Warning! Scary's feeling a bit maudlin this evening as the vast quantities of alcohol consumed in the last twenty-four hours take their toll, hence this piece of navel gazing. He'll get over it. Warning!
I'm not entirely sure where to file this rather shameful moment in my life. It's funny in a certain way, but certainly NOT funny. What the hell, judge for yourself. If you're going to confess, you might as well confess it all...
We were ten, if that's any excuse. We had a rather enlightened headmaster in Mr George, who would often show films or call in special guests for our school assemblies. Trooping into the hall just after nine in the morning to see the film projector set up was always an exciting moment. Sometimes it was something educational, if we were really, really lucky, we got cartoons.
This particular morning, Mr George introduced a nice lady from The Spastics Society, who gave us a little lecture about how some children were born different to us, how life had dealt them a card off the bottom of the pack, as it were. Cerebral Palsy wasn't a phrase in circulation in those days: you were a spastic, and life was damn tough. It was all news to most of us, being generally sheltered from the big, bad world in our middle-class households.
Then she showed us the film. It was a beautiful work, artfully shot in black and white, of a boy's struggle in life against his handicap. It told us the facts, how we were blessed to live a normal life, and how some people needed the helping hand that the Spastics Society provided. The film, I remember, ended with the lad managing, against the odds, to struggle across a room, pull himself to his feet and reach a favourite toy with a smile of triumph. It was wonderful.
We left a hall without a word, a tear in the eye, joyful at the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity, pain and utter despair.
This air of bliss lasted exactly twenty-eight seconds, when Andy called Simon "a spastic".
By the end of morning break, everybody in a school of 400 pupils had called everybody else a spastic.
"Spastic", "Spas", "Spacker" and other variations on a theme became our weapon of choice for the next twenty years.
Way to go, kids.
Enlightenment? Why yes. The Spastics Society has become "Scope". The word "Spastic" has become "person with cerebal palsy", and much of the stigma and shame has been removed. Both my sister and step-mother have incredibly rewarding jobs working with disadvantaged adults and kids. Bugger it, you have life-changing experiences and your attitudes change.
I no longer call people who get on my tits a “spastic.” I call them a “retard” instead. That’s still a bit borderline, isn’t it?
People are people. And this entry's been rather too po-faced for its own good. Sorry.
Well dip me in dogshit. For the first time ever, an online personaility test actually comes up with the right answer, and therefore wins the Scaryduck seal of approval. Having said that, I can't help thinking the "Dumb Online Quizzes Piss You Off" answer would be equally valid. Can I have both?
What pisses you off?