Five Questions… is a new series where we ask five questions about something in the news, come on. I mean: come on. It's not that hard to get your head around, is it? Come on. This is not a nuanced concept.
I am starting to suspect that road rage is a deep and under-appreciated facet of our national psyche. Britishness is a very straightforward thing: all it is is thinking the Queen is good, drinking brown un-fizzy pints with men in our families who hate us, respecting the army and consuming a frankly horrible amount of bread. The two extreme ends of the British identity are just the words "chips" and "gravy". There is no subtlety to our cultural morass at all.
Another thing we love, here: sitting in cars and going absolutely radge. Doing that tantrum your dad does when there's a car park bottleneck, when he goes so angry he starts just thrusting himself forward and backward in his chair, nangnangnangnangnang, until the plastic clips holding it in place start making an ominous clicking. Or: your mum, who never swears, going "oh FUCK off" when someone undertakes her Fiesta. Your gran winding the window down on both sides to offer someone in a lorry out for a fight. Cyclists tapping so politely on the window that your uncle goes instantly red and has a heart attack. This is what being British is, truly. You don't qualify for a passport if you've never lost your rag in a compact vehicle.
Here's someone's dad losing it again:
The news story here is: someone's dad lost it at some school gates in Woking after being told a simple parking rule by the attendant teacher, and then the teacher sat on the bonnet of the car to stop it from driving into the car park, but obviously, as you can see, that went about as badly as it possibly could have gone. Ranier Schoeman, the driver in question, received ten months of jail time for the incident this week, and Surrey Police released the CCTV to… I dunno…? Put off people from running over teachers?
Anyway: yeah I have some questions
WOULD YOU JUST QUIT YOUR JOB IN SHAME THOUGH
If a teacher shows even one ounce of weakness, children will pick on that weakness, and pick and pick and pick, and pick, until that teacher collapses mentally entirely and has to go on special leave: that is what kids do. Like: when we learned our teacher had just figured out he was adopted we pushed him and pushed him so much he went full Incredible Hulk, threw a table at a boy called Liam and signed off work for a year. When it turned out a Music teacher had an affair with an English teacher we ruined him. Psychically destroying teachers is just a fun sub-game that makes the school day go quicker.
Now imagine: imagine a teacher gets run over by someone's dad, the ultimate weakness. Firstly: that kid is now king or queen of the school, no question. Secondly: that teacher has to quit. If you get run over so hard you have to have a head wound glued back up, you have to quit. Go to the headmaster before you even get in an ambulance. Move countries. No self-respecting mass of pupils is going to let you get away with that. Honestly, switch careers.
IS THIS THE BEST EXAMPLE OF GRUDGE-BEARING EVER?
One very enjoyable aspect of this whole thing is how wholly unapologetic the dad in question was, even in court. "He doesn't have anything good to say about [the teacher] Mr McCarthy at all, although he does state that he didn't intend to injure him," Schoeman probation officer said, with his lawyer adding: "It was an outrageously disproportionate response to that situation. There is a degree of immaturity to this man, I suspect. It takes a man to accept that he is wholly responsible. He hasn't yet accepted it."
Imagine being so mad at a teacher – a teacher who was just telling him that letters had been sent saying parents weren't supposed to drop children off on school grounds, something that had been stated in a previous incident between the two – imagine being so mad at that person that you ran them over then didn't even admit full responsibility for that even when facing jail time. These are the kind of brewing passive-aggressive slights-turned-wars that can only flare up in a school car park. These are the things that can only sustain you through the grind of living in Woking.
Nothing puts me off the concept of parenthood like knowing I have to wake up early and take some snotty child to a school every day, and when I get there some cunt with a power complex tells me there are some unimportant rules about where I can park my car, and if you could just sit here for a minute sir while I get my supervisor, we did send you a letter, you really ought to have read it. Nah, man. Run the teacher over. Run the entire school building over. Drive off a cliff into glorious infamy. This is no life to lead.
WOULD THIS BE THE MOST EMBARRASSING WAY TO DIE
The funniest part of the entire video is when the teacher's legs fly up in the air like a toddler in a high chair: this is a fact. The second-funniest part of the video is the panicked splayed star shape he adopts when he thinks he is going to die. Because: he definitely thinks he's going to die. It's hard to tell from the grainy footage, but you can still see the emotions on display here: he plunged from "smug sitting position" to "shit-yourself panic" in under one second, as the car went from idle to drive. Like, the interior monologue of the teacher here was definitely ohi'mgoingtodiethisishowidie. That's very funny, to me. Imagine dying in a starfish shape on the bonnet of a slowly moving car, while enforcing a parking rule that absolutely doesn't matter. What an embarrassing way to go.
THOSE LADS AREN'T GOING TO SCHOOL TODAY, ARE THEY?
Look at those boys on bikes. They've just narrowly avoided being hit by a car. They've just seen their teacher probably die. They are bike boys in puffa jackets, and if 13 years of schooling taught me anything it's that they already skip five out of every seven classes anyway to go and smoke and do wheelies. They're not going to school today, or possibly ever again. Ride on, young men. Ride on and live your lives.
WHERE DOES THIS FALL ON THE HIERARCHY OF TEACHER DICKHEADS?
We don't discuss this, but there's a very rigid system for teachers at every school, marked from bottom to top by dickheadery, a sort of self-balancing organic ecosystem of dickheadedness, with medium-to-high scoring dickheads at the very top, low-scoring dickheads at the very bottom, and then the absolute high-spike dickheads are blocked from upper management but given some sort of empty authoritative role to stop them from kicking off and indulge their little power thirsts e.g. "parking monitor" – something like that. So I mean let's say your school has 100 teachers:
1–3 percent of them will be ACTUALLY ALRIGHT (These are the teachers who teach you a subject with love, or help you with your university application form, or listen after class while you talk to them for 20 minutes about your troubles at home, or whatever: they are just decent people who actually instil a love of learning in everyone they meet, and are normally unambitious and so never ascend to department head, happy to kick it down at teacher level for the entirety of their career, and when they retire loads of former students come out – 30, 40-year-olds, all these people with touched lives – to applaud them on stage, and hand them, like, a vase or something; some shit retiring teacher gift.)
10–15 percent of them will be UNDER THE AGE OF 35 AND NOT JADED ABOUT IT YET. Young teachers always start out very fun and relatable, don't they – "Yo, guys! Fidget Spinners? Yeah, I know about them. Cartoons? Hyuh, seen a few in my time. Will I swear in class? I've been known to say bloody hell, so… you tell me! Alright let's do some P.E.!" – but also so inevitably get crunched down to a sort of functioning numbness by years of being called "a penis" by hard Year 10s, and at 35 they tend to hit a sort of enthusiasm plateau, and they either upgrade to FULL DICKHEAD or downgrade to EXCEPTIONALLY CANNOT BE ARSED TO MARK YOUR HOMEWORK ANY MORE and fade out of contention forever.
35 percent of them ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE ARSED ANY MORE, please turn to page 12 in your textbook and teach yourself Spanish while I very visibly go through a divorce
30 percent of them are VERY TIRED AND DICKHEADS ABOUT IT, like they will take 50 minutes out of a 60 minute class to give an impromptu talk about how throwing chalk actually blinded a girl at a school he used to teach at, actually, and we're not going anywhere until whoever threw it comes forward, I'm serious, and I'll be arranging an after-school session where we can actually learn what we were supposed to be studying in this class, before someone decided to act the big man
1 percent of them is a HEADTEACHER, and headteachers are always straw-men or -women, kind of powerless heads of state with the true machinations of the school being controlled by the devious team of dep. Heads, like they basically just give assemblies now and again about loving Christ and not bullying
6 percent are DEPUTY HEADTEACHERS, five out of six of whom are absolute dickheads whose large arrogant boys go to your school and operate in a system outside of the rules, and one of which is quite sound but ultimately powerless
And then 10 percent will be absolute fucking melts, like proper bellpieces, proper spit-that-chewing-gum-out those-are-the-wrong-shoes-go-and-wait-outside-the-office the-bell-is-for-me-not-for-you I-didn't-like-your-sister-so-I'm-marking-this-essay-a-C little power-mad dicksplashes, and if I had to hazard a guess which of these factions the teacher sat on the bonnet of a car is – wearing a blue shirt with a dark navy knitted vest over the top of it, the uniform of the pass-agg rules-exist-for-a-reason knobhead teacher – then I would hazard a guess at this.