In those moments of inadequacy, when you’re spilling your drink on yourself at a party, or setting fire to the drapes at a christening, or even mistaking someones pet for their child, there’s one thing that binds us all together; The social embarrassment of birth.
Let’s face it, you’re naked, you’re in a room full of strangers and you’re crying. See if YOU get invited to another shindig! On top of that your hair looks terrible(if you have any at all), you don’t have any money to buy the next round and before the night is done you’re likely to have your arse slapped and a part of yourself snipped and tied.
And thus is the pattern of your life set.
How humiliating that over the next few years of existence the only things you will be praised for are mumbling some gibberish, a killer impression of the dog that gets misconstrued as ‘crawling’ and the fact that you don’t soil yourself anymore.
Then you go to school and, if you’re lucky, you spend the next six years being praised for not being stupid. Is that really such an accomplishment? And isn’t it the stupid kids that need the most praising? Hmm? In fact, being smart was the stupidest thing you could do in school as it gives power to your worst enemy; expectation. If you’re perceived as intelligent, then there’s always a sense of being let down when you reveal the mindless little hominoid you really are.
And then you get punished.
In my school, when you were naughty, you were made to sit in the corner… THE CORNER OF A SMALL BOX FILLED WITH SCORPIONS! MAD SCORPIONS! ONES WHO DRIBBLE AND DRESS UP AS NAPOLEON!
After that you were given six of the best… Six of the best violent Taiwanese kick boxers money could buy who would work on you until lunch, have some crackers and tea, and then beat your bloodied skull until the school day was done.
Homework involved chewing glass. Not your thin glass either. STAINED glass with pictures of scorpions dressed as Napoleon on it.
If you were late to school you had a leg removed and if you were late twice you were forced to remove the leg of the next tardy student. If you were late three times you were given an apple but if you were late a FOURTH time you were shot from a cannon into a brick wall.
Classes involved BUGGERY, BUGGERY 101, AVOIDING BUGGERY, REMEDIAL BUGGERY and Math.
I hated Math.
When you had the right answer to a question in class, you were not allowed to raise your hand, but instead had to raise the dead. If unable to do this you were sent to the headmasters office who then gave you six of HIS best.
The end of the week would be signalled by the ritual strangling of that particular weeks stupidest student, upon which time we would march home where we would be soundly beaten all weekend before being sent to bed within the quivering jaw of a starved badger.
Happy memories? No. Memories? Yes.
Through all this though, in my heart of hearts and my lung of lungs, i believe that education is the cornerstone of our society. I believe that knowledge is the temple within which we must all pray. I believe that having your arse paddled for the slightest wrongdoing and your tongue stapled to the table for looking at teacher sideways are crucial tools in educating the monkey-like amongst us.
And if there is one truth i hold to be self evident, it is that those who learn without trauma are only getting half the picture….
The nice half, obviously.