#268 Getting a good locker in high school

Scott got screwed.

Back in ninth grade my friend Scott was assigned a locker buddy named Kyle who played trumpet in the school band. They shared a thin locker down a dark and dusty hallway outside the Boy’s Changeroom. Not only did it smell like armpit, but it was about a three-minute hike from any of our classes.

Now, Scott gave Kyle the top shelf so he was stuck on his knees every morning wedging his winter jacket, books, and boots onto the rusty floor of the thing. I have a painfully vivid memory of watching Kyle’s trumpet case majestically tumble from the top shelf and completely nail Scott in the face.

You could say he had a bad locker.

Getting a good locker in high school makes all the difference. You need a convenient spot to grab your books when you’re running  late, easy access to the bathroom and cafeteria, and a good Locker Neighborhood near all your friends.

And tumbling trumpets to the face should be avoided wherever possible.


Congrats to Kelly McCormick for winning a free copy of The Book of (Even More) Awesome yesterday! We’ve also been having giveaway contests on Twitter and Facebook.

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65 thoughts on “#268 Getting a good locker in high school

  1. This is so true. In my high school, if you could open and close your locker without too much trouble you were golden. I had a friend where she had to like smash her locker in, pull it up, and pull out the door at a specific angle to get it open. It’s sort of hilarious thinking about it now. Awesome.

  2. Is it American lockers that are so thin? I live in Ireland and in my secondary school we had shorter but wider lockers….we didn’t have to share either.

    There wasn’t anything special about my secondary school either, just a normal one.

    1. I can still get this though, because four of these lockers would be stacked on each other….and the two in the middle were the ones people wanted. Not the really high up one or the bottom one you had to kneel on the ground.

    2. Yes Sean I live i London and we have really big lockers……then again I go to a private school so maybe that’s why but Americans have such tiny lockers. They will just have to make do and if everything doesn’t fit………………….well just give it a go at least:)

  3. Ugh, this applies to Middle School too! I have this WORST locker this year. It’s near none of my classes, but luckiy our school doesn’t share lockers. However, my neighbor is so annoying, he always has people with him so I can’t even get into my locker!

  4. Or… if you’re like me then you had a good ol’ locker with a broken hinge for three years and you grew quite attached to the dear old stubborn thing.

  5. I never stayed in my locker. I always moved into my bff’s locker. My locker partner was a druggie and I didn’t want that stuff to accidentally magically appear in my stuff. I always got the same person because it was set up in alphabetical order. My bff’s partner always moved out and into another locker so I always moved in with her. She always got the best lockers too. Usually right smack dab in the middle of the school. All the lockers were the same size. Bigger than the one you have pictured above.

    1. Aww I wish we could’ve moved lockers! They were very strict about us only using the locker assigned to us, should something (like drugs, etc.) ever become an issue. One year I changed lockers mid-year, but I had to go through the office and get an “official” change. It was an upgrade in that it was a top locker, but a downgrade in that it was off in No Man’s Land.

  6. At all the upper-level schools in my hometown we had lockers that were the same width as the ones in that picture, but were half as tall (as in, one stacked on another to equal that same height). I am pretty tall, but ALWAYS got assigned a bottom locker. Every year. And it almost always turned out that some four foot shrimp had the top locker, so we were both out of luck. I feel Scott’s pain — though I never had a trumpet crash down on me, I had an array of textbooks, locker shelves, mirrors, etc.

    In high school, we were allowed to leave campus for lunch, so rather than endure another few years of bottom-lockerdom, I just swapped books out of my trunk at lunch everyday. I think most people who left for lunch (read: almost everyone who had a car and/or a friend with a car) did that, because our high school has several buildings with all the lockers residing in the main one. WAY outta the way.

    1. None of my schools ever had the half locker deal. That would suck. I’m a shorty and I’m sure with my luck I’d get stuck with the top locker. How would that work anyway? How would you be able to get into your locker when the person above or below you is in theirs? You’d be stepping all over each other. I’m sorry, I bet it did suck.

      1. We had the half lockers too. I always got a top locker, which was awesome!!! But yeah, there’s an intricate little dance involved when everyone needs to get to their locker at the same time.

        1. Definitely. And that’s where the danger of top-locker-contents avalanching onto bottom-locker-owner comes in. It’s never pretty.

  7. 12-25~1 was my locker combination 1968~1972. Funny thing to remember after all these years. I tell people and they are astounded. (Of course I could be wrong, but who would know?)

    1. I do remember that my senior year in high school was the only year I stayed in my own locker cuz my partner dropped out of school..shocker right? Anyway, that locker was great. It had a combination and worked sometimes. If I didn’t twist the knob after I put it in, I could just open it anytime. I do remember that once after spring break, apparently someone had twisted it, I came back to school and couldn’t get in cuz I forgot my combination. I hadn’t put it in almost all year. I had to go to my first class without my stuff.

      1. I never had the kind of locker with its own combination. Just the kind where you use your own lock, which I still own.

        1. Our lockers had a place where you could put your own lock on, but we were allowed. I know some people did and the principle cut them off.

  8. This makes me laugh! When I was in high school I always got stuck in the hallway with the WORST lockers and to make matters worse every summer they replaced al of the lockers in the hallway that housed my locker the previous year. Every September I would pick up my schedule and locker assignments only to find that I had once again been moved out of the newly renovated hallway to what was noe the WORST hallway in the school. lol
    I distinctly remember trying to force my locker door open one day and having the whole door come off in my hand. I was without a functioning door for 2 months :) Thus I totally agree, getting a good locker WOULD be completely AWESOME!

  9. My high school had big enough lockers to fit a Gr. 9 kid into. Note: consent is important in this situation. The best was hiding inside someone else’s locker as a surprise.

    1. hahahahah…in middle school, one guy, Sam, stuffed himself in his own locker just to see if he would fit. I still remember seeing his foot sticking out of the bottom cuz he shut the door before his leg was in all the way. The door was bent and there was his foot…..just hanging out. I had such a good laugh that day. It was even mentioned in our high school yearbook our senior year. Great stuff!

  10. Wow – this brings me back.. I don’t think I’d thought about lockers in years.. I remember I was in a hallway with a bunch of other boys in middle school, and we all kept our perpetually unwashed gym clothes in our lockers.. and this was before most kids our age had discovered deodorant.. needless to say, our hallway of lockers was unfortuantely pungent..


    But your right – getting a good locker was awesome, which definitely meant being in the same hallways as all your friends, so you could at least see them between classes..

      1. I only teach third grade (in our district, fifth-sixth is considered middle school) and my kids reek sometimes! It wasn’t so bad during the winter, but now that it’s starting to warm up, after recess it smells pretty funky. And don’t even get me started about after p.e.

        I do a sweeping spray of the room at least once or twice everyday, and when they ask why, I tell them bluntly: “Y’all stink!” They think it’s funny :D

        But yes, I definitely have to agree — middle school years = stinky years, basically for the reasons Freddo cited … it’s like they haven’t yet picked up the more advanced personal hygiene skills that include, but are not limited to, applying deodorant, regularly showering, and wearing freshly laundered clothes.

  11. In my school, you got a special locker if you were j/v or varsity on a sports team. We didn’t have any of those full-length lockers, but having a shiny new locker while everyone else had to wiggle and jiggle to get theirs open was pretty sweet.

    1. My high school had something similar with the large lockers for athletes.. but at first, it was only for the football team, which I guess makes sense because they have such big equipment.. but they realized that they had some extra big lockers.. and somehow (I think it had something to do with the fact that I was a total suck-up in high school), I managed to finagle myself a big locker for the entire year because I played the very masculine sport trio of: Volleyball, badminton, tennis..

      Yup – I really needed that extra wide locker to store my badminton racquets..

      1. Badminton? I didn’t know that was a sport you could play in school! Not mine anyway, and I went to a school for nerds. Seems like it would have been appropriate.
        Our jock-lockers weren’t any larger than standard, they were just newer and nicer and by the gym.

        1. Lara – I’ll have you know that I was made it to the provincial championships in mixed doubles badminton, so it is most certainly a sport you can play in school! Don’t get me wrong – the above statement doesn’t make it any more cool.. you still get teased incessently for it.. but it did exist!

          Two badminton side notes:
          1) I never encountered this problem in Canada but once I moved to the US I realized that the entire country mispronounces this word, which is really weird because it’s a perfectly phoenetical word: bad-min-ton.. say it with me: bad-min-ton.. How 300+ million people came up with the word “bad-mitten” is beyond me.

          2) Given that we were in high school, and that what is called a “birdie” when you play badminton at a family picnic is officially called a “shuttlecock”, you can imagine how many times our Badminton T-shirt slogans got rejected by our coach..

          3) To this day, I still get a chuckle out of the old line: “Yeah, you may play badminton but the way I play it, it’s GOODminton”

        1. Yes! Definitely.. When I was on student council, I somehow convinced our school to allow us to put a ping pong table in the main hallway of the school, so we could play ping pong at lunch.. it was pretty awesome, as you can imagine.

  12. I’m a high school senior now, and my locker this year is in the perfect location- exact middle of the building, 50 feet from the cafeteria, around the corner from the bathroom, and conveniently located for all my morning classes. The downside is, for four years, I’ve been assigned the locker next to a girl with massive, curly hair who swings it in my face, in addition to opening her locker all the way out to cover mine, and bringing around a group of 2-6 friends in between every period. The girl on the other side has some odor issues, but she’s at least polite. I relocated to my sister’s and boyfriend’s lockers to minimize the frequency of the hair-whipping, but it’s pretty bad. Only a few more weeks left, thank god!

  13. I had the same locker all throughout high school i shoulda chafed locations so I could be in the tech wig but I kept the one in the science wing cause everyone would use my locker. one year I think 6 people threw their crap in my locker. I remember we had locker clean out day, about three times a year. We would be sorting through books and its randomly thrown in my locker. I remember hiding an ex bfs alcohol after he passed out during a presentation.

  14. Omg, my schools third floor is shaped like an H so the middle hallway always gets crowded. They had to close the lockers there with bolts so that people can’t use them…hehehe…:P
    My lockers okay, it’s near all my classes but it get so crowded with older students…..:$

  15. When the teacher tells you to turn to a certain page in a huge text book, and you turn exactly to the right page on one try! AWESOMENESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I have the most awful locker location in the world. It isn’t even remotely close to ANY of my classes!!
    Hopefully next year will be better :/

  17. LOVE THIS! My high school was a five-year high school (8th through 12th). Lockers were assigned from the 4th period teacher. For five years, 4th period was band. Now, as a band nerd (band geek, take your pick), I was also an officer in the band (president, secretary, etc.). Now, being a band officer was merely an excuse for the band director to get students to do the jobs that he didn’t want to do. Like, say ….. assign the lockers at the beginning of the school year. By my senior year, I was finally the “officer” who assigned the lockers and combinations to every student in the band, usually done on the first or second day of school. Of course, the band had already had a week long band camp at the school, the officers having reported the week before. So by the time school started, I already (a) knew that I would be assigning the lockers; and (b) had already scoped out the block of lockers assigned to the band every year (the block moved around the school year after year after year, so we never knew where our block would be). Of course, without hesitation, I assigned my locker first — locker number 262! The best part, it was an “end of the row” locker, so I had only one locker on my right (and no locker on my left). The other best part? It was in the front hall, across from the office, only steps from the cafeteria, and the closest locker (in the entire school) to the band room! AWESOME!!! And yes, this band nerd grew up to be a high school band director.

  18. My brother is a year older then me and failed a class his freshmen year…making us both classified as freshmen the same year. Since they assigned lockers alphabetically, and J (Janene) comes before K (Kenneth) my locker was above his. He moved his locker within two weeks after deciding he no longer wanted to kneel at my feet 5 times a day, but in the interim, it was AWESOME! :-)

  19. Scott and Kyle didn’t have it too bad. At least their locker was full length and their binders didn’t sitck out because it was extra shallow. And I bet they didn’t have to wait two weeks for their locker and that grade 9’s didn’t get first preference for locker assignment while grade 12’s (who may or may not have had 2 monster-sized physics textbooks, a monster-sized chemistry textbook, assorted history textbooks, a pile of novels, and sometimes a winter coat, a laptop, and a full backpack to store) got whatever was left over. And at least Kyle played the relatively small and locker-friendly trumpet instead of the tuba.

    But I’m not bitter and resentful in the slightest.

  20. i’ve had good and bad experiences with lockers but finally as a senior I was given special treatment. When I found out the one I was assigned was in the “dungeon” I immediately went to the people in change asking to change to some where more convenient. They were really nice and found me and awesome locker! It doesn’t always open great but it’s in a great location and it’s big (our school has two sizes of lockers, small, about 5 feet high, and large, about 6.5 feet) I was, and still am, so glad being a senior got me a great locker this year!

  21. i happen to get the most aweful locker; low lying, grumpy neighbourhood, difficult access; gave me a backache within the first week of school. i being little smart traded it with a fellow classmate.
    bought it in exchange for a few notes.

    made my life simply..A.W.E.S.O.M.E!

  22. This year I have a really bad locker. It is in the middle of the row, so there are also people blocking my locker and I am blocking other people’s lockers. It is so annoying.

  23. Even worse are half-lockers. First off you are demoted to half the space to cram everything from bio textbooks to (yes) trumpet cases. Then some cruel twist of fate places you on the bottom. The icing on the cake? The person above you happens to bring with them a pack of chatting, tall, large bag wielding basketball playing girls to her locker every single break for the entire duration of the break. Fast change between classes? I think not, more like calmly but semi-politely shoving your way in to avoid being late.

  24. I play the trumpet myself, and I don’t even bother trying to fit my case in my locker. it’s either my case or my books, so I just leave the case in the band room.

    1. I played French Horn in high school, and to get it into my locker (which was quite large as school lockers go) there was a certain angle you had to follow, like you’re a mover getting a couch up a twisty staircase.

  25. I have never had the fortune of having a top locker ( hopefully i will in my last two year!) Most of our school’s lockers are 40(height)x35(width)x40cm(depth) and its enough to fit all my books and pencil case in, and thats fine. We are assigned locker bays with our homeroom, but this year our homeroom is one of only two that have a locker room, so at the end of recess and lunch everyone is trying to fit inside a room the size of a cleaning cupboard. Being in the bottom locker wouldnt be so bad if i wasnt so tall and the people above me havent ALWAYS been the popular girls that have friends with them and dont realise there are other people wanting to get to their lockers. On the up-side I have had a locker next to my best friend two years in a row. My year 9 locker was awesome (apart from being the bottom). It was a locker bay (no crowded rooms), it was steps from the canteen, across the courtyard from the toilets, the front office, and our homeroom, and it was within walking (ie. not crawling, trudging, lugging etc.) distance of all my classes. I can’t wait til next year because all the year 11s’ lockers are still two high, but they are almost twice the sixe so you can fit your bag in them as well. I vow to get a top locker next time!

  26. My high school locker twenty *ahem* years ago was the best. We kept the same locker all four years, so getting a good or bad locker would stick with you. Mine was in prime locker real estate — it was on the band-room-wing side of the locking metal gates, so I could get my books or whatever for the weekend at night after the football games. And it had a trick lock, so you could just spin the dial to the last number and it would open. Best of all, it was on the end of the row, so I only had a neighboring locker on one side, giving me valuable elbow-room. My friends would stash stuff in my locker and boyfriends could leave me surprise presents. My locker rocked.

  27. My locker is terrible. It never opens the first time– you always have to do it three times, and you really have to yank on the little handle-thing to get it to open. I have a huge, painful blister on the inside of my right index finger because of it.

    But hopefully, I’ll have an awesome locker next year. >___>

  28. Fantastic walk down memory lane…the photo from Paris that got away and created shamefull stories, which lead to butt slaps and pinches, till relocated by boyfriend to share his end unit and kisses between classes… English lessons of mine exchanged for his intellect in math…usually made us tardy for next class…PLUS the sneaky pranks, naturally went with the territory~ bull trout fishes on coat hooks, zip locks full of ear wax and in light of something better and brighter, love notes and surprise birthday wishes!
    Getting a good locker and good locker times, Awesome!
    Lockers and good fun!

  29. Reading this, I’m glad I don’t have a locker. I go to a private school in London but unlike, Starley, we get our own cabins to go to everyday kind of like boarding school except we can go home whenever we want.I feel sorry for everyone with locker problems. Your probably knackered from dealing with them everyday. Godd luck in the future my mates!

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