Although not considered to be particularly witty or even marginally intelligent, Mr. Kranker made up for his intellectual short comings by sticking to the subjects he understood best - common sense, in a Dunce sort of way. This devotion to the science of common sense was evident in the decorations adorning Mr. Kranker’s classroom. Common Sense was celebrated with hand written observations of life and our relationship to it. Each observation was written on butcher paper, the kind that comes on large rolls sitting in the hallway of every school world wide.
Mr. Kranker’s observations had an Eiffel Tower appearance. He didn’t take the time to be sure the paper was cut at perfect 90 degree angles. The obserations all seemed to be leaning to one side. The paper’s color didn’t matter much to him either. He used whatever was on the spool. He was careful enough to write his observations with a marker color that could be read against the background paper.
The observations were scattered here and there; strung across the front of his desk, hung from the classic 1955 florescent light fixtures, others were directly over the drinking fountain and sink in the back corner of the room, still others directly in your face as you sharpened your #2 pencil. Some observations served duel purposes, observations and window blinds. Mr. Kranker’s window shades never stayed down when pulled. If you pulled one down it immediately spiraled back up so fast you were forced to cover your face to avoid getting whipped by the chord.
Each year Mr. Kranker required his students to memorize one of the observations and be ready to repeat it at any moment. He enjoyed abruptly stopping a lecture in mid sentence and shouting out the name of any student he found suffering from brain paralysis.
“Mr. Cromble,” he shouted. Dorf Cromble, a student in name only and always in a semi conscious state jumped to his feet and took a moment to get his bearings.
“Present Mr. Kranker,” Dorf replied.
Mr. Kranker paused for effect, knowing he had the dumbest student in the class squarely in his sights. Once the entire class was focused on Dorf’s sorrowful situation, Mr. Kranker continued. “Mr. Cromble, your observation about Dunce life in our wonderful vibrant Confederacy.”
Dorf began searching the room for his observation. He knew it had to do something with being rude to a waiter but the exact words failed him, which wasn’t uncommon for Dorf.
“Mr. Cromble!” Mr. Kranker shouted to get his attention. “Your eyes must be on mine. Searching the walls for something you should have set to memory long ago will not help you.”
Great beads of moisture ran down Dorf’s face. His bottom lip trembled and a slight stream of mucous broke free from his left nostril, forging downward toward his quivering mouth only to be swept away a moment later in one great swipe of the tongue.
“An Apple a day keeps the doctor away?” he said sheepishly. The class erupted in laughter. Mr. Kranker stood in front of the Confederacy of Dunces flag at the back of the room.
“Silence!” he bellowed. “ Mr. Cromble, you have again amazed me. In a country of Dunces, known for Dunces, you take being a Dunce to new heights. Tell me Dorf, can you see any of us down on this plane of existence from way up there in the clouds? Sit down and I’ll see you after school for 50 lines.”
All are sure the period of mourning for Mr. Kranker’s retirement will be short lived.
In honor of Mr. Kranker’s retirement the school’s newspaper printed his observations in their last edition of the school year. They are listed below for your enlightenment.
Thank you Mr. Kranker for 38 years of devoted service to the students of Cloverdale Comprehensive School in the Confederacy of Dunces.
Mr. Kranker’s Observations:
- Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
- Don't worry about what people think; they don't do it very often.
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
- Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
- Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
- A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention! It never fails.)
- For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
- If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
- Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
- A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.
- Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.
- Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it. Embrace your differences. Love each other.
- No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
- A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
- Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.
- Opportunities always look bigger after they have passed.
- Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.
- There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
- Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
- By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.
- Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.
- Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
- It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.
- There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness.'
- People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
- You should not confuse your career with your life.
- Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
- Never lick a steak knife.
- The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
- You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
- You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
- The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
- Your friends love you anyway.
- Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
- How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
- If you want to speed up your life, sign a 90-day note.