Fire Drill

  1. A loud alarm designed to call large numbers of people to play a game of make-believe
  2. The alarm that cried wolf
  3. Not an actual drill made of fire
  4. A socially acceptable lie

Usage Example: “We had a fire drill at work today. Half of the office stayed in the building, and the other half went outside and drove home.”

Background: Fire alarms are important. In the event of a fire, people need as much warning as possible to make a safe exit from buildings. The fire drill was created, not only to annoy people, but to give people some practice exiting buildings in the event of a real emergency.

The term “fire drill” was invented to scare people. Fire drill pioneers thought that the term “make-believe play-fire” wasn’t terrifying enough. Instead, they opted for the image of a flaming power tool.

Fire drills take place during pre-planned intervals, when someone pulls a prank, or whenever there is any type of construction occurring within 100 feet of any fire alarm hardware. This means that some buildings run many fire drills. Over time, people who have been through many fire drills fail to take them seriously.

The fire drill response is a “choose your own adventure.” There are two ways to respond to a fire drill. The first type of response involves quick action and immediate joy. The drillee is overcome with happiness, because he/she has a perfect excuse to get out of whatever they are doing. This is a common response in schools and some offices.

The second type of response completes the following progression:

  1. Hear the fire drill
  2. Wonder why there are so many fire drills
  3. Sit for a minute and hope it stops
  4. Think of the weather outside.
  5. Decide that it is too hot, cold, rainy, etc.
  6. Hang around for another minute, hoping that the fire alarm will stop
  7. Slowly walk toward the door, still hoping that the fire alarm will stop
  8. Reluctantly walk out the door, just as the fire alarm stops
  9. Turn and walk back in the building
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Fundraiser

  1. Punishment for parents
  2. Event designed to teach kids a valuable life lesson: If you don’t do what is required of you, someone else will do it for you.

Usage Example: “Your class is selling candy bars for a fundraiser?.. I’ll write the check now.”

Background: Schools, athletic teams and clubs will often hold fundraisers to punish the parents of participants.

Fundraisers are intended to generate money to help cover the operating costs of participating organizations. The people in charge of the fundraiser will say that it provides a great way for a group of 10 year-olds to get some sales experience. They say that it will teach them valuable life lessons. They will dispatch this group of children to exploit their social networks in order to keep the band program running.

This newly minted group of tiny door-to-door sales people then march out of the school determined to drop the box of coupon books on the kitchen counter and never think of them again.

Two days before the money is due at the school, the parents ask about the box on the counter. The kid mentions that it is for “some kind of fundraiser or something.” The parents then take the coupon books to work and attempt to sell them to their coworkers. After selling a few, they write a check for the remaining amount, so Mr. Fields, the band director, doesn’t break their legs in the driveway for failing to meet the payment deadline.

At this point, the circle of life is complete. Every fundraiser works the same way, every time.