Some people just seem to get school, they understand how it works. They understand how to interpret poems and enjoy reading and manage to get through the english class Novel in a matter of days. They somehow manage to do their Irish homework and get it right. They understand Tan and Cos in Maths. I was not one of those people. The english Novel … well lets say I always had to read every page twice because I was so bored of it, nothing I read stuck in my head. Irish was like hearing Klingon for the first time every day, I thought why are we learning this, we’ll never use it. As for English …. trying to interpret poetry was like trying to put a square peg through a round hole, I just didn’t get it.
It was Commerce class in school, a class I was only slightly interested in. It was the type of class where you could switch off and drift off into that dazed state you find yourself in when the teacher has gone on endlessly about debtors and creditors or … oh God I’m even bored trying to remember the other things he used to ramble on about. One day our teacher was telling us all about the Mail Clerk. We were told how the Mail Clerk in a large business would separate the mail into individual departments then distribute said mail. We learned how the Mail Clerk would collect letters that needed to be posted and enveloped up. This particular day I was actually listening. The teacher was saying Mail Clerk every 10 seconds, all I kept hearing was Mail Clerk this and Mail Clerk that. I was sitting there baffled as to why he was only talking about Male Clerks. I thought it was incredibly unfair so I put my hand up in front of 25 students to ask a question. It was something I never did so the teacher very excitedly said, Yes Barbara what is it. I now cant believe I actually came out with this but I went on to ask … ‘Sir, why are there no Female Clerks‘. He stood motionless to digest the question. I was sitting there waiting for an answer. Everyone was staring at me, the Teacher was staring at me, words were trying to come out of his mouth but just not managing to, very small shakes of his head, eyes blinking quickly … words still escaped him. I think he thought I was joking but the look on my face was serious, he realised it was a genuine question. The class now were in hysterics laughing … I still didn’t get it. He finally got the chalk and wrote on the board ‘MAIL Clerk not MALE Clerk’. Finally the penny dropped .. as I was nodding saying Ahhh, I see, the embarrassment kicked in as I heard the laughter and giggles around the room. I put my head down and I was mortified, I don’t think I ever lived it down. All I kept thing was, Oh my god, how thick am I, female clerk for gods sake, only I could pick up Mail Clerk as Male Clerk …
All my friend has to say is Female Clerk and it brings us back to that day as if it was yesterday. Now everytime I pick something up in the wrong way we call it having a Male Clerk moment and laugh a lot.
At least I gave them all something to laugh at ! 🙂 They say school days are the best days of your life …. Only as an adult can you look back and appreciate that statement.