The same people appear in my dreams with depressing regularity. Teenagers I went to school with and haven't seen for 26 years. In the dreams, we're all in our twenties and we're having a kind of school reunion. I say nothing, drink a few pints of lager and wake up with indigestion.
I make myself ill because I don't want to see these people. I don't want to know they've made a success of their lives. I don't want to know that their game plan has worked, that their chosen career path has led them in the direction they always wanted to go.
I'm not a member of Friends Reunited but I know someone who is. And every now and then I take a peek at my year at my old school. Just to be nosey. The boys' self portraits go something like this:-
"After leaving school, I travelled round South Africa for a year, met some wonderful people, came back to Southampton University, met some wonderful people including my future wife and my future business partner, Michael Dawson. The business has gone fantastically well and we have four lovely children."
So you're happy but you miss those shitty school days, do you? The worst years of our lives? Don't tell me you actually enjoyed them!
Or am I wrong and they were the best years of our lives? My dad always used to say they were. School followed by National Service. "Great years, Geoff. Great times. You may think you're having a bad time of it now but when you're my age you'll look back on today as a golden time."
Well now I am his age and I'm happier than I've ever been. And I still hate the memory of school. And National Service?
Sergeant Crumb made my life a misery. A misery, I tell you! He used to make me scrub his scaly back with a toothbrush at 2 am every Friday. He'd sneak up to my bed, place his hand over my mouth and whisper in my ear, "Private Geoff...it's time for a little plaque removal. Don't forget to bring Tony."
He'd lead me to his Sergeants' mess, remove his nightgown, and sit like Christine Keeler on his dressing table chair. I'd remove Tony Toothbrush from his vanity bag, coat his bristles with calamine lotion, and gently scrape away Sergeant Crumb's army fatigue deep into the night.
On Friends Reunited, if you click on my all-boys school, my year, there is a boy called Georgina. A few years ago my sister must've been noseying around and accidentally left her maiden name there. So any of my old classmates who happens across this entry could be thinking, "I remember Geoff as a fresh faced young man. I didn't fancy him then, but I quite like the idea of him as a woman. I do hope he gets in touch."
WELL I BLOODY WON'T, SO PISS OFF!
Some book reviews
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