Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Billy Roberts and the Pea Shooter

We were freshmen. Billy and I both had study hall at the same time in that big room upstairs that doubled as a stage and doubled again as a library, as I recall. With good planning on our part we were able to seize the very last seats in adjoining rows. Probably not a good place for us.

One day Billy brought these copper tubes to school. I don't know how he had them and I don't know where they would have been used except for somebody's HVAC (today's terminology) equipment. Whatever the source, they were the perfect size for shooting BB's, and Billy of course had a supply of them, too.

Being a study hall, the room was always quiet, and when you shot one of the BB's, it would bounce around a few times up front, and we thought that was quite the sport. Until I shot one and Earl Mason, the principal that year, walked in the front door about the same time it landed. And bounced. You will recall that Earl was sort of a disciplinarian, and he had a nose for finding trouble.

He slowly walked the back of the room, and I suspect he never actually looked at us until he was standing right beside us. Long story short, he walked away with our shooters and BB's and we walked away with detention that night.

When we dutifully arrived at the appointed hour that evening, Earl pulled out the supply of BB's and said, "Count them." I don't recall how many there were. It could have been 50 or 100 or 200, I don't know and it doesn't matter. We counted and told him how many we had. He turned with his back to the desks and threw them over his shoulder. They bounced in every direction, and he said, "When you have them all back, you can go home."

You can imagine that was pretty much an impossible task, and when he got tired of waiting for us to make good on his demand he came back into the study hall, told us never to do that again, and told us to go home. We did exactly as he demanded.


  1. Oh, how I chuckle when I read your stories. I never knew you were such a "Dennis the Menace". These are things I can imagine my 4 year old grandson doing some day. Keep them coming.

  2. I wonder what would have happeded to you guys if you did that in school today? Suspension?

  3. But when my son got in trouble in school, it wasn't so funny.

  4. GREAT stories on Bill Roberts! Another one I remember is a group of guys going golfing w/him. He was just nailing his drives - way outdistancing the rest of us. We wondered how in the world he could make the ball fly so far. He simply told us he'd drilled a hole into the driver and filled it with lead. That would do it!!! He was a guy who marched to his own beat!!


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