My Favorite Troll

A few days ago on Reddit, I stumbled across this AskReddit thread: Just watched an elderly gent take 5 mins to cross a crosswalk, then begin running once he reached the other side. What’s the best troll-move you’ve seen?

I didn’t get there in time to add my own story but if I had, I would nominate the one and only Mr. James Maddox.  Here’s how it goes:

During my Senior year of High School, I was notified that during that day’s school assembly that I would be getting an award for Perfect Attendance and No Detentions.

The Perfect Attendance really wasn’t that surprising.  Mom was the Attendance Secretary at the High School. This meant that it was really difficult to slip fake notes past her so we didn’t even bother.  Still, I was a kid so I did get sick once in a while.  How I managed not to miss any school is a bit of a shock to me.   As for no detentions, I guess that was my nature.  My family can attest that I did get into trouble now and then in grade school but I suppose I mellowed out in High School (that’s a whole different story).

The day of the assembly, I was sitting in Mr. Maddox’s classroom.  Maddox was our English teacher (and one of my greatest inspirations and influences).  I got along with him great, being a tutor in the writing center, taking all his classes, etc.  Mr. Maddox had us working on some papers and while we were doing that, the student in front of me (who it was escapes me at this moment so we’ll call him Bill) kept turning around and talking to me.  I’d give short responses because, Hello, we’re in class and supposed to be working.

Didn’t work.  After about five minutes, Mr. Maddox comes up behind me and slams his hand down on my desk.

“Matt and Bill!  That’s enough!  Both of you, detention!  Get to the Dean’s office!”

The entire class fell silent.

Mr. Maddox, you see, did not get angry.  He is not that sort of a guy.  Once he hooked a camera up to a RC Car and drove it into another teacher’s classroom.  He was fond of wearing rollerblades instead of shoes.  The man could give Patch Adams a run for his money.

I tried to protest my innocence but Mr. Maddox would hear none of it.  He wrote us up detention slips and sent us on our way.  I ignored Bill the entire way.  I was livid.  I wanted to kill him.

We get up to the Dean’s Office and take our seats.  Mrs. Frick (known as Auntie Frick to us Hughes’ boys) took one disapproving look at me, got up, and walked next door to the Attendance  Office.  She comes back with my Mom, who gives me an even more disapproving look, then leaves to hide what is undoubtably her shame.  I, Matt Hughes, have failed the Hughes clan and shall forever be banished.

I sat there for a few minutes, alternating between telling Bill to shut the hell up and contemplating if I could kill myself by leaping out the window.  After a bit, the door to the hall opens and Mr. Maddox pokes his head in.  He smiles that damned grin of his and says “Gotcha.”

I’m told the expression on my face was a mix of horror, surprise, and general What The F**k?!   Bill started laughing.  Mrs. Frick started laughing.  Everyone in the Dean’s Office and Attendance office burst out laughing.  They were all in on it – Mrs. Frick, my Mom.  Maddox had even roped Bill into the con.  Ironically, I almost got a detention for slapping the ever living crap out of Bill on the way back to class.

By the time I picked up my award later that afternoon, the story had gotten around school.  Hell, I didn’t care.  It was by far and away the best prank I’d been involved in and I was damned proud to be part of it.*  So there you go – Mr. James Maddox, Professional English teacher and Troll.

* Up to that time, that is.  I’ll tell you about the other one when the statutes of limitations has run out.

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