Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On Bad Hair Days.

I'm seldom sure what my next blog will be about. How some bloggers post daily is beyond me. I post every five or six days and struggle for subjects. I don't normally 'do' topical posts so that makes life doubly difficult. But every now and again a news item leaps from the pages that shouts for attention. Such a case was the airline steward who had 'a bad hair day'.
Steven Slater was formerly an air steward on Jet Blue. After years, twenty eight years in fact of putting up with the rude, abusive behaviour of some airline passengers Mr Slater's patience eventually gave out. The behaviour of one cursing, argumentative female passenger on arrival at New York was a step too far for Mr Slater. On landing he made a valedictory address on the intercom to passengers and staff on Flight 1052, picked up his hand luggage and two beers from the trolley, opened the door, activated the inflatable chute and slid out of the stationary plane onto the tarmac. Out of a job and into folklore.
Who has never had a bad hair day. Who has never reacted in a way that could only be described as 'inappropriate'. Or are all of Grumpy's readers possessors of supreme self control, the ultimate paragons of virtue!
In the late 1950's I worked in the stockroom of F W Woolworth's, a menial role enlivened by daily sessions of dinner hour snooker over the nearby premises of Burton the Tailors. Good fun, not to be taken seriously except that on this particular day stockroom man John lost, again, and was not amused. At which point John returned to the stockroom, in a huff to say the least, and proceeded to hurl large tins of paint at the stockroom walls. Inevitably, some burst open, leaving the stockroom floor a magical, multicoloured mess. At which 'Big John' ordered the nearest, extremely small, fearful stockroom junior to clean up. Reluctant to cooperate, the unfortunate junior was seized by the neck and rubbed, face downwards through the brightly coloured spillage. All of which resulted in a wild eyed John being escorted, with difficulty, off the premises and ordered to seek employment elsewhere. A bad hair day for all concerned but at least life was never dull at F W Woolworth's. My teaching career in later years was tame by comparison. Or was it?
No one volunteered to drive the school minibus with sixteen 'year nines' on board to nearby Melbourne on a routine Geography trip, surely not. Never a wise decision, and routine, Year Nine, who's kidding who! The day started to go downhill the moment the Year Nine 'would be trippers' got out of bed. But at least they arrived in Melbourne in one piece, an encouraging start. Perhaps the teachers should have stayed closer to Year Nine but nobody in their right minds kept too close to such miscreants. Twenty minutes into the visit and members of the public reported children throwing stones at the ducks on Melbourne Pool. Eton College, perhaps, on a day trip to Melbourne; no such luck. Teacher number one dispatched to investigate. (There was a full sized bus plus three teachers also involved on the trip.) Further minutes elapsed without incident. That is until an irate vicar appeared on the scene. Evidently there were children in his church doing strange things, apparently attempting to invoke spirits and involving a 'weejie' board; I kid you not! Another high profile school visit, yes, surely not children of less than average intelligence from a less than renowned comprehensive. (Though the teachers guessed it was their pupils who were definitely making their presence felt. And as teachers they also knew that Melbourne parents seldom chose their school as their number one choice of secondary education provider. Or second choice, or third, fourth or fifth for that matter.) Teacher number two dispatched. And as they pondered the foolishness of such parents came news of a spate of shoplifting involving children in a nearby shop!
They rounded up their pupils, eventually, many chewing sweets not previously apparent on their person, so to speak. Nerves a little shredded, temper a little frayed the minibus driver pointed the minibus towards Melbourne centre and off they went. Only Melbourne High Street has a parking problem, and thus can only take one line of traffic at a time. Which would have been fine had not some foolish, unobservant, dozy, diligent, dopey, almost certainly local geriatric car driver met the minibus two thirds of the way down the street. They halted, bonnet to bonnet and the car driver suggested orally and with accompanying gestures (which Year Nine should not have understood) that the minibus driver should gracefully recognise that age has precedence on British roads and the minibus should therefore reverse the length of the High Street. Now the minibus had had a lovely day so he did as he requested. Not! and those on the minibus spoke in awed tones for months afterwards of the teacher who pulled the keys out of the ignition, threw them on the floor and stormed off, swearing profusely in full view of shoppers in Melbourne High Street.
John at Woolworth's sought other employment. And the teacher in the minibus? He took early retirement, his blood pressure dropped dramatically and he lived happily ever after. I miss teaching, occasionally, very, very occasionally. And I don't get too many Bad Hair Days!


Jennytc said...

No I remember why I would never in a million years have done secondary teaching! ;)

ADDY said...

Sounds like something out of Waterloo Road - you do watch it for old times' sake, don't you?

An English Shepherd said...

John sounds just a bit agressive!!!

Wizz :-)

Valerie said...

I suppose a body can only take so much before the rebellious mind takes over. I nearly lost it one day but something shouted at me that it was inappropriate behaviour...grins.
Great post as usual.

Anonymous said...

I to did a stint at Woolworths in the '50's. One day I must post about all my many jobs...14 before nursing.

I think I would have loved to teach, but not today. Are there any schools where kids show respect?

Eton and Harrow, I suspect, or any school that costs mummy and daddy a great deal of money.
Kudos to you, Ken.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed. Thanks for the smiles, Ken.

Just Ducky said...

Hello Grumpy Old Ken. Thanks for stopping by. No neither Ducky nor I have an English connection. Mum either, although she has visited the UK in the past.

Derby came from the Kentucky Derby horse race. I was adopted on the first Saturday of May the day they ran the race. Mum just liked the sound of Ducky, sort of going with Derby.

Then to use another term you use,

Freda said...

Have had several changes of career, but last one ended by dint of health problems. Cannot imagine having the courage to throw the keys away or activate an emergency chute. Enjoy all the good hair days!

justin said...

Bad hair days, Ken? I'm surprised that you've got any hair left, after going through that ordeal with Year Nine.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

I doubt I could do it now1 Thought i was going to change the world at 30.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Dont watch it, rather remember the real thing, but know what you mean!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

An English Sheperd
We didn't know at the time but john had failed his exams at medical school on 'mental' grounds!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

We all have a point not to go beyond or there's trouble. What about all the people in USA who run amok with a weapon!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

You must write. you have a host of stories I've no doubt!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

A man called Valance
Thanks, enjoy your's too1

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Derby Ducky
Thanks for visiting, come again.

Well known Derby saying, 'Ey up me duck'.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thanks. Surprising what we are all capable when pushed!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thanks for visiting. have just a 'little' more hair than you according to your pics1 Hope everything is going well.