Thursday, March 22, 2012

LIBRARY PEEPS

Week 1: The Silver Peep
     For the three weeks leading up to our Library Book Fair next week, we've had a Peeps Hunt Contest. Each Monday we've hidden a marshmallow Peep somewhere in the library, and the first student to find it wins a $10 gift certificate to the book fair.
     I anticipated the admin's objection to sugary candy lying around in the library and possibly drawing ants by painting each Peep with a layer of Elmer's glue to seal it. I also anticipated the way kids are sneaky and occasionally dishonest by spray-painting each Peep a different, secret color. (So a kid wouldn't be tempted to buy a package of Peeps, sneak one into the library, and say, "Look, I found it!")
Week 2: The Blue Peep
     The first Peep was found in about 5 minutes.
     The penultimate Peep was discovered after about 7 minutes.
     The final Peep, though, I inadvertently hid VERY well, apparently. It was sitting on a very bottom shelf in the corner, atop a book on Egypt. This was the black Peep, so it was harder to spot in its shadowed location.
Week 3: The Black Peep
     By the third week there were plenty of kids who were aware of the contest, and determined to get the last gift certificate. I counted at least 30 students who filled the library as soon as lunch started (that's when I said the hunt would begin) and immediately spread out and began frenziedly searching.
     After 10 minutes no one had found it, and they were all clamoring for hints. One of the girls eyed the two eraser hamsters that sit on my monitor and said, "I bet THEY know where it's hidden."
     I said, "Maybe I didn't tell them."
     She smirked, "I think they see EVERYTHING that goes on in here."
     After 15 minutes the Peep was still undiscovered. I started thinking I might have to let it stay there until after school, when they could search for it some more. But in the meantime they were racing up and down the aisles, peering under tables and chairs, knocking into each other, the panic building...
     One of the boys kept saying, "Found it!" even though he hadn't, just to screw with the other kids' heads. They kept yelling at him to stop saying that. I couldn't help snickering.
     More and more kids were coming up to me, eyes wild, begging for hints.
     "Is it in the locked cabinet?" (No, of course not.)
     "Is it up higher than where we can see?" (Duh, NO.)
     "What color is it this week?" (Not telling.)
     I had to tell them that it was definitely not anywhere behind my desk, so they didn't converge in my work space.
     I could see the artificial ficus trees at the back of the library thrashing and shaking like there was a hurricane blowing through the room.
     "Hey!" I yelled, "I did not hide it anywhere that requires DESTROYING anything!"
     I realized the library would never survive more hunting after school, so I had to start giving hints.
     "Okay, first hint: Neither of the eraser hamsters can see the Peep from where they're sitting."
Eraser hamsters
     One of the kids said, "The brown one is missing his left eye, is that important?!"
     "No," I sighed. "Just pretend he has both eyes."
     The kids began assessing the hamsters' lines of sight, which was pretty funny. But the clock was ticking away and still they weren't finding that stupid Peep. Meanwhile, there were a bunch of other kids working on the computers, printing stuff, and checking books out. I was ready for lunch to end.
     One of the Peep-hunters ran up to the desk and asked earnestly in a rush, "Do you have a ladder?"
     "Okay everybody!" I yelled, "Second hint: the Peep is LOW."
     All 30-some Peep-hunters dropped to all fours throughout the library, and it sort of looked like a covert military maneuver. One of the high schoolers hanging out by my desk shook his head in amusement. Most of the hunters were junior high kids.
     I thought for SURE they would find it after that hint, but a few more minutes passed.
     One of the kids asked, "What if somebody ATE it?"
     I said they'd be very sick because it's covered in a layer of glue and spray paint.
     The cleanup bell rang. 
     "Third hint: EGYPT!" I yelled.
     In the resulting chaos, one of the kids yelled, "What? Regis? Did he say Regis?"
     "Not Regis, EGYPT!" I clarified, wondering if that was a Regis Philbin reference. Do teenagers even know who Regis Philbin is?
     There was a chorus of exclamations and squeals, thundering of feet, etc. Finally the sounds of triumph and disappointment as an 8th grade girl claimed the prize.
     Whew! 
     The cool thing is that because of the nature of this particular school (college-prep academy with high standards) the girl who found the Peep went through the Egypt section and straightened it up for me of her own volition, because she had noticed what a mess it was after the frenzy of the hunt.
     Incidentally, I ate a few stale Peeps last night. They really do taste like shit.

4 comments:

  1. I laughed so hard I cried - you have so much fun at your library. I am envious, but oh well.
    Love the hamster erasers. I saw a squirrel on campus a few days ago (really, an actual one) and thot of you.
    We will all have to stick together next year - I'm afraid its going to be rough.
    HLT

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  2. A real SQUIRREL?! I am the envious one now! ;)

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  3. Yes, I think there are actually a few of them.
    A couple of years ago I was trespassing under his/her tree and the little darling loosen a pinecone and tossed it at me. Fortunately it missed, but the squirrel had really good aim.

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  4. Those poor little Peeps! Covered in glue! You are depriving them of their destiny to be eaten – whatever they taste like!! Great story, btw!!

    PS: Did the hamsters eat their cake?

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