Back in the day, do you remember where your priorities were? Middle and high school dramas always focus on the dating, the dances, and the real-life hardships of kids, but is that really what our lives were like?
Or did we have some more interesting and hilarious moments of our youth that often get glossed over? Such as, what people were selling in your school at ridiculous prices? Livestrong bracelets were most certainly a hallmark of the black market of those of us who were in middle school between 2002 and 2005. Cheesy bagels became a fixture of the rewards system at high schools around the Boston area.
Your school probably had something similar going on.
"What was the weirdest black market in your school?"
Here were some of those answers.
Anything For The Jersey
"Mountain Dew and Pepsi had a contest where college names were printed on the inside of the bottle caps. "
"If that school won the NCAA March madness tournament, you could send it in for the jersey of your choice from any school. Suddenly, a black market for caps with blue chip schools was born."
"I remember selling a Duke cap for $10, then turning around and buying 10 drinks from the vending machine."-UCFandOCSC
The Forger Of West High
"This one girl forged excuse notes if you brought her something one of your parents wrote."
"I never used her services myself, but we were (and still are) good friends, and I gotta say, she's talented as hell."
"I literally can't tell which one is mine after she copied something I wrote. Including signature. It's baffling."-ChaoticMainframe
Any Price For A Fantasy
"Harry Potter books."
"I went to a religious school where books that had magic or fantasy was banned. Parents of these kids were just as religious so kids couldn't get them from their parents."
"Mom didn't care and she let me buy a few for some friends and then more kids started requesting them."
"Charged double for what they were worth and the kids were more than happy to pay."
"Most popular requests were: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Cirque Du Freak series. I should probably mention that this was a Muslim school."-aidan-fox
The black markets that students established ranged from the relatively innocuous to the somewhat dangerous.
Rewarding Preteens Seems Like A Silly Idea
"Our middle school tried to start a reward program. It turned out to be a fail of epic proportion."
"Wolf bucks; names after our mascot. They were mini-sized dollars color-coded by value. Green was $1, red was $5, blue was $10, and a gold wolf buck (only accessible to the principal and assistant principal $50) - Now the school bought erasers, pencil, notebooks. You could only buy with wolf bucks 1 pencil : 1 wolf buck."
"First failure: it was easy to copy. So kids started mass copying them. - okay school got smart and said 'only accepting wolf bucks with your name and have your teachers signature.'"
"Second failure: kept the same color; so kids would earn one legitimately, then the forgery started. Third failure: hyperinflation; during pep rally's. The principal started throwing golden wolf bucks."
"Eventually the school stopped resupplying the store. Everyone had hundreds/ thousands of worthless wolf bucks."-isramobile
"My best friend found out that the dumpster behind the video store had a lot of sample porn tapes."
"Basically it was like the best parts of 4 porns clipped down and put into one vhs to try to sell those porn videos to the store, and then it would have 'this is a sample copy' flashing on the screen. Way more than we could handle anyhow."
"We would sneak up there in the middle of the night and steal a bunch of the porn tapes and sell em for like 5-10 a piece. We made several hundred dollars."
"I built a PC and put a CD burner in it with my share of the money. It might have also paid for a bike, but I might have mowed lawns for that, I forget which year that happened in and if they were the same summer."
'"Ring got busted and my friend got his disciplined when he fell asleep with the vhs in his tv that rewinds and plays it automatically."
"His mom came to wake him up and there's porn. He had to unveil his stash space. Guy kept his mouth shut though. Didn't rat me out said it was just for him. Didn't tell her it was a business we were running."
"We had a history of that. One summer when we were like 6, we started freezing soda in ice cube trays cause it was yummy and made our extremely meager soda allowance last MUCH longer while we were playing sega."
"Well, some kids around the neighborhood wanted some but we didn't really want to give em up. We decided to sell them for a quarter, but all our soda-pops got bought up.... but we also had enough money for several 2 liters."
"Well the next day we made a bunch more and kids were rabid for them, did two batches of every ice cube tray we had, upped it to .50 a cube. Next day we went a dollar a cube with special mixes. 1.50 for a SURGE cube (enough to buy an entire 2liter bottle at the time.)"
"Well... by the time parents were getting home from work our racket got shut down, parents were PIIIIIIISED we made bank, certainly over $100 on the 3 day racket. As kindergarten age kids."
"The parents wanted the money back but we said we spent it all... we were liars, I mean, we had plans for all the money sure, and we spent a LOT of it. We had HUGE bags of soda and chips stuffed in a stairwell where our parent's wouldn't find it. Man we had a great summer that summer."-hemorrhagicfever
Window Cleaners Share The Best Things They've Ever Seen | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
Black Market Bus Pass
"This happened in Los Angeles in the mid 80's. Student bus passes had to be purchased by the fifth day of the month or you were stuck having to pay daily."
"The date had passed so I found a guy in my high school willing to trade another student's pass which he had stolen. I traded a tangerine and half a pack of cigarettes for a copy of Penthouse."
"Then I traded that issue with a pizza from the cafeteria for the bus pass."-HankPymp
Still A Collector's Item
"'Diddle' paper. It's colored paper with a mouse drawn on it. But everyone collected them. No matter how old. And there were hundreds of different artworks."
"People had folders with protective covers and depending on the motif and rarity you wanted to trade, you could get 3 to 4 others in exchange. It was wild..."
"I just googled it and there are still collectors buying and selling them on the internet..."-OneMorePotion
And some of these black markets were likely not the only ones of their kind across the world.
This Is Definitely Illegal
"A teacher at my high school that I refuse to rat on would take money from students and buy them lottery tickets/scratch-offs in exchange for a cut of any prize $50 and up."
"I think the dude legit made a few thousand dollars off of this just during my senior year. And it made the students love him."-Feraligreater328
Something Easily Made
"In early elementary school we had a market for mud. Different groups of kids would claim areas around the school as their mud pit and put their brand of mud in ziplock bags to be traded with other groups for different bags of mud."
"We were the clay mud group and I had about 3 kids in the muck scooping it into bags or running to the water fountain to get fresh water to make more mud on dry days. I would be the one to go make the deals with the other groups."
"We traded a lot with the gravel mud group because 'clay mud' and 'cement mud' are both good for building or some sh*t... Who knows? It made so much sense at the time."
"The principal and staff eventually stepped in to end it because all the kids came back to class filthy every day and giant holes littered every field and playground."-LemmeLaroo
Ice Cream, The Young Child's Gold
"Our elementary school utilized 'ice cream tickets.'"
"You got 1 if it was your birthday or if you did something that a teacher decided was 'exemplary.'"
"People would pass them around asking for favors down the line. Some kid found the paper used to make the tickets and xeroxed multiple pages of the tickets. He became our kingpin and ruled for a couple years."-Lucky_Se7enX
The things that kids will really rely on each other to produce and sell are so interesting and are a great look back into the psyche of our youth.
The black market days may be behind us, but the black market life will always leave lasting memories.
When looking at a resume, it's easy to understand how prospective employers will assume someone is very intelligent based on their education and past experience.
But one shouldn't only assume someone's intelligence based on what they read.
More often than not, one can tell rather quickly that someone possesses above-average intelligence, based on how they speak, how they behave, or other telling details.
Redditor PadWanKenobi was curious to hear what people felt were the tell tale signs they were in the company of a possible genius, leading them to ask:
"What’s a sign of extremely high intelligence?"
"Ability to intuitively and quickly understand complex systems and how lots of parts relate in a coherent whole."
"Like I work with some people who just keep tons of concepts in their head and easily integrate new information into their understanding of those concepts."
"They immediately know what questions they should be asking to better understand."
"And these are things they're currently working on, not like things they spent time studying in school over years."
"They just have a very strong ability to synthesize new information into their understanding."
"I sit in meetings distracted and confused having forgotten what we talked about in the previous meetings, and these folks just consistently have a solid handle on everything."- Ok-Control-787
Innate Problem Solvers
"They know when not to solve a problem."
"This took me a while to understand but the smartest people I know do this."
"It could be a really simple thing like ignoring emails from people asking for help."
"The supervisor or boss might have a quick and easy solution for the situation but instead of just handing it to the person that asked they let them figure it out on their own."
"They know who they can do this with and when to do it."
"If they did that with all of their underlings it would just create a mess."
"Another example that I can think of is planned chaos."
"Some people can predict exactly where things will go wrong and they could fix it before it creates a problem."
"They don't because nobody ever notices what's going on in the background when things are working perfectly."
"Once things fails then everybody notices and if you are the one person that fixed it you become the hero."
"They can also use then chaos to reach a goal they couldn't get before if things were working correctly."
"There's many examples of this in every day life that I didn't see before until I realized what was happening."- atapesGiphy
You know what they say about people with small hands
"If your hand is smaller than your face."- FallofTheKnight
The all knowing glow.
"When someone asks you a question and you push your glasses up while light comes out of it and covers your eyes for some reason."- JonEregor
Those giveaway behavioral quirks
"Wearing glasses and saying things like 'ah yes', and 'I see' while you pensively rub your chin."- iuytrefdgh436yujhe2Thinking Reaction GIF by ABC TV + IVIEWGiphy
"When they explain something they make the people around them feel smarter, not dumber."- redkat85
Being one step ahead.
"The capacity to understand complex things, see patterns where regular people don't."- Ostepop234
"They have this tendency to make you go 'Ohhh, why didn't I think of that?' when listening to them talk."- did_it_forthelulzWhy Didnt I Think Of That Cillian Murphy GIFGiphy
An endless love of learning
"A passion for knowledge and expanding understanding of complex concepts."
"The plumber can be just as insightful as the scholar."- KatatoniK94
Of course, one shouldn't always be fooled by what they see.
As many people are masters at appearing much smarter than they are.
In fact, one important sign of super intelligence is being able to separate those who appear smart, from those who actually are.
With each passing year of a marriage, couples will often discover that while they don't love each other any less than they once did, that spark their relationship used to carry has faded.
This will often lead these couples to look for ways to spice things up a bit.
Among the more popular experiments is inviting a third member to their bedroom.
Enticing as this prospect is, however, it's also easy to be intimidated by the reality of it, or even the mere suggestion of it.
"Men, what advice do you have for men whose wives want to bring a third into the bedroom?"
Make sure you want to do it.
"You need to be completely honest with yourself, ask if this is something you want and could live with."- Dame87
Proceed with caution
"It’s like frolicking in a mine field."
"You both better be SUPER into the idea, you can’t have one person who’s reluctantly agreed to go along with it."
"And established rules."
"A threesome sounds like fun and games until you’re watching your partner make faces and sounds that you only thought were for you in your most intimate moments together, and a burning jealousy comes out of nowhere and breaks your heart."
"I’m not saying it’s automatically a bad idea and I know people do polyamory successfully, but dear god be careful."- coleosis1414
Make sure you're an active participant
"I had an ex that was adamant that she wanted to be a swinger or whatever."
"The one time I decided to roll with it, I hit it off immediately with the other dude's girlfriend and had a blast hanging out with her all night."
"The other dude was a total creep, though."
"Also, my ex could not handle the fact that someone else was giving me the slightest bit of attention."
"So, needless to say, that didn't go anywhere."
"Turns out she didn't want to be a swinger, she just wanted to have sex with other people behind my back, which she had no problems whatsoever with."- Ted_Denslow
Look out for ulterior motives
"Just remember that if you bring this up and your husband is against it, that could be the beginning of the end of your marriage."
"For a lot of people their partner saying 'I am seriously considering having sex with other people and I'm checking with you if it is ok', is a deal breaker."- gamerplays
Consider a test run?
"Go to a bar together separately."
"Watch them flirt/interact with someone else."
"If you get jealous, it's probably a bad idea to bring in a third."
"If it turns you on, go for it."- SinSlayer
Query people with experience.
"It’s something my wife and I have talked about."
"We both agreed that opening the Pandora’s box is not the way we want our relationship to go."
"While it sounds fun, we have seen way to many relationships derailed because of it."- DarthDujo
Consider going whole hog.
"Bring a 4th."- xxemrgmi
Evaluate your relationship first.
"Make sure you and your partner are secure in your own relationship before having another person join."
"Have boundaries, and no secrets."
"From my experience it doesn't usually work out in the end."- Thick-Procedure455
"Don't do it."
"For a long time, my ex harbored a fantasy of watching me have sex with another woman."
"Hey, who knows why any of us are wired the way we are?"
"After contemplating the idea together for a while, we decided to approach one of her more attractive co-workers, who had made a series of flattering comments along the lines of "you're so lucky" and "he's so good-looking'."
"She enthusiastically agreed."
"Our first meet-up was of course awkward, but the second, third and following were pretty good."
"In fact they got progressively hotter, as we all got more comfortable with each other's boundaries, erotic likes and dislikes."
"However, over a few months these occasional kinky weekends transitioned into the co-worker asking more frequently and aggressively to be invited over."
"We tried to explain that we had intended these threesomes to be rare and exotic highlights in our sex life, not regular occurrences, but she didn't take the message to heart and instead became increasingly insistent, bordering on smothering."
"After being turned down one Friday, that night she unexpectedly showed up at our door anyway, carrying a weekend bag and wearing nothing but a raincoat, stay-ups and heels."
"While that was quite a sight, it definitely creeped us out, as it made us finally realize the whole arrangement was descending into 'play Misty for me' territory."
"My ex and I agreed that her unexpected and unwelcome appearance signaled the end of future three-ways, at least until we were able to cool our own selves down, reassess, and perhaps later find a less demanding and insistent third."
"Things subsequently got very sticky at work for my wife, as her co-worker, with whom she had to interact closely, strongly resented being permabanned, and kept demanding to know 'what she'd done that was so awful'."
"Coworker eventually asked to be transferred to another office, but by the time that process was over and done, the discomfort / guilt / pressure / confusion my ex was suffering both at home and at work had begun to take its psychological toll."
"I must confess it didn't help that our own sex life was simultaneously going through a rough patch."
"Long story short, we ended our decade-long relationship less than a year after breaking off the threesomes, chiefly due to trust issues and growing sexual incompatibility, both perhaps triggered by our experimentation."
"Ever since, I've regretted agreeing to that first three-way."
"If I hadn't been so damned eager to take a bite of forbidden fruit, we might have kept our relationship intact."
"But I guess this can also be put down as what sometimes happens when you ignore that old advice, 'don't sh*t where you sleep'."- theartfulcodger
When venturing into the unknown, it's always wise to gain some first hand experience, to hear a variety of pros and cons of what you're possibly getting yourself into.
That way, deciding whether or not it's for you will become increasingly clear.
It's also important to remember, that it is always ok to say "no".
People Share Their Best 'You Either Die The Hero Or Live Long Enough To Become The Villain' Experiences
"You either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain."
Though not necessarily a universal truth, all of us have witnessed unfortunate moments in our lives where we've seen this saying become a reality.
Be it seeing our favorite public figures take a serious fall from grace, someone we know and admire eventually disappointing us in a devastating manner, or even seeing ourselves turn into someone we promised we'd never become.
One Redditor was curious to hear people's examples of this saying coming to light, either from a personal experience or seeing it happen to a well-known, public figure, leading them to ask:
"Who is your example of 'you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain'?"
"He originally stood up for civil rights when it was really unpopular."
"Was hospitalized and accidentally placed in the black ward."
"When the doctors found out, they tried to move him, but he refused."
"Then he became a cult leader and used his power and influence to end the lives of a thousand people."- Crvsby
Earning a position of power
"Working in restaurant kitchens."
"You either burn out young, or become the boss that everyone hates."
"There's exceptions, but that's the rule."- grandpas_old_crow
"Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver."
"Made up a bunch of untested uses for it, treating people having asthma attacks, and drowning victims were the two I remember that he publicly talked up."
"Later, he funded an experiment that involved injecting people with Malaria to see if it would treat other conditions.
"The experiment was found to be unethical by American review boards, so he conducted them in Ethiopia." - User Deleted
"In WW1 he led the French to victory at Verdun, one of the worst battles in human history."
"In WW2, after France was beaten, Petain was the head of state of Vichy France."
"Guy went from the Lion of Verdun to the biggest Nazi collaborator in France."- arthuranymoredonuts
"Every organ until it gets cancer."- SuperBaconjam
"He had the whole country behind him here in Ireland at one point bar people who thought combat sport is grotesque."
"He was witty, original, backing himself up and having a Hollywood like rise to stardom."
"Now he's someone who the whole country is ashamed of, goes punching old men, clearly sleeps around on his wife while she's at home with the kids, just a walking caricature of himself."
"He didn't listen to his own advice."
"Get out."- StephenPigot2020
Turning into our parents
"My dad used to annoy me by calling my Pokemon cards 'Pokey-Mans'."
"Now my kids have them and I do the same thing and it annoys the sh*t out of them."
"Thanks for the (Pokeyman) gold!"- rumpel4skinOU
"Almost died during the revolutionary way, if I recall correctly, and if he had he would have been remembered a huge hero, and a martyr."
"Instead he lived and changed sides, and is remembered only for his being a traitor."- uniqueperson22
Be it someone we knew quite intimately, or someone we admired from a far, it is always heartbreaking to see someone evolve from someone we love, to someone we utterly hate.
Sometimes we do things that have to be done.
And some of those things live in life's gray area of right and wrong.
What comes as a surprise to some is when we don't care if we're wrong.
We may still technically be in the right.
But morally and ethically, there may be some issues.
But still, many people don't care.
Redditor BirdyPizzawanted to see who would fess up about some of the worst things we're responsible for but have no shame.
"What is the darkest thing you have ever done and don’t regret?"
I've stolen from department stores that overcharged. I was arrested. I didn't care. So there...
"Five years ago my dad suffered a catastrophic stroke. Left paralyzed and robbed of his speech and ability to communicate he was a shell of the once vibrant, charismatic man he once was. He was moved into skilled nursing where he lived for nearly two years, he was miserable."
"On my last visit I told him it was okay if he wanted to leave us, that we would miss him but he should go. A week later I received the call that he had passed. Instead of immediate grief I felt relief. Relief that he was finally free. The grief came later and I still miss him every single day."
"Got into a car accident and had to stay with my mom for a couple days to figure out what to do. Went back to my apartment (I had two roommates) and everything was missing from my room. Long story short one of my roommates had everything hidden in her room."
"I called and told her the things were missing from my room and she came up with a lie that a couple girls came to look at my room (I was moving out bc of the accident, long story) and that they must have taken my things. She had everything I owned. Including my grandmothers perfume bottles, stuffed to the back of her closet, under her bed, behind her dresser etc."
"So I packed all of my stuff up. Then took a giant black garbage bag and stuffed as much of her closet in it as I could. Took it to the middle of nowhere, dug a hole and burnt it. She called screaming at me that her stuff was missing. I told her the two girls must have come by and taken her stuff too."
"I hit my uncle left right and center when he was trying to choke my father to death. I was 16 years old at that time, a very skinny girl. I beat his face neck and every part of him that I could target with so much intensity that my knuckles turned blue the next day. I had an animalistic rage that day trying to help my father get away from his death grip. I hate my uncle even today."
"I got anger issues because of growing up around him. And I don't regret beating him that day at all. He was physically abusive to his wife as well. One fine day, his wife retaliated by beating him blue with a stick. And he stopped being physically violent towards her post that."
"A neighbor like 10 years ago was neglecting their dog badly in the heat. The dog escaped often and ended up at the shelter a lot. One day she jumped the fence and got her tie-out cable stuck on the fence. (She was not in danger of choking.) Neighbor put her on a 3-foot-long cable tied to a doorknob, no water, 90 degree day. I let some kind folks steal her, watched the whole thing and said nothing to stop them."
"When my father was dying and in pain I was the one who told the doctors he had been through enough and we couldn't see him suffer anymore. Doctor injected him with something, I assume a morphine mega dose and he passed peacefully moments after. Euthanasia may not be legal in UK but compassionate doctors know what's what. I don't regret it because my pa made me promise I would have his back when he got sick or old. I'm sad he got sick and never got to get old."
That is a lot of mess. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do.
"One of my ex best friends in high school was a real narcissistic lunatic. Had so many egotistical fantasies about what he deserved but I remained his friend because we met through my close friend (his girlfriend). As I started realizing what a terrible person he was I convinced him to go after his fantasy of a harem by asking to add a 3rd to their relationship, that led to a fight between his gf."
"I called her about it and asked how she felt about him adding someone to their relationship and about him sleeping with her. She said she knew nothing about that and started crying because he cheated on her. I basically helped orchestrate their breakup and have no regrets. She is happy with her first child now and he is in a toxic af relationship with 3 kids, 2 of which aren't his and his partner is 8 years older than him."
"Had to make the choice to take my dad off of life support after he got Covid this year. He was sedated for a couple of weeks and one of his lungs collapsed and I couldn't watch him fall apart anymore. My dad was a bulky dude. Constantly did a lot of outdoor work and to see him bone skinny and have no muscle left killed me and I knew even if he somehow got through it, he would have been so miserable and depressed in that state he was in. I don’t regret it. I think it was the right thing to do by him. I’ll never not miss him though. That was my buddy."
"Turned a close friend into the fish and game. He would poach mountain lions and bears. His whole family would literally shoot them and leave them. He would brag about it. I couldn’t stand it and felt that I needed to stop him. He’s in prison and so is his uncle. I know I ruined his life but he was literally killing so many mountain lions and bears."
"In middle school, there was this group of boys that would corner me in the hallway and try to scare me. I was the perfect target for these little b**tards. I was short, skinny, and had (and still have) and anxiety disorder. One day I just had enough, and asked a friend if I could have an extra pencil, sharpened it as much as I could, and when I saw one of them in the hallway, I stabbed the hell out of his leg. Sh**head got what he deserved."
Wow... we really are a dark and secretive people.