Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rolling Heads and Falling Hosiery

The connection? Glad you asked:

Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad on Wednesday and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.

My first reaction to reading this was, naturally, how horrible. And it is. Really. But then I began to think. When I was in primary school, were there any teachers whom I would have nominated for beheading? I mean, on the off chance that a terrorist group (undoubtedly Prots - maybe Calvinists) stormed St. Leo's Catholic School way back in 1742 when I was a student, who would I have chosen? Easy. Gary Mahn – my grade 8 teacher.

One dreary afternoon in midwinter (ahhhh, I remember it as if it were yesterday), our class stood to recite the Our Father. As I mumbled my prayer, I could feel my nylons (I believe the colour was "spice" – a not very natural hue for my pallid skintones) slipping down about my ankles. For those of you who have suffered the agony of improper-fitting hosiery, you are undoubtedly feeling my pain as you read this. Without drawing undo attention to myself, I tried to yank my nylons up but the blighters kept slipping. Yank yank yank, slip slip slip. Chances are, they were an ancient pair which had lost all of its elasticity months ago and were scarred with a hundred picks. My mother did not see the need for 13-year olds to wear nylons when we could wear leotards, or the need to replenish them regularly. Perhaps nylons were the domain – at least in her generation – of married women, like tampons and permanent waves. Anyway, prayers done, God placated, Mr. Mahn said to me (in a not very sotto voce), "It's okay Cat in Rabat, Jesus doesn't mind if you have wrinkly pantyhose."

Oh the shame! The humiliation! I wanted to die. But now I see that I had another option. I could have forwarded his name for decapitation. If only someone had told me – just knowing that there might be a terrorist group out there looking for primary school teachers to butcher would have made my adolescence tolerable. Instead, I developed an ever-growing fear and loathing of hosiery. A 13-year old's mortification is long-lived cross to bear. The bastard.

A ministry official said he believed the attacks were aimed at: "intimidating pupils and disrupting learning."

Ya think?? Only, truth be told, if I had seen Mr. Mahn's head rolling down the hallway towards the boys' bathroom, I would have felt vindicated. Hurray! And I bet we would have gotten the rest of the week off too! In a perfect world, it would have happened on a Monday.


p.s. Before anyone starts sending comments condemning me for my insensitivity and callousness, stop and think. I bet there's at least one teacher in your past to whom, when the masked terrorists entered your grade 7 class, you would have surreptitiously pointed. Pssssst, take her!

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