Whilst l was writing up Ray’s Interview yesterday, l was looking at this image of Tea, and remembered an incident when l was at school ….
1978 – More Tea Headmaster?
When l was at school, l was in many ways the court jester, the fool if you wish, l had discovered that if l could make others ‘laugh with me’, it was way better than them laughing at me. I had been subjected to quite a bit of bullying, but discovered humour in fact was and still is one of the best medicines going. Humour breaks walls, it knocks down boundaries and can cross obstacles much quicker than anything else. In essence everyone loves to smile and to laugh, it really is that simple.
I didn’t know, as you have read before about my autism or my Asperger’s, l was considered a geek or a freak and other less charming aspects of etiquette. But l loved to laugh, l liked a joke, l loved to smile and strangely enough l used to thoroughly enjoy the ability to make others both smile and laugh too. I was an avid story teller, and many a time would make up stories to ‘impress’ others, it was my way of fitting in with my peers.
One of the problems l still have is l suffer from a lack of moderation and regulation of what l do and for how long l do something for, it matters not if like now l am 55, or 40 years ago when l was 15, l never quite knew when enough – was enough.
I went through a phase of ‘pranking’, and in truth l was actually very good at pranking. I would get up to all sorts of things from clingfilming the girls toilets to holding up the dinner ladies with a plastic gun, to starting my own on the side business with the selling on the little black book to outsmarting many of my teachers and even blowing up the science laboratory and the list went on. At home l was continually disciplined for acting the fool, but l pushed that to one side, because if l could just fit into my peers groupings then for the better part l was accepted as being normal!
My Father with his work was constantly abroad, and he came back one weekend with a Kg of Herbal Tea for my Mother. It wasn’t in nice little trim tea bags either, it was loose. She sampled it and loved it and all was well …
…. l viewed this as a great way for a new prank come the Monday of the next week!!
That Monday l walked into school laughing all the way, for inside my satchel l had the ultimate prank, one that would win me major brownie points with my mates! One that would have loads of people completely fooled! For today l was going to be a drug seller! What l had done was grabbed this Kg of herbal tea and tightly wrapped it up into clingfilm and sealed it, l didn’t do drugs at all [well in Malaysia the gardener introduced me to some], but figured from the movies this is how it looked, so why couldn’t mine pass as marijuana?
It was awesome, l charged a £1 a time for a small bit, and by the time lunchtime came around, l had hardly made a dent and had managed to profit by £60 it was so funny. You see, l never once said it was marijuana, l said it was German herbal tea which it was, but everyone thought l was just pretending and l didn’t say anything untoward to dispel it.
Some of the older kids challenged me to questions of “Was it supposed to taste like this?’ l couldn’t answer but simply said ‘It’s herbal, it tatstes differently to everyone, but you might find a better result by brewing it?”
However at 2pm that afternoon, the secretary to the headmaster turned up at my class and called me out! “The headmaster wishes to see you Matier!” She barked.
“What have l done wrong then?” I asked knowing full well my time was up, a prank gone wrong!
I was frogmarched into my headmaster’s office, Mr Jardinay, was in fact an immense figure of a man, and looked more frightening sat behind his desk looking at me sternly, and then he laughed. “Oh Matier – my favourite prankster, good to see you, SIT!!”
“You wished to see me Sir, is there anything l can do help?” I asked as positively as l could.
“Are you saying you ‘don’t’ know why l have requested your presence?”
“Afraid not sir, l was thoroughly enjoying my class of History, and feel a little upset that l have had to leave it.”
“You? Upset at missing out on your history class?”
“Yes sir, what is the problem exactly sir?”
Mr Jardinay was eyeballing my satchel and then pointed, “Empty that now sonny!”
“My bag sir, my satchel, emptied?”
“Don’t beat about the bush Matier, l have you exactly where l want you. Red handed, you are done here! Are you going to empty it or are you forcing me to do it?”
Well my Father was an ex copper and he had installed quite a bit of his knowledge into my brain over the years and l knew l had rights.
“You can’t touch my property sir, you would be broaching my civil rights. What exactly is it you wish to see?”
“Are you answering me back Matier?”
“No sir, l am exercising my rights sir.”
“Are you going to empty that bag or am l going to have to call the police?”
“The police sir, why on earth would you need to call them sir??”
“Because Mr Matier – you are selling drugs in my school and l WILL NOT tolerate that behaviour!!!” He yelled, he was in fact losing the normalcy to his facial colouring.
“Drugs!!!? Are you mad sir, are you accusing me of being a drug addict sir??”
“Empty your bag!!”
Mr Jardinay picked up the phone and there and then called the police in front of me.
“If you don’t mind sir, l would like a witness in here with me please, l would also like to have my Mother present!”
“What do you need a witness for?”
“I don’t trust you sir, you might plant drugs on me sir!”
I thought he was going to explode, really l did. Maybe l had pushed him a little too far, and started to feel sorry for him … a little.
“I don’t have any drugs on me son, you do, that satchel there has a heap of the damn stuff. You have been selling marijuana around my school for £1 a hit!”
“Actually, that’s not entirely true sir, and l can prove it. However l will wait the arrival of both the police and my Mother sir, if you don’t mind. Not until that point will l empty this satchel sir, sorry!”
So Mr Jardinay had to call my Mother, and by around 3pm, there were six of us in the office. Two boys in blue, my Mother, myself, Mr Jardinay and his secretary.
With my Mother l explained briefly the situation, sure she was angry but laughed at the preposterousness of it all. “Have you told him it’s tea yet?” She asked.
“He annoyed me and reminded me of my Father, so l had to say no.”
“Oh did he indeed?” She answered looking very sharply at my headmaster “You should be ashamed of yourself, headmasters are NOT supposed to be bullies!!”
Mr Jardinay was mortified at my Mother’s outburst. “Your son is selling drugs! He has been selling mar………”
My Mother cut him off and said “Rubbish he has been selling herbal tea!”
“You don’t surely believe your son’s poppycock, you must be as silly as he is!”
Which is not the sort of thing to say to my Mother, not then, not even today as a woman nearing her 80’s.
The police were simply standing there looking confused and trying to understand what was going on, the headmaster looked at them and shouted “Arrest him!! Do your jobs he is selling drugs in my school!”
“How do you know it is drugs then?” The senior policeman asked honestly. “Have you seen them yet?”
“No he point blank refuses to empty his satchel, that’s guilt!”
To which point l shot back, “Mr Jardinay have you seen marijuana, do you know what it smells like?”
“I have had some experience in this department yes, from previous confiscation’s.”
“Have you destroyed it sir?” The senior policeman asked.
“What?”The headmaster answered looking flushed.
“It is your duty to destroy it sir, or hand it in, have you done that sir, we haven’t seen you down in the policestation sir.” Senior policeman asked.
Flustered, Jardinay simply nodded “Yes of course!”
The senior policeman turned to me and asked me to empty the contents of my satchel and upon seeing my clingfilm package looked quite startled, “Good grief!”
He carefully lifted it out and looked at it in astonishment. “There must be close to a Kg here?”
“Yeah l guess there was originally, not now though, bit less, have sold some around the school!” I joked
Jardinay leapt out of his chair, rushed towards me and grabbed me looking quite perplexed! “See, he admits to it, arrest him, arrest him now!!”
My Mother leapt up and slapped him across the face and shouted “How dare, how dare you actually physically grab my son, that is assault!”
Oooher, l thought this is all getting a bit ansy.
The senior policeman grabbed my mother and the other policeman shook Jardinay’s grip off me and both said “Steady down everyone! I am afraid this does look like a substance actually.”
“Oh good grief, what do they actually teach you in the police academies these days?” My mother shouted back, “It’s bloody German tea for goodness sake!” With that she shook off the policeman’s hold on her, picked up the tea, walked over to where there was a kettle and began the proceedure of making tea to a sea of shocked faces.
When she had finished she started handing out cups of ‘tea’, and the first to speak was the senior policeman who simply said “Oh this is quite nice isn’t it? My wife likes herbal tea would you mind if l took some home to her?”
“Of course, it is really very refreshing don’t you think?” My mother smiled at him.
“Very much so!”
Jardinay, well he looked crestfallen in truth, l actually think it’s safe to say after that, that he was always watching me for any slight mistakes l might make. In fact for the remaining years at school, he kind of became my stalker. But everytime l saw him in the corridors l would always say to him … “More Tea Headmaster?”
Whilst it was funny and my mates hailed me as some kind of champion, back home that night was a completely different affair, l really was in the hot seat for quite a few weeks after that. My father went absolutely ballistic, way worse than Jardinay could ever hope to achieve.
But it was totally worth it ……… there is always a price to fitting in, but it was worth it!