816. On a roll


This was the fifth year in a row that no one had died at Mr Garrick Brumpton’s school. He was the headmaster. The school had just over a thousand pupils. Statistics told him that one in a thousand school-age students die every year. Mr Brumpton’s school had gone five years on a free run. Surely the time would come.

“What a lucky five years we have had,” wrote Mr Garrick Brumpton in the final letter to parents at the end of the school year. “Five years! Statistics tell us that one in a thousand school-age students die every year. We’ve gone five years on a free run. How lucky is that!”

When the next scholastic year began, the roll was considerably smaller.

57 thoughts on “816. On a roll

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Odd(s) may be right! I must admit I did make the statistics up, and suspect the frequency of demise is not so high… My school had a student pass away in 1967 and the next one was in 1981, followed by one every year for three years. 😦 The “spooky” thing was the one who died in 1967 of an asthma attack his name was Philip Corry, and the one who died in 1981 on the same date while scuba diving his name was Philip Gorry!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          Ouch! One of my students got hit my a train just outside the school gates. Another student came running to me and said “someone’s been hit by a train and I think he’s dead”. They found a tooth on the roof of the station and a sock with “ll” on a name tag. We identified him as someone with “ll” in the name but got the wrong person! In the end his name was “Kelly”.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    Statistics to describe may be okay, but statistics used to predict or explain the cause of anything are a modern superstition…rubrics to the religions of science, probability, gambling, prognostication….

    Of all the people in the USA who died of pneumonia last year, 95% were known at some time in life to have eaten carrots.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      When I was reading about the Cinquain, the biography of Adelaide Crapsey said “she wrote all her poems before her death”. It seems that writing poems is even more dangerous than munching on a carrot.

      Liked by 3 people

            1. Outlier Babe

              I didn’t recall having read anything by her, and so just did. I do not know if, when you said Adelaide’s seriousness about her poetry seemed an “unfortunate circumstance”, you meant “because her poetry certainly wasn’t worth the effort. I liked several of her cinquains I just read–but then, your opinion of my opinion may have been permanently lowered to the level of my brow after my tecent camel petition, together with my crude cracks here (gosh, I’m biting my tongue–shoot! there’s ANOTHER one!–so I don’t make any more low puns).

              Addy’s pieces I liked so far:


              Well and
              If day on day
              Follows, and weary year
              On year…and ever days and years…


              I know
              Not these my hands
              And yet I think there was
              A woman like me once had hands
              Like these.

              I thought that one sounded quite like you could have written it, Cynthia. Now I don’t know if I’ve complimented or insulted you. Edit: !!!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Cynthia Jobin

                Slow down….this is not my blog, it’s Bruce’s. I don’t want to get into it here. When I said her seriousness was unfortunate, I meant that she took it seriously and other people did not… other people who would come along and think they knew what the hell she was about when they do not. Like you, maybe.

                Liked by 2 people

  2. Andrew

    I think the problem is the word ‘lucky’. Surely schools exist to prevent student death and it shouldn’t be down to luck. I’m sure the statute says Rule 1. You should keep the death rate as low as possible. There may be others relating to academic achievements but my guess is survival is what parents value most.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 816. On a roll | Scotties Toy Box

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