Friday, 19 July 2013

Alan O’Leeffe, I forgive you.

Alright Alan, I know we were only twelve or thirteen and at the time and of course it’s been a fair while since I last saw you. But I can’t help wondering, where you are now and what's happened to your amazing creative talent?

Are you still the size of a small dwarf or did you have a late growth spurt in your early twenties? And did your voice ever break or do you still squeak like a guinea pig on helium? That would be pretty embarrassing, even for a middle aged dwarf.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course I’ve got over it by now. It wasn’t your fault that you were the only shining star of our English class. That Mr Bignell thought the rest of us were only there to give you an audience.

Sure most of the other kids hardly even noticed. But then they weren’t the ones who sat next to you.  They weren't the ones that had to hold you up on the palm of my hand so that you could squeak out your latest literary wonder for the rest of us?

Sorry if  this all sounds a little bitter. Was it your fault that Mr Bignell barely knew my name? Was it you who said there was only one creative genius in his class and if anyone accidentally stepped on them we’d be answering to him?  No, it wasn't and I had no right to drop you on the floor as many times as I did.

So what happened anyway? It seems you didn't make it after all. I haven't seen your name on a single best seller. You’re not even on Amazon and anyone can do that! Or am I wrong? Do you write under a pen name- John Grisham? Dan Brown? The woman that wrote Fifty Shades of Grey perhaps?

No, I don’t think so. More likely you’re some poor washed up local rag journo, jaded and faded, sick of churning out four line obits and dumb 'cat up tree' stories.

Poor Alan. If only it had been you that Mr Bignell had totally ignored. If only it had been you who had their entire literary ambitions so effectively ground into the dust at such a tender age. Perhaps then you too would have been forced to do something more interesting with your life and then who knows, maybe you’d have something to say now?

Really, I feel sorry for you, Alan. What Mr Bignell did to you sucks. And if any teachers are reading this now then let’s hope it gives them cause to think twice, before putting midgets on pedestals and ignoring the rest of their class.

Ouch! – That was supposed to be funny but maybe I’m more messed up than I thought! 

Actually this is a mostly partly true tale that I have recounted on several school visits in an attempt to encourage kids to have faith in their own abilities, regardless of what encouragement or lack of, they may get from anyone else. Sadly the only feedback I've received so far has been a noticeable increase in bullying attacks on unusually small children.

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