IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY
Illustration: E. R. Ronny
Revenge comes in the form of a math exam if you happen to be a certain moustachioed teacher. “They can bunk my classes, they can make jokes about my baldness, but they CANNOT escape my EXAAAM!” *cue dramatic thunder and lightning* Our man of math laughs maniacally. He has finally lost it.
Meanwhile in the classroom, the poor hapless creatures otherwise known as examinees are desperately fidgeting. They have had a pi(e) thrown in their faces, like literally (excuse the Shaer-like joke). But one examinee in the corner bravely refuses to be daunted. He gets up and changes his seat, muttering to the teacher about cosmic alignment. Five minutes later, he does it again. “Well the planets are always moving, aren't they?” After the sixth time, he begins to attract irritated stares. After the eleventh time, he finds that someone has used a shoelace to secure his belt to the chair. Realising this, he resigns himself to his condition. Teacher asks him why he isn't moving about anymore. “Um, technical difficulties, sir.”
With his cosmic alignment still not satisfactory, our examinee sneaks a look at the question paper. His right eye begins to twitch. His left foot jerks uncontrollably. He looks like he's seen a ghost. His entire body convulses as he writhes in agony, all the while being chained to his seat. Teacher rushes over, concerned about his promotion. Examinee grabs on to Teacher's leg like there's no tomorrow. “Save me, O Wise One! Only YOU have the power to save me from this exam!” Teacher shakes him off, cruel and cold-hearted creature that he is.
But the Examinee still has hope in his heart. And time on his hands. He has only killed twenty minutes of a two-hour exam. And the Teacher is probably pissed at him. Nice guy that he is, he decides to cheer him up. So he starts drawing on the back of his question paper, taking his time to give the teacher long, admiring looks in between. Teacher looks away. Eventually he walks over, and sees that our Examinee has attempted a portrait of him. Moved by the truth in his art, he proceeds to remove the remnants of his breakfast from his moustache. Teacher clears his throat. “I suggest you get started with your exam.”
And so he does. Our examinee takes out all his pens, pencils and coloured pencils and stacks them up, one on top of the other. When they come crashing down with a clatter, he just picks them up and starts over. Once the tower is complete, he decides to sharpen his pencils - all forty two of them - to point perfection. Then he takes out a pen and opens the exam book. But the pen isn't working. He gives it a mighty slap on the back and creates an equally mighty ink splat in the middle of the page. Our Examinee is delighted. He turns his page this way and that. He positions his head at a 104.5° angle so that he can analyse the inksplat with greater accuracy. “I have got it!” he finally exclaims. After ten minutes, he scrunches up the paper and aims it at the Teacher's left nostril. He misses.
At this point, he suddenly remembers his calculator. He takes it out and presses some buttons. Then he holds it up in the air and waves it around. He puts it back on his desk and takes it apart, using his army of newly-sharpened pencils. “The aliens have made contact,” he claims. “They are coming.”
By now the Teacher is picking the hairs out of his moustache one by one and adding them to the small bonfire on his desk. The bell rings. The Examinee jumps onto the desk and tears his shirt wide open. He has a superhero suit on underneath. He breaks through the ceiling and flies out to save the world. He failed the exam, but hey, supermen can't be bothered with math. That teacher had no idea what he was messing with.