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Sandy's Say: An Australian Education

...“Gingivitis went home and told his mum that he’d watched a movie rated “Aghrr” and she got all upset because she thought that he meant ‘R’ which stands for ‘restricted’”. Gingivitis acquired his nickname because of his red hair but it serves too, I am told, as a warning about his tendency towards halitosis...

Sandy James takes us into the keen-humoured world of an Australian high school.

To read more of Sandy's zestful columns please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/sandys_say/

I was mystified. Why was almost every high school student leaving the school carrying a pillow? Surely they had not ALL been to the same sleepover party the previous night. The logistics of that scenario were mind boggling as there are over one thousand pupils who attend my son’s school. No, that could not possibly be the explanation.

As soon as my son climbed into the car I quizzed him. “Oh that,” he said with a wide grin, “is because today is ‘Take a Pillow to School Day’. It was great fun. We had pillow fights and Blank fell asleep on his during Maths class.” Blank does have a real first name, carefully chosen for him by his loving parents, but his surname is ‘Books’ and so, with typical Aussie humour, he has been saddled with a comedic nickname. I am reliably informed by his classmates that this name serves a dual purpose as it also describes the predominant state of his brain.

“Last month was ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day,’” continued my son. “We spent the whole day answering “Aye” to our land lubber teachers instead of “Yes, Sir”. Mister Douglas really joined in the spirit and he shouted at Clock, “Avast ye shenanigans ye bilge rat or I shall dangle ye from the futtock shrouds o’er the poop deck fer all te see.” It brought the house down.” Clock, as you might have guessed, has the misfortune to have one arm noticeably longer than the other.

“Gingivitis went home and told his mum that he’d watched a movie rated “Aghrr” and she got all upset because she thought that he meant ‘R’ which stands for ‘restricted’”. Gingivitis acquired his nickname because of his red hair but it serves too, I am told, as a warning about his tendency towards halitosis.

“Why was Clock in trouble?” I enquired.

“Well, we were having our first dance lesson in Physical Education and the boys were all mocking the idea and being most reluctant to come forward when Mister Douglas asked for a volunteer. Clock shouted out, “Ooh, pick me. Pick me, Sir! I’ll be the pole.”

Yesterday, when I collected my son from cricket training, his friend Samaan, an Iranian boy of Islamic faith, asked for a lift. Samaan’s nickname is simply, ‘The Terrorist.’ There is no malice intended in this name as he is well liked but he does stand out as being different in the sea of predominantly Caucasian, ostensibly Christian boys at an Anglican school. As we drove along, I noticed that Samaan was unusually subdued so I asked him if he was alright.

“Yes thanks,” he replied. “I am just rather tired and my right hand is a bit sore but it’s nothing.”

Once we had dropped Samaan off at his home, I asked my son if Samaan had injured his hand at cricket.

“No way,” he chuckled. “Today was ‘High Five a Muslim Day.’ Poor Samaan has been in unprecedented demand since first thing this morning

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