Wednesday, 20 August 2008

You Cannot Be Serious

In Mrs Conroy’s English class we studied ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’. As the pun is in the spelling of the name and my spelling is weak (because I am a free thinker) I can’t remember if it is Ernest or Earnest. Either way it means SERIOUS.

With Grasshopper it was clear from the start that the only way my sister and I could work together was if I stopped taking myself seriously and stopped trying to have meetings with her and set targets. If you work with people outside your gene pool they will defer to you, respect you and have meetings about targets to your heart’s content. The downside is the possibility that they will harbour an undetected resentment and leak information to a rival company in order for them to mount an aggressive take-over that leaves you unemployable and in therapy for the rest of your natural life.

The price for the mutual trust that I enjoy with Abi is a daily barrage of merciless teasing which usually focuses on me being Maggie Thatcher/ a hermit/ Rainman. Acting serious is, in fact, a Grasshopper crime punishable by vicious parody unless, of course, the defendant is rendered temporarily insane and morbidly self pitying by the mind altering effect of a hormone surge [AE: Which goes as extenuating circumstances in a court of law]

Mrs Conroy by the way (see top of paragraph) was a universally loved teacher for the following reasons:

1 She was very pretty
2 She had a bike with a wicker basket on it
3 She knew Sade

When I was 16 I wrote a very grim short story about a man who blows his own head off. Where other more conservative teachers might have questioned my mental health she gave me 20/20 and wrote ‘This is of a publishable standard’ in red pen at the bottom. Amid the self-doubt/ train tracks/ acne/ national health glasses while I waited for my proper ones (if you are too young to know what they are count yourself lucky) that recognition meant everything. Mrs Conroy, we salute you.

[AE: I just ran spellcheck over this and it said that ‘Rainman’ isn’t a word and suggests ‘Trainman’. Who’s ever heard of him? Tom Cuise stars in TRAINMAN?’]

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