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» Eccentrics

My old technology teacher
I went to a private boys' school. There were many weird and wonderful teachers whom I encountered during my seven years there, but there is one I shall always remember before the rest. I shall call him Mr H.

Mr H - an almost completely bald man in his 40s - took Technology classes. For those who did not have such subjects at school, this was basically D.I.Y, with some electronics introduced in later years. All boys were required to sit on stools placed around workbenches, while wearing white aprons, and to have their plastic safety goggles close at hand while Mr H instructed us in the finer points of sawing wood, etc.

Looking back now, it's hard to see how Mr H got away with behaving the way he did: but when we were 11, we just took it all in our strides. Let me try to begin to paint a picture.

Mr H would never refer to any boy by his name. When wanting to quiz students, he would whirl round and point his finger, and ask "That boy there". Most of the time, everyone was That Boy There. The rest of the time, they were "Percy Scroggins". This was his generic name for people, as an alternative to "Fred Bloggs", for example. He referred to his pointing finger as "The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate".

If the hapless boy could not answer the question, he would be labelled a "thickie doughnut". This is a phrase which Mr H would use 10-15 times per lesson, and every pupil was very familiar with it.

Mr H constantly alluded to punishment for misdemeanours. His favourite form of mock-justice would be to tell a boy to "have a Saturday" - referring to a Saturday detention. If he were in a slightly saucy mood - which he was all the time - he would tell a boy to "go and have a cold shower at LEH" (LEH being the name of the nearby girls' school). As the boy in question would hesitate in the face of the inappropriate line, Mr H would add: "You can keep your socks on if you're shy!"

The room in which Technology was taught was festooned with workshop machinery: pillar drills, vices, band saws, lathes etc. Mr H would never refer to any of these by name however. Every single one of them was an "Oscillating Swivel Gromit".

Oh yes - and he drove a hearse.

Good times!
(Thu 30th Oct 2008, 21:46, More)

» Lies that went on too long

Me and my transsexual wife
I am a huge fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. I have been since I was 14, when it became my hobby and my passion. No-one really knows why (although many theories have been posited), but the majority of hardcore Eurovision fans are gay men. When I say hardcore fans, I mean the people for whom the Contest is not just an annual event, but fan-club members who spend the rest of the year listening to the songs and talking about the Contest on online forums. There are some straight fans - including myself - but we are in the minority.

Henceforth, since my teens, some of my best friends have been gay men.

The problem was though, that for many years they could not quite believe I was really straight. There were two main reasons for this: firstly, every other male Eurovision fan they knew was also gay - therefore statistically it was probable that I would be too. Secondly, I was rather a "late bloomer" in that I did not have a real girlfriend until my mid 20s - therefore giving rise to the explanation that the reason must be because I was in the closet, and just did not want to admit it - even to myself. In this context, there was therefore a lot of good-natured joking about my orientation, which caused my friends hours of amusement.

I finally met Rachel - the wonderful woman who was to become my wife, and my friends finally came round to believe that I did after all like drinking from the furry cup, and that I was not inclined to play the rusty trombone.

But then there was Mona. Mona is also a Eurovision fan, but she was more a friend of one of my friends, Stuart, than directly to me. Mona is a (straight) female Eurovision fan from Greece who drives a bus, and she takes no nonsense on the night routes.

When I got together with Rachel, Stuart thought it would be amusing to tell Mona that I had finally "found myself" - admitting that I was gay all along, but that I did not want my family to know, therefore I had managed to find myself a pre-op transsexual. From this point on, Mona firmly believed that Rachel was born a man. The joke was facilitated by the fact that Rachel was born in the Far-East, and although not from Thailand, Stuart told Mona that she was.

The first time that Mona met Rachel was when Mona hosted a Eurovision party to which several people were invited, including Stuart, Rachel and myself. At this point both Rachel and I were unaware of the joke-lie which had been told - however Rachel later reported to me that Mona had been giving her funny looks all evening. Naturally, Mona was curious about this person who looked like a woman but who was actually carrying around meat & two veg in her trousers.

When Stuart later told me about the lie, he also told me about Mona's post-party comments to him: "It's amazing, isn't it? Rachel looks so feminine! It's a wonder what surgery can do these days!"

When I married Rachel last year, Stuart told Mona about it - and Mona's response was: "But they can't marry, surely? It's not legal??"

The problem is now that the lie is two years old, and the belief is firmly entrenched in Mona's consciousness. Stuart wants to tell her that the joke's been on her all along - but if he does, then Mona will be embarrassed for herself and angry with Stuart for stringing her along. Therefore Stuart says nothing - letting Mona happily believe that I'm now married to a shemale.
(Fri 9th Mar 2012, 12:37, More)

» Prejudice

The whole B3ta "Daily Mail" thing
OK - apologies for lack of humour (this has to be one of the least funny QOTWs ever) - but I feel the need to write about this.

Before I start, let me establish some facts:

1) I am not in any way racist (meaning, I do not give a damn about the colour of someone's skin, or their ethnic origin)
2) I do not consider myself a Daily Mail reader - although I will happily read it if it's lying around and I have nothing else to do

I am a born and bred British citizen. I happen to be white - but I consider that totally irrelevant: there are many non-white British citizens who agree with what I am about to say.

In the United Kingdom we have a massive immigration problem. That's a fact: it's not just some "Daily Fail" (oh har har, that's so funny) hate-mongering. Now I'm not talking about all immigrants - no way. I'm talking about the vast numbers of people who come to this country with the intention to take, and not to contribute. The Somali families with ten children, who come here in order to be given free housing and benefits - at the expense of you and me. The so-called "students" from Bangladesh who are supposedly enrolled on an engineering degree, but who can't speak a word of English - and who will be found working cash-in-hand in a restaurant kitchen. The pregnant women from Nigeria, who come to the UK in order to have their babies delivered for free on the National Health Service. The Algerian men who entered the country in the back of a lorry, lived here for several years working illegally, got into fights in nightclubs causing GBH - leading them to be picked up by the police and marked for deportation - but then who magically conjure up a French bride, so that as a family member of a European national, we have to allow them to stay.

It's not exaggerated: it's all true. I myself used to be on a housing waiting list, but I was told that as a single, childless male, I was "lowest priority" because all the asylum seekers came before me. Fact.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who live here, but who do not care one bit for British society. Their purpose is to take as much as they possibly can from the taxpayers' pockets, while taking advantage of our lax laws.

And I - as a British citizen, who has a sizable chunk of his salary taken every month in order to help fund these people - am sick of it. The problem is, however, people in my position feel a great deal of prejudice from the so-called liberal left in this country. And I see quite a bit of evidence of that right here on B3ta. People who do not understand what a big immigration problem this country has, and who think that if anyone speaks out against it, they must be a Daily Heil-reading, BNP nazi.

In fact I have never voted for the BNP, and I do not support them. The reason I do not support them is because their membership is largely made up of racists - and I despise racism. It's a shame that this is the case, however, because they are one of the few parties whose policies actually put British citizens first.

Let me make something else quite clear. I have no problem whatsoever with people who immigrate to this country, and work hard; pay their taxes; contribute to British society; and obey our laws. And to anyone who may have been reading this, and thinking about those lazy and feckless British people who see benefit scrounging as a way of life: yes, I am not saying that all our problems are caused by immigration. I freely admit that there are many immigrants here who do indeed contribute a lot more to society than those British people who scrounge. However, while we may be stuck with the British scroungers - we should not have to be stuck with the non-British scroungers.

So please, people - can we have some common sense here, when writing about Daily Mail readers. It's perfectly possible for someone to be genuinely concerned about the state of our country, but NOT be a racist.
(Mon 5th Apr 2010, 14:30, More)

» Amazing displays of ignorance

A friend of mine...
... had honestly never heard of how you can press Alt+F4 to make your web browser prioritise the current website you're looking at - therefore speeding up your download speed.

She had been surfing for years - the slow way - waiting for the computer to execute all its other processes! Imagine not knowing about Alt+F4!
(Sun 21st Mar 2010, 21:12, More)

» Siblings

My sister and the Roses
My sister and I both love Cadbury's Roses. We both have the same favourite: the strawberry cream; and the same least favourite: the coffee cream.

They've changed the shapes now, but in years gone by, you will remember that both of these chocolates were exactly the same shape: a dome. The only way to tell them apart was by their wrappers. The strawberries were pink, and the coffees were brown.

You can probably guess what's coming - but the thing I'm most proud of is that I managed to pull off the same trick, year in, year out, for about 6 years in a row. I would take a strawberry cream and unwrap it very carefully, so the foil wrapper did not tear. I would eat the chocolate, and then unwrap a coffee cream. Then I would proceed to very carefully wrap the coffee cream in the strawberry cream's wrapper, so that it would be indistinguishable from the real thing.

Getting my sister to eat the first one, the first year, was easy: I just offered it to her. The look on her face as the taste developed was priceless.

Subsequently, I have taken to leaving the fake chocolate in the tin - sitting at the top, in the middle. Since it's her favourite chocolate, there's a good chance that she will reach for it next.

Every year she falls for it :)
(Sat 27th Dec 2008, 16:28, More)
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