Friday, 9 March 2012

Where did that come from? 5

First day, first year in junior infants. There wasn’t much of an induction. It was a small village and even the children who hadn’t been able to afford to attend the nursery class, knew the others who had.

They introduced themselves, nonetheless, and then they went round the class, calling out what jobs their parents had, if any. Mrs Isaacs had gone to some lengths to explain that being a housewife was as important job as any other. And that people who right now didn’t have a job, had been let down by the country, and were just as good as anybody who had a job. Despite this egalitarian manifesto, Richard called out proudly from the back of the class, “My dad hasn’t worked for twenty years and he’s damned if he’s going to start now.”

Mrs Isaacs deplored the world “damned” but allowed the sentiment to pass otherwise unremarked upon. She looked for more positive contributions from the rest of the class. And they were quickly forthcoming.

“My daddy’s a fireman and my mummy works in a pharmacist.”

“Dad works for the Gas Company. And mummy helps out at the store.”

“Mom stays home and dad’s a mechanic.”

“Anybody else?” Mrs Isaacs invited brightly, as the trickle of jobs dried up.

“Daddy works away on the oil rigs,” chimed in little Annie Mason, “And mummy screws anything in trousers.”

Mrs Isaacs looked at Annie’s affable little face, and felt her throat constricting. Eventually she managed a husky, “I don’t think you can have that quite right, Annie.”

“She’s got it wrong, Miss,” called out one of the girls.

“OK, then,” Mrs Isaacs turned swiftly towards the blackboard, hoping to move on to the safer territory of spelling.

“Her dad’s away in prison,” Richard offered by way of additional explanation.


Patricia said...


Sarah Elisa said...

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