The Grey Pool: You Can’t Repeat the Craic

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There’s many drawbacks to adulthood. Bills, taxes, too many weddings, too many funerals, MOT, taxes, being on the dole, having to work for a living, dick stops working- the feeling that even though you could do anything you want, you really can’t. But somehow, the biggest drawback is that you somehow become nostalgic of school.

I don’t see many people I knew from school nowadays. Which is both a good and a bad thing. Good being that I don’t have to encounter the vast array of cunts that institution spat out. But it’s bad because I don’t see the friends I made there, some genuinely good people.

When older people talk about how they miss school, it’s more of an acknowledgement that it’s really a hell of a lot easier to build strong, personal relationships with people that you see five days a week, thirty weeks a year. When you reach adulthood it gets harder staying in contact with people. People move to cities or other countries. People work different hours, the friends you made become school friends- people you knew and loved, in the past.

Not to say you can’t make friends in adulthood, but it’s a lot more difficult to maintain that same level of trust and intimacy. You can make friends at work but you always have that undeniable truth hovering over you like a storm cloud, saying; “If I wasn’t getting paid to be here, I wouldn’t come here, I wouldn’t miss it, and I wouldn’t really care if I never saw you again.

You can make friends at the pub and you can have great craic there, but it’s hard to build that level of trust with a randomer- especially a drunk randomer. Any conversation you have with a person that is on the sauce is an insincere dialogue. Your drunk friend talking about moving in with you? Never gonna happen. Some randomer saying “oh we should totally hang out more!“, you’ll cross the street to avoid them. Drunk ones inviting you back to a party? They’ll laugh at you as they stumble and collapse out the door.

The only drunk person to ever say or do anything sincere is Tyson Fury, and it took a dozen drunk phone calls to his wife before it turned out he was actually serious about reclaiming that heavy weight title.

Main reason why a lot of people go to Uni is to carry on that social momentum. There were boys in my class who straight up told teachers “I just want to go up there and party” and they did. A lot of hungover morons would stumble into A-level ICT after some time spent up at Queen’s freshers week.

They travel sixty odd miles, up and down, just to get drunk with some culchies. Motherfucker you could do that here and it would be cheaper.

Here’s the thing they don’t really tell you about school. Well, they tell you but they don’t mean it. It’s that this entire experience, this educational ordeal, is designed so that you can go out into the workplace where you will have to compete with people who were once your fellow classmates.

They’ll tell you occasionally that the schooling experience will instil that drive, that work ethic, to compete in that marketplace. It’s a crock of shit. They don’t instil jack shit. They spoon feed you for seven years, practically tell you the answers and show you how to get good grades- because if their classes get good grades, they get to keep working.

They teach you some useful shit like how to read, write, count and add- maybe even a little history, albeit brief. But has anyone ever needed to know what ever the fuck an isosceles triangle is to get ahead in the workplace? Bitch I’m a published author and I don’t even know what a fucking verb is.

So why is it the norm for hundreds of smelly teenagers to be stuck in an ugly ass building, eight hours a day, five days a week, for seven years, just so they can learn some useless shit?

Partly to keep sixteen year olds off the job market, making unemployment figures lower and ensuring that the government looks more competent than they actually are. But defendants of this education model, such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson, say that the system isn’t designed so that you can become skilled in a job market- it’s so that you have the appropriate faculties for learning.

If you can learn how to calculate the right angle of a cricle, you can learn how to operate a power drill. If you can learn how to write six page essays of mundane comments on the works of John Steinbeck, you can learn how to do paperwork for an office. If you’re capable of learning something so meaningless and complicated, you can do so again- but this time you get paid.

It’s a solid argument but I don’t buy it. Namely because there are people all over the world who go to school for four years and can learn to work any menial job and be better at it than any A-level dropout. People don’t need to be stuck in a smelly room for seven years to learn how to learn. If people weren’t good at learning, we’d have died out the first time someone ate a poisoned berry.

But I do think of that silly little thing they told us in school, about us having to compete with each other. About how any little mistake could fuck up our lives. I find it comforting when I lie awake at night, listening to distant howls and squeals- wondering if that clunk and shriek was a dog dying or some drunk girl falling down a fire escape.

The amount of people who get expelled because they broke a few windows, smashed up a few cars, set a skip on fire- it’s truly inspiring. It means the herd is thinning, and it gets thinner every Sunday as the culchies and townies from all over the province return to get absolutely fucked. With girls dropping out because of pregnancies and boys dropping out because, well, let’s just say it’s not easy competing to be this year’s Paddy Jackson.

I watch these people fuck up their lives. Rake up inordinate amounts of debt just to party or to spare that stern look of disapproval from their Da. But mostly I watch these people fuck up just in the pursuit of the craic. The craic they want to keep on having.

Sad fact of life is that you cannot repeat the craic. You either have it or you miss it. The craic cannot be bought, sold, redistributed, stored in a freezer, filmed or photographed. The craic is lived. There are no re-runs, the craic has always- and always will be- live.

Those people I do run in to from school, the ones I like, it’s good to see them. What’s not good to hear is their desire to return to that kind of situation. They all acknowledge that school life was shit- but they miss it. They miss those friend groups, they miss the stupid lunchtime conversations or the jovially forgetful early mornings waiting for classes. They miss the craic and they want it back.

I remember one morning I got in from the bus, just hanging about the radiator outside one of the science rooms. Radiators were never on during the winter and were always on during the summer, stinky shit hole was either too hot or too cold. One morning I recall a friend of mine saying “uck, I genuinely believe that these school years are the best years of your life” to which I told her “If these are the best years of my life, I’m going to kill myself.

I didn’t like school, obviously. If I were to live my life all over again there’s a number of things I’d do differently. Like I wouldn’t stop going to GAA practices after I was seven, because it’s hard enough being ginger in school but being fat and ginger is just too much of a weight on your self esteem. I wouldn’t do certain things, like being annoying or saying dumb shit. There’s lot’s of things I’d change, but I can’t and that’s just something we all got to live with- no take backs.

There is one thing I’m a bit more…mixed about. It’s my first year of A-levels, latter end of the year. It’s sunny, it’s warm- it’s the time of year where it’s very hard to be miserable but I always found a way. Afternoon classes are cancelled so that we can all go to this stupid fucking mass.

Good chunk of the school are barely Catholic and most of them have done shit that would get them chucked out of heaven, myself included. That “get out of hell-free” card you get as an alter server expired immediately after I told a priest to go fuck himself.

It’s safe to say that I didn’t want to go mass. So the plan was, soon as they march each class down to the sports hall, I’d head on into the toilets and just stay there until I was positive everyone had fucked off. Five, ten minutes? Coast would be clear and I could just chill out at the Auction Room, a nice wee cafe in centre of town.

Problem was there were three other cunts who had the same idea, so I waited in the three story toilets for twenty odd minutes- with three other boys. It’s a weird, uncomfortable silence you get waiting in that kind of situation. You all know the craic, you all have enough cheek to skip mass, but we were all too feared to leave that goddamn toilet.

Silence was deafening. Took fifteen minutes before anyone said a word, this big fat cunt who looked like a goddamn ant-eater. They all seemed sound, but they were all younger than me and I was very ageist at the time. There is no hatred in the world more self righteous than that you hold against the year below you.

Conversation was dull, I can’t even mind their names. We all got quiet if we heard even the slimmer of a footstep. Some boy took out a blunt and began acting hard, letting on that we was gonna light it up. I’d half the mind to go up, grab it and light it myself. But I didn’t cause I was too feared of fucking my life up, the system instils that kind of fear in you- it thrives on it.

So here we were, four dumb cunts, too feared to leave the fucking toilets in case we got caught, not cool enough to smoke weed on school property- just standing about like a bunch of sacrilegious morons. Then things got weird.

I’m gonna be real with you lads, straight boys are fucking weird. They do objectively gay shit and nobody calls them on it. Same boys who would call other kids faggots and were too insecure to stand next to each-other in the urinals would have photos of each other naked and wouldn’t bat an eye.

We’re reaching the halfway point of the mass, no ones smoking weed and one of the dumb cunts has the cheek to show me a video of one of the other guys in the shower, waving his dick about. I look up at the boy from the video and we share this…weird look.

It’s the kind of look you get when you watch a friend show a randomer footage of you naked and he looks up in, what you’re hoping is disgust and not arousal, but is actually indifference because this guy is fucked up and you can tell by the way he looks at you. So here you are, total stranger, knows what your dick looks like. Kinda hard to have a normal conversation after that.

Few questions popped up in my mind that I didn’t ask but really wanted to. Like “Ok, why is that on your phone? Are you Gay? No? Are you sure? What the fuck is up with that dude? Why do you have it and why would you think it’s ok to show me?

I’ve known many gay guys over my life. It wouldn’t be naive for me to assume that they had photos or videos of other guys naked on their phone. But I know, for a fact, that they would never come up to me and show me that shit. They’ve more sense than that. They know that if you’re not vocally interested in seeing it, then they won’t show it to you. It’s just common decency. Again, straight boys are fucking weird.

But I knew these types of lads with me in the toilets, I knew their breed. Type of cunt to get unnervingly quiet and anti-social soon as his girl’s gay friend shows up at the bar. Type of cunt to look on in disgust as his sister watches a guy give a makeup tutorial. Type of cunt to throw apples or god knows what at a gay guy in school cause they’re trying to act hard in front of their friends. All the while, same type of cunt has a video of their friend in the shower. Tells you a lot about that type of cunt.

We waited in that toilet for like an hour and a half. Soon as we here the noise of crowds pass by we ducked out of there, went back to class, forgot we even tried to do shit. I told a few friends about it straight after. Not gonna lie, whole encounter had me a little rattled. Being offered a blunt in school and having a weird guy show you that would have an effect on me. Now though? Wouldn’t even phase me- and I would have lit that blunt up.

I’m not very sympathetic to people who let on that they miss school, cause I know more who sure as fuck don’t. If you were Gay, I’d wager you don’t miss it. If you grew up in a time where when you got to school they beat you and when you got home they beat you again, I’d wager you don’t miss it.

Type of people who should miss it are the type of people who peaked too early. Another reason these people head on to Uni? To get out of their fucking town. You stay home you’ll get fat, you get ugly, you get miserable. That kind of fear motivates people to rack up the debt, to head to the gym, all so they can waste a degree partying somewhere far from home.

Like I said before, there is no repeating the craic. But the craic is fleeting and all energies spent on maintaining are futile. Sometimes you just gotta move on. But that’s easier said than done.

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