As regular readers know, I volunteer at a day centre for the Homeless on a Thursday. Today an incident occurred that made me pause for thought. One of the older clients, who shall we say has a few issues, was irritated by me talking to one of the members of staff. Up he marched "I'm sick of the sound of your voice, are you some sort of idiot. Were you dropped on your head as a baby?" This put down didn't have quite the effect that my verbal assailant expected. I burst into laughter and replied "my teachers were always telling me that at school". Seeing that his volley of abuse had failed, he wandered off muttering.
As I got the train home, I reflected on the incident. As a dyslexic child in the 1960's I was always being called think by my teachers. As my brothers and sisters were all very bright, the logical conclusion was that I had been dropped on my head as a baby. I suspect that perhaps the dyslexia may be related to my premature birth, or possibly I was dropped? Who knows. The point is though, it has been a long, long time since someone called me an idiot and I was told I'd been dropped on my head.
On Saturday night, I was at a celebration to mark the sacking of Brian Coleman. I happened to be chatting to Barnet Blogger Mrs Angry and a couple of my avid readers. They are Irish twins, educated by the Christian Brothers. They told tales of beatings and terror. I daresay they were also told they had been dropped on their heads as babys at some point. Mrs Angry and myself maintained that Christian Brothers were nothing compared to Mrs O'Donovan at St Vincents. Although she was adept at the beatings, she was even better at psychological torture. I daresay many of her pupils were scarred for life, but those of us that survived it, emerged stronger. Perhaps that is why I was able to laugh at such abuse.
I've never responded well to intimidation or bullying. I suspect that Mrs O'Donovan was the last person who I let it pass with. Oddly, when I saw her at a St Vincents celebration ten years ago, she was just a little frail old lady. She was charm incarnate. I suspect that had I not had Mrs O'Donovan I wouldn't be the tenacious blogger I have grown into. We are the sum of all our experiences. Maybe being dropped on my head as a baby was actually the best thing that ever happened to me. I've caused enough trouble in these parts being a thick idiot. Imagine how bad I'd have been with all of my braincells intact.
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