From Stephen (via email):
i can’t be bothered to trawl through slashdot etc for geeky news that is on my level, so get your act together and update the site! you could at least regale us with more reminiscences from our schooldays?
Good point. Exams aren’t that important. So, as a sister story to this humorous anecdote, here’s the legend of the Toilet Incident (the one with the shoes).
When Stephen was in school he didn’t feel content. He felt imprisoned, a view shared by many confined between those ten-foot high steel fences. The best any of us could hope for was a good view of the sunny day passing outside. Where best to gain this covetted view? The toilet of course. Alone and unattended, you could really get into the summer mood, without Teacher breathing down your neck. But the windows in the toilets were high, too high for a third-class student to see out of unaided. The solution jumped readily into Stephen’s mind: stand on the edge of the toilet. So obvious; so easy; so disastrous.
Stephen’s genius to this point had been hidden from me. He kept his plan to himself, and no-one else would have ever know about it, but for one fatal flaw. Toilet seats are slippy, and if you stand on one there are only two reasonable ways off. Slip out, or slip in. This story writes itself from here. Stephen went home wearing one sock and his PE runners that day, and to my knowledge he avoided standing on toilets to the end of his school days.