Monday, 18 April 2011

All Grown Up

If you had asked me aged five what I wanted to be when I grew up, the likelihood is that I would have told you I wanted to be a train driver. At age seven, following a trip to Sea World, I would have answered Marine Biologist. As a ten year old I decided I wanted to be a barrister because I liked how it sounded (which, let’s face it, is hugely important at that age!) I’d be happily married to my primary school girlfriend and we’d have so many children that we’d have to drive them around in a double-decker bus.
Then I became a teacher and realised that celibacy looked like a pretty good option.  
Nonetheless, I like to think that I have a good relationship with my inner child, although he still gets me into trouble sometimes, like laughing at inappropriate things or eating a whole packet of Haribo in one sitting. Recently, this has manifested itself into an unnatural urge to not just jump, but launch myself feet first into any puddle that I might come across. In fact as a child I had a dedicated ‘puddle jumping’ outfit for a number of years so it’s no surprise this craze has come back once again (although thankfully without the waterproof onesie of the first instalment.) Now back in the shire this is still teetering on the edge on acceptable behaviour for a 24 year old, but in the city, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish! I actually feel sympathy for the sensible people who have to put up with the slightly maniacal puddle jumper who roams the streets of the midlands. Scratch that; ditch the Blackberry Mr Lawyer, and forget the fact that your shoes cost more than my car; befriend your inner child and join me on my rampage. Go on, I dare you!
But now, at the ripe old young age of 24, much as I hate to admit it, I think I might have become a grown-up.
I can practically hear the sharp intake of breath.
But why now? What is so significant about this day approximately half way through my 24th year of existence, rather than, let’s say for arguments’ sake, the day I left home, or the first time that I realised that if I drink a whole bottle of wine to myself I would be sick, or even the realisation that doing stuff just to wind up your parents is actually way more effort that its worth?
Because today, I applied for a mortgage; an actual, real, I’m-going-to-have-to-pay-proper hard-earned-money-every-month-until-I’m-sixty mortgage! Am I insane? Quite possibly! This isn’t at all like the time I bought Clarence House in Monopoly and then had to sell it to my dad to make a quick buck to pay my rent, because no amount of brightly coloured Monopoly money and parental pestering if going to get me out of this if it all goes tits up! In the words of that generic grandparent, You’re on your own now, lad.
I’m now realising that this mortgage will more than likely be the longest and most expensive relationship I’ll ever have, (and let’s face it, with my previous relationship history that isn’t going to be difficult!) But this isn’t something that can be easily terminated if it doesn’t pick up after itself, or if we agree after two years that it just isn’t working out; if we break up, it gets the house. In a round-about way the nice mortgage man (for want of a better description) even asked me what I would do if I died! DIED! I am now quite literally tied to this mortgage until death do us part, But only if your insured, mind you. Can’t be too careful these days!
I think I’m going to need to find a pretty big puddle to jump in to get over this.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Educational Value of Idiocy.

I often think that I am the sort of guy that attracts disaster. I’m the sort of person who laughs outwardly at those unfortunate stars of ‘You’ve Been Framed’ who run into the closed glass doors at full pelt or slip on black ice, whereas inside I am secretly remembering the moment when it was my face hitting the solid glass or nursing the bruise on my arse after yet another frosty morning. That’s me; I really shouldn’t be let out alone. Ever.
Now it might come as a surprise to you that as I am 'that sort of person' I should make my career by imparting my limited knowledge on the youth of today. Noble you say? Unlikely! I view the workplace as merely a larger venue in which to stage the comedy of errors that is my daily life. A captive audience of thirty of the harshest critics you are ever like to encounter; let the games begin!
So after arriving at work at the usual ungodly hour I went about my business prepping for another busy day, checking off the various things on the obligatory ‘to do’ list and after seeing how many Post-It notes I can cover my desk with, I paid my daily visit to the store cupboard.
My recent mission has been to inflict some of my organisational skills on those around me and in doing so I have discovered the benefits of many plastic wallets, and most recently coloured plastic wallets.
So on my way back from said store room with a replenished supply of wallets balanced precariously I was ambushed by a small step that sprung out and attacked my foot. But that could have happened to anyone right? Of course! And the subsequent dropping on the wallets is again completely plausible. It was not until I reached down to gather up those escaping wallets that I felt the twang and heard the ripping of material.
Holy Fuck.
Realising that I am now in a situation that no amount of plastic wallets can save me from, I decide it’s time to check for damage. Sneakily reaching to the back of my trousers, I feel the frayed material and start to establish the severity of my current situation. Realising that my underwear is suddenly on display in a considerably hostile environment, I am hit with one further piece of crucial information; today was laundry day. This could mean only one thing; those unsightly cartoon strip boxers that had remained hidden in my draw since the dawn of time were now the only thing concealing my decency. Whilst I’m sure that the educational content of the plot line that was developing on my left cheek would ultimately result in some sort of thrilling climax by the time the cartoon strip reached my right one, this was not the type of literature I was used to working with!
Think Jack, think!
There was only one thing for it. I had to get help and this would mean leaving my classroom and facing the growing crowds now culminating in the corridors. So with my arse pressed against the wall to conceal the final remnants of my decency, my perilous journey to the staff office began.
It was on my arrival here, and feeling a miniscule amount of smugness that my arse sliding plan had worked a treat, that I then had to sheepishly knock on the deputy-head’s door.
“Are you feeling unwell?” was her first response as I entered the room looking decidedly flushed.
“If only!” I thought as I turned a deeper shade of mortified after seeing her puzzled yet slightly critical look.
For some unknown reason, as I began to recount the trouser rippage incident, the hilarity of this situation hit me at full force, and I was left not only with my underwear on display, but now completely bereft of the power of logical though or speech. Needless to say I was sent home to rectify my situation and told to return once I had regained composure.
It was not until last week that this incident reared its ugly head for one final blow. When marking one of my student’s books, I found this anecdote;
“As a teacher I thought that buying a pair of substandard trousers from a certain high street chain was a good idea. It was not. Not only did I embarrass myself, I lost the respect of all colleagues and students.”
A footnote followed;
“It’s ok Sir, we like that you’re an idiot”
In a final blow to an already traumatic event, my life has been turned into an anecdote about failure by a thirteen year old.
But at least my idiocy is valued.