Jerrymandering Flautists

Link To Today’s Strip

Dinkle has had about enough of these pranks, and so have I. None of them are anywhere near the quality or level of execution needed to be more than a time-killer. The true goal of school pranks is notoriety and immortality. Moving the pickled animals in jars from the science lab into the trophy case, welding a car around the flag pole, staging a lunch room flashmob. A beautiful moment of adolescent apotheosis, where you have risen above the rules, the hierarchy, the schedule that has domesticated your youthful exuberance. A good prank is a shock to the system.

I hope you guys don’t mind another dumb slice-of-life CBH story. I’ve just got nothing to work with here.

My little sister is a modern day saint. A sweet, loving, little gem of a girl who sees the best in everyone, and who has never met a soul she wasn’t willing to pray for. The kind of person who, when she got a the flu, said, “Well, if I had to get the flu, this is the good kind of flu. Because I’m really not coughing all that much. And at least I got it over Christmas break, so I won’t have to miss any work.” I haven’t seen her get properly mad in 20 years. The closest she comes to anger is nervous laughter and pursed-lip silence. The only negative emotions she allows herself to feel are sympathetic sadness, and guilt feeling anything else bad. If this were the middle ages, she would have shrines built in her honor, and pilgrims would walk barefoot to have her lay upon hands. Instead she teaches kindergarten at a Christian school.

She was already like that in high school. And everyone in her class knew it, and most loved her, even if they found it hard to relate to so much concentrated purity.

But on the last day of band of her senior year, she kept getting called out by the band director for not playing her flute right. She’d never really been dedicated to her instrument,( I don’t think she’s picked up the flute once since she graduated.), but the teacher had never really picked on her like this before.

Finally he slapped down his baton and said to her, “I don’t even know why you’ve bothered being in band for four years. You’re terrible at it! You are the worst flute player I have ever had!”

And my sister turned bright red, and shouted back, “If I’m such a bad student, maybe it’s because you’re a lousy teacher!”

The band director went stony silent, and said, “You go to the principals office right now. You are out of my band.”

And my little sister stood up and roared, “You can’t kick me out because I quit!” Then she picked up the flute she’d been using, and bent it over her knee. She threw the twisted instrument on the floor and stormed out of the room.

You could have heard a pin drop. My little sister, the sweetest, most kind girl in school, had shouted at a teacher and was headed to the principal.

Then giddy laughter coming from outside the door broke the tension.

It had been her senior prank, planned between her and the band director. The flute had been an old, broken castoff of the department. No one in her class had seen it coming.

My sister is a saint who never really gets angry. But she’s also a pretty good actress.

And that is how you prank the band.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

18 responses to “Jerrymandering Flautists

  1. J.J. O'Malley

    Thanks to you and your sister for that story, CBH. That was so much more interesting than this entire week of strips.

  2. William Thompson

    The real question is, what’s the Westview definition of a friend? And how would Dinkle recognize any sigh of friendship? Okay, that’s two questions, but what makes you think arithmetic matters at Westview High School?

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Blech. A one-paneler is a sure sign that he’s got nothing and sure enough…

  4. Aurora Snorealis

    Jesus. This is like the 600th verse of “American Pie” when I finally reach my limit and scream, “Fucking ENOUGH!”

  5. billytheskink

    This is serious amateur hour in the pranks department, but with potentially dangerous consequences. If Dinkle buys this terrible stunt, he’s not going to let these dumb pranksters sit together for a day in band class… no, he’s going to assume that Lefty has no idea what she’s doing and end his alleged retirement… dooming these kids and all of their classmates to years upon years of Dinkle megalomania.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Dinkle substituting feels like the beginning in a long process where Dinkle becomes the full-time band teacher again. It would fit perfectly with Batiuk’s self-serving ideas of what he thinks the comics-reading public wants to see. He thinks Dinkle is as beloved as Hobbes.

      He just hasn’t figured out how to get rid of Becky yet. My guess is that she loses her other arm in a bus crash during a band trip. That’s needlessly cruel and ironic enough for this world. But don’t worry, she’ll get a generous disability package so John won’t have to leave Comics Corner.

  6. Gerard Plourde


    The imagination and planning that your sister and her band teacher employed in her senior prank is light years better than anything we’ve been subjected to in this arc.

    The whole premise of this week has been mystifying. Not only is Dinkle a constant presence at Westview he’s also legendary (He’s been touted in the strip as the world’s most famous band leader). That alone should put these kids on edge, like when the disciplinarian walks in. But also the totally half-assed nature of all of these gags show how little effort went into the strip’s creation.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    I wonder how many readers are still wondering “Who’s Mrs. Howard?”

  8. Ray

    CBH, that story was nothing short of AWESOME! Thanks for sharing.

    Circling back to yesterdays OBF poster, is that Le Chat Bleu perched upon the bookcase? If so, what may it be portending?

  9. Bad wolf

    To me this all suggests TB had a notebook of ideas for “Halle Dinkle” that never got used, which he digs into whenever the old well’s running dry.

  10. Batiuk could learn a thing or two about storytelling from you, CBH.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Batiuk cured Dinkle’s deafness, brought him out of retirement, inexplicably got him a job as a substitute teacher, and sent one-armed Becky away for a week. And why? So he could smirk at mild classroom distractions. Why are his stories the weakest after Batiuk put so much effort into bringing him back?

  12. Maxine of Arc

    Now THAT is a great prank.

  13. newagepalimpsest

    This is the kind of strip that music teachers cut out of the paper… Because they need more birdcage lining!

  14. Mr. A

    Has that kid been sitting there since Monday’s strip? Or did he just move to that seat? Neither makes much sense to me: either he should have been visible in earlier strips, or Dinkle should have caught him before he got there.

    Hmmm…I suppose he could have switched seats during yesterday’s strip, while Dinkle was investigating the hallway. It would have been fun to see him seizing the opportunity, one ploy building off another…