Paranoia 101

Back in the Day (late 1990s) I attended the same Junior College as one of my best friends, Kim. We often hung out together between classes and met for lunch and so on. Being a student of human nature — and easily bored — I tried out an experiment one day while waiting for her to get out of choir class. I merely stood around the corner near the door and took note of how many people even saw that I was there. It’s remarkable what people don’t notice when they aren’t expecting to see anything.

In fact, even Kim, who knew we were meeting after choir, walked right on by without even checking the corner. This naturally concerned me for her future safety and led to the training exercise that we will affectionately refer to as Paranoia 101.

Now I know that people tend to erroneously assume that everyone else thinks the same way they do and yet it still comes as something of a shock whenever I realize that maybe most people don’t look around while working in the garden and think, “Now, if I suddenly had to kill somebody I could use the trowel and hoe rapier-dagger style and the best cover is probably going to be behind the grill… oh, now wait, it’s a propane grill — explosive… the stairs might be better…” That’s just the way my subconscious rambles on; you get used to it. So while I wasn’t too surprised that Kim — who was an only child living way out in the country — had such a low suspicion level, what with no brothers to prank her on a daily basis, I decided that it was my duty as a friend to help her be more aware of her surroundings. For her own good you know. And it’s such a shame to waste a perfectly good Element of Surprise.

So I stealthed up behind her as she continued on her merry way down the hall. You will need to imagine the Jaws Music as you scroll down now…

me leaping out of the shadows (there weren't really any shadows, but it looks cooler this way)

After I pounced on my friend and she screamed and laughed, I told her, “Now you really should be more aware of your surroundings. What if I were an assassin or something?” She laughed it off and we went to lunch.

Two days later, same scenario. I waited in the same corner to see if she had learned anything. Nope. Repeat sneaking and pouncing. The choir teacher got used to me lying in wait outside his class and would just wink at me as he passed without letting on to poor Kim. We did this for a few weeks before she remembered to look around that corner when she got out of choir.


I moved down the hall to the next corner. She checked the usual corner, assumed I was running late and blithely continued on past my new spot, oblivious as can be. Sneak. Pounce. Repeat.

She caught on quicker this time and was checking that corner within a week. I moved to the next building she went through. And so on. Once I hid under the desk where she worked and grabbed her ankle just as she answered the phone. She kept her cool and managed not to scream at the person on the phone. I probably got two levels in Sneak Attack that semester.

it's not paranoia when you really do have sneaky friends ambushing you...

I knew she had completed her training and was much safer for it when she habitually crept around corners and doors, looking side to side pretty much everywhere she went. Everyone else looked at her like she was a crazy person, but I was proud of her.




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2 Responses to “Paranoia 101”

  1. LOL!! Our college tuition money was well spent!

  2. Patti Marino Says:

    Loved it! Sounds like something I would do, but could not put into words so eloquently and FUNNY! Keep on writing and share!

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