Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Good Old Days - you can keep 'em

Another one of those irritating “Remember the Good Old Days” emails arrived in my inbox this morning. Why do older people send these round? If you’re one of them, please let me know.  Is it that they remind you of your idyllic, carefree childhood? Is there a lovely rosy glow round all your memories? Aren’t you the lucky one? All they do for me is poke sticks into old wounds. This latest one was particularly obtrusive, hence this post. One of the “good old things” about the “good old days” was (and I quote):

They threatened to keep children back a year if they failed the school year. . .  And they did!
I was one of those failures. I started school a year earlier than I should have done – was that because I was “bright” or was it because I was the youngest of five children and my parents needed some peace? When I was six I developed a stammer, this made it difficult to communicate effectively with the teachers. The older I got, the more they punished me by verbal abuse, smacking and hitting with rulers and board dusters. My stammer must have irritated the hell out of them. In what should have been my final year at junior school I was plagued with stomach problems and undiagnosed depression so “they” in their wisdom, kept me back a year. All my friends went off to pastures new and I was left with thirty kids who I didn’t know, who teased me unceasingly about my stammer. By the way, being a failure, I went on to a secondary modern school where I flourished but didn’t have the opportunity to excel academically – we didn’t even have chemistry or physics teachers.

So let me say this to all those “oldies” who send these emails round. The Present is called the Present for good reason.


Yes there is more stress in the workplace. Yes people have the opportunity to indulge their greed, and yes there are many things that we could improve, but at least we now have the choice and the freedom to improve our lives and the lives of others. In the “good old days” power hungry people (assigned the role of petty tyrants) were free to exercise their power however they chose, often without discretion and often too without compassion; certainly without the common sense to understand the negative consequences of their “good old” rules.

So please, please, please, strike me off your “living in the past” distribution list. I prefer the here and now.  Even with all its warts and its carbuncles, it’s a whole lot better than yesterday.