It’s pretty unpleasant watching children being so aggressively targeted, especially when under the façade of boosting children’s “academic achievement and character development” through the medium of yo-yos. “Always say No No to an overpriced Yo-yo!” would have been a more apt message.
The presenter stopped just short of saying “Do you want to be the only kid in the playground without a yoyo? Even if you can’t afford it, even if you’re parents refuse to give you the money, are you just going to give up like a loser would? Or are you going to whine and whine until they give in?” She even halted me from filming the event. I do have some footage though, so if you hanker for a brief clip of a woman playing with her yo-yo, you know who to contact.
I’d arrived that morning armed with a screwdriver, gaffer tape and batteries. I wasn’t planning on an interrogation; it was to fix a bunch of floor turtles. Somehow I’d managed to get involved in one of the many clubs sprouting up around school.
Other clubs include a chess club in which several of the children make up the rules as they go along and a magic club that aptly disappeared after one session. Stories abound that several children were placed in a cupboard only to reappear in Addis Abbaba. The magician placated the parents by offering them two free tickets to his next show.
It was a usual week all in all, the space cadet declared to the class “if I look at the sun for too long it makes me sneeze”, a copy of the Lord of the Rings turned up in the gents toilets, so at least one of the staff is highly constipated and I had a phonics observation that if I could sum it in a sound it would be “hhhhmmmmnnnnnnuuuunnnnggggg”…then he arrived.
Mr Bonapart was an instant hit with the women, with his closely cropped hair (bald), wide smile (veneers) and diamond stud earring (premature midlife crisis). It began with the staff talking about him in hushed reverential tones like he was the second coming, within a week everyone everywhere were falling over themselves to gush about how wonderful he was.
He came in at the weekend to organise a display, drove one of the staff when her car broke down and formed a human bridge to allow children to escape from a capsized boat. Ok I made the last one up but for all I know it’s true.
Now I’m not the envious type, these are just observations of his irritating perfection and just as I was imagining ways of him being beheaded by my classroom guillotine, he wandered in asking to borrow a lead for his camera.
I may not light up a room every time I enter it. I may not be charming, smug and effusive. I may not have that gift of making you feel that you are the only person in the room when I talk to you (incidentally on this occasion I was, so it didn’t count). I may not even be able to converse easily with women about any subject they wish to share with me…but at least I know where the lead to my camera is! (It’s in the store cupboard, on top of the still knackered floor turtles and next to the Sneeze-safe toolkit).
He returned it really promptly. This is war.