How to Make Your Locker Work (The First Time)
By Ms. Rose, Sixth Grade Teacher
Congratulations. You are now a bonafide card-carrying member of the Thornton Middle School student body. You are probably carrying a few other things as well, such as a backpack, binder or two, spiral notebooks, writing utensils for every possible purpose, calculator, ruler, protractor, reams of paper, registration forms, your new math book, and the obligatory box of Kleenex. You’ll be changing classes every fifty minutes, so you will—no doubt—find some way to lug all that stuff with you.
If only there were some place you could set it down.
Ah, my friend, there you have it. Set it down you will, and we have provided the perfect place for you to do so—your very own protective metal cabinet, complete with locking mechanism to keep even your most valuable crayons safe from passing opportunists. There is just one stipulation. It is already locked. That’s why it is so commonly called—a locker.
Lucky for you, the combination lock on this locker is not the impregnable fortress you may have believed it to be. It is really quite simple to open, and I’m happy to walk you through the process.
First, approach the locker with a self-confident, unhurried air about you. Lockers can smell the hurry on a student, and will invariably lengthen the number of attempts it takes to open them.
Grasp the dial in the center of the locker and give it two complete turns to the right, or clockwise, to clear the locker’s memory and confuse it into surrendering more quickly. Still turning the dial clockwise, stop on the first number of the combination. Suppose for a moment that your locker’s combination is 26-05-01. Turn the dial clockwise to the number twenty-six, which will be one tick-mark to the right of the numeral twenty-five.
Next, turn the dial to the left, or counter-clockwise, toward the number five. Now, listen carefully, you must pass the five once, and keep turning until you approach it again. The second time you reach the five, you must stop on it.
Finally, turn the dial to the right—clockwise—again, stopping on the one the first time you reach it, and since it is only four tick-marks from the five, it should be a very short spin.
Now the lock should have been appropriately tamed, so lift the latch and open the locker. After placing your belongings inside, close the locker, and spin the dial to confuse it again, otherwise it will open for anyone who comes along.
I should warn you that there are some things of which you should beware when interacting with your new locker. You already know that they can smell a hurry, but I have not yet told you of their disdain for messes. If a locker is haphazardly filled, it will often rebel by jamming itself. No amount of pounding will intimidate it into yielding its contents. Instead, coax a jammed locker to open by talking softly to it while you redial the combination. Press gently against the corners of the door while you lift the latch.
If this does not work, you will certainly realize that you have angered the locker indeed. The door may appear to be sitting crookedly like an angry frown, the sleeve or your jacket or the strap of your backpack sticking out like a defiant tongue. These lockers often have to be pried open by a professional locker tamer—otherwise referred to as the custodian.
If you ever have to have your locker professionally tamed, it is very likely you will lose possession of that locker for a period of time. The locker tamer usually attaches an additional lock to the latch to prevent you from interacting with a quarantined locker—during which time you’ll find yourself lugging your belongings around with you again. When sufficient time has passed, and the locker has forgotten your transgressions, the additional lock will be removed, and you will be allowed access to the mercurial creature again, hopefully having learned to tread more cautiously around it.
Some students never master the art of interaction with lockers, preferring to keep their supplies with them at all times. Though this is certainly a viable option, it seems silly to risk back injury when a well-treated locker can be such a pleasant companion. If you dial its combination correctly, don’t overfill it, and clear the dial after you close it, you’ll train your locker to be a perfectly loyal guardian of your valuables.