Now that the election is over and I don’t have to worry about anyone stealing my ideas, I feel free to share with you a story from my high school days.
Around the end of my junior year, petitions came out for people to run for class office in the student council for the next year. Those interested had to get a minimum number of student signatures in order to have their name put on the ballot. Thinking that it might be cool to be the student council president or vice-president during my senior year, I picked up a petition and started getting signatures.
After the petition was about half-filled, I had second thoughts. What was I signing up for anyway? Sure, it would probably look good on a college application, but it meant a lot of additional work. I would have to set up and attend a lot of the student functions, dances, and so on. This would eat up time better spent on extracurricular activities that I would actually enjoy. So I decided not to run after all.
But I already had a half-filled petition. And that meant I was halfway to a great prank.
The prank was this: get a non-existent person elected to class office.
Having filled out my name on the top of the petition in pencil, it didn’t take much to erase any record that I had been interested in running for Class Vice-President. The trick was to find a name that students in my high school either wouldn’t recognize as a fake or if they did, vote for it anyway. Keep in mind that my graduating class was pretty small (less than 200 students I am sure). It would have to be a pretty run-of-the-mill name but not so much that it would be easily spotted as fake. What I came up with was Jeff Young.
I finished getting the signatures with Jeff’s name on top of the form and handed it into the school office. A week later, the ballots came out with Jeff among the candidates. Once we knew that he was in the running, my friends and I campaigned for Jeff. We made posters to hang in the hallways and classrooms.
When a teacher would ask us who Jeff was, we would say, “He usually sits in the back. You know, the kid with the hair.”
“Oh yeah,” they would say, imagining someone else. “Right.”
Some kids caught on to the fact that Jeff was not real, but this did not deter his campaign. Being on the inside of a joke in high school is probably one of the greatest feelings an adolescent could hope for.
Finally came voting day.
This was the day that someone finally ratted Jeff out to the authorities. Well, to some authorities anyway. There were about four teachers who discovered that Jeff wasn’t real before we cast our ballots. These teachers threatened to throw away any of the ballots that voted for Jeff, forcing those students to choose one of the other less-imaginary candidates for Senior Class Vice-President.
After the votes were tallied, Jeff Young did not win. He came in second, right in front of one of the more popular girls in our class.
The funny thing was that once the truth came out, Jeff was no longer just my joke. He belonged to my classmates too. Some kids fought hard to get him included in the school yearbook (as “not pictured”). His name showed up on the class t-shirts, though I did not put it there. I think someone wanted to get his name read at graduation (but by then, the teachers were on the lookout for Jeff). Someone even brought in a friend from a neighboring school to pretend to be Jeff for the day.
It was all great fun, though I do still feel bad for the girl who lost the election to my non-existent candidate. What if she needed the accolades that came with class office to get into the college of her choice? Oh well. It was funny at the time (and it still is). I’m pretty sure that she turned out all right.
Anyway, hopefully I’ve timed this post right so that we can get a good laugh and then forget about it before the next presidential election. Goodness knows what would happen if we elected a fake person for President.