Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Chase is Afoot

Back when I was in high school, a very interesting social network somehow formed. Nobody was really sure who the members of this group were as they were pretty much self-declared. Nor were there any apparent leaders; in fact, no one had any clear idea of who founded the organization. Nonetheless, it was not long before the high school administration became concerned that a local chapter of the HSJ, "The Horny Sons of Jerusalem”, had been established within the student body.

As far as anyone could tell, the sole purpose of this organization was to orchestrate the annual “HSJ Nude Relays”. Held each year during a warm spring evening after school at an undisclosed location, the school would become abuzz over the anticipated event. Someone even circulated the club’s alleged logo; an erect “flying” penis, sporting a set of Roman god, Mercury style wings. Fanciful versions of the HSJ logo could be glimpsed penciled on the back of notebooks or book covers. Cute.

Of course, due to the evocative nature of the HSJ’s principal activity, to avoid the authorities, the precise whereabouts of the “relays” was announced strictly by word-of-mouth, usually the day of the alleged event. Not surprisingly, as the word spread like a chain reaction through the school, it wasn’t long before the school administrators would seize upon this intelligence… which they then passed on to the local police department.

As fate would have it, though, gossip mills the following morning told of how the local police had been thwarted in a fruitless attempt to locate and bust the HSJ Nude Relay participants and “supporters”. (Yes, pun intended) Apparently skittish that the cops might have been tipped, the Relay had been postponed at the last second… another time and location to be announced.

Before long word would again spread of another HSJ Nude Relay, the school would once again pass the info on to the cops…only to find themselves yet again on another Wild Goose Chase.

This cycle repeated for weeks before the school administration and police began to suspect that there may not actually be any Horny Sons of Jerusalem or clandestine Nude Relays.

What is most remarkable about this story is that large groups of people actually BELIEVED this organization was reality. School officials wanted to believe there was an organization that was promoting students to naked through the streets of town. Their belief lent credibility to the cops who were no less in a position to doubt the school administrators. So fueled by hormone charged adolescent imagination, the HSJ took flight even though it didn’t really exist.

Yeas later when I was out of state in college my mother sent me a clipping from the local town newspaper. The article described that police had been tipped to be on the lookout for naked runners in the streets, apparently part of an organization of local high school students called the “Sons of Jerusalem”. (The newspaper editor obviously dropped the word “horny”). The torch, as it were, of a noble tradition had been on passed to the next generation.

25 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

What a brilliant way to make the school authorities look like idiots! I hope the police complained about their time being wasted. Serves them right for being such prudes - if kids want to run around naked they should be threatened with mockery rather than repression.

DJan said...

Oh, how delicious! It's likely to be much more fun when the reality is so ephemeral. And now it's take on a life of its own! :-)

The Mother said...

Can you find a few more double-entendres? I think you might have missed a few...

I, also, find myself credulously wishing that there actually were nude teenager rallies. Just for the social justice of it all.

PeterDeMan said...

Very cool story, well told. One of these days I will learn the art of short and pithy, a skill that seems to elude me.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Bananas We never found out of the authorities complained... not that we would have cared anyway.

DJan As is the case with many urban legends; the stories are told as though they are first-person accounts, then a belief system swirls up around it to support the story... much like religion.

D. Mom I think there are already teen-aged nude relays - I believe it's called "Spring Break".

Peter For me, the secret to keeping a story brief is due to my short attention span.

Kay Dennison said...

Too funny!!!!!

secret agent woman said...

Kids - so much energy, so little purpose.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Those days of streakers seem so innocent now. Today they would be arrested and charged with a sex crime which would require that they register as a sex offender, obtain a psychosexual evaluation, and likely complete sex offender treatment programming. I am serious. No one has a sense of humor, and zero tolerance makes taking such things in stride impossible.
Ah, youth! You are no more!

MarytrMom said...

Penises, nipples and chocolate coochies? What is this week coming to?

Wow, that was awkward said...

Awesome grassroots marketing scheme!

GutsyWriter said...

This reminds me of what a friend sent me on a video. Denmark has started using topless women to get drivers to slow down as there were too many speeding drivers. it worded so well that now they have traffic jams instead.

Murr Brewster said...

Something about being "on the lookout for naked runners in the street" reminds me of being told to be on the alert for terrorists when we travel to Europe. Very helpful! And how many other examples can we come up with, class, of non-existent things to fear?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Kay Glad you found the story "titillating".

SecretAgent You pretty much summed up the Teen Years, in my opinion.

BackRow You are probably (and sadly) right. Some DAs have wanted to prosecute kids for sex crimes for "sexting", sending sexy pictures via cell phone. Can you imagine a kid going through life having to register as a sex offender for sending a picture of themselves to a cell phone?

MayrtrMom It must be the Fall Hormones wafting through the air.

Awkward Yes, the buzz certainly was there... too bad there wasn't an actual product or service to sell.

Gutsy I saw that article. I cannot imagine it is an effective traffic "calming" device during the dead of winter, though.

Murr Precisely, Murr, Precisely!!

Sandra said...

Personally I think it's too bad it was a hoax. I think I would be greatly cheered by teh sight of naked teenage runners.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Sandra Like a lot of teen-age bravado, it was just that - talk. Nobody really "had the balls" to really attempt in.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Our high school, our town had no such (that I know of) subversive prank. That it endured as it did is a sign of determination somewhere along the line. There is simple charm to the idea of something so relatively normal and wholesome, no matter how it terrified the grown-ups. Girls whose skirts appeared too short had to kneel on the floor while the vice principal measured how far above the knee the hemline fell. Somehow civilization (?) survived.

Orhan Kahn said...

Instaclassic! I love it. Not that I'd like to see it but its strange that the police would have to get involved. And ever more strange that they kept falling for it.

Ivana Dragicevic said...

haha what an interesting post! I wish such a hoax formulated in my time at high school, it would have been deeply entertaining!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Marylinn I remember those days, the school was equally concerned with the length of boy's sideburns. Such a frivolous distraction from so many real issues.

Orhan The police were eager to get involved. Small bedroom community, I am sure they were usually bored to tears.

Ivana The odd think is that it just sort of "happened", it was not like someone conspired and planned this thing out. That is what makes it so interesting.

Kay Dennison said...

This is incredibly funny!!!!!

Jerry said...

This just made me wonder what I would do if I were the School Administrator or the cops. My initial inclination would be "So what?" But then visions of newspaper headlines of nude runners at my school would float in my head. So I guess the predictable act had to be played out with everyone playing their part.

It feels like I see a lot of this now on various levels. Predictable reaction and counter reaction against perception. Reality be damned.

A delicious story.

KleinsteMotte said...

Interesting how posts of school times and truth are popping up all over. Any idea how come this is happening?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Kay Glad you enjoyed it.

Jerry It truly is amazing how riled up people can get over things of such insignificance. The fact that so many (the school, police, parents) didn't react as you would with a "so what", is what made the whole exercise so entertaining to us.

KleinsteMotte Donno, lots of bloggers have been posting about their school experiences recently, it must prompt long lost memories.

Anonymous said...

_I_ am a Horny Son of Jeruselum! I ran in 1966, the inagural run in San Carlos, California.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Anonymous E-mail me, it's in my profile. You must be an alumni! Would love to hear from you.