1984 was a good year. The Toy Dolls released Nellie the Elephant, so all was well in the universe. Nothing ever could go wrong. I was going to County Upper School in Bury St.Edmunds and doing what all kids of my kind do. Try to fit in. I had more than one zip on my jeans so that meant I was somewhat cool, but not so trendy or punkish as to fit in with any of the school clicks. Clicks of course was not a word used in 1984. I skated though my school days trying not to get beaten up by my peers and trying to beat up the kids who were softer than me so I’d be able to fit in with the peers. Its a vicious circle.
To be honest I never really liked school. It was a place I went each day (mostly) to avoid the rain. My teachers didn’t like me because I wasn’t cool enough to smoke so they couldn’t steal my cigarettes and so they never really helped out when I was struggling with classes. In fact I’d have just been happy for someone to tell me why I was there! If someone had bothered to mention that you need an education to get a decent job I may have paid a little more attention rather than looking out the window watching the trains go by in the distance. Or for that matter that one day I may have kids of my own who will come and ask me how to do Algebra. Like I have a clue.
My 1984 Biology class was somewhat different though. Normally in class I would sit there vandalizing the desks, but on this one occasion our teacher gave us a project to do. It was to be about injuries and how to prevent them. When I was told I could write about football injuries I was elated. I love football, always have, always will. So to be able to do something I was actually interested in was great and I took to this project like a fish to water. We had three months to work on it and to hand “what we had finished” at the end, looking back at those words I think my teacher had little faith in me. Not sure why?
Day and night for three months I worked on that project. I was being clever and adding special stickers to the pages and notes. Every detail was checked and double checked. Everything in my project had to be perfect. I was certain that for the first time in my life, if not our family history, I was going to get an A+. I handed my project in making sure to tell the teacher that I really enjoyed doing it.
Two days later I got an F
It turns out that when they want a report on injuries, football or not, what they actually want is a report on injuries.
Not a book full of statistics and stickers on Fa Cup winners from 1872 till 1984.
I really wish this was made up, but its not.
I just dug out my school report for that year. Mrs Thompson was my teacher. Kind in her words she writes “David has difficulty in the presentation of his work, particularly with diagrams. He is also very slow in his writing. He showed interest in his project but it needed more writing! his exam was pleasing though mis-spelt.”
Yeah I suck at drawing. I’m not as slow as I used to be. I wish I still had that project book. I may not look like I’m paying attention but I can still pass your exams and thank god for spell checkers!