Happy Hour: Push-Ups or Swats?

by KansasKev

Things have changed a lot from thirty years ago.

In a small, private U. S. college I attended, you needed to watch your behavior in the men's gym, and if you didn't, you paid. Or, strangely, THEY paid. Read on. I'll explain.

Infractions got you sent to something called "Happy Hour," which, for the offender at least, wasn't very appropriately named.

I got it once for playing with black-soled scuff shoes in a pick-up basketball game, and once for kicking a Coke machine - trying to get a free drink.

Here's how the program worked:

Once you were ordered to a Happy Hour, they set a time for the late afternoon several days away, and posted your name and photo so everyone would know.

When the time came, you showed up in a pair of red shorts and jock, shoes and socks, and had to stand silent on a big red-painted square near the locker desk for an hour.

Easy, right? Well, as Hertz would say, not exactly. You see, this was used as a fund-raiser for campus charities and while you were standing there you had to collect dollar bills for contributions. Each donor was limited to three bucks (for first offenders), or five (for repeaters).

For each buck you collected, you had to do 10 good-form push-ups. If a guy handed you three bucks, you did 30.

If you couldn't do what you owed the donor. . ., yep, you guessed it. You bent over, held your ankles, and he could let you have a hard one with a 22"-by-3"-by-1/2" holey wooden paddle - varnished mohagany, I believe.

If you said anything but "thank you" for the bucks or the lick, there was a penalty swat. And if you stepped outside the red square, it was 30 pushups or a free swat.

And you had to look like you were TRYING to pump out the push-ups- if you refused to drop down and try, the swat was doubled.

Some locker desk attendants got mean and wouldn't let you wear your watch, which increased the stress markedly - you never knew how much time was left.

The trick was to save some of your arm strength by failing on some of the early push-ups, because the sessions were timed so that the baseball or football teams would be coming in from practice toward the end of the hour. A lot had scholarships, so they had spending money, and they loved to "drop" the offender for 30, or 50. By that point, you were likely to be exhausted, and you DIDN'T want to take a swat from one of these guys.

Inevitably, though, you did, and it hurt like hell. All you could do was say "thank you," save your spare change for the day one of them had to stand there.

The campus charities did well from this program, and I paid for my Cokes from then on. I even bought a pair of regulation-sole shoes. Literally, to save my ass.

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