The History of Animation

Twelve hundred kids packed the auditorium
for a high school assembly: a road show
on the history of animation, brought to us
by Pepsi. The punishment for skipping
such mandatory fun was an extra hour
of school. But some wise-ass
Spoiled It For Everybody with
a little
laughing box.
In the middle of the presenter’s
introductory talk, a sudden
outburst of demented giggles
followed by rapid-fire hos & haws,
squeals & peals, belly laughs
going off like depth charges.
The thing about
a laughing box is, once
you get one started, you can’t
shut it up. Propelled
by apprehensive kicks,
it ricocheted from row
to row beneath the seats,
its laugh track whipping around
like a sperm cell’s flagellum
in a Sex Ed film. As the shock
wore off we watched the three
or four minor führers on stage
shrinking into their scowls.
Finally it flew
out – a bright blue
plastic cube – struck the baseboard
with considerable force & died
in mid-guffaw.
A long moment of silence.
Then the clapping started, spreading
throughout the hall. Cheers,
whistles. The assistant principal
on his feet, waving his arms
as the applause went on & on.