Friday, February 23, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Chunder Bandit

Mirth and Woe: Chunder Bandit

Or: On going through your entire school life as 'The Boy who once Puked in Class'

If my regular tales of mirth and woe are anything to go by, puking in class - or anywhere in school, for that matter - was a pretty regular occurrence. In truth, these episodes were relatively few and far between, and those who razzed at the sight of an explosion of blood, or the discovery of plastic bags full of half-decomposed animal innards at the back of a French class were, by and large, quite rightly excused for evacuating their systems at that particular moment in time.

Lord knows I have.

It is those who chuck their lumps for no reason at all that become branded with that awful tag. Puking in class is just about the worst thing you can ever do in front of your schoolyard peers, even worse than crying when you've been told off, pooing in your pants, or calling your teacher "Mummy".

In fact, these poor, poor people might as well get a t-shirt printed up saying "I (insert name here) chundered in Helen Davies's schoolbag just before a PE lesson, and latterly all over the cloakroom whilst trying - in vain - to find a receptacle for my rich, brown vomit, unable, as I was, to make it into the toilets on time on account of all the other people getting in my way, pointing and laughing" because that is the name they go under for the next decade or so. Also, the print on the t-shirt would have to be quite small.

Luckily, I was never nicknamed "Chunder Bandit". When I chundered in the presence of schoolmates, it was at the end of a particularly hell-raising school trip accident, fuelled by bravado and an overdose of Mars Bar. I was, thankfully, excused and received a rather rousing ovation for my pains before having to go and lie down for a bit.

It was Benny.

Poor, poor Benny, who, just as everybody was getting changed for PE, ran helter-skelter through the class, mouth bulging like a hamster amok in a peanut factory, trying in vain to hold back the inevitable explosion of half-digested school dinner. It was, alas, mushy peas that day. And pink custard.

Such were the crowds of ten and eleven year olds struggling out of school uniform and into PE kits, whilst simultaneously attempting to maintain at least a parcel of modesty, he found to his cost that his route to the classroom door and the sweet, sweet sanctuary of the toilets barred. Taking a detour, it was all too late, and confirming the old adage that "You can't hold back puke", he found that no, you can't hold back puke, which cascaded in its pink-and-green glory into Helen Davies's schoolbag. She cried.

With a second wave of voms welling up inside him, Benny made one final dash for the door. He never made it, and the classroom's enthusiastically collected display of French produce received the kind of gastric comment that the UK Independence Party would have been proud of. Mrs Poulter cried.

Benny's ordeal lasted, happily for him, but a couple of years, right up to the day that Peter (spoken with tongue firmly pressed against the bottom lip) the school weird kid actually managed to vomit inside his own Wellington boots directly after a swimming lesson. One minute he was boasting how much of the swimming pool he had managed to drink whilst attempting his first ever width of the pool without being rescued, the next both of his boots were brimming with what can only be described as Brown Windsor Soup.

As these were the only footwear he actually owned, Peter (spoken with tongue firmly pressed against the bottom lip) went through his entire life known as "The Boy who once puked in his own shoes", and, at the age of forty - last seen as a low-level civil servant - he probably still is.

So, a hint to any young people who might be reading this, looking for tips in gaining that all-important respec' from your school-mates: Don't puke in your shoes. You may find yourself the subject of a certain amount of dissing.

That is all. Scaryduck: always down with the kids.

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