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Setting the Records Straight

 Although I’m sure that no one will have guessed this, my favourite subject at school, was Composition.

In Pulteneytown Academy, the teacher would say, “I would like you to write a story about …what you want to be when you grow up, …your pet, …an autobiography of a shoe.”  This was the signal to daydream even more than normal, but also to put the daydreams down on paper.

For 39 years I have harboured the desire to explain one particular story to my teacher at the time, so here goes.

The subject of this composition was “A Dream”.  My fertile imagination got into full swing, when I found myself in a cave behind a rock.  There was a lot of noise and when I peered out from behind the rock, saw cavemen dressed in skins, dancing.  There was food nearby and I helped myself to some jelly and ice cream from what was obviously a table of party food.

Suddenly there was uproar as the cavemen spotted this interloper.  I ran out of the cave, with the cavemen in hot pursuit.  Just as they were about to catch me, I moved my arms up and down, until I managed to fly off out of their reach.

Well the teacher was duly impressed and I was given the rare honour of reading the story out to the rest of the class.  When I reached the end, she asked the class what was wrong with the story.  One person replied that cavemen didn’t eat jelly and ice cream and the teacher agreed.

Of course, at the time, I was far too shy to ask the teacher why she thought that it was acceptable to fly, but not for cavemen to eat jelly and ice cream.  After all, the dream was mine and I had decided that they would prefer to eat this.  She had succeeded in praising and humiliating me in one go.

There are 2 morals to this story.  One is, that if you give praise to someone, don’t spoil it by criticising at the same time.  The other is, your dreams are your own, don’t let anyone try to change them.