Exams loom, so I’m currently trying to help my 16-year-old revise. The main two problems are: A. He’s a boy, and B: Our brains are neither physically nor psychically connected, so I can read/talk/research as hard as I like, but his brain remains unassailed, or unsoiled, by my lovely gleaned knowledge.
I feel as if I’m gathering tufts of info, like wads of raw cotton, and trying to shove them, via his ears, into his brain. I can only believe that his cerebral cortex is already overstuffed as there seems to be quite a lot of resistance to my fascinating facts going in. Most of the time he is relatively polite about my efforts to help, until I offer to assist him with certain subjects which have faded with the passage of both time and my neurones.
Geography? Yeah, right
Yes, dearest son mine. I know a lot about Geography.
Like meanders and deltas and where Africa is.
And how about… He lists a pile of concepts.
Well, maybe no, nothing specific about those. Is there anything else you need help with? Is there an exam question on amusing children on a wet Saturday afternoon? Or how to tell semi-structured stories about dragons while driving at 70 miles an hour through France? Or the essential equipment to take to a pantomime (a small child , to avoid the embarrassment of people thinking you’re there for your own sake, money, fluid (lots), plasters with polar bears on and a small jam jar with a screw top lid case aforesaid child needs to lighten themselves by a few fluid ounces on the way).
In a real exam I would, of course, bullet point these concepts, expand on them, reference in my research and put a full stop at the end, Charlie, just in case you’re reading this.
I had planned on helping him with business studies until I found out that he was looking into developing a new fragrance. In line with current product names, he was intending to call it i-Smell.
My cup ranneth over with despair, until I asked him why a particular bread company had called one of their loaves Super Seeded. I was wondering if he’d pick up a potential reference to superseded, but the cynic in me expected him to say ‘because it’s got lots of seeds.’
‘It’s because they’re using alliteration to try and engage the reader and make them feel an emotional contact with the product. It also creates images in the consumers’ minds and the rhythm or cadence makes the name easy to remember. However it’s funny because it suggests that another loaf has taken its place.’
Right, got that. It seems that the cotton wool is going in after all. Or, since we have been doing physics this morning, maybe simply osmosing.
Alison Gardiner 2014
Also posted on Writerlot