I typically write introspective, thoughtful material. Spending as much time in hospitals and doctor's offices as I have, and burying a child, tends to have that effect on people. But I can't be serious all the time. Even in the Emergency Room and the ICU, we laughed and goofed off, just to stay sane. It's a survival skill I learned in college at a conservative Baptist school in the middle of a midwestern cornfield. It was strict: demerits, curfews, dress codes, mandatory daily chapel services, and single-sex dorms with no visits by members of the opposite sex. Without the trademark college diversions of drugs, sex, and alcohol, we had to improvise fun.
It was late May, steamy, restless, just a handful of days before final exams and graduation. Campus roiled with summer fever. Girls flirted, desperate to secure a boyfriend before summer. Boys... well, we girls never could figure out what happened in the dark of their man-cave dorms.
I wandered the rooms in my hall of the dorm on my nightly forage for food. (Every cent I earned went towards tuition, room, and board, so I went begging for essentials like microwave popcorn.) Screams of laughter and pounding footsteps broke the relative calm of our hall and we gaped as four girls raced by wearing only pantyhose over their faces and underwear.
"That was bold," we smirked. "How many demerits you think they'll get?"
I had just secured a bag of popcorn when the fire alarm wailed. Our u-shaped dorm bled girls into the parking lot. The responsible ones, usually student teachers or nursing students who rose at dawn, had already gone to bed and emerged grumpy and bathrobe-clad.
Rumors flew as we waited for campus security officers to sweep the building and give the all-clear. Some claimed the Panty-hose Girls had pulled the fire alarm on purpose. Others said that someone’s hair dryer had exploded.
When the officers arrived, I recognized two of my favorites. I had gotten to know them working for the campus paper. We needed campus security officers to unlock our dorms for us when we worked past curfew.
In a flash of inspiration, I grabbed a few friends.
“Quick, we gotta run back in and grab maxi pads and tampons!”
They stared at me. "Now? You're having a girl emergency NOW?"
“No, no, no. I’ll explain later. Come on!”
We snuck back in, threw supplies into a grocery bag, and raced back outside.
“OK, here's the plan. We're gonna stick pads all over the sides and front of the car, and then string the tampons on the antenna."
As three of us rapidly unwrapped packages, one girl who took the rules a little too seriously, crossed her arms and demanded, “Are you sure we aren’t going to get suspended?”
“Positive. They'll gonna pee their pants laughing.”
She shook her head. “No. Way. You’re crazy.”
A crowd of amazed girls and stunned boys (girls didn't typically engage in such behavior) gathered as we covered the windshield with a blanket of pads, adorned the wipers with tampon charms, and wove a tampon rope up the antenna.
As we finished, I caught a glimpse of a Resident Assistant watching, arms crossed. I prayed she'd decide to wait and let campus security deal with us.
When the fire alarm went quiet, so did the crowd. We all held our breaths waiting for the officers to discover our masterpiece.
They walked out, then stopped at the top of the steps. The woman began laughing so hard she had to sit down. She finally managed to gasp out, "This one's all yours, boys."
The two men turned 27 different shades of red as they rolled up their sleeves. The crowd roared as they marched to their trunk and began fishing through a massive duffel bag. They both donned latex gloves, masks, and biohazard bags. One delicately pulled each pad off the car with two fingers while the other tried to slide the tampons off the antenna with no success. He resorted to surgical scissors to free the windshield wipers and antennas of their cotton decor.
I confess my bravado wavered a bit when the biohazard bag came out. Just two years earlier, our school's theme was "Pursuing a Passion for Purity." I feared they might really think these were used products. Gross.
But, my bet paid off. To the wonder of the entire dormful of women, we emerged unscathed. I suspect the campus safety officers were secretly delighted to add "The Great Maxi-Pad Caper" to their arsenal of stupid college student pranks.
And I managed to one-up the Panty-hose Girls without exposing any skin and without demerits.
OK all, this momentary lapse of judgment was brought to you by Joy Bennett (@writingjoy on Twitter http://www.joyinthisjourney.com/). About Joy: she is a writer, mother, wife, follower of Christ, lover of rich soil, music, & sunshine & nurse to her special needs kids, bereaved, learner. In no particular order. She is a delight, check out her blog or look her up on Twitter -- you won't be sorry!!