Day 58

Social Distancing: it hasn’t gone away you know

Several of the inmates of this blog have started talking to themselves down below there in Comments. This is all well and good, I applaud them for it (or would if i could access emojis here) and, if all goes to plan [there’s a plan? – Ed.], they will turn up up here some time as guest bloggers. By talking to themselves, by the way, I mean talking to each other, and not that each individual has gone mad(der) and started the whole conversation of one malarkey. And, anyway, I would never use ‘they’ in a singular manner as it would blow what remains of my logic circuits.

Speaking of which [of what? – Ed.], this guy here, when we were at school together, used to produce with his brother Brendan a comic based on the week’s activities in the school. This was not a teacher-led thing, but the teachers soon got wind of it and became, like the pupils, avid readers because it was so good and because they wanted to see how they were depicted in it. Anyhoo, in this comic, they saw me as a sort of robot who always got 100% in language vocabulary tests, and who kinda controlled the school unbeknownst to the teaching staff. See below.

robot phil

The point is, I do have logic circuits, and some linguistic faux-pas are more liable than others to make them blow. ‘They singular’ is just one of them (I see what I did there, whether you do or not). Y’all will have heard the following phrase on the news when they are reporting on whichever current legal case has tickled their fancy. [Tickled their fancy what? Now I’m at it – Ed.] “The victim cannot be named for legal reasons.” Right, when I hear that, my inner editor (not the one in brackets) wakes up and asks my outer editor, “Can the victim be named for illegal reasons, for comedy reasons or for all other reasons apart from legal ones?” There is a quick fix for that infelicitous phrase – answers on a postcard, usual prizes, terms & conditions apply – but I would really prefer the more elegant solution which my inner ear presents. on a silver tray, to my outer ear. Thus, “Legal reasons prevent the naming of the victim” is both grammatically and legally correct, and stylistically up to my demanding standards, and the sooner all news agencies adopt it, the less danger Part-Time Wife will be in from a breakfast tirade, which, generally speaking, are the most severe and dangerous of all my tirades.

Did you note, while you were outpacing it, that what is increasingly laughingly called the real world caught up with the blog yesterday? Here is BBC NI stealing my story about the non-workers who want paid for not working. Again, this is logic-circuit-breaking territory, and Part-Time Wife had a tough day yesterday: female teenager had drained the wine lake on her when she reached for her mid-morning pick-me-up at wine o’clokc, which for her is around 10.17am. To summarise: being a substitute teacher is not a job, you do not apply for the position, no qualifications are actually necessary and no one says when they are young(er), “When I grow up(per), I really want to be a substitute teacher.”  (Shane Todd has a good piece about substitute teachers here.)

Being a substitute teacher is actually a failure to get a job as a real teacher, and a failure of the policies that produce too many qualified teachers in this provincial backwater. As it is not a job, those who do substitute teaching are not actual workers who should be eligible for various government subventions due to the Kerfuffle. Let’s do the whole reductio ad absurdum trick on it. (That is a good link, by the way; follow it and never again accuse me of never teaching youse nothing.) Because there has been no school available, male teenager number 1 has been deprived of the opportunity of taking the piss out of the religious Ignite Group at school that meets at lunchtime by regaling them with the newly-minted atheist arguments he bought off the internet. This absence of an opportunity to release some of his innate teenager aggression through intellectual discourse is having an adverse effect on his emotional, spiritual and mental growth and on his overall well-being. Connected to this, his physical development is being arrested by being deprived of the opportunity of beating up his classmates at lunchtime in their ‘just for fun’ wrestling matches. Now, which section of the Department of Education should I send the bill to for this lack of opportunities due to covidnovid? And should I ask for the full £12 million, like the group of DoleHeads who self-identify as substitute teachers are doing? For fruck’s sake, beam me up, Scottie!

That is not what I meant to write about today, but, as previously explained in this space, I do not plan what ends up on these pages: I merely sit down at a keyboard, open my internal D drive and start typing. I am as surprised as you at the final contents of the post. I was going to ask youse to quantify (approximately) ‘several’. When I was young(er), I used to think of it as just a substitute for 7, and I still sort of do, in that I reckon its value as more than a couple (which itself has a value >2) but as less than 7.

As for how many are in a ‘lock’, that is advanced mathematics and I will leave that for another day. Or for Snowy, should he wish to grace us with his presence.