First, a rant

Returning on the train from Norwich's Pagan convention today (at which I was speaking, and more of which shortly) I had the opportunity to be sat across from a middle aged man and someone whom I presumed to have been a niece or possibly a future daughter-in-law.
Their conversation was mostly insipid, but took a turn which distracted me from the spectral realms of Montague Rhodes James. For some reason they were talking about schools and the behaviour of some adolescent relative, when the fat man (let's call him McCabe, because I'm not feeling very imaginative tonight) started recollecting his own salad days. The salad presumably being a bit of limp lettuce in his greasy burger. With consider relish on that burger, he told various exploits involving reducing one teacher to tears, being part of a gang that drove another teacher into a nervous breakdown, locking another in a tool shed etc.
Now lots of kids do grotty things and eventually grow out of it when they achieve some degree of awareness that their actions have consequences. Not to mention developing sufficient compassion for their fellow mortals to no longer enjoy making their working lives a misery. What irked me was the pride in the man's voice, that 30+ years on he still clearly saw nothing wrong with what he had done ~ and one can but assume would therefore have no concerns about any of his own offspring emulating his shenanigans. People like McCabe are the reason why I never want to teach children.
I appreciate that some teachers can be awful people who make their pupils lives a misery, but few people enter the profession in that state of mind. They come to it idealistic, and get worn down not only by the system itself, but by generations of ghastly parents and their horrible sprogs outweighing the benevolent influence of the good parents and genuinely lovely students.
It requires a particularly unpleasant state of mind to relish driving other people to their wits end when all they are trying to do is help you. Perhaps the same sort of mind that leads patients in A&E to assault the medical staff looking after them. It requires an even stranger sort of mind to experience three or more decades of life and still cling to the same petulant, adolescent hostilities and refuse to mature or develop some sort of healthier insights into ones own behaviour.
Thankfully I became bored eavesdropping and returned to the land of the purely fictional undead. Here endeth the rant.


  1. Is it a symptom of a wider problem within our society? I look at some of the stuff that is shown on TV as entertainment and find some of it very cruel - why would you want to watch some celebrity freaking out because they find themselves in a tank full of scorpions? OK - I know the celebrity can decline to be part of the show (and by the way "I'm a Celebrity - get me out of here" is down to the Z-list, I think a lot have!) But why would anybody want to watch it? Equally, what about the rise in hatred towards immigrants or Muslims? If we simply accept that they are people - just like us - then it's hard to see them as universally bad. But that is certainly not the angle the Daily Mail is selling!!! In my view, a lot of our problems are down to a lack of empathy and an inability to see the bigger picture - to see that the nurse in A&E is doing the best she can when the hospital is starved of funds and staff.


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