When I was eight, I carved the word “PiSS” on the headboard of my bed, and suffered months of angst as I tried to cover up my piece of wanton vandalism from my parents. Did I learn my lesson? What do you think?
Less than a year later, I was in the boy’s toilets at school during the lunch break, piece of soap in my hand. I looked in the mirror, the devil stared back. I was tempted. My hand moved to the mirror. And wrote. P. I. S. S. “PiSS.”
"I didn't do it"
I stood back admire my work, and in my horror, I realised I’d gone and done it again. I went to grab a towel to wipe it off, but too late, I’d been spotted by one of the more vindictive kids in my year.
“Oooooh, I’m telling on you.”
And he did, despite my offers to “Be your best friend” or “I’ll give you any money”, the urge to be a stoolpigeon was far too great for Benny.
I spent the next hour hiding behind class eleven, but it was no good. Mr George’s excellent network of spies found me, and I was trooped off for an audience with the head.
Those weren’t the wishy-washy days we live in today when teachers can’t even give kids a good talking to without written permission from parents, police and judge, with a solicitor present, oh no! I got six of the best with twelve inches of finest wood - Mr George’s dreaded ruler across the back of the legs before being torn off a strip about vandalising school property. And it was thoroughly deserved too. He scared the crap out of me.
After my ordeal by wood, he made me stand outside his office for the next hour while every teacher in the school made snide comments as they walked past. It wasn’t the pain, it was the fact that even my favourite teacher, Mrs Jones, said “Who’s been a naughty boy, then?” as she came out of the staff room. That was the last time I had pre-pubescant fantasies about her, I can tell you.
Meanwhile, skulking in the shadows was the dark figure of Benny. He’d been given what for from the head honcho as well. And his crime - being a tell-tale for the thirtieth time that year, making full use of his season ticket for the space by the tuck shop supplies. Justice works in mysterious ways. I reflected on this for the next hour or so, as I doodled the word “PiSS” in the dust. I’ll never learn.