Peter

by Sarina Martinez

I have a story for you.

I want you to think of the moment that made you laugh the hardest in your life. Hopefully a moment that STILL makes you laugh out loud, even just thinking about it. Really think about it. Try to remember the details. Are you giggling yet?

This is one of those moments. One of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed. I’m laughing now just thinking about it. This was in 2001, I was taking high school drama. I liked being backstage. In theatre, I did everyone’s makeup , and got everyone ready. A theme that would follow me for life. I suppose it’s where I knew I wanted to be a makeup artist. This is where I met Peter.

Peter was a TRIP! This fool was in drama because he just wanted an easy class, he could give 2 shits about the plays or lighting, or even acting. But, he was a natural comedian. He was like a class clown, but on accident. Like, he didn’t want the attention, except maybe from his homies. He just wanted to make his friends laugh. I remember he was pretty tall with long arms and dark hair. My brother remembers he would shape and pluck his eyebrows. He smoked a lot of cigarettes, and a lot of weed. He reminded me of like a Jim Breuer type kinda. Just like, a dumb stoner. But with a ton of energy!

Peter was REALLY REALLY into Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony. Like obsessed. This fool knew EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. To every single song. (Do you know how goddamn hard it is to be able to rap along with Bone Thugs?!?! Try it. I dare you!) It was the ONLY thing he listened to. For most high schoolers, we were discovering all these different genres and bands, finding out what we liked. Not Peter. This fool was perfectly content listening to Bone Thugs everyday for the rest of his life.

So, one day in homeroom, Peter sat next to me on my right, and my brother sat in front of me. We had a T.V. in the classroom (I actually remember this detail because this story is burned in my brain forever) and every morning in homeroom, we’d watch this weird program, I guess like the news, but for high schoolers? Y’all had that? I don’t remember much because I never watched it. Our teacher wasn’t there yet, so we were all just fucking around. Talking, eating our breakfast burritos, general fucking around. You know that part in any high school movie when the teacher is about to come in the classroom, and everyone is just acting a fool? Picture that.

Peter looked over at me and said, hella seriously, “Psst. Eh…you dare me to put my head between these bars?” He meant the bars on back of his chair. Or desk, I guess. Desk-chair.

It kinda looked like this, but the bars way closer together.

I looked at the bars, then I looked at Peters head. I looked back at the bars, then back at Peter. Are you serious, dude? He just smiled.

Okay, so there was no WAY Peter could fit his head between those bars. No fucking way.

Before I could say anything, Peter had moved on already, “Psst. Psssst…”Peter was trying to get my brothers attention. My bro turned around and looked at him. “Eh, dude. You dare me to put my head through these bars?” He pointed at his chair. My brother immediately started laughing, and I had made up my mind. “YES!” I said. Put your head through those bars, Peter. I dare you.

So, this motherfucker got out of his seat and squatted behind his desk, and started trying to squeeze his melon through those tiny ass bars.

Up until now, he was only doing this for mine and my brothers amusement, but other people started to notice his attempt and started to watch. I saw that he was actually DOING IT! He was almost to his ears! Then everyone in the room surrounded him and the cheer grew into basically a chant. Then, at last! He was through! He did it! ! That dude some-fucking-how squeezed his dome through those bars!!! I couldn’t believe it. Hell yeah! The room erupted in cheers for Peter’s accomplishment! I remember he was waving his long arms around, all excited. He looked like one of those used car lot inflatable dancing guys, but if he was in a guillotine.

At that very moment, our teacher walked in. Everyone scattered back to their seats, trying to hold in their laughs. She walked up to her podium at the front of the room, and started talking about the day. Peter’s head was still behind bars, now stuck. Like, really really fucking stuck. And he was squatting there, looking at me, in a panic! A PANIC! His face was bright red, His eyes were all big and scared and he was whispering to me to stop laughing but I COULDN’T! I will never forget the look on his face, oh my god. I’m dead just thinking about it.

I. Could. Not. Stop. Laughing. I was struggling so hard to even breathe, I mean it was painful. My brother was squirming in his chair because he couldn’t contain his laughter either. We’ve all been there…when you laugh so hard it hurts. Now layer that with trying to be quiet and not get noticed. Our teacher, Mrs. V, finally noticed commotion coming from our area and realized there was an empty seat next me. Meanwhile, my brother had buried himself in his arms and put his head on his desk, he was done. Then, Mrs. V looked directly at me! Directly at me while I was trying NOT to laugh. I just sat there struggling, my shoulders shaking. Tears were pouring out of my eyes. She asked me, “Where’s Peter?”

“Ummmm…” I said in a shakey voice. I couldn’t answer. More laughing. More tears. “WHERE. IS. PETER?” She opened up the question to the rest of the class. Silence. Finally there was a tiny voice from the back of the class, “He got his head stuck in his chair!”

Bbbbbuuuuuahhhhhh aaaahhhhhhhhhh!

I couldn’t hold in my laughter anymore. I literally BURST into hysterics! Everybody did! We were dying y’all. We. Were. Dead. My brother was crying too. I was gasping for air. Mrs. V rushed over. At this point I couldn’t help myself and I’m just pointing and laughing, and crying. Pointing at Peter directly in his face, crying and laughing at him.

At first, Mrs. V was pissed! “Why did you do this Peter? Whats wrong with you? Ok, well just stop messing around and get your head outta there. No, I’m serious Peter, get your head out of there. You’re what? YOU’RE STUCK?!? Well I don’t care if you’re stuck, you get out of there now!”

While she was scolding Peter, I was watching her, and her face changed. It got all contorted and her lips were pursed tightly together. Then a crack of a smile. Then a giggle. Then a laugh. Suddenly SHE bursted into uncontrollable laughter. Then she couldnt stop. I saw tears coming from her eyes. She couldn’t even talk through the laughter.

Now….just picture BEING Peter. Literally everyone, including your teacher, is pointing and uncontrollably, hysterically laughing at you. Luckily, Peter didn’t have the personality of someone who cared. He didnt give a fuck. Yes, his head was stuck, and yes, he did look hella panicked, And yes, it was likely he wouldn’t be able to get his head back out…but he generally seemed to be having fun making everyone laugh.

At this point Mrs. V couldn’t take it. Between laughter and gasping for air, she could only get out one word at a time, “Peter 🤣 you have  to 🤣 get 🤣 your head 🤣 out of there 🤣.” She started to back away and move toward the door. She pointed at me and just said, “Help 🤣 him.” Then she left.

She literally had to leave her own classroom because she was laughing so hard! On her way out, before the door closed, I heard her scream-laughing down the hall.

We all turned back to Peter and he was like, “Dudes! I’m fuckin’ stuck! Im serious you guys. I’m fuckin’ stuuuuuuck!”

He had clearly been trying to get his head out because his ears were all purple at this point. Eventually we calmed a bit and had to find a solution, because Mrs.V was out. We tried everything. We tried pulling with one person on each shoulder, we tried water, we tried spit, we tried one ear then the other, we tried everything. But then, I remembered I had lotion in my bag!

At this point Peter was exhausted. His face was red, his ears were purple. He was defeated. He let out a huge sigh as if he’d thrown in the towel. The desk-chair had won. But this was the last thing we could try, it had to work! We used all of it. All the lotion in the tube, we doused Peters entire dome. We slathered it all over his ears. It felt like he was about to give birth or something. “Ready dude?” “Yes,” he said, and gripped the bars tightly with his hands.

He pulled with all his might while me and my brother pushed on the top of his head, other people were pulling on his shoulders… ok his head was moving now! Inch by inch, we slipped him out. Until we reached his ears. This was the hardest part. He wiggled and squirmed, his breath getting heavier, he was really struggling now. It looked painful. I saw his ears fold, and then a quick *POP.*

He was out! He was free! Everyone cheered! He threw his arms up and jumped up and down. Gave a couple of people high fives. He did it! Yay! I think it took us 30-40 minutes to save Peter.

Soon after, Mrs. V returned, but didn’t come in right away. She opened the door and yelled inside, “Did you get him out?” “Yeah,” we all said. Then she walked in, still giggling, and under her breath said, “Good.”  Mrs. V walked herself back up to the podium and we all finally settled down. Then, Peter tried to get my attention again. “Psssst. “ I looked at him, and I thought he was gonna says thanks for helping him or something, but instead he said, “Pssst. Eh, you dare me to do it again?”

Now, I’m sure we’ve ALL come across those kids who get their head stuck somewhere. They’re out there. Everywhere. Hell, there’s a chance YOU were that kid. But now I think about Peter every time I hear Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and I just know he’s out there, probably with kids by now. And I just know, they’ve probably got they’re heads stuck somewhere too.

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