From Jester To King LXVIII
By Simon Barget
Every so often I’d go back to school with the Miraj foundation to help out with the kids in whatever way I could. So I was there this one time, ostensibly to do German, and behold there is Miraj in room 363, with some of his family and the disadvantaged kids too and they’d rejigged the tables so that we were sitting more or less close-knit in a circle, and to start off with the atmosphere was good and friendly and spoke of endeavour. But Miraj had this particular way of doing things, like people always tend to have, he wanted to do things in his own inimitable way, and there was always a fair amount of talk and procrastination before getting down to business. So once he’s gone through all the rules and the regs, I’m barely retaining my scintilla of patience. Then he hands out the cards, mine are passed over, but all they are in this instance are these woeful scraps with a few German words on. And I recognise these words from exams previously taken — the words are in my very own handwriting— so all he’d done was copy past papers. Which struck me either as cheating, or as the minuscule effort of the supremely arrogant or lazy. So as soon as I see my cards my interest vanishes, I mean: am I just supposed to read out the words and have them repeat back to me, I mean, what would the point be? And I just so happen to be sitting next to Rodney Marco who is all very nice but the most compliant and confrontation-averse person you’re ever likely to meet. And I’m not saying it was to make a point before him, but I can see he thinks it’s complete hogwash but wasn’t going to dare to let on, and then there’s a moment when I am literally about to walk out of the classroom without so much as a by-your-leave but at the last second I stay and then I think I must have turned back to Marco just to see what he’s thinking, and the urge strikes me again almost on the heels of the first one, but this time I succumb. I am out of the classroom. And I can feel Rodney Marco and the shock and outrage and the condemnation as I’m walking out, and his perception of he’ll-never-change, he-never-learns, and I admit I do wish I wasn’t always so impetuous and hot-headed but then I do feel completely liberated, so it was a tough call to make. BUT as soon as I’ve got downstairs and made my way back to the grand entrance I realise I need to pass stool. Fine. So I turn right into the swimming pool and the gym bit – remember you have to walk past the swimming pool to get to the toilets -- and then there’s always a little bit of water that you have to wade through, no great impediment, but this time it was deeper even than usual so that by the time I get to the door to the toilets, I’m treading in approximately two and a half inches of water and my shoes are soaked through and when I sit down on the toilet I have no option but to sink them into the low-lying water. And then the relief comes, along with a somewhat unexpected consistency, and I have to sit there for some time, much longer than anticipated, and it’s only then to my horror that I notice I have left my boxer shorts around my bottom and all the stool has been passing through them as if through a sieve, yet despite all this filth and this horror the initial impulse to be free is so great that it outweighs any sensible decision to change my pants or trousers before leaving, having got a spare pair back in the car, the idea being that at least I do have a spare one and can change them at a time in the future that tickles my fancy.