I remember the first time I ever got into trouble at senior school.
I went to an old-fashioned grammar school, which selected just 90 pupils each year from the whole of the Liverpool area. It sent a few people to Oxbridge each year, and had pretty good sports teams etc.
I must have only been about twelve or so, and a group of us were trying to work out nicknames for classmates. We had a guy in the class whose name was Meneer – this sounded vaguely like “manure”, so we decided to call this guy “horsey”. Real schoolboy hunour.
Unbeknown to us, this guy didn’t like this name, took it personally, and complained to a teacher. This chap never said anything to us – with hindsight this might have been enough, certainly a quiet word from a teacher would have been. It was the kind of place where pupils respected teachers, especially twelve-year-olds.
So, the next thing I know, I’m being publicly identified as the person calling this guy names. I can’t remember what eactly was said, but I remember thinking it was all so unnecessary, especially when the guy had himself been taking part in this game with us. It’s funny with the passage of time – you forget the details but remember the feelings. I remember being baffled, because this chap had said to us that he liked the name, yet had subsequently complained.
It’s funny, in seven years at that school, I never particularly got on with this teacher after that. I suppose I realised which way the cards were stacked.