In My Father’s Words
03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018
“Excuse me, sir, may I have a few words with you?”
“Who, me?” I looked at the speaker. He, well I think it was a he, was a strange looking person, with a trilby hat and wearing an overcoat which bunched out at the back. I was more accustomed to ‘Oy, you.’
“Yes, you, sir, if you don’t mind.”
I went over to this apparition, and as I got closer I saw that he/she/it was wearing an angelic look on its face. “Yes, how can I help you?”
“I’m conducting a poll on education and schooling.”
I was still suspicious. “Who do you work for?”
“I’m with a group called God Inc.”
“Who’s your boss?”
He looked round to see if anyone was listening. “God.”
“What, Tony Blair?”
“No, no, not him, the other one.”
“Oh, you mean God God?”
“That’s right, him. Here’s my card.”
I examined the piece of cardboard. ‘Michael the Archangel, Senior Interviewer.’
Michael held out his mobile phone, “If you have a problem, you can text the office, God is on call at the moment. By the way everybody calls me Mick”
I declined to call God, Mick might just be telling the truth, and I didn’t want to upset the Boss. “It’s OK, what do you want to know, Mick?
“Well,” said Michael, “A few questions about school.” He licked the tip of his pencil and prepared his clipboard.
“School was the last place I wanted to be,” I snarled.
He stopped licking his pencil and looked at me, quizzically. ” And can you share with me why that was?”
“Mostly because I was educated by the Jesuits, a bunch of Fascist swine.”
“Please,” said Mick, “Don’t hang back, say what you really think. All answers are in confidence.”
“I thought God knew everything?”
“Well, he can be selective in what he remembers. So you didn’t like the Jesuits?”
“No, evil, cruel, and vindictive, even on a good day, and part of your lot.”
“Oh, no, we’re non denominational in heaven. Do you mind if I take off my coat and hat, my wings and halo are killing me?”
“Go ahead,” I told him. “Why are you wearing a hat and coat when it’s 82 degrees?”
“We are meant to adopt a low profile.” He struggled out of the gear. “That’s better, I really don’t envy Lucifer.”
“And another thing,” I said. “I was at an all boys school, I didn’t learn about girls until I was in my twenties.”
He was busily scribbling. “Don’t know a lot about them myself, love.” He sniffed. “Anything else.”
“What was the use of trigonometry, or Algebra, or calculus?”
“Beat’s me, mate.”
I was warming to Mick. “And Irish, and Classical Greek, and French.”
He clucked sympathetically, “Tell me about it, dear, we have De Gaulle and Mitterand in Heaven. Right pains in the halo they can be.”
“And RK,” I went on.
“RK?” he queried.
“Religious knowledge,” I said, surprised at his lack of it.
“Ah, indoctrination we call it.”
“Propaganda I call it. As far as the Jesuits were concerned everyone who was not Catholic should have been shot, and many of the Catholics as well.”
“We don’t believe that anymore.” He smiled in a superior way. “Well, not completely. Did you learn anything at school?”
“Well, I learned not to believe anyone who told me that schooldays were the happiest days of my life.”
“Who told you that?”
“People who no longer had to go there, like my Mother and Father. What I did learn was that the best way to learn something was because you wanted to do it, not because you were forced to do it.”
“Right,” he said, closing the clipboard with a snap, and tucking his pencil behind his halo. “We’re going to put Estelle Morris and Sir Richard Stubbs in charge of working up a new programme. We will call it AASA.”
“What does the final ‘A’ stand for?”
“Almost anything you like.”
“I thought you disapproved of hell?”
“Dear God, no. If there was no hell, no one would appreciate heaven.” And he vanished, just like that.
Written by BM