Speech Night

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Final speech night at school, about two hours ago. In the Sydney Town Hall, one of the best (from the interior) buildings in Sydney. One of the most imposing, anyway..the largest organ in the Southern Hemisphere.

Most of it I simply ignored (nobody pays prefects, and I don't give a damn about awards you get for sucking up as opposed to personal ability, which despite a lot of blather to the contrary my school never gave a lot of credit to), but some people did make some speeches that referred to 'next year', and 'five years from now'.

They didn't have a clue that five years from now, it's entirely possible that people could be using the stage as firewood and melting down the copper organ to make pots. They didn't have a clue that five years from now -that two years from now- ninety percent or more of the people in that vast hall -the entire school plus most parents, maybe 4-6,000 in all- could quite possibly have died unpleasantly.

A year from now, Miss School Captain, the guy you passed your badge to will probably not be making the same speech you were. A year from now, he will probably be too worried about people stealing his family's precious 20 days worth of canned food to leave his house. A year from now, Miss Captain, you yourself will probably be worrying about your own preparations now that it is very clear that some serious S will HTF hard.

Five years from now, Mr Headmaster, you will probably be dead. You're not the survival type. Too arrogant to prepare and too conceited to even find accurate information until it's too late. Three days after TEOTWAWKI, you'll still be saying it'll be fine in an hour. And you'll keep saying that until some thug notices your gold watch and shoots you for it.

Three years from now, Mister Chairman of the School Board, you will not be making a speech in which you attempt to outline how valuable your over-rewarded gang of powermongers are. You will not be attempting to grab credit for inaction because you will be too busy attempting to grab scraps of food for yourself. This is assuming, sir, that you are still alive. Which is doubtful.

Mr Deputy Chairman, those classical arts and names you spoke about, the way you pretended that nobody born after 1900 ever produced an idea of merit, all will be forgotten. The fact is, people will not give a damn about what any of those people thought (can't enumerate exactly what you were saying because I was reading my new copy of Time Bomb 2000, but I think I got the gist of it). The fact is, the highest education people will want to know is how they can fix this neat gun they found or what kind of animal fat produces a grease that can oil engines.

Sorry, guys. Had a long day; up at six, double my usual run (ten klicks..and halfway through, the temperature rose to thirty-five Celsius), spent two murderous hours waiting in the Motor Registry for a transaction that took one and a half minutes, and at 12:20 I've just gotten back from the damn 4-hour speech night.


-- Leo (leo_champion@hotmail.com), December 10, 1998


You reflect the complete *weirdness* of life right now.

As we go through our day-to-day routine, so many things jump out at us in an absurd light. I am constantly thinking, "This won't even exist in a few months," or "That's not a problem; what's coming... now THAT's a problem," and so on.

-- Sara Nealy (saran@ptd.net), December 10, 1998.

So, Leo, I take it you're not fond of school. Why Harvard?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 10, 1998.

take a couple months off from the straight elementary school-middle school - high school - college school grind. Take a course in welding, plumbing, appliance or small engine repair or even car body shop - do painting, plumbing, mechanical, assembly, trouble-shooting, and other hands-on stuff all at the same time that will be valuable anytime, and could be important if Y2K wipes stuff out for a while.

The physical aspects of doing things with your hands - while learning how to work with welders or engines or whatever - will give you a better aspect on life. Include that experience, and your writings aboutr Y2K, in your Havard application. It will stand you apart from the average applicant - who has done nothing but fill out a high school resume.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 10, 1998.

Robert: For the past 3 weeks I've been working like crazy on advertisements, writing eighteen of them and three and a half (one is yet to be completed) marketing campaigns.

Diane: I'm not fond of a system in which people are rewarded not by their ability, as they should be, but in their ability to manipulate the system. I caused more to happen than anybody in the school, and in fact held two jobs (asst. director of the yearly production, and full director of a minor drama production; no student had ever been more than "senior tech" or "senior cast" of any production, before) that nobody else had ever had. Yet because I was not friendly with the right teachers and because I did, when it suited me, openly argue with (and often beat!) teachers I disagreed with or had no respect for, I was never made a prefect. I was never officially recognised as being amongst the top 20% of the school's leadership- even though most people would agree that I did more than anyone.

Harvard is an elite school. I don't think there'll be any worthless staff there, and if I do come across some, then my estimate of the place would be so high as to assume that I'm probably only percieving them as worthless and am wrong.

Besides, chances are that at Harvard it would take longer than two weeks for an intelligent guy to learn the term's work well enough to get an A. :)

(By the way, I never *hated* school. Just annoyed by it. And deeply bored by the four hours of tedious ceremony that I had endured just prior to writing that post. Sorry if it comes across as radical as it might have.)


-- Leo (leo_champion@hotmail.com), December 10, 1998.

Comes across as a real person - irritated at losing 4 hours. No problem.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 10, 1998.

Fort Street Boys High School I would guess?? - I went to St. George Girls High School...do they still wear black stockings in winter. I was never a prefect either - no because I did not get along with teachers, but because the headmistress and I were on constant "speaking terms", seemed like a bit of mischief every week or so.

-- Laurane (familyties@rttinc.com), December 10, 1998.

SCECGS Redlands, actually. Co-ed in Mosman, although they have a totally unneccessary ski campus in the Snowy Mountains (cost $3.5 mil, used by 20-30 students out of 2000). Vastly expensive private school that I was on a scholarship to.

Don't know St George..where's it located?

The high staff of most schools, I gather, are the same type of people. Intelligent leaders don't go into teaching; they go into business or something else that pays better.

Mine was a school where you could be given a Saturday detention for being caught two consecutive days without a certain badge (in theory; generally they didn't bother with more than a 3-hour Friday detention), but if you were caught smoking marijuana and your parents knew someone on the school board, you could get off with a warning and nothing else. I can verify that that happened at least twice.


-- Leo (leo_champion@hotmail.com), December 10, 1998.

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