It begins as all things must at the start. For me it was education of which I received very little. No big deal but spending virtually the first decade of your life in and out of hospital is bound to have some impact on your life, the ripples of which spread beyond the age of ten forming still until the day you die. Removed from people made me nervous of them, insecure in their company yet conversely fascinated by them; girls looked so neat, smelt so wonderful but apparently were different to chaps. I didn’t discover how different they were until around age seven when I had organised, during a stay in hospital, a group trampoline-bounce-along on our hospital beds. In those days, circa ’61, boys and girls often shared the same wards. The cleaner of this ward, an unfortunate woman named Nellie, entered the long, green and cream decorated room armed with mop and bucket whereupon we started to leap up and down singing “Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk and went right off to the circus”…cruel perhaps but we all found it funny. It was while we were jumping up and down like lunatics, as the young girl who slept on the bed next to mine leaped ever higher, that her nightgown crept over her thighs revealing…NOTHING!! Some bastard surgeon had sliced off her willy! I was forever careful when a doctor came to see me that I kept the bed clothes up to my shin just in case.
When I did return to school it was with an eye to having some fun following weeks of tedium. Education was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to play football like George Best, write songs like Ray Davis or draw comics like Steve Ditko. All of which spelt trouble for the boy from Upminster Bridge.
On reflection, those days were fun but the harsh truth remains that had I been better educated and received the qualifications that my intellect required, my career would have been more stable. The anger I have carried with me so very long also must come from that period, the rage and hurt of always feeling the perennial underachiever. To see me, to hear me, one would assume that here is someone well educated and from a good home. The home was good, the education wasn’t. Of course there must be millions like me so again no big deal but if that is the case then isn’t something, somewhere awry in the way we prepare our people for the life we need them to lead? Surely the community we live in needs well balanced individuals who work, earn, pay their taxes as they contribute to society we share?
It strikes me that all too often it is easier to metaphorically wash our hands of onerous tasks and hope for the best.
One thing remains true though, girls still smell better than blokes.
all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: https://www.amazon.com/author/russellduffy -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?