Were there any weird or stupid things that were fads specific to your school/area growing up?

As an example:

In my home town of Los Alamos New Mexico in the mid 80’s it for some reason became a thing for a few weeks for my fellow middle schoolers to crush sweet tart candies and snort them. Why? I have no fricking clue, and am proud to admit that I never tried it. I suppose it may have been to shock the norms into thinking you were doing cocaine, or to look Gangsta in a town that was blindingly white with no real access to hard drugs, or just being so bored that even a shock of pain might seem fun. But it got bad enough that the nurse had to make specific announcements that this was not a good idea, would not get you high and could possibly mess up your sinuses.

Please someone tell me that my school wasn’t the only one where doing something weird or idiotic suddenly became fashionable?

Bonus points for those who are brave enough to admit that they themselves engaged in said activity.

ETA: For those parents/teachers out there, weird fads at your kid’s/student’s school are also welcome.

De-tasseling corn in the summer. Pretty much all the kids I knew did it. I was lucky as I had other work. It sounded dreadful.

I recall there being a moral panic among the students when I was in elementary school probably about 1982 or so- all about “Devil worshippers” and all their nefarious goings on down at the “black bridge” near the elementary school, which seemed to us at the time to be about as foreboding and fell place as there could possibly be. Surely they were sacrificing things and other worse things!

In reality, the “black bridge” was an old trestle bridge built out of creosote-covered wood across a 20 or so foot deep drainage ditch that ran right near the school. AFAIK, it was built by the original landowner to get his cattle across the ditch easily.

And I’m pretty sure there were no “Devil worshippers” or Satanists or anyone else like that. At worst, it was some bored teenagers screwing around.

Candy cigarettes. It was the early '70’s but still. In grade school we used to bum “smokes”
off each other. It was a small rural school, we were so weird.

I never smoked real cigarettes, can’t stand to be around them.

The weird fad at my high school was getting pencils stuck in the ceiling. If you threw a pencil just right, the point would get stuck in the tile. I can’t explain why, but there was something hilarious about a pencil just stuck there. The music room had a particularly high ceiling so I was impressed one day when I saw someone had managed to get one up there.

It was cool to pass around and eat salt rocks in the second grade. It was rock salt, which of course isn’t meant to be eaten. That doesn’t stop me from eating one rock when I make ice cream once a year.

That wasn’t just your school.

The preferred method at my alma mater was to lay the pencil on a piece of paper, let it sag down, then snap the paper straight quickly, sending the pencil up.

ETA: not sure what happened, this post was in response to RolltOutheBarrel, obviously.

Equally dreadful was “walking the beans”. That’s going down the rows and chopping down everything that wasn’t a soybean plant.

I remember marbles being a periodic fad at my elementary school. Initially tolerated by the school admins but eventually suppressed due to reasons that were never made clear…

  • I guess there was a legitimate injury argument to be made over stepping on/slipping on lost marbles.
  • Fear of them being used as projectiles
  • Fear of marbles promoting unhealthy activities like gambling?

I just remember for a few months everyone was playing marbles and then suddenly they weren’t…

The cafeteria at my elementary school served chili every now and then. On the tray was a bowl of chili, half a peanut butter sandwich, four Premium saltines, a slice of cheddar cheese (about three by one half by one quarter inches), and peaches from a can. One day (in second grade, IIRC) one boy dared another to put everything on the tray in his chili and eat it all. He did and said it was good. After that, a certain dozen or so guys did that every chili day without fail.

Fast forward to seventh grade. Now the guys from our school were dispersed in a junior high that had at least five feeder schools. T. Jones from our school proceeded to put his crackers, then his sandwich, then his peaches into his chili. Other boys from other schools looked at him as if he suddenly grew an extra head or tentacles or something. “What the hell are you doing?” they asked. T replied “Everybody ate it this way at (insert name of old school here)!” and looked at me for confirmation. “Uh, no…” I replied. I think that was the last time I ever saw anyone do the put everything in the chili thing.

Oh man that was cold of you leaving a brother hanging like that.

Pretty tame as weird fads go, but after the Fonz did it on Happy Days, it became a thing in my school for awhile to balance a stack of coins on the back of one’s forearm at the elbow, arm upraised with forearm parallel to the floor, hand near ear, then swing your arm down and try to catch all the coins in your hand.

One of the cool kids was a hero for successfully doing it in class with a stack of about 20 pennies, I think? I got pretty good with quarters- I think a stack of 10 was my record.

Reminiscent of the style of grandiose talking the Geico Camel does (“Hump DAYEEEEE”), I remember jocks in the mid seventies at my high school would talk like that. Their mantra was “The Big” followed by somebody’s name. When two of them bumped into each other, it would be “The BIG Doug!” “The BIG CV!”

This was an early version of Bro love, for lack of a better description.

Whenever somebody would get mad and yell at them, they’d fake offense by covering their ears and bellowing “Oh! My virgin ears!”

One of the teachers, Mrs. MacDaniels, became “The Big Dac Maniels!” I’m sure she sent plenty to the principal’s office for calling her that.

I remember in my English class, Steve called Herbie “The BIG Herb!” The teacher, very erudite and articulate, exclaimed “Steve, if you say Herbie’s name in that tone of voice again, I’m going to scream!” That was the only time she lost her cool that I can remember.

At my rural high school spotting deer was a common evening activity. Kids sixteen and older go for a drive, picking up classmates and using a spotlight to check out herds of deer in fields.

This was in preparation of deer season. It was also an excuse to drink beer.

I remember being surprised learning that kids on city schools had never heard of spotting.

When I was 9, there were a few weeks when girls at my primary school said you could make yourself crazy** by bending over and rapidly touching your feet and knees alternately. Apparently some girl had started acting really weird after doing this a few evenings ago, so that proved it.

** “Crazy” wasn’t the word that was used - I can’t remember how it was described, nowadays kids might say it got you high or something but that wouldn’t have meant anything to us then.

Hopped up on goofballs”?

Like many of these, that was not unique to your school. We did it as well. And as it happens I Googled this fad a few weeks ago and found this article about the Happy Days episode. Apparently there was a real teenager named Charles Galioto who was famous for this trick, even appearing on The Tonight Show. After that, an entire episode of Happy Days was built around it, with him supposedly being a cousin of The Fonz.

At my elementary school, we mined chalk. The playground had deposits of white rock which were great for writing on pavement, but my favorite thing to do was wet the stuff in the water fountain and then you had clay. We would go out with sticks at recess and excavate big chunks. We weren’t allowed to do it, because we’d get all covered in dirt, but more importantly we were creating pits all over the place.

I don’t think we did that but I do remember people snorting Pixy Stix.

I dunno. According to Professor Harold Hill:

Friends, the idle brain is the devil’s playground!