Full Moon, Wind – and Armageddon!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/moon/

Any of you old enough to remember the media hype concerning the so-called End of the World, back in February 1982? There have, of course, been other examples since then, most notably and recently the December 21st, 2012 one – which promised much in the cataclysmic line, but delivered bugger-all: Not so much as a Horseman of the Apocalypse’s steed’s hoof was heard!

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But, back in 1982, I was much younger and far more gullible/less cynical about such claims. As I recall, the Great Event was scheduled to take place on 2.2.82 at 2pm ( a load of twos, or was that just my physiological response to profound terror??!).

Now, before I get on with the main story, I am going to take a little diversionary walk through the generic psyche of the school-bound mid-adolescent. To put it bluntly, many of them go a little weird (or completely effing nuts, in some cases) when extremes of weather happen. Full Moon and strong wind are the worst by a long way: Get the two together and you might as well give up all pretence at teaching and just lock the door so they can’t escape! Seriously…

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Imagine, then, the potential disruption caused by Imminent Grim Reaper and His sidekicks!

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I was twenty-four back in 1982 – and had been teaching five months when the World was predicted to end. To make things even worse, End Day was going to hit at exactly the time when I was due to teach (pause for a hollow laugh) 11z.

For those not abreast (because teachers, like all professionals, have their weird little codes): Year 11 refers to the fifteen and sixteen year olds – and, in an 11-16 school, such as the one I taught in, they are the oldest kids in the school. Z is teacher-speak for bottom set (either through lack of ability – or, in too many cases, because they are little shits and no one else wants them!).

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Later on in my career, I became very good at teaching Z groups; but, back in 1982, I was clueless and terrified – of them! Teach them?! Ha! I couldn’t even control them! So the news that I’d be teaching them, in a Dining Room, when life as we know it ceased did not exactly fill me with rapturous joy.

Anyone who has ever been a teacher will know how excruciating it is to teach in a dining room either just before or just after lunch. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest of respect for dinner ladies. They do a difficult job with impossible customers. But, when you get a gaggle of women, usually of a certain age, together in a kitchen, the conversation very quickly becomes biological, shall we say? Put it this way, I learned more about uterine dysfunction, childbirth and the menopause from these doughty ladies than I ever did during my own school days. A fount of repulsive and graphic knowledge, they were – and, let me tell you, it is bloody difficult to keep twenty-five teens’ minds on literature when Gladys and company are waxing lyrical about floppy wombs, impotence and sanitary towels!

So there you have it: The background, as you might say (for greater detail, read ‘Long-Leggety Beasties’ which contains the whole sorry affair in fictional form!), to a tragedy almost Grecian in its scope and irony.

Er, no! That was just a moment of hyperbole – and to be ignored!

In I went. There they were, all twenty-five of them. Damn it all, you’d think at least one of the little sods would skive on the final day of their lives. But no. The dinner ladies were in fine voice, clearly audible even from the doorway and disinclined to let a mere rumour ruin their ongoing saga of Our Trace who was, yet again, in the family way.

The day without looked suitably atmospheric for an End of Life Scene, being grey and windy. The kids looked at their watches, and then at me. There then started one of most bizarre, lugubrious conversations I have ever witnessed. It was all in there: Skelingtons (as they all called them), War and that (the only Horseperson any of them could remember), beasts which looked like someone’s mother (which caused a minor scuffle and a bloody nose), ‘them nucular bombs’ and ‘Prawns what live in that Hinkley place and come out the toilet and slither up yer bits…’

All splendid grist to the writer’s mill, but a tad fucking macabre and uncalled-for at the time!

Still, their peculiar take on matters Revelatory and Sepulchral was so absorbing that, before we knew it, it was the end of the lesson – though not, to their evident disappointment, of the world!

I have never forgotten that lesson – and, as I say, turned it into part of my novel about my first two terms as a teacher some twenty odd years later!

Those children are now fifty years of age, or at least approaching that milestone within the next fourteen days, and I am nearer sixty than fifty! Would they laugh now at the memory of that day, that hour, that room trilling with rampant dinner ladies and the nervous chitter of an inept teacher?

Or would it, like so much from our youth, have disappeared without trace?

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17 thoughts on “Full Moon, Wind – and Armageddon!

  1. Pingback: Brexit, The Bible, What next? – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

  2. I remember Armageddon 2012, but since my age was negative-five at Armageddon 1982, I have no recollection of the latter!

    Sometimes, I think that people recall more about school (particularly their teachers) than they might realize.

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  3. Ah I suppose it’s a bit late for this gem of wisdom, but sitting on the other side of the inkwell during French, a subject I really didn’t like and could clearly see no reason for (as when God writes his/her final revelation in letters of fire, it will be in English…). I became enraptured by the whole learning foreign thing. The supply teacher, a young rather pretty French girl was gabbling forth on some heathen subject, walking to and fro in front of the sun illuminated windows,I had a sudden and profound realisation. I could see right through her flimsy summer dress, and she didn’t have a bra and only token knickers. Quickly nudging my mate Dave I could see he had noticed too, as every boy (and probably a few girls)had. Silence, total fascinating silence, we hung on every word, even managing to extend the lesson into break by asking, well anything, just keep the lesson going for a bit longer… Ah all you had to do on that difficult day is arrange a good light source, wear no underwear and a very flimsy dress. Teaching at it’s finest…

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    1. Bloody hell, Ted, if only I’d realised it was that simple with 11Z, I’d have adapted my wardrobe accordingly! See, they teach us all the wrong things during PGCE! Should be emphasising flesh: percentage on view – and clothing, seethroughness of rather than lesson plans and all that malarky! xxx

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  4. busily raising two sons and working two jobs..yea, I can’t remember that particular end of the world date. I do recall Jim Jones and his merry bunch..and then there were the alienists in California in the late 70’s….amazing the things we remember.

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    1. lol Yeah – I think, if memory serves, it was only the US and, by dint of our special relationship, the UK, in which it was widely publicised that the world was a gonner.
      Pat Robertson springs to mind… He’s pretty much been piss poor at getting anything right ever since… It has caused an over-reliance on the old “All I can think is that the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us.” line… 😉
      I kind of like him for persistent ineptitude. The world needs more of it public life… *choke*

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      1. Ah, that explains it: The old US/UK whisper whisper (er, shout), hush hush, let’s get married, US, and I’ll have your babies type thing! So of course only WE would be told that the world was ending! Yup! Got it! Heeheehee! xxx

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    2. Ah, formidable! Tres bien! Right – shot my bolt on the French vocabulary now! Armageddon 82 sounds like a rather superior vintage of wine, doesn’t it? As in, ‘Has Sir tried the Armageddon 82? A little grim, one might say, but a revelation nonetheless!’ xxx

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