Earl G., 42, Designer:
"Seventh grade, public school, art class, I'm about 12. Teacher is an elderly woman who could teach crafts but had no eye for art. She leaves the class on a personal errand, figures its cool because the kids are all hunkered down working on projects.
"I'm bored and wander to the back of the classroom. I make a tube of rolled-up paper and fill it with red powdered tempera from the jars we had back there. Not thinking of the future, living for the moment, I blow through the tube and watch in delight as a huge red cloud jets out and hovers in the air. Nowadays I guess you'd call it performance art.
"Problem is the plume settles on the floor. Panicking, not using my head at all, I wet some napkins and try to swab it up. Now the floor has a large slick of red paint on it. Kids come back to see what is going on and start tracking the paint all over the classroom. One or two kids becomes a mob. For the next five minutes I watch in horror as crimson footprints fill the classroom floor.
"Teacher has been gone about ten or fifteen minutes. Hoping to do damage control I stand near the front door and wait for her.
"She comes back in, sees all the red tracks, freaks: 'What has happened here?'
"I say, 'Uh, some paint got on the floor and everybody tracked it around.'
"It didn't occur to me till years later but her being AWOL from class probably saved my ass. No way she's going to do a full scale investigation. My next mental image of the affair is a janitor she called in, using a mop and bucket to clean up my mess."