Another brick in the wall

| September 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Bruce Pinnock

Like regular visits to the dentist, school teaches children that there is pain in life.

And this is reinforced in the strongest way possible, from below. I am referring, of course, to the unrelenting torture that classroom chairs inflict on the backside of anyone who has to spend any length of time seated in them.

Inflicting 12 years of education onto someone forced to sit in them is the equivalent of legalising bayoneting of the wounded. I know. I once endured four nights (in a row) on a classroom chair while judging eight house plays. For three weeks afterwards I had to eat standing up. And yet these chairs are everywhere in schools. They litter, in unsightly disarray – like plastic bags blown against barbed-wire fences – every apology for a classroom in South Africa. They are plastic eyesores in shades of scuffed grey, and tippexed blue, and compassscratched brown.

And they come in one size, and with one seat shape. And one shape does not fit all. So, you ask, it’s all very well complaining more stridently than Cosatu, but what are you going to do about it? I’ll tell you. I am going to redesign the school chair. Yes, indeed. Each chair will be personalised by my patent process of measuring the shape of every child’s bum by dunking him into a bucket of plaster of Paris until it sets and then using this as the mould. (I’ve already applied for the patent and I will introduce these chairs into every school and become rich, rich, rich.) Of course, if Mother Nature had come to the party in the first place, designing my Personalised SuperSeater would have been much simpler.

Mother Nature (bless her) never thought to endow children (bless them, but not their parents) with the physiological bottom necessary to spend the most active – and therefore the most wriggly – 12 years of their lives in chairs. Every child should have been born with a large, bulgy-rounded bottom to ensure the proper snug fit that would occur when sitting down on my redesigned, twin-indented, bucket-shaped receptacle that the chair should be.

The added advantage would be that suction would then keep the child in place until the bell rings. An over-sized shoehorn, issued to every teacher along with the ubiquitous board eraser, could then be passed around to free them, one by one, with a loud and satisfying ‘pop’ sound. Teachers with strong disciplinary inclinations would also be in a position to begin the lesson by saying, “When I tell you to sit, I only want to hear oneschlooop-pit!”

Category: Spring 2012

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