Hey folks, we’ve reached Part Four of our Spotter’s Guide to Parents on the School Run! If this is your first episode, I should explain what’s going on: I’m being snarky about loads of people in a really judgmental way, and it’s BRILLIANT FUN!!
Here are the other parts, to get you in the mood for today’s minor-league bitching:
DISCLAIMER: None of the examples in this series are people I know in real life. If you’re on the School Run, and feel you have been slighted, and you fancy getting cross with me about this series, just remember that none of this is about you. However, if you do insist on being all angry about it, and you get right up in my face, just know that I will listen to what you have to say, take on board your concerns and criticisms, and then scuttle off and write all about the encounter on a blog somewhere.
(Please Note: This is a guide to the UK species. Other locations in this incredible world of ours might see different behaviours, I dunno. Do other countries have School Runs? If you don’t in your location, feel free to write to me and tell me stuff. I like people telling me stuff).
The Fighty One
Imagine the scenario: It’s a School Run morning in November. The usual stuff – Gossip with The Gang, harangued by The Organiser to help out at something or other, watching The Belligerent marching across the playground – when suddenly, you hear raised voices. Angry swearing. A slap, a punch, an ugly brawl. Screaming. Shouting. The Gang aghast. The Belligerent marching straight to the Headteacher demanding these fighting people get banned from the playground. The Organiser flapping their clipboard at the offending parties to get them to behave. Separation. Muttering. People shaking their heads. Someone shouting “You FUCKING CUNT!”. Children crying, and being rushed into the school in a hurry. Staff trying to calm everything down. Grown adults being escorted from the school premises. Small children now using the phrase “You fucking cunt!” in a gleeful fashion for the rest of the day.
A letter goes home the following day reminding the “whole school community” of the responsibility for all parents to behave appropriately (i.e. don’t be a dick on school grounds). Gossip, gossip, gossip. One or more of the participants is banned from school property and they become a glowering figure on the perimeter of the school. Repeat every six months or so.
There’s always the risk of a Fighty One being on your School Run. Carrying years of resentment, bitter, angry, doesn’t like being looked at. Has a long-running beef with another parent. Not just quick to anger, but quick to explode. Doesn’t care where they are, or who is watching, or how it affects all the children in the vicinity, just as long as they can get their shouty-shout on. Can be racist, sexist, disablist, homophobic, often uses incredibly crude language to describe the hapless person they are haranguing. Of course, if two Fighty Ones get fighty, then they’re both as bad as each other. The Fighty One needn’t necessarily be a man, and needn’t be a dodgy, Begbie-like character of poor education; there are plenty of wealthy, educated, intelligent people, who turn into aggressive wankers if their buttons are slightly pressed.
I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not funny (no wait, IT SUPER IS! But only if you’re not the one being on the receiving end of Fighty One’s ire). First time I witnessed such a thing, and I’ve witnessed it more than once, I didn’t find it funny to watch a grown man screeching insults in a woman’s face and threatening her husband with a pounding. I went home quite shaken and rang my mum, and asked her if this sort of thing happened when she took me to school, just ten *cough* years ago. Of course not, she said. Why would anyone do such a thing? Maybe it’s a new thing. Like mobile phones.
Let’s blame this on mobile phones!
I’m not just talking about actual fisticuffs here. We all get into arguments from time to time – even The Gang has the potential to sometimes have a short little squabble, a hurried gossip, and then either a making-up, or a group-ostracizing of the offending party. My definition of ‘Fighty’ includes anyone who gets angry enough to lose control, shout loud enough for all to hear, and uses effing-and-jeffing in front of the children. In front of the flipping children, I ask you…
Plus Side: Adults on the School Run who fight in school playground with other parents, who swear vicious brutal insults in front of school children, who get physically aggressive with the teachers, who have to be escorted from the premises… there’s no plus side to them. They’re complete arseholes.
Minus Side: Potential to be a violent, racist (etc), twat
APPEARANCE: Furious, glaring, aggressive, makes eye contact with people then demands to know what the other person is looking at,
CALL: Variations on “FUCK!/SHIT!/WANKER!/SLAG!/WHORE!/COME ON THEN!/KILL!/PERVERT!/CUNT!/QUEER!/PAEDO!/I KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE!/GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!/WHAT ARE YOU ALL FUCKING LOOKING AT?”
HABITAT: School perimeter fence, glaring a lot. Not being terribly friendly. Being hurriedly ushered into the Headteacher’s office. Being hurriedly ushered into a police car. In court. Front of the local newspaper with outraged article on page 4.