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Monday, June 6, 2016

The "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Graduation" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Working over the weekend at Manheim Township High School where I once taught Graphic Arts and Photography.  Running the offset press, printing the graduation program for the upcoming Graduation Ceremony.  This is probably one of the most intense printing jobs I do during the year, due to the time restraints of the program.  Finals finished Friday and teachers had to have their failure lists into the office by noon.  I am then given the list of those students who will not graduate and I must remove them from the Indesign file I have already prepared on my computer.  Sounds simple except for the fact that the teachers never have their failures in on time and when late afternoon rolls around, the office staff starts to freak out.  

I must print the program in a timely manner so those who have a program at graduation don't get wet ink on their hands and clothing.  Well, I am on time with running the press, but something always seems to go wrong.  Nothing different today, since the 35-year-old press began to act up and send paper into the feeding system.  Time to clean the rollers and put everything back together again.  Then the press decided to send paper into the water fountain rollers.  Clean the press once again and give it another try.  Eventually I had the program finished and was ready to clean the press once again before I folded and assembled the program.  Now, I have been printing the graduation program for close to half a century, but never had what happened next, happen before.  I prepared for clean-up by putting rubber gloves on my hands to try and keep from getting covered in ink.  I thought to myself that perhaps I should visit the restroom before I begin clean-up, so grabbed my keys and headed across the hall to the faculty restroom.  The school is totally empty today, being a weekend, with an eerie feeling and hollow sound to the vacant halls.  I unlocked the restroom, placed my keys on the towel holder and completed my mission.  Washed my hands and headed out the door, heading back to the locked print shop.  Then it hit me!  My keys!!  I had locked them in the restroom and couldn't get back in the print shop.  Actually couldn't do anything, since my car keys are also on my keychain.  Here I am, standing in this huge high school that is home to close to 2000 students and teachers and I'm lost as to what to do.  Call my wife was my next thought, but what could she do?  I decided to wander the halls of the partial three-story school to find someone who could help me.  After 30 minutes of roaming areas I had access to without a key, I decided to head back to the print shop.  Just as I got back I saw a custodian enter a door.  I called to him and headed his way.  Now, I haven't taught in this building for 17 years now and I don't know many of the custodians.  This one was one of them.  He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me standing there with rubber gloves on my hands and a strange look on my face.  "Where's that music coming from?" were his first words.  I replied, "I was listening to Roy Orbison while I was running the graduation program on the printing press in room 308, so I had to have it pretty loud."  He still looked puzzled, since they changed the room numbers a few years ago.  "Can you open the faculty bathroom across the hall so I can get my keys?  I locked them in there and need to finish the graduation program."  He looked unsure, but he followed me toward the restroom.  Then it struck me that I was wearing the gloves and he might be firghtened, so I stood back as he opened the restroom and retreived my keys.  By now he was beginning to believe me, I think.  I thanked him as he watched me head across the hall to the print shop and use the keys to open the door.  My day was uneventful after I reentered the print shop, but I'm sure I'll hear about my day the next time I walk back into the school.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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