Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sound Billies one, two, three

First of all, apologies for not visiting your blog/responding to comments of late, but I'm actually starting to get into this studying thing. Don't worry, it's only for another seven weeks...

~

Had a meeting today and got a fit of the giggles during it. Myself and Kerr (I'll just call him Kerr for the purposes of this story, because that's his name) caught each other's eye midway through a serious discussion and both of us started convulsing at the same time. You know, the silent kind of laugh where your whole body shakes and tears come out, but you have to pretend like you're not laughing.

It got me thinking back to school days, and Sound Billies.

In the earlier years of secondary school, each class remained in one room for the day, and teachers would come and go between subjects. Of course, this meant that in the time between one teacher leaving and the other arriving, the class would descend into utter fucking chaos. Fights, shouting, jerking off, pretending your desk was a spaceship...these were all normal activities.

Once the teacher arrived, he or she would go ballistic, because the classroom looked like it had been pillaged by a group of superintelligent, highly organised primates. After various complaints and escalations to vice-principal and principal level about the class's behaviour, we were given a final warning: shut your fucking mouths or go home. This stern admonition spawned Sound Billies.

The game was simple: one student, any student, shouts "Sound Billies one two three!". As soon as the (stupid, incredibly stupid) words were spoken, you were forbidden from talking. The words worked with the speed and efficiency of a mousetrap snapping; silence reigned.

Seconds would pass; on rare occasions, even minutes. Then somebody would cough, or clear their throat, or if they were feeling particularly brave, shout "Fuckers!" or somesuch, and the room would attack. Yes, the penalty for breaking Sound Billies was taking a serious fucking beating, without fighting back, from everyone else in the class.

The teachers loved it. We were praised for remaining quiet and calm without supervision. They had no idea that the wrath of your peers is a far more effective deterrent than a breezy detention period could ever be.

Like everything, Sound Billies escalated. Some smart fuckers would do things like scrape their desk along the floor, which, since it was not a sound coming out of your mouth, was not directly punishable. To counteract this, Noise Billies was born. Noise Billies meant no sounds. Whatsoever. You had to work incredibly hard just to keep totally still, focussing on your breathing and your breathing alone...because even if you breathed too deeply, or sighed, you were fucked.

Noise Billies necessitated alot of finger-pointing. You'd point at some fucker, who'd shake his head and look all innocent, holding his hands up, silently pleading. Then some other lad would say "Get him!" and of course he'd be the one to get his head kicked in, because after all, the whole finger-pointing thing was just a ploy to get some other mong to drop their guard and make a noise.

Noise Billies worked, but then some smart-arse came up with Smile Billies, the ultimate in Billy games. Smile Billies came with all the prerequisites of Sound and Noise Billies, but also precluded smiling. This, as you can imagine, was an extremely difficult game, and after a beating or two, I learned pretty quickly how to pull a good poker face.

It was my attempts at controlling my smiles today in this meeting that brought back all the memories of the "Billies" games. The memory alone was enough to wipe the smile off my face.

Those teenage games were excellent training for life ahead, both in terms of preparing you for boring meetings in the corporate world, and also for getting the shit kicked out of you on nights out. They should be mandatory for all schoolchildren.

6 Comments:

The Swearing Lady blathered this crap:

The aforementioned games have been adopted in my house, effective immedi...

Old Knudsen blathered this crap:

No caning in your school then? that had a surprising effect on keeping the kids quiet.

Cindy-Lou blathered this crap:

You know, I'd expect that from grade schoolers, but teenagers? Really?

Debbie blathered this crap:

I always thought my desk was a car.

I always start laughing in meetings too. Or whenever I'm supposed to be serious.

Kav blathered this crap:

TSL: *points finger threateningly*

Old Knudsen: I went to school in the 80's/90's, not the 50's like you.

cindy-lou: I know. I told the lads about it, and we've been considering doing it here at work. It's a timeless classic.

debbie: A lad in my class used to heave up his desk and make spaceship noises during every class...he was feckin hilarious.

I think the giggles are a universal affliction.

The Swearing Lady blathered this crap:

On the Blogger Beta thing: I don't know! It just worked like that for me! I didn't do the "customise your blog!" thingy because it can feck up the ould template, but other than that, everything just worked out swimmingly by itself. It's probably because I'm a gurl.