It is a sad day for youthful high spirits when a bunch of private school kids cannot get comprehensively a-seholed, don balaclavas and cause a few thousand dollars of criminal damage. Anyone who objects to having his house or person festooned with eggs is obviously suffering from a severe case of anhedonia.

As for objections to running b-tt n-ked through school assembly (‘Avert your eyes, Year 7’) what can you say except that prudery rules? To be frank, we in the government system have not taken such gloating enjoyment at the discomfort of the Xavier College authorities since, well, the last time they were discomforted. Just what other educational “outcome” do you expect when you throw together a thousand or so hormonal boys and insist upon a twin ethic of manly sporting achievement and s-xual abstinence? (“That boy with his hand in his pocket!”)

So we pore over each day’s news stories and commentaries with undisguised glee. Shadenfreude indeed. What is a private school education after all but a very expensive reinforcement of entitlement? And a place to secure better drugs, naturally.

Not, of course, that Lowbottom is immune from the end of year high jinx. You learn, for instance, to become especially alert to P-platers and ten of their closest friends packed into Daddy’s Beamer travelling at less than warp speed through the nearby 40 km zone. You hold back from touching door handles which look suspiciously viscous with superglue.

As the final day for Year 12 classes looms, the entire school goes into lockdown. When did all this become a “tradition”? It is as mysterious as the sudden proliferation of ghosts and ghouls on what used to be an otherwise unremarkable October 31.

Meantime, on the train home, packs of private school girls and boys wielding mobile phones like weapons are almost psychotic with excitement as another image of bullying and humiliation multiplies through the miracle of modern communications like a spore on a Petri dish. How tame one’s own acts of teenage rebellion involving toilet paper and flour now seem. A bullying little oik in a balaclava would rightly sneer.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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