When taking stock of your life (especially if you are currently jobless and living with your parents again as I am) it's interesting to look back at moments that have come to define you.
When I was in P7 I had to draw a picture of a Wild West setting. Having drawn the right amount of fingers on each of the cowboys I then proceeded to sketch the landscape. I believe I drew a palm tree in the background. Despite my geographical inaccuracies I finished the picture by drawing a sun in the right hand corner. Believing I was the smartest 11 year old in the world I decided that I would just draw the sun as a golden orb in the sky. No heat rays or squiggly lines emanating from it. It looked better as a gold circle, more real somehow. I finished and sat back quite smugly awaiting the teachers approval.
Her name was Miss Norrie, young, attractive but not an object of lust in those pre-erection days plus she was a rumoured lesbian. As she glanced over the picture I saw her features change from mild indifference to a deep set frown. Damn, I knew the palm tree was wrong. I saw her finger jabbing furiously at the image of the sun. "Whats this?" she said. "Its the sun" I replied, thinking maybe she lives in some sunless apocalyptic hellhole (or Brechin as it was more commonly known.) She then proceeded to chastise me for making the sun so bland. No heat rays or squiggly lines was a big no-no for her. It didn't convey the full majesty of the sun. I just thought it might have been an overcast day. She was having none of that and then like that she was gone, on to the next kid to destroy their artistic hopes and dreams.
It doesn't sound like a defining moment in my childhood and to be honest it wasn't. However it did mean that from then on everytime I drew a sun I always made it a giant flaming ball of hate. The sun was now a monster to me, on the verge of happily wiping us all out everytime it farted a solar flare in our general direction.
So you see its the little things that shape us. Its the same reason I don't like maths. In P5 Mrs Adamson drove me to tears in front of the class because I got my seven times table mixed up. From that point on anytime I had to count I would break out in a cold sweat and shout out random numbers like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.
Of course I had great teachers, Mrs Moir, Mr Davidson (who played a mean Kumbaya on the guitar) Mrs Reid and Mr Simmons all helped define me as person, its only years later that I realise that. Thinking of those teachers made me acknowledge that being a teacher was not for me.
I had dabbled in teacher training briefly. Three months learning the do and dont's and then six weeks in a secondary school in the isolated village of Gairloch. I was to teach English despite my atrocious grammer and punctuation, something which I had manged to ignore throughout my English degree. It was during my first solo lesson that I realised it wasn't for me. Thinking back to the good teachers I had I discovered I wasn't one of them. I'm too sarcastic and tend to look at things negatively despite my cheery facade. The defining moment came when I imagined all the moon faced half asleep pupils in front of me in some sort of Battle Royale tournament. I had already picked out a clear winner, a quiet lad who was busy carving the word 'die' in to his desk. I could clearly see him casually decimating the rest of his classmates while spouting off dreary poetry over their mangled twitching bodies. This was most certainly the road to madness so teaching was out the window.
I never once regretted quitting teaching because I knew I would become one of those cynical alcoholic ones who just did it for the long summer holidays. I am grateful that I never got to become one of those teachers who berated a child for their crappy picture of a sun which resulted in that child one day writing a second rate whine in his first blog posting. I am happy I broke the cycle.
As for the title of this posting, well that was what a French student teacher called me while I was trying to count to thirty in French. Numbers and foreign languages, merd! Normally an authority figure calling me slow would upset me but in this case I laughed out loud. Why did this not affect me, who knows? Maybe it was because he was a thin geeky man child who looked like he was furiously masturbating under the table. I'm not bitter, honest. French prick!