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Primary School and the Drinking Fountain

September 19, 2007
Every day this week when my daughter got in the car after school was out she had a story to tell about the drinking fountain. Today’s story included how supposedly there was a booger on the water fountain yesterday afternoon so now no one will drink out of it even though there is no booger to be seen and after triple reassurance from Mr. Ned the custodian that he did in fact clean the drinking fountain and it is now safe and clean and ready to refresh the little children after a hot recess.

Normally the drama associated with the water fountain is how long another student takes. A five-count rule is in place and no child is to break it. Once the thirsty child begins to drink, the child next in line begins to count (one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three….). Naturally, disputes break out arguing over the rapidity of the counting, and if the drinker stopped on time or managed to cheat an extra second before the counter threatens to call a teacher. Then there are the nasty rumors how Mr. Ned attached a water hose to the back of the fountains so the children are really just drinking water hose water.

Of course, no water fountain dialogue would be complete without the constant complaint of the water’s temperature. Children jockey for first in line positions because everyone knows by the fourth or fifth student the water will no longer be cold. Who wants to drink tepid water hose water?

While children impatiently wait their turn, their wishful imagination envisions multiple fountains of cold Kool-aid, lemonade, and soda pop only to face the hard reality once their lips are to the faucet, but only the gross children actually touch the faucet with their lips. Everyone knows that.

Alas, for the disappointed there is always a loophole, –volunteering to take the attendance to the office or run some other errand for the teacher means a free drinking fountain with no one counting and, if it happens to be a while since the last recess, the water is probably at its coldest.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

See also, The Bubbler. LOL!

  1. momo permalink
    September 20, 2007 4:16 am

    Mr Ned, a figure of fascination and mystery, like school custodians everywhere.

    I have a hard time getting my girl to drink enough water. I’m amazed at all these kids who are fighting to get to the fountain.

  2. Chris permalink
    September 20, 2007 10:44 pm

    What a great post, made me feel like I was walking the halls of Lake Lucina Elementary School with it’s gaudy tempra painted plexiglass windows.

  3. lost clown permalink
    September 22, 2007 3:59 pm

    She should check out the Klise sister’s “Regarding the Fountain: A Tale in Letters of Liars and Leaks.” All about a drinking fountain and one of the best kids books I’ve ever seen. (I have the whole series and some of their other similarly written books)

  4. Kitty Glendower permalink
    September 29, 2007 1:58 am

    momo how much water do you think they are actually drinking in five seconds? LOL!

    Don and Chris, same for me. I was remembering so many school years, hot playgrounds, water lines…

    lost clown thanks for the info, looks interesting, a good Christmas present. We just received Chato’s Kitchen and it has been fun.


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