Stuy?s Extreme Sport: Saying Hello
November 13th, 2002
Stuyvesant is such an exhausting school.
I am not talking about the insane amount of homework I get, those tests I was supposed to have studied for days ago, or even the hours I spend running in circles at cross-country or exercising in the weight room, lifting feathers like nobody’s business.
No, I am talking about the true taxation upon the energy and focus of Stuyvesant students: saying hello to people. At Stuy, it’s like an extreme sport. There are so many ways of greeting people and so many unwritten rules regarding what can only be termed as greeting etiquette.
So let’s say you bump into someone in the hallways. There’s the simple smile. The “let’s make eye contact.” The nod. The wave. The hug. The shoulder punch. Indeed, there seems to be an appropriate way to say hi to everyone. Mix and match accordingly.
I recently ran into trouble with a girl I had a class with freshman year. As I blazed past her (I am on the track team) while running to my first period class, she yelled at me: “You can’t even say hi?” To be honest, I had forgotten her name and even which class I had had with her.
I haven’t given too much thought to that particular girl. I suppose she let me off rather easily. But there are also those few greetings you can never quite forget. For example, last year, I suffered a serious injury from a seemingly innocuous hello. You see, I had a friend on the football team who had no concept of his own strength.
He greeted me with “Hi Nick.” The next thing I knew, I was locked into a vise-like two-handed handshake. Not to be shown up by the football team, I pretended like it didn’t hurt.
That was a mistake.
Just as this friend of mine was about to release my now contorted hand, there was a sickening cracking sound. He asked me, “What was that?” I responded by grabbing my hand in agony and stating matter-of-factly: “Those were my bones.”
For days afterwards, I had trouble writing. I couldn’t even use my patented kung fu chop to fight off potential muggers and Hare Krishnas. Finally, I went to see a doctor. Apparently, the junior had dislocated four bones in my right hand.
But some people’s greetings go beyond rude or obnoxious (or painful). Some greetings are just plain weird. A couple of weeks ago, I was standing outside my class waiting for the teacher to arrive. I was talking to a friend when, all of a sudden, I heard a furious flurry of feet, followed by an abrupt slap on my bottom. My male attacker didn’t even stop for a second on his spree of inappropriate conduct.
Another time, I was standing by the grand staircase and someone else did a drive-by on me. This time, it was a girl I had never seen in my life, and she didn’t slap me so much as punch me on my bottom. To be truthful, it kind of hurt. It was quite uncomfortable having to sit through my double period science class that day.
Really, though the concept of greetings and etiquette is complicated at Stuy, I would greatly prefer a compliment or a simple hello to a run-and-gun abuse of my backside.
— Nick Greenough