My neighbour and I swap magazines. I’m not really sure why magazine swap is legal but music swap isn’t, considering that one magazine costs around thirty bux and a song only costs 7 US cents therefore the loss on magazines is bigger? But this is just where the small mysteries in life start, innit?
Normally we swap tabliody mags like ‘Heat’ and ‘People’ – fiercely intellectual stuff. Secretly, we’re just keen to swap them so that we can get them out of the house. They serve as a reminder of our shame at having bought them in the first place. Er, before you get preachy, I know you read them too because they’re always the most-read mags in waiting rooms.
This weeks sharing was un-tabloids. I’m always up for a bit of Tatler because I get to WTF at how the other half live and can pretend, for a moment, that I can relate to articles like “Wise Up, Rich Kids!” Whenever I read Tatler the word ‘who’ forms in my mind, followed by variations of: buys this shit, is interested in this shit, knows who this shit is and mostly, can afford this shit? (Sorry, Nicole Farhi, but I just don’t see how a white cotton shirt can be worth 250 pounds - unless of course it was both woven and stitched with your teeth).
I did read one relatable article though called, Our Man in the Sixth Form. Before getting stuck into the meat of it, my immediate reaction was ‘gee, wouldn’t that be fun – to go back to school for a day’. This was followed even more immediately by my secondary reaction: are you blinking bonkers! Memories of my school years came flooding back, like those dreams where you arrive at school with no knickers on and your skirt’s hemline is getting shorter and shorter.
It got me thinking (and not for the first time, mind you) who exactly enjoyed their schooling?
OK, I’ll tell you who. The girl I sat next to in Grade 3. Let's call her 'Brown-Noser'. The teacher asked – sneakily I thought – what half of three is. Of course, we all know that there is no half of three. There’s two and one and one and two but definitely no half of three. Least that’s what most of us figured because everyone, except Brown-Noser, didn’t put our hands up. I couldn’t contain my shock when Brown-Noser said ‘one and a half’ (still baffles me to this day) and I still wonder how the fuck she knew that.
Pretty much the whole of my primary schooling went along these lines (mathematically speaking) and when I got to senior primary it only got worse. Enter 'Suck-Up'. Cutest girl you ever saw, curly dark hair, big brown eyes, dimples (I shit you not. Dimples.) AND she was seriously smart. Teachers pet for sure. There may even have been apples involved.
When the time came for her English oral, she actually made a joke in her oral. I mean what kind of freaky kid knows at age 11 that you should break the ice with a joke? Of course, you’re wondering what her oral was about, right? Her hobby: pressing bloody flowers. Of course it was. Need I say more.
It was really in Grade 6 that the panic reached fever pitch regarding number-work (the half-of-three business was just the start). Can someone kindly explain the importance of math speed tests? I mean unless you’re planning on being one of those coke-snorting stock exchange-quick-with-numbers-types, when will you ever need to add numbers at speed? (note to self: send kids to school with cocaine to help their maths). My parents were totally bewildered when I kept saying how I hate, hate, hated maths. ‘But you’ve got A+ the whole year!’ they exclaimed. Well I could hardly tell them that I’d copied my best friends entire body of arithmetic work (thanks, Alex) the whole year, now could I?
I will not even begin to stray into the realms of social angst of school years, except to say that it is exceptionally tiring to try and suck in your bum and pull in your stomach for an entire five years of high school. So no, Peter Dench of Tatler, well done for giving it a whirl but I will not be trying out school again. I’m afraid that no-knickers dream will finally come true.