Monday, September 10, 2012

Diary Entry June 2, 1974 - My weird childhood

I never kept a diary when I was growing up. I thought about it but couldn't be bothered. For a start my teenage years were so desolate it would be the literary equivalent of watching Eraserhead over and over again.

"The acne continues to spread like the Ebola virus. Parents sent back my school photo."


Eraserhead - like ET for meth addicts

People have sought to capitalize on this. Did this callous act of photograph return scar me for life? Not at all and certainly not as much as looking at the hideous thing on the wall every day would. It would have been like a teenage Picture of Dorian Gray thing except I never got the opportunity to partake in any of the exciting and devilishly evil acts of Wilde's anti hero. Unless you count the home made explosive thing that rendered next door's cat never quite the same again after he narrowly avoided becoming a feline firecracker.

I'm not quite sure why my childhood and teenage years were quite so miserable. The informed guess would be over closeting. The long shot would be never getting over Paul Stamp's theft of my Corgi Lamborghini.

Perhaps my parents did some kind of number on me for not sending me to get socialized at daycare at an early age. If you detect a theme emerging here it's blame. My penchant for blaming anyone else for being a weird child. But honestly I could make some great faces. I could make other kids turn away horrified. It was far better than talking.

I suppose I moved schools quite a bit. I spent a whole term being a human helicopter in the playground. I admired spiders in their great glistening webs in the hedgerows. I don't think school helped me become less weird. Particularly not Aldibonkers.

Aldibonker was the nickname given for the headmaster. I can't remember his real name anymore. I believe he'd been tortured quite a bit in a German Prisoner of War camp and he'd been too stupid to dig a tunnel under a wooden horse and jump the fence on a motorbike. Aldibonkers just took it on the chin and later in life doled it out on his charges.

Particularly my elementary school friend Fritz Schwarthoft for some unknown reason.

Aldibonkers insisted on taking time away from his disciplinary duties (involving a large wooden stick) to instill maths on the classes. Times tables was his thing. The whole class would have to chant times tables and would then be picked on to answer questions at pain of humiliation if and when they failed. Needless to say, even if you knew the answer it would freeze in your throat and the response to 6 x 7 would be "Dallas Cowboys" or "Prince Albert."

Fortunately I winged it and would escape the ultimate humbling of being lined up after class - firing squad style and yelled at. Oddly enough I can still remember any multiplication up to 12 x 12 off the top of my head.

Not so Bell - the new boy who I made sure to befriend because he was monumentally slow. Each Tuesday Bell would be lined up in the firing squad as Aldibonkers - a small red faced man, who was not dissimilar to Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army - would becoming increasingly red until you could see through his nose as he snarled: "Bell. You are an idiot boy."

I wouldn't blame Aldibonkers totally for the reason why I became an awkward teen. I listened to too much Japan and Kraftwerk and Visage etc. and read Stephen King. I became a fashion victim for a while. I had buckles and pointy shoes and studded belts that hung down my nonexistent backside. I didn't rebel totally but I was terminally weird.

That's why it's odd to see my daughter declaring breezily how much she loves school and making "best friends" in a nanosecond in any social situation. The contrast is so jarring I find myself seriously considering asking for my misplaced childhood back again so as I can have a happy, rounded, jovial one in which I was never a helicopter who lived in constant fear of a protractor clutching dwarf.

But, given that I am usually being told I have a mental age of 12, it doesn't seem to matter much. I am cheerfully regressing.

And as for that diary thing what's the point if nobody else is allowed to read it? When you have a blog it's like a diary that you can impose it on anyone who is crazy enough to still be reading - well stay tuned for Chapter 2.

THE DAY MY DUTCH RABBIT MISTOOK THE POSTMAN'S FOOT FOR A LOVE PARTNER



13 comments:

  1. I don't know what that is a picture of, but it's kind of scary. Sounds like a very rough, but apparently effective, way to learn math. I enjoyed reading this, David, even if it was traumatic for you to live through. I'll stay tuned for Chapter 2. The title of it made me laugh. :)

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    1. Ha ha Daisy - not sure if that will make one but you never know...

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  2. Yeah that picture is pretty weird man....I had to scroll past it quickly. lol School and growing up is hard. I was a weird kid too and took a lot of crap for it. Of course now as an adult, my peers tell me that they always admired my ability to be myself in school.

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    1. for real JoJo - I guess I made it seem more weird than it was but it was sort of crazy

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  3. As hard as it is going to be for you to believe this I was just this cynical when I was 5. I think it helped me through adolescence and childhood immensely because I never had that illusory hope of everything turning out alright. I knew we were all screwed from the get go. I find that the majority of my peers felt I had some big secret that they didn't have and thus I was rightly awed and revered as I should have been. (:

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    1. bloody hell - really. well I felt old before my time for real - good to see you back.

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  4. Your childhood sounds intense. And dark. And dreary. Good lord.

    I think mine was a lot like your daughter's. Perhaps it's different for girls...?

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    1. Not so different for girls. I, for example, was under the illusion that the three girls that bullied me were my friends, so I happily made their homework. Things changed the only time I rebelled to read my HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban alone.

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    2. Yes I think my sister had a better time, Jen. Glad Harry could save you Starla!

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  5. I must protest: there is no such thing as too much Japan/Kraftwerk/Visage!!! If it helps, my childhood/adolescence was crap, too. Looks like we took all the ick and resolved to give our own kids better. Good for us.

    Also - "Terminally Weird" would make for a great band name. I call dibs on it!
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. Of course you are right Mina and some of that stuff (particularly Japan really stands the test of time and stil sounds great now, I think) - would be a great band name.

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  6. hi david, your childhood sounds rough and dark.
    mine was sort of living in a box...my parents were way to over-protective- not a good thing.

    hope you're having a good day.

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    1. you too Betty - I didn't have that problem. They let me do a lot lol

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