It seems so long ago now, since the mischievous days of mid-primary school. Since the days I never did homework, and was ever so surreptitious to avoid getting caught â€“ well trying to anyway. And the days when my little ploys of “forgetting” to have done homework, were discovered in the most humiliating of ways.
There was on specific day this happened, I can vividly remember.
It was grade 3, half way through primary school, a time I never contemplated high school or my future, a time when the concept of homework was a joke. Like the facetious Hyena, I was in hysterical laughter at peoples’ earnestness toward school. But life is not without karma, as I now understand the importance of homework and schooling. Today school is about “ENTER” scores and getting “A+”. Back then it was about staying away from the “Goodie, Goodies”, who would always have the homework completed for question time the next day.
“Goodie, Goodies” to us little “blokes”, were usually girls in the class, or a boy we considered to be a girl â€“ a “pussy”. Why is it that the majority of human beings have a lackadaisical approach to school? All those cliched comments like “I hate homework” or “school sucks big time man”, reinforce a wide spread inclination to not do homework. Is that what it is, or is it all about image and ego to us “blokes” â€“ earnestly trying to avoid the dreaded label: “Goodie, Goodie”. It is therefore not half-obvious why schools such as Camberwell Grammar experience horrific cases of school bullying. Occupied with maintaining our “tough” image, we “little tackers” never took heed to these important issues.
Nor did we take heed to doing homework. During grade 3, our Math homework became accustomed to rotting away at the depths of our school bags, along with the mould ridden sandwiches and three-year-old bananas. One day “judge dread” the teacher, was going through the homework question by questionâ€¦
“Math books open at least nights homework” in what sounded like a vultures screech. I opened at some pretend page and stayed low key, whilst the teacher mercilessly pointed her finger around the room. It was terrifying as she always seemed to sense an “evader” in the room â€“ her eyes a radar, and her finger a laser, ready to embarrass her victim at any moment. All the “Goodie, Goodies” held their fingers in the air back at the teacher, which seemed like some tribal link between teacher and “Goodie, Goodie” â€“ it was the “Kripendorfs Tribe” of St. Joseph’s primary school.
This shanadigens of putting your hand up, always seemed to advantage the “Goodie, Goodies”, in some way my little mind could never seem to define. Now the folly of a large portion of humans seems clear: in this instance, that I to wanted to have this “advantage”, but did not want to do the hard work in order to achieve it. And once again Karma prevails: “what you put in, you get out”. In juxtaposition between the “Goodie, Goodies” and the “Blokes” of the outside world, ironically, it is the “Goodie, Goodies” who reach the intrinsic happiness that the “Blokes” always thought they had.
Which leads me to the intrinsic question, relating not only to my personal development, but all those who perceive/d themselves to be the elite of their own social spheres as children. Were we “little blokes” really the “coolest” group in our class? I am not sure now, those so-called “Goodie, Goodies” were elite indeed, as they actually worked hard. What was it that made us so hostile toward them? Why did we resent the label, “Goodie, Goodie”, they seemed to bear so proudly? Was there jealousy within this resentment? Behind the faÃ§ade of being a “tough bloke”, we seemed to be afraid of the reality, afraid of having to do work, and afraid of the consequences of not doing work. When we got caught, all was exposed for a brief moment of embarrassment for the “blokes” and satisfaction for the “Goodie, Goodies”.
Thirty questions that day seemed like thirty years.
“Julian, question 28”, these three damned words, did not quite register at the beginning. “Damn”, two to go and I was up, not a clue as to what the answer was or how to avoid getting egg on my face. Convulsive nervousness had shut down half of my brain â€“ “Oh no, my image of toughness” raced through my head â€“ I wasn’t thinking straight â€“ lost for words. Pre-occupied, little did I know that my face resembled those of the English when defeated by Joan of Arc. Nor was I aware that the teacher was behind me staring at some irrelevant work from my English book. I was history, I wished it were History.
Consequences, why are we humans are afraid of them? Our folly as human beings seems to be to avoid having to face consequences. We are told “never to lie”, to “tell the truth and it will be much easier” â€“ “Good boy, good girl”. Is it consequences, or the embarrassment of being caught that we are afraid of? All this seems clearer now: that we must accept consequences as apart of life, and work hard rather than trying to take shortcuts. This was a significant part of growing up: coming to terms with the reality of having to work hard, and the futility of maintaining image amidst the threat of embarrassment.