Wednesday, October 15, 2008

James I. O'Neill Cheating Scandal - Spring 1980

Cheating, to me, is a desperate means to achieve a higher score on a test than can be obtained through traditional score-improving efforts. Since I wasn't into things like "achieving" or "effort", cheating wasn't really my thing. Sure, I was the Class of '81's best math student, but I received my fair share of bad grades (even in math once in a while). I just wasn't motivated enough to be a big-time cheater.

Anywho, I took Chemistry in my junior year (1979-80). The chemistry teacher* was an obnoxious asshole, so yeah, I looked up to him a little and did well in his class. He had a habit of taking the days off that he gave tests to his classes. On one such day the sub walks up to the 3rd floor, walks past us with an armload of tests, unlocks the chemistry room halfway down the hallway, and then inexplicably leaves (to use the bathroom I guess). Lockaby, aka Eraserhead** comes up to us hyperventilating, "The tests are just sitting there! Someone could just walk up and take them!" I thought about it for about 8 billionths of a second and said, "Hmm, that's a good idea." I walk into the empty classroom, pull a test from the middle of the pile, shove it up my shirt, and walk out. After I stroll back to my friends, I dig it out, and we look it over. As I'm quickly doing the test with effortless ease, I notice Eraserhead is twitching and practically going in and out of a coma he's so excited. Uh-oh. No way this isn't getting out. It then dawned on me that I got A's in Chemistry (the math involved was childsplay for me, even if I thought it was extremely boring), and I thought "What the fuck am I doing?" After a few more minutes of worry, my prayers were answered. YSP, a Korean foreign exchange student, make that an honors Korean foreign exchange student, comes up to me*** and says, "Uh, Mathdude, hey, listen, I hear you have a certain Chemis-" It's yours dude. Have at it! Now the thing spreads like wildfire.

I took the class during one of the lunch hours. Pampdog had lunch while we were in Chemistry, but he came in that day because his girlfriend, Irene G, was in the class. He told the sub he was Dave Pandernaski, which practically made me piss in my pants. Irene, who knew all the answers, because, well, the whole school knew all the answers, fed them to him during the test. About 2/3 of the way through the period, Pampdog's lunch bell rings. He gets up, hands the test to the sub and says,"Hey, I'm just going to head out now...I'm good...I don't need any more time, thanks...." I think I stopped laughing 3 days later.

So the Chemistry teacher gets back the next day, and man, was he pissed. Not only did every one of his students get an A on the test, some guy named Dave Pandernaski got one as well, and he walked out 2/3 of the way through the test! I think he made us retake the test, but I never got caught. Nobody in authority ever found out it was me who took it, and on the plus side, I started spending more than 8 billionths of a second on my decisions.

*At my 10 year reunion, two classmates told me how the Chemistry teacher had a nasty habit of waiting until the lab emptied except for 1 girl, and that he would corner girls and cop some feels. Ugh.
**Jimmy Ransone gave him this name. He was a true pencil neck geek and had this spikey hair that made him look like a pencil.
***YSP was very cool. In a school with such tight social circles, YSP was friends with everyone. This was extremely rare.

17 comments:

Nancy2 said...

I am in love with the West Point Skateboard Gang all over again. -Nancy (Sporbert, as opposed to my best friend, the much cooler Nancy Feldman.) O'Neill '82

DHC said...

OK, you'll loooove this one...this SAME chemistry teacher used to call me "Brooks" (remember Brooke Shield's CK ad on TV?) because I happened to have a pair of Calvin Klein jeans that I suppose he especially liked? (*gag*) I was all of what, 16? And he was...? Ewww. A better one...remember the English teacher who was in "L-AAAH-DASH-FOURAH"? Jerk. He had a flask in his left hand desk drawer and I can't remember if it was YOU or someone who hung out with YOU that got into a fight with him because he found it and pulled it out and taunted him with it? Too funny.

And then there was Heffernan. Aaah..would love to find him and rub his face in dog shit. He told me that I would never be anything more than a secretary (I have a master's and was an army aviator for a while...) and he told my friend Meg to give up on school, get married and have babies (she's now DOCTOR Meg working at Rand in DC and published 8 times).

-Dana H

Mathdude said...

Nancy: I gotta say I wasn't feelin' the love in high school. That's cool though.

DHC: My youngest sister Coolmomma said the chemistry teacher eventually got criminal charges brought up on him. I think my sister Lisa was responsible for getting the flask guy fired. I never met Heffernan but it sounds like he was responsible for making you and Meg what you are today! What an inspirational teacher.

BTW, dhc, I readily concede I'm a total fucking idiot asshole...

*yeah but*
...but maybe "You wouldn't DARE!" was a poor choice of words when someones got a bottle of syrup over your head. Maybe? Just sayin'

Mathdude said...

dhc: We're good, right? C'mon now ...you finished 3rd in the Miss NY pageant, right? You're like light years above slackers like me.

DHC said...

Hey, Mathdude,

How long has it been now? 26+ years? We all change,(believe me I have!) plus I am talking to a reliable source who says you're cool. :-) And WAY to bring up the horrid past! That was my mom's doing...if you look at my Facebook stuff, you'll find that the pageant stuff isn't and wasn't at all who I was...actually, I have and HAD back then a pretty warped sense of humor, and I got a kick out of all the dimwitted girls who entered those damned things. "I want to be an actress and a model" was the rote crap they all came up with in interviews. I think I used to get up there and say things like, "I want to be a foreign area officer" or "I want to work for Armed Forces Radio Europe". Both BS, but it got their attention! (BTW, MOM made me do those, she did in her time, but she was much prettier than I..she won many and did actually model in her younger days. I kept looking in the mirror and thinking she must be high..she was petite, dark, and beautiful, I was lanky, blonde, freckled, and goofy! I finally rebelled and she gave up on me.)

DHC said...

Sorry, one more..does the bottle of syrup pertain to me? I don't remember that. I THINK I remember a hazy something, but I could pull out so many things you guys did, you'd cringe...at least you were meaner to others than you were to me, if that's a saving grace. What kills me is that none of you ever stopped to think that many of us felt the same way you did; I did not "feel the love" in high school either...

And the teacher that ended up getting fired in OUR time was Mr. Mone the band teacher. He cornered me several times in the practice rooms but I was lucky enough to get away from him. Turned out he got caught when one of the clarinet player's moms started shuttling her over to his house for "private lessons" and he was actually sexually assaulting her. Bet THAT mom feels shitty...God.

I never SAID you were a total fucking idiot asshole..YOU did.
:-)

Mathdude said...

Of course I said I'm an idiot. That's because I'm an idiot. I don't take myself too seriously. Um, let's just move along on the syrup thing, uh, heh-heh...

Actually my sister Coolmomma yesterday was like,"She ought to kill you! You're such a jerk!" And now you don't even remember the incident. That's funny!

DHC said...

Eehhh...too much has happened over the years to really be upset about than to dwell on high school crap.

Although, do tell...I am intrigued!! Maybe the event will register. I'll probably think it's funny...now.

From one idiot to another...we may not be as different as you might have thought, even back then...I, too, was threatened with the dreaded "Catholic school".

Tony Alva said...

Mr. Mone!!! I remember that dude. That was one fucked up dude. Mr. Nick and Macuro with also mentally unstable individuals. God, did O'Neill have some scary people posing as teachers. Thank god for people like Mary and Tom Strong, or Mr. Yagel. I'll bet they sat at a different table in the teachers lounge than those other asshats.

DHC: You get the last laugh anyway. You've seen the striped tube socks he wears, right?

DHC said...

MWAH HAH HAH...and I commented...but I did sorta defend his sox of choice.

Ya know, I was such a pill at times in high school, a little syrup did me some good. You should have commented something such as, "maybe this will sweeten you up some..if it's possible." Although I would have probably started crying or something...geez. HTFU.

We did have some wonderful role models for teachers, huh? No wonder we were (and are) so warped. And as for Mone, how the hell do you think I got to be the drum majorette AND got Patti Lopez (ugh) kicked out of jazz band as the only flute?? (But I WAS much better than she, so I don't feel that bad about it.)

Mathdude said...

I'll defend James I. O'Neill's teaching staff - I had for math: Cahill/Rasmussen, Koons, Delaney, and Cahill again. That's as good of a hs group of teachers as you can hope to expect. I know I dodged the Trapper John bullet - Kingston Steve says he was the worst ever - but I did well to get who I had in math. For SS, I had Rubbernuts, but that was after having Wilhelm for 2 years. She was tough but good, and even Rubbernuts could teach when the classroom management stuff wasn't occuring. I concede there was a lot of dead wood/criminally bad (literally and figuratively) on the staff.

I've been thinking of posting an imaginary interview with Mrs. Pulliam, who I had for 2 years for English, but I can't get her "voice" down right. In my sophomore year, we did 5 or 6 creative writing assignments, and she gave me F's on every single one. They were not really all that different from my blogging. I'd like to hear what an imaginary Mrs. Pulliam would have to say about that!

Mathdude said...

Pampdog wrote me after I emailed him about this posting. He wrote back: hey Mathdude, awesome. hilarious. was that science teacher mr. berger?(No, his name began with a "Y") i had totally forgotten about that incident... irene gilbertson: wow, now there is a memory-jog. you have a much better memory of high school than i do... i have had a blog idea in mind (the terror-inducing skateboard roar of the artful dodgers) for some time, but have had neither the time nor energy to submit it. forgive me. i promise to get to it in the semi-near future. in the meantime, thanks for recalling a hilarious moment. i hope all is well with you and your clan.

mitch turner said...

I think the Chem. teacher's name was Mr. Yarashefsky. I know I spelled it wrong. He would start class by swinging a fake golf club, Johnny Carson like.

Mathdude said...

Course it was Yara you goof. I just didn't think it's the best idea to name names on the interwebs when talking about such things. Of course, if he did what people said he did, none of us have anything to worry about.

mitch turner said...

Well, I'm not really known for having the best ideas.

Jackson said...

Yara passed me because I did all his copies for him - I had a side gig working with the office staff and I had clearance on the copier. I failed every test.

Lisa and I had O'Shea in the spring of our senior year, he just stopped showing up. It turned into a fiasco when Clem wanted to give us some sort of test and we hadn't had any sort of curicculum. I think Lisa was instrumental in getting us out of that mess.

Fred Green had issues.....

Nancy2 said...

Mathdude: Well, of course YOU weren't feeling the love...you were older! Who talked to upperclassmen? And I was as dorky as all giddyup. Still, had some fun hanging with Nancy1 and whatever skateboarders we could summon in the vicinity of the Teen Club as you roared by, back in the day. (I may or may not have had, on my person, toxic substances that I stole from my brother at the time - who can remember.) As for teachers, I'll agree with all comments...even the good ones. Loved Mrs. Wilhelm and even learned from Rubbernuts. When President Reagan was shot and Al Haig (Secretary of State at the time) was trying to weasel in the line of Presidential succession, I remember thinking that Haig had it all wrong. Considering my age and my lack of interest in current events OR history at the time, I think that's a credit to Rubbernuts.