copyright © 2004 by Adam Hahn

Workaday #5: Fart Machine
by Adam Hahn

Adam is dressed as a substitute teacher.


(Improvise brief introduction with substitute teacher action: tell the audience to find their seats, sit up, stop talking, etc.)

I can tell that a lot of people didn't bother to show up today. After last week, I can't say I'm surprised.

I think most of you know me by now. If you don't, you may address me as Mr. Hahn.

Before I begin, I'd like to talk about what happened when I was here last week.

Don't try to look innocent, Michael Tabor. I think you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm sure that most of you were in on the joke when it started, and all of you responded to it with the profound lack of maturity that I'm coming to expect from this group.

I'm referring, of course, to the remote-controlled fart machine.

I thought I could expect more from such a bright group of eighth-graders, but I guess I was mistaken.

I'm not angry.

I'm not angry.


I've discussed the matter with Mr. Roberts, and we're both very disappointed.

I'm not disputing the humor of fart noises. In the right context, fart noises are hilarious. What upsets me is your use of fart noises.

You wasted a lot of time with that fart machine--mine and yours. You wasted money on a novelty item that I confiscated. Frankly, you wasted the technology, Jamal, leaving a remote-controlled device on your person. You could have carried out exactly the same prank by going (fart noise) every time I turned around.

Overall, you exhibited a total lack of professionalism. Mecial, you were right in front of me when you said to Jamal, "You'll let me have the thing for next period, right? The thing? The thing you have in your pocket--you'll let me borrow it after this class?"

Then, Jamal, on the way out of class, you didn't even wait until you were in the hallway to hand him a plastic box clearly labeled, "Fart Machine."

Were the two of you trying to get caught?

My biggest criticism is your fart machine prank's lack of scope and imagination.

Let me show you what I mean. You look at a classroom with books, desks, and a vulnerable substitute teacher, and you say, "This room needs fart noises!" Then, you find the most expensive source of fart noises on the market and get caught holding it.

I look at the same classroom, and I say, "This room needs one more book."

Allow me to introduce Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Start looking for cheap copies of this book in used bookstores or on the Internet.

Pick a teacher, and wait until he steps out of the room. Drop a copy of Lolita on his desk. Wait a few days, then sneak another copy into his desk. Put another on the bookshelf next to his dictionary, and one more between his teachers' manuals. If you have a class with this teacher in the morning, try to get a copy into his lunch.

I'm just throwing out possibilities. Be creative! Look for the most embarrassing and unexpected opportunities for him to discover this book.

This is my copy. I'll leave it here for you. You'll find several passages underlined, and there are extensive notes in the margins on legal definitions of rape and federal restrictions on the transport of minors across state lines. Copy bits and pieces of these into the copies you plant.

After a couple of weeks, your teacher will be afraid to leave his room, afraid to open any bag with another teacher watching, afraid to take a sick day and risk a substitute finding one of your books.

Next, you will leave notes with your books. I've written the first one for you. "Mr. Roberts, will you be my Humbert Humbert? If you will, let me know on Monday by wearing those cute pants you have."

From this note forward, your teacher will fear each and every one of you.

You're not children anymore. You're going to start high school next year. It's time you begin to act like it.


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