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Chemistry Joke Could Keep High School Student From Walking at Graduation

It wasn't even a good chemistry joke.


Back That Ass Up

Soon-to-be high school graduate Paris Gray tried to slip a chemistry joke into her school’s yearbook, and it could cost her the chance to walk at graduation. I hate to say it, but as Geekosystem’s resident weird old dad, I think maybe it should.

Gray’s joke was an encoded message in her senior quote that ran next to her yearbook photo that read, “When the going gets tough, just remember to Barium Carbon Potassium Thorium Astatine Sulfur Utranium [sic] Phospheros [sic].”

If you use the chemical symbols instead of the names of those elements her quote reads, “When the going gets tough, just remember to BaCK ThAt AsS UP.” (As pictured at the top of this story in children’s element blocks.)

The student seems to be getting a lot of support online, but I’m not convinced her punishment isn’t warranted. If a student tried to use “back that ass up” as their senior quote, the yearbook most likely wouldn’t have run it, and the student may have faced some kind of punishment. But, Gray snuck it in, and the yearbook went out to the school with her message in it.

Her defense in this report by WSBTV in Clayton County, Georgia was that “no one understood it.” Maybe because you spelled two of the elements incorrectly?

Both Gray’s mother and the reporter point out what a model student and “inspiration” Paris is, but if anything, that just means she should have known better.

My issue isn’t that a high school student got the word “ass” into the yearbook. We publish stronger language on Geekosystem on the regular. For fucksake, we even spell curse words in gummy letters and make galleries on slow news days. High schoolers should absolutely try to sneak curse words into their yearbooks, but if you’re weeks away from graduating, you should be mature enough to realize your actions have consequences.

(WSB-TV via UPROXX, cover image my own)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.