Tuesday, February 10

I don’t intend to let this blog become fixated on high school memories. This and the previous post should help explain why I don’t spend a lot of time reminiscing about those years. [But hey, I just spelt reminiscing correctly first try! High school wasn’t a total waste after all.].

Nevertheless, after my post about Robert I received some amusing e-mails from Arran about our days at Swanbourne High and I thought they were worth posting. Here are some of Arran’s ramblings:

"I confess to having unwittingly victimized Robert Solomon for a brief moment one fateful morning. I was waiting for the bus in town and there was construction work going on, so we were standing among a mass of scaffolding surrounding the bus stop. Strangely Robert happened to be there too and was in a somewhat frustrated state as other Swanny students had hidden his schoolbag by hanging it high up among the scaffolding. The bus was about to arrive and they were breaking out in fits of laughter as they watched Robert run around in a panicked state looking high and low for his cherished satchel. When he finally found it one of them decided to add to their amusement by telling Robert that I was the one who’d hidden his bag and before I knew it I couldn’t find my bag either, with the bus already visible in the distance. I spied it hanging up in the scaffolding and clambered up in a hurry, proceeding to hit my head very hard, at which point I leapt back down to the ground swearing, marched up to Robert and punched him on the side of the head muttering “I didn’t hide your fucking bag in the first place you idiot!”. He began to cry and I said “Look I’m sorry!” as everybody bundled onto the bus.

Strange, some part of me has humorous memories of high school (despite the majority being ones of persecution - not merely delusions). Most seem to involve ludicrous events often involving others’ suffering. I remember Robbie G, the deaf student who was seriously impaired by cerebral palsy getting of the bus home once - stumbling out the back door down the steps & straight into a lamp post. I don't think anyone on the bus was able to stop laughing. Yes we had much fun on that bus home, e.g. trashing the bus and throwing various bits out the window like window insulation, head rests etc. One day some guys up the back kicked out the emergency exit window while the bus was moving. We often got taken down to the depot. One time when everybody realized we wouldn't stop again until the Transperth compound, a few Asian students forced the back door open at a set of lights on St Georges Tce and almost got taken out by a passing car!

We had Smartie fights, rivet fights, a great extended tomato sandwich fight & other highlights like Casey Ribah taking a replica handgun on the bus, pulling it on Blair Williams, yelling "Blair, shut up!" followed by a big bang, laughter & Blair with eyes screwed up & fingers stuck in his ears. That was a strange thing to witness. Occasional guest appearances by Bradley Allen (ex Kent St resident bogan) who would get pissed off standing at the bus stop swinging punches at no one in particular as the wind blew his hair around, muttering "Fuckin' wind! I hate things you can't fuckin' punch!""

. . .

Unlike Arran, my bus home included non-Swanbourne kids so it was a little better behaved and they never took us to the depot. The law student in me wonders about the legality of taking a busload of kids against their will to the depot. Does Transperth still pull stunts like that? I also imagine that, in the post Columbine world, replica handguns on school buses could get a kid in serious trouble (even in Australia).

Like Arran, I remember Bradley Allen as someone who was worth avoiding. I doesn’t surprise me to hear that he resented the wind for its lack of punchability. Thankfully, Swanbourne provided a few people even more vulnerable to predators like him (like Robbie G, the deaf kid with cerebral palsy who was bullied mercilessly) so I wasn’t on his radar. The only people who ever picked on me were a couple of guys named Addas and Russell. That ended in the 11th grade after I punched Russell as hard as I could right in the face. Despite the fact that it was 2 against 1 (and they were both bigger than me) Addas ran away immediately. I still laugh at that. Good way to back up your buddy there Addas. Russell and I grappled briefly but without the element of surprise neither of us could do any more damage. I never heard another word from either of them after that. Part of me wants it to be a lesson that violence is sometimes justified and effective. The reality is that I probably just got lucky that they were wimpier than they looked and they didn’t think it was worth taking further (suppose the two of them decided to reciprocate by attacking me without warning some day?). Was it worth risking getting beaten up just to avoid an occasional taunt? Probably not. Still, I’m glad to have that memory of Addas running away, it's one of my favorites.


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