Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Optional
When I was a wee sandman just starting his secondary education there was an incident at school which annoyed me at the time but looking back should have alerted me as the shape of things to come.
Every Monday my year (grade for my American friends) would have an assembly and most of the time it was boring administrative stuff but we’d occasionally have a guest speaker and one of these was a representative of the Giddeons. They offered out a free copy of the Giddeons Bible to us all and I remember the speaker clearly saying “These are offered as a gift and if you wish to keep them or not is totally up to you”, in other words they were optional. By this time I was no longer a practitioner or believer of any faith and decided that I would decline the offer, gave my reasons and all seemed fine. It was later that same day when in the Theology lesson that I was accosted by the tutor who seemed… outraged, that I had not taken something optional and thus became the start of a difficult time. For some reason, despite there being 37 bibles in goddamn class room we expected to have our own. Probably so we didn’t get sticky prints on their bibles I guess but I gave my reason again. Not so well received this time and after a few lessons I was dragged out of class and forced, yes forced, to take a copy of the Giddeons bible with the barbed comment that “afraid your going to find God or turn into a zealot?” No, I didn’t want the damn thing as I had no interest in it and only attended theology lessons because it was compulsory in that school. Clearly this was a teacher who had no concept of what the term optional means. This was the first of many run ins with the faculty over various religious things, and just in general to be fair. From that day I on, it was became apparent that at the school I was the public enemy.