Freshman Pool Passes

IN: Um, well, a common joke or practical joke that would happening my high school is that Seniors, or upperclassmen, would sell freshman uh, pool passes, and tell them we have a pool – and we do not have a pool. And they would say things like “oh the pool, is right next to the gym in the basement, or the pool is on the fourth floor, and we only had three floors. And they just constantly kind of just lied to freshman and get them to… like, some of them would make very official cards uh, thats a pool pass and try to get them to buy like $10, $15 pool passes for a pool that didn’t really exist. And uh, some seniors would actually try it, it devolved kind of into a practical joke where teachers would joke about the pool on the fourth floor, and where at orientation they would make a funny song and dance about it. Just remember: there’s no pool.

JJ: Did you ever buy a pool pass?

IN: No. But I was offered one. We were told over and over again at orientation: don’t believe them, there’s no pool. HIGH SCHOOL NAME OMITTED does not have a pool, we wouldn’t sell passes.

JJ: Did that make you believe it any more? Did you have any inkling of like, oh what if there is a pool?

IN: Yes, but then I went to the roof, which is effectively the fourth floor, and it was pretty boring. There was nothing up there. Just a pretty standard roof.

Context: I met the informant in his apartment to collect some folklore pieces from him. I asked about any traditions he had in high school.

Background: The informant is a second year student at USC who went to high school in New York city.

Analysis: I think pranking freshman is a pretty common thing in high schools and colleges. This piece reminded me of freshman year at USC, where they would throw “all-white” parties where you had to wear all white under the guise of it being a blacklight party or something, but it was only advertised as that to the freshman and all of the upperclassmen knew not to wear white because wearing white marked you as a freshman. I think that picking on freshman effectively unites the upperclassmen population and creates a sense of comradery. It’s just a weird feeling that even if you don’t necessarily fit in, at least you’re not a freshman.