15 April 2009

Fold This!

I don't know what it's like now, but middle school/junior high for me seemed like an endless array of intricately folded paper.

First there were the notes. If passed from one to the other during class, a simple fold down the middle would typically suffice. However, if being saved to pass on at a later time, the amount of tricky folding the girls engaged in was beyond the level of most--if not all--amateur origamists. Many times I found it difficult to even open these masterworks, much less duplicate the system myself. You would be walking through the halls and all of a sudden this small triangle or square would be pressed into your hand, your name written in flowery scrawl across the front. These notes, by and large, had one purpose and one purpose only: to find out who you "liked". Sometimes the question would be direct. Sometimes it would be hinted. Sometimes it came with a convenient check box to minimize labor and conserve paper and was written to you straight from your admirer. (On a side note, what kind of a bastard did you have to be to just check "no" and give it back? Did anyone ever do that?) I remember trying to create some of these fold-a-thons, but it never worked out. After a while I gave up and just started balling up my notes and throwing them at their intended target.

Then, of course, there were the paper planes. Never figured those out either. I had friends who could have hired stewardesses and started full scale airlines with their paper jets. My feeble attempts nearly landed me in the special education classes.



The paper footballs. These could be found at each and every table in the lunchroom where sat two or more guys. Not only could I not make one of these, I was also terrible at the game itself. I was much more accomplished at the "pencil breaking" game, where one person holds a pencil horizontally between their fists, and the other person attempts to break it with another pencil. Was there strategy that involved removing the eraser and pressing the metal endpiece into a flat, sharp weapon? Yes, there was. If this is the first time you've heard of this game, you're probably thinking it's the most retarded thing you've ever heard of. You would be correct.

Finally, there were those paper games seemingly every girl in the country knew how to make. Internet research reveals they are sometimes called "Fortune Tellers" or "Cootie Catchers", but I don't remember anyone ever calling them either of those things. They were these little folded triangle contraptions that fit on your fingers, and the player would choose a color, then a number, then another number (or something, jesus, it's been a while, all right?) and then a tab would be lifted and some sort of something else would be said.





I never even tried to make one of those. One, it would have been impossible, and two, it didn't seem like the kind of achievement likely to improve my social life.

25 comments:

dizzblnd said...

So YOU were the one hitting me in the back of the head! I could have sworn it was the other guy with the coke bottle glasses and pocket protector.

I was champion at ALL of the paper foldings obackin the day! I could not however, break a single pencil, win the don't jerk or I get to slap your hands as hard as I can game, or the paper football game.

Thanks for a great trip down memory lane.

BTW I kept ALL of those notes you beaned me with!!

C.B. Jones said...

Only thing I used paper for in school was to pick my teeth with, or act out my hoop dream with the assistance of a trash can.

On Fridays, I'm the most clutch dude on the planet!

Me-Me King said...

Oh, how I loved the "fortune tellers". This was always a playground favorite where the girls huddled to discover their future boyfriends.

Winky Twinky said...

Wow, I remember those...the guys with the triangle footballs that I could never even begin to play I was so bad at it. But the fortune tellers...I had forgotten all about those. Thanks for the idea. I think my next staff meeting should feature one of those! Being the one running the meeting could have it's benefits! Oh, I have lots of ideas now... ;)

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I can still do the corner tucked fold-with-pull tab rectangular note with 'PULL' written on the tab. Someday I'll deliver my resignation letter for my current job in one of those. The outside will say 'PULL' and have little colored pen daisies in the corners. When unfolded, it will simply say 'SUCK IT. I'M OUT'.
Because I'm mature like that.

Shawn said...

Dizz: Uh oh...I was afraid those would come back and haunt me at some point.

C.B.: Another thing I was terrible at, and continue to be. Not teeth picking. Paper basketball.

Me-Me: Oh I just bet. The giggling could be heard clear over to the monkey bars.

Winky: You would probably get an instant promotion, depending on the demographic of your workplace.

Shieldmaiden: Holy crap, that's hilarious. You have to videotape your boss's reaction if and when that day comes.

Heather Cherry said...

Okay, now I understand your email. I don't think anyone ever called one of those fortune tellers what it was. It was just one of those, you know... thingies. I used to also be quite adept at folding dollar bills into a ring that could be worn. Then you could play the game of "Guess how much this ring cost me to to make?" Which also just happened to be the least exciting game ever.

ReformingGeek said...

Huh. I don't think I can do any of those. I'm glad I'm alld grown up nowd and don't have to!

Marissa said...

I love Winky Twinky's idea! And I almost forgot about the pencil break challenge. But I really want someone to show me how to fold a damn fitted sheet back to a precise rectangle.

Funnyrunner said...

Oh you're just trying to show off and brag that girls gave you notes left and right...

Alas, I DO know what it's like these days, having a 5th grader and a 7th grader. These days there is no paper, only texting and IMing. I'm happy to say that my boys aren't into it yet, but most of their classmates are, both genders included.

My 7th grader whined about his being the ONLY one in has class not to have a cell phone for a LONG time (our parental response was that his classmates' parents clearly love their children more than we love you, son)...

brookeamanda said...

I could fold notes like a champ, but I couldn't do those "fortune teller" things to save my life.

Shawn said...

Heather: I'll take some of your patented dollar rings if you still have any.

Reforming: Plus I think technology has moved past the antiquated need for paper.

Marissa: No one on Earth can do such a thing. The best I can do is just fold it into a lumpy ball.

Funnyrunner: Busted. Yeah, I figured it had gone all texting these days.

Brookeamanda: Yeah, I had you pegged as a chronic note-passer.

Knightmedic said...

Obvious brag about getting notes from girls in middle school

Phillipia said...

I would be right beside you in the special ed classes:)

Jeff Tompkins said...

About the pencil breaking game and the strategy of "removing the eraser and pressing the metal endpiece into a flat, sharp weapon"...isn't it odd how global these things can be? How is it that something so precise, so brilliant, can be performed by boys from Florida to Oregon and probably other countries as well? And why did we never have this kind of elaborate network of information when it came to communicating strategies for scoring with the hottest chicks? Maybe we thought the girls would be attracted to us because of our manly pencil-snapping abilities? A question for the ages.

Thinkinfyou said...

I loved the fortune teller thing. Although I don't remember ever making one on my own.

Dalton J. Fox said...

"On a side note, what kind of a bastard did you have to be to just check "no" and give it back? Did anyone ever do that?" -- Did this really make me a bastard? Oops. I guess I've always had this wonderful "I don't give a fuck attitude," even back then.

That pencil breaking game was the stupidest/best game ever. I remember pissing quite a few of my peers off when I'd just give up and grab a mechanical pencil out of my desk and break theirs with it before they realized what had happened. (My god, what a run-on sentence that was.)

Shawn said...

Knightmedic: True. It was only 3, but I treasured each of them. Ok, one was a card from my orthodontist, but I still counted it.

Phillipia: We could sit in the back and drool together.

Jeff: I actually wondered how global any of the things mentioned here were (except for the fortune tellers, I did some research on those to find out what they were called). It is weird. As far as girls went, we now have the internet, and I still don't think we've figured that one out, so...

Thinkinfyou: Well, there's still time! Detailed schematics are available on the Web, believe it or not.

Dalton: Well, I guess the check box does invite that kind of response. Cheating at the pencil game, though. That's unforgivable.

Chris said...

Holy dooly! I'd completely forgotten about our world cups and paper football tournaments.

Those were the days ... it all ended though when my buddy introduced what he called "The flaming pinata" - which was, of course, a flaming paper ball usually aimed at a girl. He was eventually expelled. And I think he is now in jail ... fair enough really.

ettarose said...

Oh I wish I could remember all those paper folding things. I used to be quite good at it. Oh those were the days. If anyone ever answered with no I would have been crushed. The real crushing came when boys used to tell me how ugly I was.

Tina said...

All too complicated. When my 2 year old nephew wants me to make him want of these things, I just scrunch up the paper and make him a ball. He loves it!

Shawn said...

Chris: Oh so that was a friend of yours, eh? Great guy, he ruined it for all of us.

Ettarose: Ah, they were just flirting with you. (I love how this is the standard answer for all boy-on-girl hostility in school. They were just flirting with you when they soaked you in gasoline and lit you on fire.)

Tina: Yes, I excel at that design.

Jim @ CoolStuffForDads.com said...

Played some paper football during my days in junior high. Isn't there a limit to the number of times a piece of paper can be folded in half?

Helen said...

this post reminds me to tell you that i'm the thumbwrestling champion of the united states and have a mean "whip around move".

it's the little sports that make a difference and i'm sort of depressed espn doesn't cover them.

Shawn said...

Jim: Yeah, I seem to recall some bets being wagered over that.

Helen: You have to subscribe the ESPN 8: The Ocho.