From the Department of Eternal Summer

Remember that feeling, walking home on the last day of school?—you’re five years old, or six or seven, and six weeks still feels like forever? The sea breeze is calling. It’s warm enough to swim, if your standards are low—and they are. Oh, they are. If you can paddle about and not freeze to death, you’re going in, because it’s summer, and it’ll always be summer, and summer’s for swimming in the sea.

Man, I loved that feeling. Where can I order up more of that?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about school. High school, mostly. That, up there, that was a digression. An offshoot, sort of thing. A tangent. High school, though—I had this English teacher. Everyone thought he was a paedo. Maybe he was. One time, he asked my mother if I could come round and read books after school. She said yes. I spent the rest of the year dodging the invite. But that isn’t…that’s not why I bring him up. One day, I overheard him in the teachers’ lounge, bagging on some other kid: “she’s hardly literate. I don’t know what to do. She writes like she’s chatting over the garden fence.”

She writes like she’s chatting over the garden fence.

Now, to me, that sounded brilliant. Like something I’d want to read. Since then, I’ve done all my writing like there’s someone just past the fence, hanging on my every word.

Another thing from school, jumping back to the early years: we had this rhyme we used to do, a mean little ditty for kids we didn’t like. There was a tune that went with it. We’d sing it at them, like ♬ Kevin is a jobby and a pimp! ♪ ♪ Kevin is a jobby and a pimp! ♫ —and then we’d blow a raspberry or two, and skirt back to the beginning.

Now, here’s the thing: a jobby’s a shite. Everyone knows that. But what the devil’s a pimp, in this context? I’m damned if I remember, but I’m fairly sure we weren’t accusing our wee nemeses of peddling flesh. A jobby and a pomp, now, that would’ve made sense. A pomp was a fart, in the parlance of the day, at least in Ayrshire. But a pimp? WTF? Any wee smouts from Prestwick out there, looking back thirty-odd years?

Ah, I suppose I’ll never know.

I fancy a swim.