The events and conversations in this story happened over thirty years ago. It was a very different time than the present, when public and private student hazing was an accepted and expected ritual in high schools and colleges. Slave auctions began Hell Week at my high school. As a Freshman I was sold for the second highest bid in the school. A Senior who disliked me since I was in grammar school outbid several other seniors who seemed to have it in for me as well. I was sold for $11.00. My best friend Mike, who was considered the wise guy of the Freshman Class got the highest bid of $15.00 from his brother, who was a senior and one of his brother’s friends. Together they outbid four other Seniors for Mike. Poor Mike got the worst of the hazing, until he saw me publicly resisting my “master” and realized he didn’t have to be humiliated by his “masters” either especially his brother.
On the second day of Hell Week during lunch break Mike and I and several other Freshmen decided to get even with our tormentors, after they made us wear silly hats all day,and kneel down in the school hallway and kiss Senior girls’ feet. We kissed their ankles and calves instead. The Senior girls didn’t discourage our upward movements of attention and laughed at us, and some said ” Down Boy’s” . This happened openly in the school hallways and cafeteria and in the parking lot. Anything, except public nudity and physical public beatings was allowed by the school administration during Hell Week. Today I believe all the Seniors would face suspension,some might be arrested,and the administration sued.
That afternoon of rebellion Mike and I and a few other Freshmen had had enough of our slavery and decided to get even with the Seniors. Every Senior who had a car realized they had a flat tire, when they tried to leave the parking lot that afternoon. By the time Hell Week was over Mike and I made certain our “Masters’ regretted owning us for the week.
By my Senior year public hazing in my high school took on a new twist. Our Senior Class had a certain flair for theatrics, and decided to turn the traditional Hell Week into a public event for one night. We convinced the administration and the School Board to use the gym, and allow us to advertise Hell Night with posters around town, and charge $1.00 at the door to go to the Senior Class for our prom and class trip. The enthusiasm by the towns’ people was overwhelming. I began to understand what the mob mentality in the Roman Colosseum must have been like, when we saw the amazing public turnout in the high school gym. My senior class made over $400.00 that night from admissions. That was equal to at least $4000.00 in 2014 money. The Senior Class raised another large sum of money from the slave auction we held the same day as Hell Night.
Mike and I had each bought a Freshman slave. The Freshmen were aware of the public humiliation they were about to encounter on stage that night, and most were excited and looking forward to their 15 minutes of fame and shame. The Senior Class decided we would set up two huge metal vats we borrowed from the cafeteria and fill them with bread batter. Then we decided to put up hurdles and other obstacles and place them around the stage and on the gym floor. The Freshmen were to run the course and all who refused to run the course or failed to run it would be placed by Seniors into the large vats of bread dough. One vat for boys and one for girls. No one but Seniors were allowed in the gym that day as we set up the obstacle course and prepared the vats on the stage. When we finished we all went home and got ready for Hell Night. We really had no idea what a hell of a night it would be. I arrived back at the school that Friday night at 6:30. The show began at 7:00 pm. As I walked up the stairs to the front door of the school I could see car after car coming into the driveway and kids and adults of all ages walking up to the school. As I opened the door to go into the front hallway Mike came running up to me and said, “Holy shit I think we are gonna fill this place tonight,! I heard that half the town expects to be hear!” I laughed and told him not to worry, it would be a lot of fun. He frowned and shook his head and said,”Yeah, for us but not the Freshmen.” I told him not to worry and we went into the gym.
Two Senior girls were setting up the admission booth, while our class President was checking his microphone and the stage sound system. One girl and one boy from the Senior Class would be Mcees for the event. There were 75 students in the Freshman class. Each one would be introduced by name and as a slave to their Senior owner, who had to stand up and be named. It was decided that it might be more fun if Seniors took recognition for ownership of each Freshman. As the Freshmen arrived they were lined up behind the stage curtain. They were instructed that afternoon at school to wear old clothes or gym clothes to the event. When they all began to be herded behind the stage and saw the large vats of bread dough and the obstacle course some began to pull away and ran off the stage and out of the gym, while their “Masters” ran after them.
Mike’s Freshman and mine had different ideas than we did about Hell Night. Mike’s Freshman asked him what the big vats were for. Mike told him anyone who didn’t run the obstacle course or couldn’t finish would be put in the vat of bread dough. The kid laughed and said “You ain’t puttin me in there!” Mike said not if you run the course and don’t fall.” My freshman started to laugh and whispered to Mike’s freshman as they both laughed. We told them to line up with the other freshmen and get ready to be called up to run the course. They reluctantly went into the line up. As the crowd began to come into the gym some sophomores and juniors began to shout at the Freshman. As the crowd settled down the stage curtain rose and the class President introduced himself and the Senior Class and thanked everyone for coming to Hell Night. The crowd cheered and shouted to bring out the Freshmen, “Bring them out! Bring them out!” As all of the Freshmen came out to the front of the stage the MCees began to call out their names and the names of their “Senior Masters” who stood up to be recognized. As names were called the crowd began to shout and whistle until all were introduced, then to everyone’s surprise a flurry of eggs were thrown at the Freshmen from the audience. No one expected the audience to be part of the hazing, until an entire row of junior high school kids stood up on the bleachers and hurled dozens of eggs at the stage, hitting the Freshman and the Seniors sitting in front of the stage. Out of shock and surprise the crowd began to laugh and shout for more, when another flurry of eggs was thrown directly at the Seniors as we stood up to run behind the stage where we couldn’t be hit.
Some of the Freshmen began to get into it as several of them stood firmly facing the crowd with their arms raised defiantly as they got struck by eggs hitting them in the chest and legs. Many of the girls ran off the stage until their Senior owners told them to stay on stage and shut the curtains, a mistake that later cost the Senior Class the hefty price of professionally cleaning heavy stage curtains. As all the Seniors tried to round up their Freshmen to begin the obstacle race most of the Freshman had run out of the gym and refused to go back. Mike and I and several other Senior boys caught a few of the runaway Freshmen boys and decided to put them in the vats of bread dough, to get others to start the race. Mike and several other Senior boys picked up two of the Freshman boys over their shoulders and threw them into the vat of gooey rising bread dough. The two freshmen were furious and began to throw bread dough at all of us and hitting us on our heads and in our faces with dough, then they climbed out of the vats and got other Freshman to join them to throw bread dough at all of the Seniors. All of this was happening behind closed curtains on stage until the principal ran up onto the stage and ordered us to open the curtains because they are being ruined by the eggs. As we opened the curtains the entire audience began to laugh and cheer as they saw all of the Senior Class with bread dough on them and the Freshman class still throwing it at us. Several Freshmen tipped over the vats and began to scoop out the dough and throw it at all of us. Senior girls were pulling dough out of their hair as all the Seniors were throwing dough back at the Freshman, until the crowd roared and another flurry of eggs were thrown at everyone on the stage.
The several town police were standing at the door for traffic and crowd control, when the principal ran over to them and began to wave his arms at them frantically until they went into the crowd to get the kids who were throwing eggs. Then the principal ran up on the stage to the microphone and shouted into it and said, ” This event is over.! It is over! Everyone please leave the gymnasium in an orderly manner. The policemen will be detaining at the door all those who have eggs or were seen throwing eggs. There is nothing funny about what happened here tonight!”
As the Seniors all stood on the stage and at their seats a loud spontaneous moan could be heard from all of us as we looked around at the mess we would have to clean up, and wondered what other punishment we would receive for putting on a real Hell Night. We never expected a Freshmen revolt, or the crowd of egg throwers. We just assumed that the our slaves would all accept their public hazing as good sports. After all we were Seniors and they were Freshmen, we expected them to follow our orders. As Mike and I wiped bread dough off our faces and hair Mike said,” What the hell were we thinking of when we decided to do this?” I laughed and replied, ” I don’t think any of us were thinking,even the principal when he approved it. No one thought it would turn into a disaster.” Then Mike laughed and said, ” Remember when we flattened all the Seniors tires?” I laughed and said , “Yeah, that was a riot, but we didn’t have to clean up after that or be publicly humiliated.”
As Mike and I laughed a policeman came up to us and said, ” Those kids that started throwing bread dough said you guys were the ones who threw them in the vat.” Mike and I looked at each other and then looked at the policeman and I said, ” Well, that was part of the hazing, we told them about it before the show started and they didn’t have a problem with it then. The policeman looked at Mike and I and began to laugh because we were covered with egg yolk and bread dough. Then he said, “Your class put on a hell of show tonight, thankfully no one got hurt. I don’t think you planned the egg throwing did you?” Mike looked at him as he wiped egg yolk off his shirt and said, ” If we had planned it we wouldn’t be the ones who got hit would we?” The cop laughed and said, “No I would hope not!” Then he said, “All right boys you got a hell of a mess to clean up. No Senior should expect to be going home early tonight until this stage and floor get cleaned up. My partner is having a talk with the egg throwers.” We nodded our heads as recognition of what he said, as he turned around and left the stage.
When the crowd left every Senior was handed a mop or pail or rag by the janitor and told to start with the gym floor and take down the stage curtains. The curtains and all of us were spotted with egg yolks and bread dough. All the Senior boys mopped and cleaned the gym floor and bleachers and walls near the stage. The Senior girls took down the curtains and cleaned the stage floors and walls and then helped the boys finish up the walls and bleachers. It was after midnight when we finished. No one was talking as we looked at each other still covered in bread dough and egg yolk. We were all tired and angry at ourselves and everyone for Hell Night going so badly, and our Senior Class being humiliated in front of the entire town. We wondered if we would ever live it down, and we were all thankful we only had one year left at school.
As Mike and I walked out of the school that night, he put his arm around my neck in a friendly headlock and said; ” I wonder what will happen on Monday?” I laughed and said,” They will probably line us up in front of a firing squad.” Mike replied, “Yeah. I hope they shoot the Freshmen first.”
The Senior Class became the butt of every joke in town that weekend. When school began on Monday morning the Senior Class was called into the gym for a meeting with the principal. We were all prepared to hear the worst. As we sat down in the bleachers the principal walked up onto the stage and stood at the podium and microphone. Everyone was silent when he began to speak. There was an audible sigh of relief from everyone when he said he would not punish anyone for what happened. However, the Senior Class had to pay for all damages done to the stage curtains. He also said he and the School Board decided, that high school Seniors could no longer participate in any form of public or private hazing of students. From that day to the present student hazing was never again allowed in the school.