I want to write about the place I went to school.
I once read a story about how the Inuits – when out of season – sailed their sled-dogs to a island sufficiently remote for the dogs to be unable to swim back to land. Dogs can swim of course, but water in the polar region is not suitable for long aquatic treks. The inuits come back after a given period to retrieve the surviving dogs which of course in fits of hunger and insanity has turned on one another. It is the inuits who decide which dogs are allowed to breed and pass on their genes – those that fight through and survive imprisonment and torture. It is a cruel practice, but I understand why it was necessary to ensure the survival of the Inuits… they simply had no time for weak dogs.
I learned many things in school. I learned how to stay out of sight of Lars, the kid with the alcoholic deadbeat dad and the alcoholic mom who committed suicide, because his frustrations, rage and lack of empathy had no patience for me – the sensitive kid in class. I learned how to read and I discovered that the school library almost never saw the popular kids – books always expanded my horizon while people continually offered restrictions. I discovered the wonderful patterns of math, how they always made sense, and how my classmates would go from regally allowing me to help them with their homework so they could pass, and an hour later mocking me for having the audacity to believe myself smarter than them.
I walked along intricate routes on my way home from school. I call them intricate… really it was just a route that took me the furthest away from other kids homes. Looking back, I don’t really think it was needed, but it had happened too many times that I had been surrounded by five or seven or ten boys who ridiculed me, pushed me, taunted me, spat at me, hit me, ect. My dad told me to man up! He would shame me for being weak, but he was never there to protect me. Every time I got surrounded there was no one there to starch my backbone and I would crumble because I was just one kid… and they were too many.
I ran home from school crying more times than I care to think about. My mom would wipe my tears and tell me to go back, because it wasn’t proper to skip school. Once in a while she would call my head-teacher and yell at him for not looking after me, but they never did. Once I got into a fight at the soccer field, and I actually pushed the other kid back. My teacher said afterwards that he was glad to see that I finally stood up for myself. I wanted to kill them both right then and there. I was so angry because he just stood there watching the scene unfold. He did nothing to intervene. The kid got away with shouts of encouragement from his team. I felt nothing but shame.
The girls caused me trouble too. I can’t remember who started it, but for a period of a few weeks – maybe it was less – they tortured me. Every time anyone of the girls in my class touched me, they would go to the nearest sink and wash their hands. They would make a big display of it and loudly proclaim that they needed to wash because they had touched me.
I understand the concept of school. Children are sent there to learn all the necessary skills which they need in order to make it as a successful adult in the modern world. In spite of pretending to educate our young, there were many fields of education which were completely left out of the curriculum. I have never learned anything in school about neither taxes, banking and insurance, nor about growing food, recycling waste and taking care of our planet. I wonder why it is so.
I struggle today harnessing my anger. I have never found an effective outlet for it. Even though I live in a world filled with art – being a singer and a songwriter – I have never let go of my restraints to let it all out. I’m thankful that I never grew up in America. If guns had been available when I were a kid, you would all know the name of the school I attended.