Doris and Badaunt are making me feel really left out and abnormal today.
This is a really easy thing to do, given the topic.
Both have related funny but scary stories of having to go see the headmaster when they were eight, and it brings back floods of memories of my own infant and junior school experience, because I was teacher's pet. I sailed through, all smiles and fun.
I knew my alphabet and could read and write before I started school at four years old. I could count up to whatever number you wanted and could do maths - not in a way I could explain, the answers just seemed to sort of make sense all by themselves. I had a precocious knowledge of British animals, hedgehogs etc. I remember 'getting into trouble' as a fun thing that only happened in the first year of infants, when I would do all the work in five minutes and then get bored and start hiding the weights in my knickers so others couldnt finish and had to talk to me. Being in trouble meant sitting on the piano. It was nice - a good view and a little attention.
I was supposed to go to gifted school and become even more precocious, but with two younger brothers and a free place but no free transport, my mum just couldn't arrange it.
I never discovered homework until senior school, because I could do a weeks worth of work in half a lesson at juniors and end up perpetually tidying the stock cupboard.
I adored my headmaster, Mr Lewis, and it never crossed my mind that anyone could feel differently. The only time I went to his office and cringed, I was loose in the corridors having done all the work, again, and got sent to take him his cup of tea. I carried this precious bone china cup and saucer up a flight of stairs and round a corner to get to him, then tripped on his rug and spilt it all over his paper-covered desk.
Its funny to realise I still shudder and hunch down very slightly when others, even innocently, make me feel like I must have been a right little odd ball. I guess I was, but now I have to go off and work out whether I consciously set about killing off brain cells and underachieving just to stop feeling the spotlight. Did I actively decide to stop other kids coming up to me and snarling things like 'you think you're it', when I didn't think that, honestly? Did I breathe a sigh of relief when I got kicked out of one A level and got Fs in the other two, when I didn't have to go to university? Given that I never got round to opening a prospectus, let alone applying anywhere, I think that's a distinct possibility.
Bugger. 44 is not the best age to be, to have to sit yourself down and wonder if you have f**ked up big style out of some sort of stubborn desire to be popular instead of geeky. Geeky has its perks.