Rather naughtily, Alfred Jarry once likened the Passion of Christ to an uphill bicycle race. The apostles presumably formed the peloton. The last gruelling weeks of the school year cry out for a like metaphor.
In the week we commemorated Remembrance Day (very possibly a tautology), images of frontline troops “bent double, like old beggars under sacks” materialise in the imagination. Wilfred Owen’s poem, you are reminded, next describes how “men marched asleep”. The peculiar self-hypnosis was noted by others; the only way to screen out the horrors, apparently.
The paradox of it is that the classes have already begun to melt away, like phosgene gas in the muddy trenches. Suddenly, all that remains with the Year 12s is to hold their hands (figuratively, let it be said, there is none of that I-want-to-be-your-s-x-slave nonsense at Lowbottom) as they await their fate while the Year 11s are, as we speak, buying up bulk on alcopops at the local bottle shop with fake ID.
Soon enough it will be the turn of the Year 10s, although it is to be hoped that their quest for nepenthe is not so easy of access. Which leaves the Year 9s running around like Visigoths thinking that they may bully the lower forms with impunity. Most likely this last is the source of our accidie.
Like the last of the old Romans we can only watch with a weary horror at the approach of Alaric. All of which has staff members seeking for remedy in odd places.
“Carry his water to the wise woman,” urged the enigmatic Fabian in Twelfth Night. And so it is that you see folk consulting tomes on adrenal exhaustion and the maintenance of chi. It is now that teachers take up yoga and pilates and pop pills and potions in quantities not strictly consistent with health.
“I’m on a liver detox,” you’ll hear someone say as they reach for the green tea with all the sad piety of a saint displaying the stigmata.
“Apparently it’s my throat chakra,” another will be heard to aver.
“My naturopath says my poo is the wrong colour.”
The only response to which, of course, is “What a lot of sh-t”.
Five weeks to go.