, the school expected money, money, money from each and every pupil.
One day, my homeroom teacher was launching one of his legendary harangues. "I need that money now," he told the class in a loud tone of voice. "Pass that cash forward. Money!"
I yodeled, "Money!" in the manner in which it was sung in the famous Pink Floyd song.
The teacher suddenly seethed with rage! "You, you, you, you asshole!" he exclaimed, shaking his finger at me and foaming at the mouth.
#33 - WHOSE RADIO IS IT?
During the late '80s heyday of Power 94½ (called WLAP-FM by those of us in the know), students brang radios to school and started headbangin' right in the middle of class. Day after day, the sounds of Van Halen, Guns 'n' Roses, and Bobby McFerrin wafted through the classrooms at volume levels imperceptible to the whoever might be teaching the course. Every class was 55 Minutes of Pure Power - 55 Minutes of Non-Stop Hits on Power 94½.
But in study hall one day, the music chirped ever louder until it could be detected at the teacher's desk. The class giggled as the teacher asked, "What's that sound?"
A student excitedly proclaimed, "I have a radio!"
The teacher replied, "I'm gonna have a radio if you don't put it away."
The student shut the music off, and the instructor was deprived of a shiny new radio.
#34 - TWO RIOTS IN ONE EVENING
"Brossart Wit & Wisdom" usually deals with direct quotes from teachers at Bishop Brossart High School. But once in a while, something happens at Bishop Brossart High that is too shocking for words.
Friday, February 16, 1990, was the night of the annual basketball homecoming. Brossart lost the basketball game by one point, making some students so mad that they started a riot in the bleachers and threw chairs, newspapers, and food onto the court. Hundreds of dollars worth of damage was done, and it is reported that fans of the opposing team were physically attacked. The police had to be called to quell the unsportsmanlike stampede. The entire disturbance was broadcast live on a local radio station.
At the dance that followed the basketball game, another riot was launched because of the poor selection of music played by the DJ who was hired for the dance. Students ripped up banners that had taken hours to make and smashed electric light fixtures.
The homecoming festivities were the butt of jokes for months afterward. Bullying and vandalism had already tarnished Brossart's once-pristine reputation; the homecoming riots completely destroyed it.
#35 - THE EMOTIONAL CRIPPLE
All diehard Last Word readers know that Bishop Brossart High School was and is a stinkhole of violent and erratic behavior. This is at least true of 1987-90, when students and faculty alike made fools of themselves daily. Good students and teachers were shocked at the activities of these buffoons.
Mobs of young scofflaws frequently shouted and made noises during class, disrupting others' studies. The school's best students were slandered and abused by their peers, and the principal was too out of touch to stop them.
The posh suburbs along the "highway to hell" - US 27 in Campbell County - throbbed with cliquish gamesmanship and general nastiness day and night. Everybody took sides, and the two factions squabbled with each other through unwelcome phone calls and dirty tricks (though only one side is ultimately to blame for these outbreaks).
Decay and scandal soiled the dominion of top Brossart officials until the school's credibility was in shreds.
One day when I was a freshman, the principal substituted for a teacher who was absent. His presence failed to calm a class full of desk-throwing, pants-peeing teenagers. So - even though I was completely innocent - he took me into the hallway for a harangue.
"You are an emotional cripple," the principal told me.
He continued, "You are an emotional cripple."
The principal further warned, "You are an emotional cripple," as if the point wasn't already as clear as the urine that so often coated the restroom floor.
The headmaster's towering physique was so ill-matched with this small-minded, cowardly drivel that I had to fidget profusely to avoid bursting into laughter.
#36 - THE RUINED RULER
Art class was the highlight of a Brossart career for any student who had the gumption to sign up for it. Mischief was the rule in art class: People often poured glue in shelf drawers, shoved paintbrushes down the drain in the sink, and other high humor.
Since "ruin" is such a funny word (much like "mayhem" and "tirade"), art class reached a new summit each time the teacher uttered it. Folks hee-hawed uncontrollably whenever the instructor spoke the magic word. They even fomented mischief just so he'd have a reason to say it.
Somebody once scrawled "Mr. Hooper" in ballpoint pen on a pencil drawing of an old man that a student in another class had left in the art room (although the man in the drawing bore little resemblance to the neighborly "Sesame Street" storekeeper). The teacher interrupted a talk on an entirely unrelated topic just to point out that "somebody's artwork got ruined over there", and he never mentioned the vandalism again.
The teacher also owned 2-foot metal ruler. It remained as good as new for years. But one day, a student discovered that it was hopelessly bent in the middle, as if somebody had tried to break it. He mentioned it to the teacher, and the teacher replied, "I guess it's 'cause we can't have too many nice things for too long without people ruinin' 'em."
Despite these naughty deeds, art class was viewed by students as an escape from the impersonal, authoritarian, hostile atmosphere that otherwise defined the school. Better a ruined ruler than a ruined life.
#37 - THE CANDY CANE
On Thursday, March 15, 1990 - 3 months after candy canes had gone out of season - a candy cane was allegedly plopped (i.e., it was put in the toilet). Somebody alerted a teacher to this event - which was the second to the last plopping before the celebrated toilet paper fires that forced the closure of all men's restrooms - and he cheerfully replied, "There's a what in the toilet? A candy cane? A Christmas candy cane? I'm crushed!"
In an unrelated incident that afternoon, I was attacked by another student and thrown out a 2nd-floor window, landing dangerously close to a concrete sidewalk. The principal originally charged that the fall was staged as a frame-up but later admitted that the assailants were involved in businesses that did work for the school and therefore were above punishment. The biology teacher guffawed sonorously when he learned about this life-threatening situation.
(In case you're wondering, the final plopping took place 5 days later when a student - not me - plopped a milk carton. The principal caught him red-handed, but a pupil who had no involvement whatsoever - also not me - was reportedly expelled.)
#38 - LIBRARY LAWLESSNESS
The school library was ruled by an antique nun who watched TV all day. If people got too noisy during The Price Is Right, she would always say, "Please be quiet. There are game shows to be watched." But she rarely got angry.
Except once. The sophomore English class was visiting the libe in search of books to write reports on. My memory is unclear, but I do know that I either purposely knocked a stack of papers onto the floor or grabbed loose pages from a book and threw them on the floor. Either way, the ground was covered with paper right where people were most likely to step, and the papers were certain to be ruined by people deliberately shredding them with their feet. When the library nun saw what had happened, she said, "Whoever did that is going to have to leave my library."
One of my pals looked at me and said, "Bye." So the library nun knew.
"Young man, I don't ever want you to show your face in my library again!" she yelled. So I wasn't able to check out a book, and so I didn't do my book report. The following year, however, the library nun forgot that I was banished from her library, as I spent two hours each day there - one hour for English (since the school crammed an extremely difficult mail-order course down my throat) and another hour for study hall.
#39 - GUMMED UP GOOD
By the time the '90s began, it was as clear as the pre-Kahn's Licking River that the restrooms at Brossart could qualify for federal disaster aid. I once computed that $98.26 worth of damage was done to the lavatories at Brossart or Brossart-sponsored functions while I was a student there, a sum that coincidentally is exactly equal to the amount I had to bribe the school with to advance to my sophomore year. (Think I'm joking? I'll send you the bill!) And that only includes objects that were placed in the toilet. There were other displays as well, such as the December 13, 1989, incident in which a library book and financial aid form were apparently urinated upon and thrown out the men's room window onto the steps leading to the art room.
On February 6, 1990, somebody put a Bible in the toilet in the cafeteria restroom. "They got it gummed up good this time," the janitor told the principal, dragging a vacuum cleaner down the hallway. "They know who's doin' it and it would help me a lot if they would tell me who."
The fact is, it was more than one student involved in The Great Toilet Caper. By the time the Bible was plopped, washroom vandalism was such a time-honored tradition at Brossart that new students picked up where old students left off.
#40 - CRAZY GUM
Schools today ban everything: soft drinks, rubber bands, erasable pens, money, shirts with drawings of Bart Simpson on them, and so on and so on and Scooby-Dooby-Doo. But gum has been contraband at most schools ever since the first compulsory education laws were passed.
Brossart was especially tough on gum. Late in 1987, a sudden backlash formed against the school's gum policy. A school that was previously almost gum-free became plagued with such phenomenons as students sticking chewed wads in others' shirt pockets while the shirts were left unattended in the locker room during gym class. Hundreds of dollars worth of damage was done by improper - if not comical - disposal of this devious, crusty material.
Somebody once placed a chewed piece of gum - a discarded wrapper nearby suggested it was Hubba Bubba ("giant bubbles, no troubles") - on my science teacher's desk. In an effort to discover what the substance was, the old nun stuck her hand in it. She then pulled her hand away, producing an accordion-like effect. The gum stretched out to about two feet, before she exclaimed, "This stuff is really crazy!" - as if she had never seen gum before.
Students guffawed uncontrollably at the sight of the instructor's hand being connected to her desk by bubble gum. Mucus would have been even funnier though.
#41 - HEY HEY!
As I mentioned above, my history teacher said, "Hey hey," when he walked into the classroom to find debris sailing through the air, fistfights in every corner, and desks knocked onto the floor. But that was all he said.
Violence is by no means unheard of in Catholic schools, so that must be why he acted as if it was no big deal. In fact, that classroom was literally a war zone almost every single day. Every once in a while, students were injured badly enough to go to the hospital.
The teacher sometimes reacted when fights broke out in the middle of class, but usually he just said, "There's too much screwin' around over here." (There might have been some of that too. Just kidding.)
The Count Of Monte Cristo was required reading for this class, and each student was required to buy their own copy. People seized each other's Count Of Monte Crisco books and buried them in the school's lawn or sold them at garage sales. Copies of the action-packed novel were frequently seen lying in the hallway ripped to shreds. It was a scandal of thermogastronomical proportions.
The school took no action against the con artists and vandals, and those who had their books swiped from them inevitably flunked the whole project.
#42 - THE BROKEN WINDOW
Hearing a teacher use the f-word was always a highlight. Regardless of the circumstance - chalkboard graffiti, a clogged toilet, seeing 20 sheets of typing paper get wasted on endless repetitions of "Baste (radio station call letters here) style" - the big F always resulted in alternate fits of laughter and shock.
Back in the reaganbush era, this term entered the vocabulary of quite a few teachers at Brossart as a result of a wave of unruliness and mischief never before thought possible at the school.
One morning during a typically harsh Northern Kentucky winter, students in one Brossart classroom were entertained when a teacher angrily spoke the eyebrow-raising word. The day began like any other: Black-market bubble gum was hawked in the hallways. The newly cleaned restroom had already begun filling with its characteristic stale urine smell. Fistfights were mounting in almost every nook and cranny. But one of these scuffles got out of control, even by Bro$$art standards.
The cause of the full-scale brawl is unclear today. The rampage reached its sputtering peak when a student punched me as I was leaning against a window, causing the glass to shatter. Nobody was injured in this extraordinary spectacle, but students wailed in awe when they saw the window smashed.
But the teacher was not amused. When he showed up, he bellowed, "How'd that window get busted?! Now we're all gonna fuckin' freeze!" He made a shivering gesture. Of course, everybody would have fuckin' froze anyway because the dress code was too fancy-pants to allow students to wear their coats inside the building. (This predated the silly "gang-related attire" pretext used by schools today.)
Who paid for the replacement of the window? Not the puncher, but the punchee. The right-wing "blame the victim" attitude reared its noggin yet again.
#43 - BIZARRE, STRANGE, WEIRD
"Your actions are bizarre, strange, weird! Five years ago, people would have judged you as a loony and locked you up to rot," the principal told me one day in the spring of 1990.
This was right around the same time he closed the pay phone in the lunchroom because students were using it to make prank 911 calls.
It was also around the same time somebody wrote "Hoooo-waaaa!" underneath the number 7 on the calendar in the lunchroom, causing the principal to take down the calendar because "it was of no use to no one." Other students had used the calendar to mark birthdays, parties, and other (ahem) events (if you know what I mean, Vern).
#44 - BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS
While most of the mind-numbing statements uttered at Brossart came from teachers or the principal, students were also known to speak with staggering dimwittedness.
On September 21, 1988, one student asked me, for a reason now lost to history, "Why is your mind totally blown to smithereens?"
Being forced to memorize a bunch of long, incoherent screeds for religion class that serve no purpose whatsoever for a future career as a rock 'n' roll disc jockey might be the best answer to this laughter-inducing query.
#45 - HEAD FOR THE GUM MOUNTAINS
May 11, 1988, was a typical day at Brossart. Science class - in which the classroom wall was adorned with the proverb "LABORatory, not labORATORY" - was marred by the usual unscientific shenanigans.
Because the old nun had arranged our seats alphabetically, her attention was always focused on those of us whose last names fell near the beginning of the alphabet. The worst part about this was that the people in the front couldn't turn around and deck the trouble-causers without getting caught.
One of my allies happened to sit right next to me in the front row. We always wrote humorous remarks such as "Buuusshhhhh!" (from the beer commercial) and "I biffed!" (local slang for passing gas) on pieces of paper. It was so much fun that the laughter was almost impossible to control. So finally, the teacher said, "There's no need for all that snickering and acting babyish."
This particular classmate was also chewing gum that day, and we all know that gum was as much of a no-no as wearing shoes that are the wrong shade of gray. He justified it by saying that he was not actually chewing the gum, but that the gum was only "resting" inside his mouth, and therefore it was not a demeritable offense.
But the science teacher thunk otherwise.
She asked the student what he had in his mouth.
The reply came in a loud, clear, steady tone of voice that made the culprit seem proud of defying Brossart's authoritarian atmosphere: "GUMMM!"
The teacher then said, "You're gonna get a demerit this time. That's all there is to it."
And that's all there was to it.
#46 - THE $80 BOSTON
My geometry teacher was so proud of himself over the fact that he owned a shiny new electric pencil sharpener that he could use in the classroom while other classes had to settle for the old cranky pencil sharpeners that were attached to the wall. His electric sharpener was a Boston brand, presumably named for the chief city in the home state of Mike Dukakis, my favorite presidential candidate at that time.
One day, the geometry instructor began a session by telling the class that somebody had used his pencil sharpener to try to sharpen crayons and ballpoint pens. "Somebody broke my $80 Boston," he announced, standing next to the pencil sharpener. He then informed the class that it had therefore lost the privilege of enjoying the comfort of an electric pencil sharpener and declared that he was taking the device home for good. He ceremoniously unplugged the pencil sharpener and stowed it away safely in his desk.
Since this deprivation applied to every class he taught, I wonder if he got his pencil sharpener back out and set it up again for each class that day so that he could display these brilliant theatrics to each group of students.
About a year later, my art teacher returned from the increasingly short Christmas break with a brand new electric pencil sharpener that he had received as a Christmas present. He had it set up in the art room for students to use, and he boasted of its sharpening capabilities. But that very first day after Christmas vacation, a student accidentally knocked the pencil sharpener off the art teacher's desk and onto the rock-solid floor. The instructor simply laughed in his unique aw-shucks-you-ruined-it manner.
#47 - THE FLOATING TOILET
My art teacher had an unintentional sense of humor, which is why he was featured so often in this column as compared with such humorless characters as Sister Mary Starcade.
One day, the art teacher assigned his students to make chalk drawings on green sheets of construction paper. I chose to draw a tornado ripping through a wheat field and scattering debris high and low.
The drawing showed a toilet sailing through the air as if it had been dislodged from a house hit by the tornado. When the teacher saw it, he didn't even realize it was a toilet until I explained it.
But the explanation made the art instructor even more curious. "You mean that toilet's just floatin' there?" he asked. In other words, he thought that the commode was suspended in midair on its own accord rather than being thrown from a building by a tornado.
Weeks later, the teacher said something just as comical in drafting class when students were assigned to draw blueprints of houses showing all household appliances. Knowing that there were plenty of toilet aficionados in the class, he said, "You guys should like this project. We get to draw lots of toilets."
#48 - THE RETOOLING
A primary reason for clogging toilets at school is to elicit an unintentionally comical response from teachers in the form of an angry lecture. But sometimes things don't work out as planned.
Brossart often conducted "retoolings", in which students were whisked away from class a whole school day for a retreat. But it wasn't all toil and trouble.
During the sophomore retreat during my first 10th-grade year, students kept throwing pieces of gum into the pond to see if the ducks could blow bubbles. The following year - at the very same site - folks kept placing coins on the railroad track to see if they could derail any trains.
It was that second year that plop-mania was experienced at the retreat. In the men's room at the church, an brand new roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, and a Mello Yello can were plopped. People delighted in the fact that whenever the johnnypot was flushed, the soft drink can floated upside-down.
Later in the day, the foreign objects were all gone, but a plastic cup that looked as if it was designed expressly for retrieving rolls of toilet paper from toilets was lying on the floor soaking wet.
Much to the chagrin of the students, no lecture ever transpired.
#49 - SALT AND PEPPER FUN
At Brossart, mischief involving the salt and pepper shakers in the lunchroom was all the rage. One classic salt and pepper trick was to unscrew the lids of the shakers ever so slightly, so that the next time somebody used the shakers, the lid fell off and the entire contents of the shaker came out (just like on Happy Days).
An even more mystifying strategy was to smuggle a salt or pepper shaker out of the lunchroom and set it on the floor in the middle of the hallway. This enthralling caper was simple but original. It was reported that somebody once deliberately kicked a salt shaker that was lying in the middle of the hall and shattered it.
Another strategy was to discard wads of gum into the salt and pepper shakers. But since people were afraid of being caught with gum and having to pay a plump fine, most gum chewers didn't throw away their gum at all and continued to chew it even while they were eating their lunch.
#50 - PHIL DONAHUE ON HELIUM
It was largely due to only a few students that Brossart's reputation spiraled into an abysmal state from which it has yet to recover. These hardened preps were my archenemies. They remain among the most bizarrely behaved individuals I have ever met, and they exerted heavy influence on my classmates to mimic their psychopathic behavior.
In church history class, I sat on the opposite end of the room from one of these selfish neofascists. We surreptitiously exchanged insults with each other each and every day. Until one day, when the priest who taught the course became fed up and sent us both to the office.
The principal was less than pleased. "You guys act like a couple of babies!" he exclaimed. Then, his voice rose about 4 octaves to a mock childish squeal: "He pushed me! No, HE pushed ME! He did this, he did that!" To appreciate how ridiculous he sounded, imagine Phil Donahue on helium, frowning and sticking out his tongue while speaking.
The headmonster actually bore very little physical resemblance to Phil Donahue, but the mannerisms he usually displayed when he spoke - stabbing the air with the back of his hand with each word - were very similar. Evidently, however, Phil Donahue is at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Bro$$art, so comparing his gestures to Brossart's principal is more of an insult to Phil Donahue than it is to the scandal-plagued high school.
After several minutes of this nonsense, the principal sent the student who started the conflict back to class. He then said to me, "Are you composed enough to go back to class yet? Or maybe you should wait about 5 minutes!" He held up 5 fingers to make his point clear.
#51 - THE TOY MICROSCOPE
August 24, 1988: "I'm the only one who plays with that little toy. 'Cause if you break it, I'm gonna take every nickel in your piggy bank."
The biology teacher was referring to a high-powered microscope that the school purchased with its bloated budget. One must wonder why the school threw away all that money on a fancy microscope without allowing the students even to touch it.
#52 - TNT
The immediate predecessor of "Brossart Wit & Wisdom" was "TNT" ("Teachers 'N' Toilets"), my official log of teachers' quotes that I had been keeping since I was at Brossart. After compiling this log in a notebook I transferred it to my Atari.
Until the celebrated Plop Lecture transpired, the prototypical funny quote was one that I heard in grade school years earlier when a student insisted on doing their math work in their textbook rather than on a separate sheet of paper. "What do you think God made paper for? To blow your nose, wipe your butt, and to do math on!" the teacher exclaimed.
This became the first entry in TNT. Subsequent entries were recorded immediately as they materialized. You'd be amazed comparing what was funny then with what is funny now. These are the first two entries following the ceremonial first quote:
TNT. What a great idea for a web page!
#53 - STOP THE TALKING
The more you think about Brossart's rapid deterioration, the more amazing it is.
The teacher in charge of freshman history and study hall always used to be mild-mannered, but around the time Brossart fell into shambles, he began to lose his temper almost every day in response to the increasing hooliganism.
One day, he was writing history notes on the chalkboard for the benefit of the students, and the gabbing in the back of the room became so loud that he turned around and lectured the class about the disorderliness. "There's nothing in my contract that says I have to write on the blackboard," he said.
In study hall, the teacher frequently said, "Stop the talking," because people yammered too much while others were trying to do their 6 hours of homework.
But one day, he went a step further, angrily asking the class, "Don't you know that 'Stop the talking' means 'Shut your mouth'?"
#54 - INTO THE FIRE!
If there is anything good in the world about Bro$$art, it is the fact that it gave rise to the Annual Fourth of July Environmentally Sound Bonfires.
The first such blaze was in 1989, and you can probably surmise that the second was in 1990. On November 2, 1989, I spent my study hall compiling an "inventory" of Brossart paraphernalia to burn at the '90 campfire. Only one-third of the way between bonfires, there were already 186 objects to burn, broken down as follows:
All that paper. Wastage bastage.
But the paper wasn't really wasted, because it makes good fuel for Fourth of July bonfires. An alternate use for the P-ACT booklet would have been to dismember it and strew the pages up and down the hallway - but then again, that's what dictionaries are for.
#55 - GUMMING UP THE WORKS
In the late '80s, my bank account was plundered by the vicious gangsters who peopled the administration at Bishop Brossart High School. The most devastating series of charges - which I am still paying off today - came when I was a freshman. I was presented with a bill for $98.26 to cover alleged damage to textbooks. The books I had to pay for were either not damaged or had been damaged by others. (A later bill included a book that didn't even exist.) The damaged books weren't repaired even after the sum was paid.
It didn't take a genius to see that the school fabricated the charges to boost its profit margin. It was the school's policy never to let a student behind in their so-called financial obligations advance to the next grade.
One of the books on the '88 bill was a health book that one of my most bitter adversaries had stolen and placed in a mud puddle. Even more famous is the science book that he stuck a chewed piece of bubble gum in. (The prevalence of gum in this column almost makes it appear that Lee Kuan Yew wrote it.)
On May 26, 1988, the freshman science teacher told the class that the end of the school year was nigh and that the science books would soon be collected. The students were advised to erase any funny drawings of Mr. T that they might have made in their books before returning them.
I asked the elderly nun what to do about the chewing gum. The gum had been stuck between the pages and couldn't be removed without violently tearing the pages apart.
The instructor asked how the devious, crusty material made its way into the science book, and I immediately implicated the Bazooka-loving classmate. Most of the other pupils oohed and aahed in agreement, but the culprit grew red with embarrassment.
The teacher told the destructive young man, "I remember the one day when I asked you if you were chewing bubble gum and you said no, but it turned out that you were chewing bubble gum."
"But, but, but - " he replied, as the class began burst into laughter at his bumbling buffoonery.
"So if his book is ruined, you will have to pay for it," said the nun.
Lo and behold, I ended up paying for the book. That must mean that the book wasn't ruined.
#56 - MORE TOILET FUN
Brossart is best known for its toilet troubles, much of which the principal blamed me for, so eager was he to make a scapegoat out of me. It seemed that nearly every day in November 1988, something got put in the toilet. Items ranging from pencil erasers to underwear met the latrine's cool depths, and one day, somebody even set the linen towel dispenser and garbage can in the boys' restroom ablaze. Even after the principal handed me a forced vacation as a "punishment" for all the mischief I wish I did, somebody plopped such inarguable toilet cloggers as magazines and baseballs. The only plopping I had the joy of performing that month was that of a newspaper-like campaign flyer for a local politician, which I disposed of to protest the outcome of the '88 presidential election.
On November 28, my first day back to school after being laid off, I was using the restroom at the same time as one of my many foes. The 16-year-old toddler grabbed a biology book that somebody had left on the sink and flung it squarely into the bathtub-shaped urinal. He turned to me and, in a singsong whisper, said, "Biology book - in the toilet."
Just then, the biology teacher strolled into the lavatory, detecting right away that it was not me but the other youngster who had plopped the green textbook. The instructor angrily asked the crazed young man if he was in fact responsible, knowing already that he was.
At lunchtime, I saw the biology teacher approach the principal with the textbook. He held it open and appeared to be reporting the potty-induced devastation that had happened that morning.
The following day, the principal gathered all male students for a chit-chat about the johnnypot woes. He announced that all boys' bathrooms were closed: "If anyone needs to use the john, ask me first. Or I don't care if you wet your pants. It's all part of being a baby."
A more imaginative view of this lecture concludes, "It goes with the territory when you choose to act like a baby." While these words seem to reflect the headmonster's usual speaking style, he did not actually utter them.
Amazingly, the tinkletorium closures staved off mischief until January 10, 1989, when somebody expelled a massive bowel movement onto the bathroom floor in front of the donicker.
One of my pals in English class was overcome with such an intense fit of guffawing over the grogan that the teacher had to ask him what was so funny.
The reply: "Somebody did something on the ground!"
"You mean somebody wet the floor?"
"No, it was Number Two!"
"Oh my gosh!"
"Somebody defecated!" the student exclaimed, as if the point was not already completely unambiguous.
Later, the principal assembled all the boys who were in that class for a harangue about the "Lincoln log", as one of my comrades had lovingly titled it.
"Somebody defecated on the lavatory floor," the headmonster said. "I say it's time that this infantile behavior ceases."
The janitor angrily told us, "Yeah, I had to clean this shit up! We ought to start handin' out diapers to these people!"
Considering the tendency of some students to soil their trousers on the school bus, maybe the janitor was right.
#57 - THE FARTING BOOK
This "Wit & Wisdom" installment highlights the continual fart that the biology teacher who taught at Brossart in the 1980s heard inside his head. Even at such a flatulence-fixated school, this instructor's preoccupation with letting the frippins out (farting, that is) was legendary and remarkable.
This pompous dickhead - also known for announcing everyone's abysmal test scores in front of the class - frequently accused his students of passing gas. Of course folks let one fly every now and then, but this guy ascribed every mysterious odor to the "animal bodily functions" of whatever student he felt like harassing that day.
At least twice, the biology teacher ripped a fart himself and blamed his book. I was present for one of these two incidents, in which the passage of wind was followed by the teacher declaring, "That's my book here."
I've heard of talking books, but never of farting books. If indeed it was his book, maybe the tome was trying to say what it thought about the course.
#58 - THE GUESTBOOK
By the end of the '90s, even Bro$$art was on the Information Superhighway.
When the hated Bishop Brossart High School had its first official web page, the guestbook became as full of as many abusive messages as we would expect from the scandal-plagued Catholic high school. None of the posts are worth repeating, and a few even had vague references to Nazi concepts. (Nazi concepts besides Brossart, that is.) There is no way the school could not know about the dirty purpose that its page is being used for, as some of the posts in question were up for a full year, and it was equally unlikely that that school can't remove those messages. Once again, Brossart proved it is irresponsible.
May the school's hunter green uniform slacks get sued off.
#59 - THE DEER BOOKENDS
Brossart was swimming so deep in cash in the late '80s - gee, I wonder where it got all that money from? - that it didn't know how to spend it all. This pseudo-educational institution should have had an episode of Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous devoted to it.
One of the school's most outrageous spending sprees involved the purchase of marble bookends for the library shaped into the heads of deer, antlers and all. But despite being composed of some of the toughest material, the bookends did not withstand the furious force of the student body.
We often poked the antlers through pages of books and left the books dangling there. Sometimes the weight of the book would pull the bookend off the shelf and onto the floor, and all the volumes held up by the deer bookend would come tumbling down as well.
Finally, the 100-year-old library nun put the bookends up on the top shelf, because she thought we were a bunch of little kindergartners who wouldn't be able to reach that high. Was she ever wrong! We made a sign saying "BUY SOME BASTE" on notebook paper and left it dangling in front of the second shelf from the top, weighting it down with one of the deer bookends. When the library nun noticed the sign, she rushed to the bookshelf and promptly ripped it down. But she didn't see that the bookend was weighting the paper down, so the bookend fell to the stony floor and - CRACK!
The very expensive marble deer head bookend was fractured right in two.
"Those were donated to us by the Knights of Columbus, and now the whole set is ruined," said the library nun. In fact, the school had purchased the bookends anew rather than receiving them as a donation, and only one bookend was demolished. The rest of the bookends were still in tiptop condition.
Nonetheless, the school replaced the entire set of deer bookends with - get this - a brand new set of deer bookends exactly like the "ruined" set. The old set was reportedly thrown into the dumpster with all the perfectly good typewriters the school threw away.
Brossart was the state champion in the sport of wasting things.
#60 - BOING, WACK A KOW!
In gym class at Brossart, one of my classmates once wet his trousers, creating a large yellow puddle on the floor. His mommy had to come to the school with a fresh pair of pants. Just kidding. In fact, that did occur once, but not in high school.
Actually, this "Wit & Wisdom" installment talks about English class at Brossart. In the eyes of the industrial education complex, novels, short stories, plays, and poems are not to be enjoyed but are instead to be analyzed and disfigured in the form of difficult tests and assignments. Every work of literature is to be picked apart to discern the "plot", "theme", and other worries. Why, I bet that 100 years from now, schools will be similarly butchering The Last Word! Anyway, our English textbook taunted us like a hardcover booger rag. The homework demanded that we engage in such rigorous exercises as trying to scientifically prove that Sesame Street is a real place and included no easy stuff like learning how to draw funny cartoons of Julius Caesar like the one they used on The Joker's Wild.
My sophomore English instructor was my freshman homeroom teacher. One afternoon - May 26, 1988, to be specific - somebody yanked a huge wad of pre-chewed bubble gum off the floor of a TANK bus and chewed it. That morning, another student had accidentally spit his gum onto the floor of the school bus while blowing a bubble, and he promptly picked the wad up off the aisle - right where everyone walked - and crammed it back inside his mouth.
In any event, right as morning homeroom period began, I stood next to my desk and started gyrating wildly, singing, "Boing, wack a kow, wack a kow, wack a kow!" and claiming to be Huey Lewis.
The teacher quickly responded, "I guess you're having a spastic fit. Stop it."
'Twas kinda neat!
So that's Bishop Brossart High School for ya! Hopefully one of these days, more people will recognize it as the scam and right-wing cult it is.
(Note: Photos on this site may or may not be of items found at Brossart or Brossart-related events. These pictures are for illustrative purposes only.)
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