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I Just Prefer My Doctors Older

23 Aug

This afternoon, I was outrageously accused of being unfair to young people. And I have no intention of forgiving the childish little shit who said it.

Yes, I had just finished writing up a complaint to the council about the lads across the road, but this had nothing to do with bias — I was only speaking on behalf of the entire street. And when I came home from the surgery yesterday, my comment about the new consultant’s youthful choice of shoes was purely innocent. And why would someone appear on television in droopy trousers if he didn’t want his pert, tender bottom to be remarked upon? I’m allowed my opinions, aren’t I?

Despite Christopher’s attempt to back me into a corner (an experience I have enjoyed much more in the past), you’ll not see me making any grand comments on a large group of people. That would be discriminatory, and if there’s one thing I hate more than Australians, it’s discrimination.

Capaldi

 

But I will say this: if you are a member of the large group of people who claimed the new Doctor’s dialogue needs subtitles, you, my friend, are a racist.

Are You Being Bullied?

1 Sep

It’s school time again, and students of all ages are sharpening their pencils, pressing their uniforms and buffing up their saddle shoes (yes, I’m talking about masturbation). Sadly, in addition to homework stress and test anxiety, school can also give rise to bullying. The legal definition of bullying is:

1. Getting all up in someone else’s face for no good reason, 2. Being cruel to someone just because they are different (usually better) than you, 3; Just acting like a real dick

Of course, bullying doesn’t just happen to children; grown ups can be victims as well, especially if they’re great big babies about everything.

If you feel like you are being bullied, here are a few proactive steps you can take:

1. Hold your hand up to the bully’s face and state in a firm but calm voice, “Bullying is wrong. Stop bullying me, you big bully.” Give the bully the worst stink eye you can muster.  This should help the bully see what a total bellend he (or she, let’s be fair here) is being. This is particularly effective if you can do it in unison with other people, to show everyone that bullying will not be silently tolerated.

2. Report the bullying to a person in power—a form tutor, principal, boss or head of the FBI. Keep clear documentation to present as evidence. If you’ve filmed the bullying, you should not post it to YouTube, even though I bet it’d inspire some hilarious comments.

3. There is strength in numbers, so offer other victims support. Start an anti-bullying support group. But don’t call it that. Refer to it as “Football Club” or “Art Group.” Don’t ask for trouble.

I do not advocate attacking the bully—avoid violent actions or violent words. Fighting back like this is never a good idea: firstly, it takes you down to the bully’s level; secondly, look at your scrawny body. That bully is going to kick the shit out of you and how’s that going to help anyone?

Of course, it can be helpful to remember that bullies bully because they are actually sad, insecure or damaged. If that knowledge gives you some pleasure, make the most of it. Also, you might find it helpful to know that studies show that 99.157%[1] of bullies end up living miserable lives, either in prison, mental institutions or cabinet positions. They’ll suffer eventually, don’t you worry.

If by chance, you are the bully—all I can say is shame on you. I’ve no respect for bullies and I strongly encourage you to change your ways.[2]


[1] Probably.

[2] You are also a smelly dum-dum head and your hairstyle is stupid.

We Don’t Need No Education—Oh, Really Now?

23 Jan

I told you children were stupid.

New research shows that youngsters are leaving primary school unable to spell, add or do times tables. According to a survey, more than a quarter of children aged between 10 and 12 cannot add two simple sums together without a calculator.

Dullards!

This comes just a few days after students worldwide panicked because Wikipedia went black for one day. Young people tweeted “How will I do my homework now?” (and worse yet, many wrote “What’s going on with Wikipedia?” Google it, idiots!).

And therein lies the problem: laziness.

We didn’t have Spell Check when I was young. If we needed to know how to spell a word, we would walk across the room to the bookshelf and look it up in the dictionary (where, thoughtfully, the definition of said word was also available, free of charge).  No children had calculators either; shopkeepers were banned from selling them to minors. Those who did manage to get a hold of one didn’t even consider using it for mathematical reasons (hint: 5318008). Why would they? There was no reason to: that’s when brains are for.

Young people today seem to have willingly resigned themselves to not having to do things—if a machine won’t do it for them, then it must not be that important. Sadly, this seems to include thinking; I guess that’s just too much hard work for them to bother with. This can’t bode well for the future.

If you’re a parent worried about your child’s abilities, here’s a simple test: restrict his or her use of machines for one week. Without a calculator, can he complete his algebra homework? Without a computer, can she write an essay? Without a refrigerator, can he keep his meat and milk products from spoiling? Without her dialysis machine, can she remove waste and excess water from her blood? If the answers are no, your child is too dependent on machines and very likely a dumbbell.

You have my deepest sympathies. If they’re still in primary school, you still have time. Schedule an appointment with their teachers to come up with an action plan.  Otherwise, I’m afraid your children will be on the fast track to a career as a fast food worker, criminal or the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No one wants that.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

24 Dec
Twas the night before Christmas, when into the house
Creeped little drunk Christopher, the Yuletide souse.
The Alka Seltzer was left right next to the Aga,
In hopes he would grab it instead of some lager.
 
Miss Agatha was nestled all snug in her bed,
Dreams of an incident-free Christmas danced in her head,
Though she quite certain it was too much to ask,
When she discovered that Christopher had taken her flask.
 
When in the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
She put on her slippers and her silk dressing gown,
Nipped out of the bedroom and headed straight down.
 
The amber of the streetlamp flooded the room
As she entered the kitchen, filling with gloom.
When, what to her wondering eyes did she spy,
But a little-too-merry boy, starting to cry.
 
Though he had promised this year to abstain,
She instantly thought, “Here we go again.”
He claimed to be sorry right down to his core,
Though he was interrupted when he fell to the floor.
 
Oh Stella! Oh, WKD! Oh, Malibu and Coke!
You’ve turned Christopher’s promises into a joke.
The night before Christmas is a time to deck halls,
But he’s pissed away, pissed away, pissed away all!

 

I hope your Christmas Eve did not include what has now become a tradition round here, a young man coming in intoxicated and spewing what are clearly the issues he has with his mother onto me. For once I’d like to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, dreaming of sugarplums, rather than questioning my level of tolerance that allows this pisshead to live in my home.

If you prefer the traditional version, enjoy and Happy Christmas to all.

Halloween: We Fear What We Don’t Understand

27 Oct

Here is something I know: in England the current connotation of the word Halloween is “another American concept that is slowly destroying the world via our children’s innocence.”

Here is something you know: I am very clever and generally understand things better than you do.

Therefore, in the spirit of John 8:32, I would like to enlighten you to some truths about the Halloween holiday so that you shall be set free from your misconceptions. While the practices of the holiday should be limited to children, the theories behind it provide some good moral lessons we’d all do well to remember.

COSTUMES

Adults wear costumes (yes, of course, I’m talking about fancy dress, don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean) to escape their own mundane existence and live someone else’s life for an evening (although why people think slutty nurses’ lives are so fascinating is beyond me).

However, for American children, costumes serve an educational purpose; they’re used to introduce them to different career options. By the time American children reach puberty, they have already had first hand experience in a number of fields: medical, law enforcement, construction, super-heroism and witchcraft. Another benefit of children’s costumes is that they should be homemade. Homemade costumes are economical; support recycling (for at least a decade in America, all pantyhose were sold in plastic eggs, yet you never saw one of these in the landfills because they were ever so crafty); and encourage ingenuity within a family, forcing children and parents to discover new purposes within objects (I once wore Mason jar bands as earrings for my fortune teller costume, don’t tell me that’s not creative).

Sadly, families today often feel that they just don’t have the time to devote to the traditional costume-making process. Purchasing a costume loses some of the true meaning of Halloween; however, if it has to be done, the only appropriate option is a boxed costume which contains a highly flammable, colourful smock-type outfit and a plastic face with eyeholes and a thin, easily snappable piece of elastic to secure it to the head.

TRICK-OR-TREATING

Trick-or-treating is not begging. It’s actually an ancient form of barter: when you give a child a “treat,” you are actually paying for the entertainment they have provided you by making you feel frightened, amused or vaguely confused. Trick-or-treating in America is organized; there’s a single night chosen and if you don’t want to participate you just turn your porch light off. The “trick” part of the name is often interpreted as a threat, but this is incorrect. Despite what the horror films tell you, there are actually no recorded incidents of any mischief, criminal or otherwise, around Halloween on the books of any single American police station. Fact. Being scared, though, is part of the holiday’s tradition: ultimately, it’s a lesson in mortality and the sooner a child learns of his impending death, the happier the child will be, I always say.

Treats are generally candy, partly because sweets are enjoyed by most people and partly simply because they come individually wrapped. Years ago there was an urban legend that strangers were sticking razor blades in apples and contaminating cookies, so parents feel safer when a child comes home with individually wrapped candies–though, of course, a hypothermic needle could easily be used to inject candy through its wrapper without raising any suspicion (would-be poisoners should ignore this remark).

The candy most associated with Halloween is candy corn. To eat candy corn, you are required to bite off, chew and swallow the white bits and then discard the rest in the nearest bin. A little wasteful, yes, but it’s the law.

JACK O’LANTERNS

These days, there’s a real art to pumpkin carving. I myself prefer the traditional Jack O’Lantern face—circle eyes, triangle nose and the toothy grin. Carving even this relatively easy design is a great way to develop dexterity and knife-handling skills. The inside of the pumpkin is then frozen to be baked into Thanksgiving pumpkin pies and the seeds are roasted for a nutritional snack. In the carved pumpkins, you place a candle. You do this because it looks nice. Carving pumpkins is just nice, okay? Doesn’t niceness matter anymore?

Ultimately, I don’t care if you like Halloween. Support it or don’t, it’s no skin off my nose. However, if you decide you don’t want to be a part of it, keep your anti-American sentiment out of it. Halloween was an important part of my childhood; don’t let your ignorance try to taint my memory. If you find any of these meaningful traditions interesting enough to adopt in your own lives, I am happy to provide you with additional suggestions, costume designs and recipes. However, I request that you please ask your children not to come round my house during Corrie.  Halloween or not, that’s really annoying.

Où Est Christopher?

29 Jul

(I apologise for consecutive French titles—I’m just in that sort of mood, I guess.)

I find it quite charming that I’ve received a few emails asking about Christopher’s whereabouts. It’s sweet that you care about someone who is, ultimately, globally inconsequential.

It’s true Christopher has been somewhat absent from Everyone Needs An Algonquin in recent weeks. This is partly because business has been relatively serious as of late and let’s face it, Christopher’s critical analysis skills aren’t really his strong points.  But I’m afraid there has also been some trouble between us.

It’s potentially problematic mixing the professional and the personal in relationships.  I learned that many years ago when I worked as a seamstress for Henry Kissinger. My remit was purely stitchery, but the Secretary of State and I eventually grew quite close. We were both taking a lot of heat in the press (for him, it was his role at Columbia, and for me, it was the breath-taking but room-dividing ensemble I debuted on the red carpet at that year’s Oscars ceremony). I felt comfortable sharing my opinions when it came to his choice of haberdashery, but when I saw my own views on the Balkans coming out of his mouth during a television interview, I realised that a boundary had been crossed.

Christopher and I have maintained a very solid balance for most of our time together. I thought we were both quite content with the set-up: he was available to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and in return I was willing to expose him to glamour, prestige and excitement that otherwise he could have never even dreamt of accessing. Win-win, no?

Sadly not, according to Christopher’s friend, Apollo, whom he met earlier this spring at an event sponsored by one of their boys-only clubs (which I have never had a problem with Christopher joining, even though their very nature excludes me and half of the world’s population). From the very first day I met him, I knew Apollo was what the kids call “bad news.” However, Christopher is his own person and therefore permitted to make whatever mistakes he chooses to.

I noticed little changes in Christopher early on in their friendship. He started combing his hair into a very peculiar style, his shoes grew pointier and I know for a fact he booked in to at least two spa treatments in one month. But I said nothing. I am his employer and also his friend, but I am not his mother (DNA has confirmed this). Eventually, though, Apollo’s influence began to affect Christopher’s work and therefore my own life, which came to a head during what should have been an enjoyable trip to Castle Howard. This is where I had to put my foot down.

I encouraged Christopher to take some time away—to think about his priorities, clear his head and (I was hoping) come to his senses. In the end, the righteous won out (as we so often do) and Christopher has returned home to my side. It turns out Apollo was not all that he seemed to be. I don’t doubt you’ve seen reports in the local paper, so I shall save all of us the embarrassment of rehashing it here.

So there is the explanation for Christopher’s brief absence.  The equilibrium of our household has been re-established and all is well in the world again. Except, of course, for all the recent tragedy around the globe, most of which, I don’t doubt, Apollo has probably had a hand in.

The Things You’ll Pass As You Drive Towards Death

24 Jun

Whenever we’re traveling, it’s a good idea to have a few landmarks on our maps to know that we are heading in the right direction. People point out the cemetery on the right to let us know that in two miles we need to turn left to reach our destination.

In our lifespan, those landmarks are milestone birthdays. They’re not quite as reliable as that cemetery (we all know what happens when people move cemeteries), because each of us arrives at them in different ways. However, when it comes to special birthday celebrations, our own experience is irrelevant. I’m not here to tell you where you should be by the time you’re 16 or 40 or 75; ultimately, if you want to follow or break from a tradition, it’s nowt to do with me. What I can do, though, is let you know what others’ expectations will be to help buffer the shock just a tad.

YOUR FIRST BIRTHDAY

The first milestone is obviously one’s first birthday. It’s clearly all about other people, since one-year-olds are legitimately too stupid to know anything about life whatsoever. Luckily, other people’s expectations for this one are pretty low: as long as they get to take a picture of you with cake on your face, they’ll be happy.

YOUR TENTH BIRTHDAY

Moving into double digits means that others will start expecting a little more. You might be expected to do chores; you may start dealing with money. You will also be asked to “perform” for people at family gatherings, and unlike when you were 6, it’ll no longer be cute when you sing off tune or forget the words of the Gettysburg Address (I’m afraid I had to learn this the hard way). How you deal with this pressure will be up to you, but the main thing you should be prepared for is that, while it will feel like the worst thing in the world to you, no one will really give a shit.

YOUR ADOLESCENCE

Adolescence is a complicated time because of the physical and emotional changes you will be going through. To add further complications, there are a number of different milestones during these years. For example, in the Jewish tradition, one’s thirteenth birthday is important—this is when you become responsible for your actions. That’s pretty heavy stuff for someone who is technically still developmentally an idiot.

For girls of any religious persuasion, the first menstrual period will be a momentous time for now you are technically eligible for the position of motherhood. What the hell’s that all about, nature? Depending on your family’s background, this will be greeted with either with pride or shame. Try not to let it affect you too much—luckily the hassle, pain and need for notes excusing you from PE classes should keep you pretty much distracted.

A driver’s license also signals a major turning point. This will heap more responsibility onto your shoulders. Undoubtedly you will think this unfair, because that’s just the kind of thing teenagers do. But remember, you can now get behind the wheel of a potentially lethal weapon, so there’s got to be some kind of balance between your needs and others’.

YOUR EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY

In many countries, your eighteenth birthday means you can officially do grown-up things like run for election, drink, marry, join the military and be a consenting adult. Keep in mind that you just because you can doesn’t mean you have to.

YOUR TWENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY

This is often the first time that you will start looking back on your life, realizing that some of it has already gone. Others will note this as well; essentially what people are really doing is reminding you that you’re on the path towards death.  This is a drag, especially if they do it as you’re blowing out your candles, but it is, of course, true.

This can also be a difficult time for men especially as it marks the end of what’s commonly referred to as your “sexual peak.” Don’t let this talk worry you; you have plenty years of masturbatory pleasure left.

YOUR THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY

This is often an important one because you are likely to remember your parents in their thirties. This is a recipe for comparison: how come your mother was married with kids on her thirtieth and you’re still single and letting your ex’s new girlfriend raise your twins? How come your father had worked his way up to a managerial position by his thirtieth and you’re still waiting for your band to hit the big time? You may be doing these comparisons in your head, but, trust me, others definitely will be and may start treating you like you’re a failure. (They’ve probably been feeling this for years, but it may be the first time they act on it.)

For women, your thirties will also mark a milestone in terms of your bodies: they will start changing but more importantly, you’ll start hearing (or at least hearing others talking about) your “biological clock.” The truth is, if you are planning to throw your life away on motherhood, now is a good time to it. But don’t let your parents, your friends or your spinster aunt’s regrets pressure you into doing something you’re not ready to do.

YOUR FORTIETH BIRTHDAY

This is seen by many as the Big One. Because unless you’ve already passed it, forty is seen as past it (particularly for the female of the species). You don’t have to embrace this interpretation, but be aware that many others do. This includes the twenty-year-olds you work with (their flirting is actually mockery) and your doctor (who will now expect you to regularly schedule tests so he can tell you which parts of your body are starting to fail).

YOUR FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY

People will note that you are a half a century old; given that only freaks live a hundred years, I think we all know what they’re really pointing out: most of your life is gone. Not even crumblies think of a 50-year-old when they think of a young person, so be prepared that even if you feel young, using the word to describe yourself will cause others will see you as delusional and/or embarrassing. Even the phrase “young at heart” is a bit troublesome at this point as you think about your echocardiogram results and your dodgy arteries. I’m definitely not saying you are old, but you are older than a whole generation of other adults. They are well aware of this.

YOUR SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY

You might get a bus pass or discounts on your early bird dinner special, but the truth is this milestone isn’t as important as it once was. Starting off your sixth decade used to signal your eventual retirement from employment, but nowadays you’ll end up working until the day you drop dead, so thank god for that, eh?

YOUR SEVENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY

You are old now. Everyone thinks that and will expect you to act old. They will assume you don’t remember yesterday, comprehend technology, or experience sexual desire. Even if their assumptions are wrong, you may want to consider working their mistakes to your benefit. Being in your seventies allows you to lie like a rug and people’s reactions will usually just be, “Ahhhh, bless.”

YOUR ONE-HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY

What others expect from you on this milestone is absolutely irrelevant.

Obviously, your body as it ages will present you with opportunities and limitations, but ultimately age is just a number and like most things related to numbers, obsessing about it is boring. Others will respond to you in different ways as you evolve, but it’s important to be true to yourself. It’s your journey, regardless of the route you take. But if you are headed through my neighbourhood on your way, can you stop and pick up a pint of milk for me?

Students—You Gotta Love And/Or Hate ‘Em

14 Nov

I always find myself in a bit of a sticky situation when discussing students and their financial woes, because I grew up in America, where they do everything bigger, including their student debt. This year there are more than 100 higher ed institutions in the US charging over $50,000 a year for tuition, fees and room and board (for those of you who failed your maths O-levels, that’s about £31,000). Fees vary, obviously, and also increase for out-of-state students. This total does not even factor in the required books and other supplies, VD treatment, bail money or legal fees for when students take professors to court for not giving them the grades they wanted. We’re talking big bucks here, people. Although financial aid and loans are available, the price is so high that a deal with the devil is often the only option. This explains why most US university students are soulless twats.

But English higher education has never been run in this way, so far be it from me to make a comment—as you know, I never speak on things on which I am not an expert on.

However, the protest raised one issue that affects all of us, and that is the issue of hypocrisy. Let’s take a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you have a country where three major political parties win most of the elections. Let’s say the third party, while admittedly holding far fewer seats than the other two, represents the possibility of change to much of the electorate: a belief that just maybe we could have a party in power whose policies were, I don’t know, let’s say, more “liberal” than the status quo of the two other parties, who seem to grow more and more like each other each year. Then through some odd twist of fate, the leader of that third party (just to keep the story simple I’ll give this character the name “Nick”), through some bizarre aligning of the stars, a global financial disaster and the scary smile of the incumbent, Nick somehow actually becomes Deputy Prime Minister. Hurrah! say the electorate, we are going to finally have a little bit of influence on the way things are run. This man, this Nick, he made promises—maybe even signed pledges—that if he were ever in power, he’d do right by us.

Then he didn’t.

Maybe we’d believe that this hypothetical Nick wanted to stop certain policies but just got outvoted. Maybe he would say, I have not abandoned my principles—I just don’t have enough power to overrule.

But imagine he didn’t say that. Imagine instead that he said, on reflection, he wasn’t being careful when he made the pledge, that now he knows he should have been promising the exact opposite of what he pledged. In fact, now that the older boys in the blue ties have explained everything to him, he actually reckons their ideas are more progressive than his party’s.

Now in my little story, I imagine quite a few of us would feel pretty cross at our Nick. Maybe cross enough even to, hypothetically of course, bust out a few windows and throw a few things around. It wouldn’t fix things and would probably lead to our arrests, but the anger itself would not be an inappropriate response.

Tens of thousands of students showing up at Millbank Tower Wednesday has had two important and hopefully long-lasting effects: 1. it proved that the younger generation is not apathetic and will speak up against hypocrisy and 2. because so many students were otherwise occupied, downloads of that lady’s gaga music dipped drastically. Both of these can only be good things.

“Si vis pacem, para bellum”—Flavius Vegetius Renatus

10 Jul

Nick Gibb, schools minister, whom I believe but have yet to confirm was disowned by his more musical relatives, announced yesterday that teachers will have more power to “crack down on nuisance pupils.” I say, harrumph.

Surely the term “nuisance pupils” is redundant. When was the last time Mr Gibb was around young people? They are, by definition, a nuisance. Duh.

One of these so-called powers is the power to search students for the following items: music players, mobile phones, fireworks, knives, pornography and cigarettes. Schools today are in trouble, I would never deny that. They are hotbeds of violence, bigotry, and frustration, and anyone who works there and survives deserves an award. But I do believe this scheme to be mostly pointless.

Music players must be annoying (especially given the music young people undoubtedly play through them) but how dangerous can a Walkman be? Their corners are rounded, for goodness sake.  And do students really bring fireworks into the building? Obviously students shouldn’t be bringing fireworks to school but they shouldn’t be bringing ten litre tanks of gasoline to school either, and I don’t see those on the list.

Pornography seems a bit unnecessary as well; are young people really that interested in pornography? I find that a bit hard to swallow. In fact, including it on this list may actually end up encouraging young people to find out more about pornography. It wouldn’t surprise me if within 48 hours of Mr Gibb’s announcement, young people will be heading down to their local library’s card catalogs, searching for books on erotic art and/or old issues of Health & Efficiency.

Personally, I am appalled that teachers would even consider confiscating cigarettes from young people. During puberty, it is vital that teenagers can define themselves as “cool” and there is no better way of doing this than by smoking cigarettes. In five years when our hairdressing salons, mobile discotheques, and crack dens are being run by poindexters instead of hipsters, we will have Mr Gibb to blame.

Many students claim that they carry mobile phones to school for safety reasons: if someone attacks them with a Walkman and/or a piece of pornography, they will immediately be able to ring through to 999. I know this to be a lie. Check any young person’s mobile and the first number they’ll have on speed dial is the European Court of Human Rights. That way if an adult brushes past them, asks them a question or looks at them from an angle they find offensive, they’ll be through to Brussels in a jiffy. This fad for human rights for young people is madness. It isn’t just that teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to have mobile phones in schools. They shouldn’t be allowed to have them full stop; they cause more trouble than they’re worth.  Think about happy-slapping. There was never a problem with children fighting each other until mobile phones came around.

I don’t envy the schools minister his job. Things are in a right state, and he must be seen to be doing something. But I can tell you right now that this is not going to do a damn bit of a good. This is because wars between groups of people (and let’s not kid ourselves here, this is a war, a war between good and evil) are not won through power. They are won through emotional manipulation and fear. Look at any war in recent history and you will see what I mean. Did Nixon win Vietnam through power? No. He won it by introducing the television series M*A*S*H to the American public, which shamed the Viet Cong into surrendering. When George W Bush raised the flag to announce “Mission Accomplished,” he was illustrating just how completely crazy he was, which frightened the Iraqis so much that we haven’t heard a peep out of them since.

Therefore I have a proposal for the Schools Minister. It is radical, I am aware. But when you lose control and you’ve got no soul, it’s a tragedy and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Each school in England, from infant to secondary, should be given a puppy. This puppy shall be kept on the premises, and part of the school budget should be ringfenced to include enough money to provide for the puppy’s food, medical treatment and personal caretaker. The puppy can function almost as the school’s mascot, and it’s a documented fact that animals can help the lonely and sad, so the puppy’s presence will help with morale in both the classrooms and staffroom.

More importantly, though, the puppy will function as the most effective weapon in the war on “nuisance pupils.” Whenever a child steals a rubber, passes a note or repeatedly stabs the games mistress, he will be escorted into the Puppy Room, where the student can hear but not see the puppy. There a teacher will read aloud the crime(s) the student has committed and will force the student to administer a shock to the puppy (volts and length of shock will vary according to the crime’s severity). The student will be able to hear the pathetic cries of the puppy, the innocent, cuddly puppy, the puppy this child has grown to love like the brother he never had, and he will have to accept that it is because he was bad that the puppy is suffering. Enforce this rule for one week and I guarantee you that behaviour will improve (any student not emotionally scarred for life by this experience should immediately be institutionalized—he is clearly a serial killer in the making).

Before you accuse me of unnecessary cruelty, I should stress that obviously the puppy is not really being shocked. The whole thing is faked, and the sounds of the distressed puppy are actually coming from an out of shot, struggling actor assigned to each school (another hidden benefit of this proposal—a reduction in dole queues nationwide). The point is the child believes his behaviour has harmed the animal and therefore will be so ashamed and frightened that he will shape up forthwith. It’s harsh, I know, but it works. I’ve cured many a godchild of the habit of chewing gum in public with this particular method, so I’ve evidence of its success rate.

Alas, I’m sure it would take someone of great courage to enact this policy, and we know that Mr Gibbs probably does not have the Balls to do it. I guess teachers should be thankful that they will also be granted anonymity in cases where a complaint has been made against them. I know my good friend Mr Stephen L Devoncourt of 22 Steeplechase Lane, Market Harborough (tel: 01645 321778) will be much relieved that the fistfight he had with his school’s head boy will now never be made public.

It’s Time to Face the Facts

14 Apr

I do wish young people today felt a bit more comfortable in their own skin. I can’t imagine the pain some teenagers feel when they look in their mirrors and shudder at what they see. I am incredibly sympathetic to what these freaks must be going through. It’s sad.

Yet I can completely understand why they’re in such a state. As depressing as it is that youngsters are so insecure, I forgive them for it. Refusing to accept spots, chubbiness, and perspiration issues—hating the self while one’s hormones are going loco is pretty much par for the course, as Tiger Woods might say. I am very proud to admit that, when I was in all my pubescent glory, I was able to hold my head high despite the occasional epidermal mishap or hormonal eruption. (I know it may be hard for some of you to believe, but, yes, I haven’t always been perfect.) Partly because of my grandmother’s support and partly because of the blindingly obvious fact of my inherent superiority, even as a teenager I had an appropriately commendable sense of self-pride.

As I look at the little shits across the avenue trying to hide their self-hatred by harassing the passers-by, it’s clear they don’t possess the skills and talents I did at their age. This is understandable, because special people like me are few and far between. But where is their support? Do they not have family members or teachers to strengthen their confidence in the way my grandmother did mine?  Of course, I know part of the problem is that many teenagers’ parents are no more than teenagers themselves and therefore they have very little to be proud of in their own lives, let alone succeed in passing any pride onto their children. I’m going to resist the temptation to dwell too much on this, though, as there’s little we can do, save mandatory sterilisation, to address this issue.

However, there is something we can do to help. And here, I address specifically our public figures. Those in the public eye should serve as role models of self-assurance.  You never know—some mousy 13 year old may see a photo of a celebrity beaming with pride and be inspired to hate herself just that little bit less.

Most famous women are aware of this responsibility. They take their “look” a bit more seriously than our famous men. Women step up to the plate to demonstrate that, by looking classy and confident, they obviously do feel comfortable with who they are.

The men seem to struggle more. Probably the most photographed and talked about men in our country right now are the candidates for prime minister. Yet, neither one of them sends a very good message with their appearance and levels of confidence. I believe that Gordon Brown does not even want us to look at him—what is that communicating to us?

And the other one, well, just look at him. Both of their faces tell me, “Things are not too great all around”; if that’s what they say to me, god only knows what those faces say to the kiddies.

 

Recently I’ve stumbled across this man, Christopher tells me he goes by the name of Nick Clegg. Now here’s a face that says, “I am who I am and am damn proud of it.” This is a face to lead a country, this is a face that would show young people that self-acceptance is a good thing. I’d like to get in touch with him to gauge his interest in joining politics as with a few suggestions from me, he might really be able to make a difference.

Many young people today need a little boost in the self-confidence department. Of course their parents should help them more, but we know we can’t always count on some kinds of people to do the right thing. That’s where the rest of us need to take some communal responsibility. Every time I am photographed or go out and about, I do so with a cool, calm certainty that I hope will motivate kids to feel as good about themselves as I do about myself. I’d like all adults, but definitely those in the public arena, to follow suit. I ask you, please, love yourselves and show the world you do. If you can’t do that for the rest of us, especially our young people, the least you could do is to just keep your face out of ours.

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