posted on June 13, 2008 at 9:16 pm

digression 1 (by popular demand)

1965
me and john buser (pronounced buzzer!)
were standing in the park behind my place
a park….?
it was a few acres of long yellow grass
with some trees and swings n a slide
(aust name= slippery dip)(for trivia lovers)
any way me and buzzer are standing there
and i whip out me box of matches (as you do…)
of course the middle of a field with long yellow grass
where the temp is 100 fucking degrees
and it aint rained for ages
(in fact perfect “tinderbox” conditions)
buzzers staring at me laughing
i pull out a match and strike it
i toss it into the grass
the yellow straw about knee high…ha ha
it explodes into flame and i stamp it out pronto
fucking buzzer takes the matches and does the same thing
but he lets his patch burn a little longer
and he stamps it out kinda casually
as opposed to my frightened hurry
ok buzzer i’ll up the ante
a bigger burning patch a more sedate stamping out
buzzer goes one better again
he almost sets an uncontrollable patch burning
he starts off slow stamping it out
but in the end hes running round like a madman
he gets it out though…in the end
i take the matches and i flick off a burner into the grass
at the same moment
unknownst to me a little breeze picked up
my patch of burning grass rapidly became the size of a small kitchen
then the size of a bedroom
i just stood there
i was planning on showing buzzer a thing or 2
suddenly we looked at each other
and began stamping it out for all we were worth
too little too late im afraid
the breeze hit it and with a sound like WHOAMP!
the flames coalesced themselves
into a full on burn yer park n house down fire
it was going in all directions at once
wow!
the fire brigade arrived and the cops
all the neighbours at their back fences
most of the park was now a blackened smouldering mess
i was a little shocked n blackened myself
even my mother was quite lost for words
she made me have a bath
and sent me to bed at 2 in the afternoon
ps
there was a happy ending
from the blackened scorched land
now with the yellow weedy strawlike grass gone
guess what?
lovely green lawn emerged ..there till this day
magpie hill, lyneham act
i was the parks inadvertent saviour

digression 2
seems we all had dark days at school
school is like a slice of society all crammed together
we all got bullied
i did some bullying too
moreoften of a verbal nature though
i must admit in all truthfulness
if i had had more physical prowess
i may have been as bad a bully as the worst of em
ah the pack instinct
i once saw big maria (a huge amazonian girl with glandular probs)
hold down a girl and try to force her twin brother to “root” her
down by the storm water drains
where lyneham high met lyneham primary
and 50 kids standing around
chanting do it! do it! do it!
it was like a drug….
yes we were supposed to be being educated
but what is the true purpose of education but to produce cogs
for the great machine
we fill kids heads up with our syllabus propaganda
we make em learn their stuff by rote
we make them spend their childhoods in dreary rooms
all in the end so they can work
no i dont have a better plan or solution
the wheels are in motion with society
as an idea i oppose the system and its education
as a parent i want my children to be educated
so they have a chance in this rat race we find ourselves in
and fuck, the rats are running even faster this year
bullying is much more of an issue in sweden
they hunt down bullies quick smart
in aust
in england
and probably the u.s. by the sound of it
the teachers seemed to turn a bit of a blind eye
especially in “my” day
its a fine line between a bit of mucking about
and bullying
and teachers werent always around everywhere anyway
how could they be?
i had some absolutely wonderful teachers
inspired n inspiring
i had some nasty repressed little turkeys too
everyone copped a bit of abuse sometime
but aint that life…
theres your education right there
i was learning valuable lessons
i was learning how to operate in groups
i was learning to socialize and negotiate
learning people stuff
the lessons were like a prop
all that bullshit i learnt….
its just that people get no choice..
youre born n they immediately inveigle you into the system
your parents turn you over for six hours a day
the system gets you ready
breaks your spirit under the classroom roof
gets you used to sitting still n processing info
gets you used to being part of a team
gets you used to the fact that you must surrender your “freedom”
when the system says so
is the system the best of all possible systems?
i dunno…its awfully hard to tell
we are steeped in the system
we are the system
no one can walk away from the system
to be outside the system terrifies us
we can only hope for gradual non-violent change
as the system becomes more reasonable …we hope
meanwhile there is that system
and its gonna take children years n years to learn to cope with it
the system sucks in greedily the good learners and clever kidz
these will be assimilated easily and rewarded well
unfortunately education leaves a swathe of misfits in its wake
people who were outraged and enraged by their 12 years of hell
school is tougher than anything outside except for jail
and that aint outside…
in real life you can just avoid the ratbags
in school theyre there all day long; theyre inevitable
they mock ya
they trick ya
they tease ya
they trip you up
they chase you home
they threaten n they punish
theyre at every school in all times
they are gonna be there
just like the nettles n thistles are in the fields
just like the sharks n jellyfish in the sea
nasty bullies
sneaky bossy bullies
crazy giantess bullies
hard physical silent bullies
cowardly bullies
sports star bullies
tricky bullies
friendly seeming bullies
irritating bullies
sarcastic bullies
pious bullies
angry bullies
mistaken bullies
sad bullies
martial arts bullies
body building bullies
reluctant bullies
sneering bullies
mouthy bullies
dancing bullies
multiple bullies
good bullies with bad bullies
girly bullies
tiny bullies
lucky bullies with big brothers
lonely bullies
macho bullies
dumb bullies
ignorant bullies
well spoken bullies from good families
enraged bullies
out of breath bullies
old bullies
cunning bullies
evangelical bullies
melodramatic bullies
ah the list goes on non
who has not been or been bullied by one of these?
yeah schools alright if youre a fish
i got no quarrel with teachers
all in all most teachers are pretty cool
i dont begrudge em their long holidays
imagine teaching kids like….me?!!

26 Responses to “digressions”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 13 June 2008 at 11:11 pm #

    my parents taught me to walk and talk….n then sent me to school…where they told me to sit down n shut up.x ;( 😉

  2. avatar
    knot | 13 June 2008 at 11:54 pm #

    when I went to school everyone told me I was a “good girl” which of course, translates to ” you will never get anything done in life”

  3. avatar
    knot | 13 June 2008 at 11:55 pm #

    though actually I started a couple of fires of my own.

  4. avatar
    kat | 14 June 2008 at 12:21 am #

    ah sk, thank you for digressing! i can’t quit laughing about you & buzzer in the burning yellow grass. you also reminded me of this dude my oldest sis went to school whose name was buzzy roach. no shit!

    by the time i got to high school i’d gone from a beatles nerd to a partier. all of us davis’s were cool and rad, so we thought, but held out on bullying to defacing record covers and yearbooks. trying whippets..(how stupid) had parties when we were told not to. wrecked cars into the side of the house. (me!) i never seemed to fit in, was just known as the youngest and “aren’t you kim & kelly’s & steve’s sister?”.. and then my dad died. no one knew how to deal with it, including me. i got the hell out in three years instead of four. did my worst drugs then!

    school is pressurized now for sure. sometimes i’d wished we had gotten the technology, but really i am glad we attended when it wasn’t so stressful if that makes any sense. however, my ten year old niece (happy birthday, ej!) can also run circles around me in any subject.

    whoah, i rambled!

    happy weekend, fiends.. ;]=~~

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2008 at 1:02 am #

    I was dead naughty too….but strangely never got caught for ANYTHING. Fires, shoplifting, B + E, car stealing, drinking, drugging and smoking… I never even got busted for smoking! A charmed delinquent life. The bullies left me alone pretty much as there were always rumors swirling around that I was affiliated with bikers and skinheads. I haven’t even thought about it for years…..we lived in the middle of a suburban nowhere with nothing but push bikes and the bush so no wonder….eh? Amazing I grew up to be as ball-breakingly virtuous as I am now.

    The best days of our lives?

    Adieu,

    B.Bon

  6. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 14 June 2008 at 1:07 am #

    In crime-infested cities in America the teachers are afraid of the pupils.

  7. avatar
    veleska1970 | 14 June 2008 at 1:33 am #

    thanks for explaining the “burning park” episode. you and buzzer raised the classic piss-contest to a whole new level. 😉

    lotza love…..

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2008 at 1:48 am #

    tinder box.;) hans?…n salamander sans. hee hee .:)

  9. avatar
    tim | 14 June 2008 at 3:25 am #

    my 2 cousins and I lit a field a flame when I was about 10 or 11. I was so afraid, I swear a squirt of piss ran down my leg..should have used it to put out the fire as it got out of control..but the way you described it..is exactly how it happened with us…starting small…puttin it out…a little bigger..and then so out of control we had to remove our shirts to swat the flames to the ground while fanning them at the same time…man did we get hell. it was frightening and exhilirating all at the same time…its amazing, how that memory comes back so vivid from your story…that terror, that feeling of helplessness…thanks for the flashback..

    funny you mention school…my wife and I just talking about what we are gonna do with our 8 year old boy, who is extremely bright but shy, timid at times and is about to enter grade 4 with a notoriously horrible teacher…he yells, he makes kids feel two feet small…we all had that teacher that did more damage than good and you’d think that they don’t exist in this day and age, but teachers unions have made it difficult to have them removed. My heart breaks thinking about how this man will only break his spirit…but you are right…this fucking system..what do you do?…home school? but they miss so much…i guess the best you can do is try and keep those lines of communication open and help them cope…what a fucked up world we live in…how did we let it get this way?

  10. avatar
    captain mission | 14 June 2008 at 3:27 am #

    i hated everything about school, except the girls and when we read good books in english.

    my son was being bullied at school and we got called in..

    Head Teacher: You’re son needs to stop hanging around with girls, he’s to interested in arts instead of sports.
    CM: Is that why he is being bullied?
    HT: Yes.
    CM: Don’t you think you should be talking to the parents of the kids that are doing the bulling then?
    HT:Why.

    I wish i could have afforded to send him to a steiner school, so much vision but at the end of the day, he came out from the factory okay.

  11. avatar
    Ross B | 14 June 2008 at 5:55 am #

    I found that since school, if I’ve happened to run into any of them bully types they’re either one of two things – 1. fucked out on gambling, turps, or various crime syndicates – 2. obsequiously friendly & back-slapping pretending some horrid and utterly fabricated oldetime schoolday solidarity…in which case I can’t help but stare them down at which they simply whimper away…

    I love the fact the park is regrown with fresh green grass! Gee, Canberra is easy to set fire to isn’t it?.. look what happened in Jan ’03 God forbid.

    1 very good thing about school…when I finished i hibernated for a month…I woke up and turned on the tv (invariably, in 1987, MTV) – a video of a new song by a band I liked (now worship) was screening, wow, New York, vivid images, and What a Song!! In hindsight that song symbolised a new ‘post-school’ awakening for me and in covert sort of way, it’s been the soundtrack or “code” to my life ever since.

    That of course, is utmw!

    Respects, r.

  12. avatar
    linjo | 14 June 2008 at 6:45 am #

    I can only say that anyone that wants to home school their child has outstanding maternal or paternal feelings. I, myself, am a lazy mother. I love my kids so much but the thought of having them around all day, everyday! no way thanks. yes we are on the sausage line Steve, thank god we have the opportunities for our chillens to make choices, such an amazing curriculum our kids have in Australia, the opportunities to develop their cultural desires, academia, no complaints here. Nothing worse than the mother/father that goes up to the school and makes a scene that their little ‘johnny’ is being victimised. Usually the kid has been a little AH and deserves it and should cop it sweet and just learn from the experience. Luz ya all, I am feeling a little lonely today, house full of kids, but hmmm xxxx

  13. avatar
    fantasticandy | 14 June 2008 at 8:55 am #

    i used to ‘cop-off’ and play guitar and write songs…..

    kilbey as wicked firestarter?
    naughty young whippersnapper more like!
    have a great weekend all.
    andy L.

  14. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 14 June 2008 at 10:05 am #

    …i am a teacher and i am the first to admit that there have been people that i have worked with that absolutely positively should not have been teachers…teaching is a job where you have got to love kids and love what you do…i’ve been told by the odd parent that i’m a fantastic teacher and that i’ve changed their kid’s life for the better…not blowing my own trumpet, mind you, but i remember what kind of hell school could be and i try to keep that in mind all of the time…
    don’t you think that when it comes to being cruel to other kids that girls run rings around the boys for doing this…
    love always…

  15. avatar
    lily was here | 14 June 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    Where were you when i was trying to start the fire tonight?

    “schools alright if youre a fish” 🙂
    Thanks Steve for sharing the good, the bad & the damn ugly. Lots of laughs and shudders reading that. The very worst bully imo is the adult who bullies the kids.

    Hats off to anyone who takes on home-schooling, thats a very difficult job. I wouldnt recommend it myself UNLESS its the best option available.

    Hope you get a rousing reception tomorrow. Take a copy of Mimesis and get the Dalai to bless it for ya 🙂

    xxx

    ps i hope karma came back to bite big Maria in a big way! That bit horrified me bigtime.

  16. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    stoic exchanges in your childhood,
    brotherhoods, sisterhoods, all hoods.
    So what did growing up in Australia sound like aside from English fetish, ie Beatles and bullies

  17. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    Linjo,
    Have a sensitive kid for 5 mins and re-evaluate our opinion. U r so wrong about victimisation…you have no idea what it can do to a family….but then i guess u demonstrate no definable sensitivities yourself so u wouldn’t geddit.

    We don’t all love u back.

    Tom tom

  18. avatar
    daydreamer | 14 June 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    Steve, have you ever considered home schooling?

  19. avatar
    davem | 14 June 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    Over here it seems that at “decent” schools the bullying stuff seems a wee tad better than in my day in the 70’s (at least as far as I can tell from talking with my sprogs).
    Back then you had to fight your way through the day…..I’m so glad I’m not 15 again.

  20. avatar
    eek | 14 June 2008 at 10:39 pm #

    i was planning on showing buzzer a thing or 2

    Oh I think you did that! lol That was hilarious — love the “oh shit!” moment.

    I loved to play with fire when I was a kid (and am still fascinated by it), luckily the only thing I managed to burn that wasn’t supposed to was me. Still not sure how it happened, but I dripped burning plastic on my hand and got a nasty little burn. That calmed my fire playing quite a bit.

    Re: school — one of the wonderful things about not having children is I don’t have to care if the schools are good or bad now. And I know if I did have a child and that kid for some bizarre reason loved school I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth was wrong with that child. I know that’s irrational, but I just know I’d think it. Yep, it’s very good I never did the kid thing.

  21. avatar
    Queen Hatshepsut | 14 June 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    Steve,
    I would’ve loved to have had you as a student, haha. However, apparently I was just a tad too ‘outside the box’ and I’ll be leaving my teaching position in three days. It killed me to force 31 ten to eleven year olds to sit in their seats all day. I was berated for essentially treating them like human beings and not small children who should be seen and not heard. I sought their opinions on matters close and far. We talked about great ideas and current events – the war in Iraq, the primaries, the upcoming election – how so many ideas are still the same as those found in the Social Studies curriculum they were studying – the American Revolution. Freedom from tyranny, taxes, government…We talked about the great topics of life and death. We abandoned the drill and kill teaching method for a more organic, constructivist approach. I asked the kids to write an essay on how they would like to be educated and what kind of school they would like to attend. I listened to their worries, their fears, their ideas, their complaints. I didn’t ‘control’ them well enough. I encouraged freedom of thought and let them move about the class freely more often than I should’ve I suppose. I encouraged their interests, no matter what they were (well, within reason!). I made them read and write and read and write and read and write even when they hated it. Many of them ended up loving it. I’ve been accidentally called “mom” or “mommy” many times. I’ve watched the kids change from sweet, adorable creatures calling me “mom” to hormone-driven beasts with attitudes to match. It’s all part of the process of growing up. They just watched their sex ed films and I had to secretly laugh to myself when they all came to me and said “Oh Ms. D that was SO gross!” – because I thought the same thing at their age. Ah, one day you will think quite differently. Hopefully not too terribly soon.

    Off they go to middle school in a few months. I agree Hellbound Heart – there are some hideous, lousy teachers out there. There are even worse administrators and don’t get me started on unions and union heads! Perhaps I do not belong in the system. All I wanted to do was pass on my passion for learning and encourage my students to be exactly who they are; instead I was forced to keep them in line like it’s military school. I don’t know. It’s hard being a teacher and working in the ‘system’ – the system can beat you down…very, very quickly.

    Oddly, I don’t have children of my own and like eek, I’m glad. I’d couldn’t afford to send them to a private school and I don’t really like home schooling (just my opinion – if someone wants to do it – more power to them) so what to do? Animals are easier. They do the teaching around here.

    I would’ve remembered you though, had you been in my class…I just know it. 😉
    love,
    denise

  22. avatar
    princey | 14 June 2008 at 11:59 pm #

    Hey Linjo, your comment upset me a bit too. NO child “deserves” to be victimised,my little 4 year old son is the timid, sensitive, quiet type of kid, and I can tell you when he starts school and I hear that he’s being bullied around by some uncontrollable, mean little shit, I’ll be in that school as quick as a flash to find out what and why it’s happening and try and help him out, isn’t that what any caring, sane mum and dad would do?????

    Hi sk, I really hope the gigs today/tonight go well for ya (of course they will!!). Love amanda

  23. avatar
    linjo | 15 June 2008 at 12:01 am #

    Tom Tom
    I meant parents who feel as though their kids have being disciplined unfairly by teachers, and they then go up to the school and cause a big scene. No way did I mean to infer that kids arnt traumatised by the spite of other children. I know how cruel kids can be. Sorry for any offence. Linda

  24. avatar
    Anonymous | 15 June 2008 at 8:04 am #

    i think that the best thing we can do as parents,is to empower our children/teenagers with tools/words,to rise up to the bullies…its amazing how a simple”I’m SO glad i dont have to hang with you at lunchtime{or outta school}. {and let them say it with confidence,n a relieved tone tone,and loud enough for the other folks to hear}”…it doesnt criticize the bully.it doesnt demoralize the bully…but it does make their sensibilities prick up,and the other folks surrounding may just follow by example..the use of the words is empowering,and the bully has nothing to whinge about,coz nothing derodatory was said by ur child to the bully…just a statement of personal fact,which if it is understood by ur child,is even more effective as a statement.my daughter has used this a few times,much to the delight of the other children whom had been bullied by the class’ main pint sized bully,and even the BIG ones too.its a fact of life that theyre going to meet bullies n assholes throughout their life…so its important to arm yer children with coping n diplomatic mechanisms for dealing with such people….n if that doesnt work for them…LOOK OUT,coz…here comes a scarey parent with a much larger vocabulary ,to the office,AND to the bully’s n their parent’s world.bullies schmullies!ya gotta wish the bullies luck…coz theyre going to need it later in life..most of the bullies i went to school with,arent quite so tough at all these days…n well,karma gets them in the end..some of us became even more beautiful…some of them,namely the bullies, just festered.karma,baybee!i love it!xo 🙂

  25. avatar
    Ross B | 15 June 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Queen Hapshetsut, I wish I had teachers like you during my schooling; most of them were not particularly interested in their job or the students.
    All the best for your new endeavours, Ross.

  26. avatar
    Ross B | 15 June 2008 at 10:07 am #

    sorry Denise, i carelessly misspelt your blog name just before – Cheers, Ross


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