I was a smart 11 year old and breezed through the 11 plus. I also passed the entrance examination to King Edward's, Edgbaston with a free place. There followed seven years of pain as I discovered that the easy route to success - I just knew a lot of stuff and enjoyed being at a small school - now had to translate into a willingness to work in order to achieve future academic success. I was now in a place where everyone was smart.
I still haven't quite come to grips with why I didn't make the leap. No teacher grabbed my enthusiasm apart from an English teacher who left when I was in year three (nine in new money). My preferred way of learning - taking a drag net to available subjects and trawling up some goodies - does not have outcomes in mind but is simply learning for learning's sake. All I can remember about the thought of history essay night is that it took five albums. I probably know the lyrics of the albums better than the history.
I think I would have made a good 19th century parson who wrote reviews of theatre while curates did the pastoral work. It has to be someone's job to appreciate the arts (paraphrasing Peter Carey in Parrott and Olivier). Or maybe studied birds. Or perhaps did some maths. Anything that rocks.
Forty four years on from the end of that school experience I would be ready to go back. I would actually read the set texts, prepare the Latin translation and knock off 500 word pieces of creative writing before breakfast. I may even pay attention at science. Especially computer science which was not a subject 1966-73, obviously.
A slightly more biographical pondering this morning, although it fills me with delight that I can write this stuff on a laptop in bed; how life has improved.
What bits of your life would you like to have another go at?
What events were a sea-change?
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs,
Don't mis-serve your own needs