Blast from the past

Well, last night I faced my demons. And by 'demons' I mean my secondary school English teacher. It wasn't exactly a smackdown style event with three falls, a submission or a knock-out deciding the outcome, but a battle of wills nonetheless. Well, maybe not a battle per say, but... look, who's telling this story, you or me?

Anyway, this clash of the titans came to pass in Westhill Library last night -- my last event of the year -- in front of a crowd jammed in elbow to elbow, desperate to hear my rambling non sequiturs and collection of rude jokes involving 'Hog Nuts'. And only two people fell asleep this time! Something of a personal best that.

I knew something was amiss pretty much straight off the bat - I did me first reading, rambled for a little bit, then said, "And if you've got any questions at any time, don't keep them to yourselves--" and BANG! there was a question from the second row. And not just any question either - it was a question that sounded like someone had actually thought about it. A perfectly formed question of depth and insight.

This is not the kind of questioning I like to encourage. It's the kind of question that rapidly exposes bearded write-ists as the idiots they are. And if that wasn't bad enough, it turned out that the person doing the evil questioning was Mrs Craig -- my English teacher at Westhill Academy, back when I were but a lad, and my beard little more than a fantasy for that dreadful cradle-snatcher Claudia Schiffer (honestly, the woman doesn't know the meaning of 'Restraining Order').

Now, I have to confess -- well, obviously I don't have to, this is my blog and I can lie with impunity: how are you ever going to find out? -- that although I didn't like English (because I was shite at it) I did like Mrs Craig. Which I think is pretty damn big of me, considering she made me read the part of Macbeth in class for weeks on end*. Puberty was tough enough without having to deal with iambic pentameter at the same sodding time. But she was a good teacher, very enthusiastic about the subject. And she'd sometimes bribe us with Polo Mints.

But it made no difference: I was still dreadful at English. I blame pens. Pens are the Devil's own pubic hairs, pulled straight then dipped in the dark, sticky ochre of his suppurating hemroids. I can't spell with a pen in my hand. Seriously. Keyboard? No problem. Pens? Neevr gonig to heppan.

Now I could point out that there has been a history of dyslexia in my family, but that would be obfuscation**. The reason is that I'm basically a bit thick. And my fingers are slow and lazy. A pen doesn't go anywhere near fast enough for me - by the time I'm halfway through writing one word I want to be writing the next one. So I do, letting the start of the next word jumble its way into the letters of the current one. A keyboard moves much faster. Yes there are typos, but I can get a little closer to keeping up with the voices in my head.

But I digress. After a spirited debate about who was responsible for the occasional outbreak of gruesomeness in the books (personally I deny all responsibility - whatever goes on in your head is your own business, just because I point you in the right direction doesn't mean you have to go rushing over there, buy the T-shirt and ask for a photograph of you and the corpse), with some gentle fun poking, the event came to an end.

And my English teacher disappeared. One minute she was there hovering in the background***, then a nice bloke and his wife hove into view to get a book signed, and the when I looked up Mrs Craig was gone.

Maybe I offended her with my ribald manly ways and talk of barbecued pig testicles?

Or maybe it was when I called her a saucy minx? I know that can get the ladies all excited. Curse me for being so damn sexy...


Oh shut up.

* She vehemently denies this. She says it must have been Hamlet, but I'm pretty certain it was Macbeth. After all, she'll have had THOUSANDS of nasty little children through her classrooms in her day, but for me it was one huge, traumatic Shakespeare-related incident. I still have nightmares.
** See - I can spell that with a keyboard.
** Not literally, that would be creepy.

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