On the ancient green trams navigating their way through the city’s streets and which ground to a halt at each stop like a bag of old bones settling, advertisements for the Anti-Vivisection League were displayed for the traveller’s edification.
Depicted, most usually, were dogs with plaintive liquid eyes contemplating the hand with raised scalpel about to descend. ‘They lick the hands of the very people who torment them’ the caption went, or something of that nature.
In humans something similar operates. In a government school the Daily Organiser is the (sometimes reluctant) tyrant to whose iron will we must bend like reeds. For he it is (forgive the gendered assumption here but a female Daily Organiser is of such hideous aspect the mind cannot endure the apparition) who doles out the daily extra classes like dog poo.
He is only doing his job, a fact that he is sometimes forced to remind us (‘I am only doing my job’), but still we cannot refrain from execration. ‘That [here insert execration of choice] has given me an extra first period again,’ the disgruntled announce to anyone who cares to listen.
And, despite the fact that you do understand that he is Only Doing His Job, you wonder at the fiendish intuition of the man who seems to be able to sniff out hangovers of the catatonic variety, lack of preparedness for vital classes (which of course you were going to use that free period to remedy) and a general resentment against the world.
He also seems to know in his waters that the last class you would choose to cover is that Period 6 Year 8 hockey session or, God help us, the Year 9 Drama class filling in for the staff truant who is away more often than he is in attendance.
In neither case is there any possibility of doing an Evelyn Waugh and rewarding the children with money for completed work ‘regardless of merit’.
So each morning’s appearance of the Daily Organiser is akin to the arrival of a tall ship off the pristine coast of some undiscovered continent. Or Death itself. There is no escaping it.