Explanation to Mr. Bailey by David A. Edwards
Dear Mr Bailey,
In order to gain a full understanding of the events of Friday the 16th and Monday the 19th of February, they must be broken into several segments and treated as events in their own right; which, when put together, should form a clear picture giving you a complete understanding of the motivations behind my actions on these two days.
The reasons for my being at the pool on Friday are very simple and centre on three main points: that a) it was a hot sunny day, b) a couple of my friends were going to be there, c) over the past week I had gotten into the routine of going swimming at lunchtimes. I believe these reasons are simple, and offer sufficient explanation for my presence. They do not need to be further elaborated upon (it was a hot sunny day because of the season, the absence of cloud, the level of atmospheric albedo etc).
Our activities over the past few days at the pool had tended to focus mainly on the running/jumping aspect rather than pure swimming. The four of us having a brief running jump race/contest seemed a good idea. I do not recall who first suggested it, but that is immaterial, and unimportant compared to what happened next.
Before an understanding of my actions can be attempted, it is necessary to explain my state of mind at that point and how it got there. The following information has remained hitherto unrevealed, and I believe it sheds new light on the case: earlier that lunchtime I had seen a younger student, probably third to fifth form, ordered out of the pool complex. I do not know the reason or who he is, but the expression on his face - which can only be described as forlorn - made an impression on me.
He stood still, and looked down for several seconds. He appeared to be considering what course of action to pursue. I cannot be sure, but I think he may have been considering jumping into the pool in defiance of authority. What he actually did was pick up his bag and trudge sadly away.
When we were ordered not to run and jump, I too paused for a moment. Then I ran and jumped in anyway. I would not go so far as to say I did this because of the junior who was thrown out, and his forlorn expression, but it is reasonable to assume that it was a factor in my state of mind. A comparison with the mythical figure Robin Hood would not be unreasonable, though perhaps “suicidal” is the appropriate adjective. Martyrdom is a well documented phenomenon (Socrates, Christ et al). I do not of course mean death in a literal, physical sense, but expulsion (or “indefinite suspension” as political correctness would have it) from school is a metaphorical equivalent.
Perhaps it was also out of a need to set an example for the juniors watching; not the standard Rugby-playing senior who tells you to pick up rubbish, but an alternative to that. The low level of my socks, and my regular arrivals to class less early than the timetable would like, are idiosyncrasies of which you are presumably aware. In this context, the jump can be seen as being well within character.
I swam to the side of the pool and found Matthew, the duty prefect, waiting for me with an embarrassed and condescending smile. Naturally, I had no time for whatever message he had been instructed to give, and swam to the other side. I knew perfectly well that it would be obstructed, but went anyway. When asked “Do you want a detention?” I swam back to the first side, which was now clear.
“Do you want a detention?” was exactly the sort of rhetorical question which could only further inflame the situation. The answer was obviously a definite “If necessary”. During detentions I always head up my piece of paper “Enforced Recreation”. I try to make the best of a bad situation, and use the time creatively. The trouble is that all too often, the teacher in charge either does not check what people have done, or is a maths or science or commerce teacher, and gives me another detention.
When I got out of the pool, I knew that I would only be persecuted if I stayed within it’s environs. I went to my bag. When ordered to come hither, my two obvious choices were to walk away, or go and say yessir nosir, and take my detention. Whenever possible, I try to make it a rule to, out of any two given options always take the third. I went over.
“What’s your name?” or words to that effect was the next question. At this point I was thinking on my feet which is not my specialty. When directly confronted about these events I tend to go quiet and mumble something vague. I suspect that this is the reason teachers confront students. In my own time I am easily able to come up with an explanation several pages long. After a second’s deliberation, I decided to get in more trouble. Exaggerating slightly, my response was to say “I’m God”, and jump back in the pool again.
This was the probably the part which the other students present enjoyed the most. By it, I intended to register my lack of fear or respect for authority, which, because of the expulsion of the junior, I felt to be overly tyrannical. Having made peace with the world, if I am removed from school - not entirely unlikely, as if I come into conflict with authority again I expect to act in a similar way (though a more likely reason is my lack of homework) - I will survive. What are you rebelling against Johnny? - Whaddaya got? - We’ve got a swimming pool.
I left the pool to avoid further persecution, and attended my fourth and fifth period classes without further incident. However, when I was leaving the bike compound to go home, I was confronted again. As far as I was concerned, the case had been closed, but apparently not. Let me reassure you that I did not put on my badge saying “I’m not deaf, I’m ignoring you” especially for the occasion. I put the badge on my bag strap months ago, sometime last year. The badge is directed at the morons who take perverse pleasure in insulting me whenever we encounter - mainly the fifth and sixth formers with whom I am forced to share a group room. I find them boring, and it is because of them that I no longer attend group rooms.
But I digress. Suffice it to say that I did not suddenly put on the badge that afternoon. Where would I have got it from at such short notice? No, I have had it for months.
By the simple expedient of not replying to any of the verbal barrage I faced then, I bought myself the time over the weekend to consider my choices.
The idea of the notices came to me on Friday evening. I had several ideas for various rude letters and notices, but realised that they were all offensive and/or inappropriate. I settled on just the one saying “Running dive championships to be held in the pool at lunchtime. Mr Bailey will adjudicate”. Each time I copied it, my aesthetic sensibilities caused me to modify it, so the final one read “Running bomb championships to be held in the pool at lunchtime. All entries welcome, see Mr Bailey for details”.
I must concede that the idea to photocopy the notices and put them in the group envelopes was not my own: a friend suggested it jokingly. I thought it was the best idea I had ever heard, and managed to borrow $2 for the photocopier - which I have since paid back. I put up a few more of the notices and went to put the rest in the group envelopes, to be distributed to the group rooms. I did not have enough for all thirty-six envelopes, so I planned to insert them randomly (though making sure my friends’ classes got them). Unfortunately I was caught in the act.
This was infuriating in itself, but what was worse was the angry manner in which I was then confronted. I still maintain that the whole scheme was funny. It should not have been construed otherwise, but I was not given so much as a grudging acknowledgement.
Equally as bad was seeing Mrs Wilkinson smirking alongside you, having to restrain herself from rubbing her hands with glee at the thought of my getting in trouble. She hasn’t forgiven me for all the work that I didn’t do in her third form science class. Her being proved right by my 27% School C. Science mark has done nothing to make her leave me alone. I’ve been late to school since I was five years old and I cannot see a habit so deeply ingrained changing in my last year. At least she no longer mistakes me for John Metcalfe though - mainly because John still gets regular short haircuts and I don’t (I actually had a haircut less than a month ago but nobody believes me).
I was literally trembling with anger when I left school that afternoon, but managed to contain myself. Actually, the worst part of the whole affair was that I found two kids taking a notice down. I cannot understand that.
I hope that this apologia has provided sufficient explanation for my actions, and given you the complete and true picture of the events on Friday 16th and Monday 19th. I trust that this writing will be the final chapter in the saga. Finally, I apologise for the lateness of this letter, but it was homework, which I have a problem with.