Back in primary school, we sang a song about drinking rum mixers while working with our mothers. That is my first excuse.
- links alcohol to positive changes in mood,
- promotes a commercial product,
- spins the benefits of wage slavery under an imperialist currency,
- encourages opening your legs on the beach for the occupying military personnel.
Not sure what they were trying to teach us, perhaps geography—you know, Trinidad, Point Koomahnah, and so on. Perhaps it was simply to expose us to the joys of communal singing.
Can’t blame that song for my tobacco addiction though. That happened in English in high school, my next excuse.
- would read two or three poems from the Romantic period,
- get this funny look on his face after each recitation,
- assign us to copy out Wordsworth and Keats, longhand into our exercise books,
- sit at his desk and roll and smoke a cigarette.
Pretty certain the intention was for us to develop an appreciation of literature. However, it was the smell of ready-rubbed tobacco, both before and during burning, and not the rhyme and metre of poetry that clung more tenaciously to the dopamine receptors in my brain.
When you got busted for smoking in the toilets, you were caned by the Deputy Principal. It didn’t hurt as much as when the Sisters of Mercy would whip the back of your knees with the handle of a feather duster, or when Dad would tan your backside with his belt after he found out you’d been a bad girl at school.
Of course, punishment was meant to set you back on the straight and narrow. As you may have guessed by now, it didn’t work. Every time I was hit, I strayed further off track.
Drinking and whoring have got me into a whole heap of trouble. Smoking has made a mess of my lungs and once rosy complexion.
And if you point this out to me, I’ll knock your block off.
Learning disorder? You kidding? I was a good student. A bloody sponge.