Every school has a Simon. The sort of kid who doesn’t quite fit in, who seems to be in a permanent daze and whose conversation appears to be completely at a tangent to whatever anyone else is talking about.
Simon was a slightly unusual example of his breed, though, in that he was also quite good at sport. He was an accomplished 400m runner and played on the wing for the First XV at rugby. Which made it all the more unfortunate when he had a bit of an accident on the way home from school one day.
To understand fully what happened, you also need to know that our headmaster at the time was a jumped up squit of a man, full of his own important and impotent rage, like a minor character in a Carry On film (but nowhere near as funny).
The morning after Simon’s accident, the headmaster – let us call him ‘Mr Vardon’, because that was his name – stood on the stage in assembly and solemnly announced
“I am sorry to have to tell you that Simon had an accident on the way home from school last night. He was knocked off his bicycle by a lady…”
At which point the giggles started
“…This isn’t funny. He was knocked off his bicycle by a lady…”
“…Stop laughing, it isn’t funny. By a lady who then reversed over him to see what she had hit”
Uproar. Hysterical laughter from the assembled scholars. Even some of the teachers were laughing. Vardon, meanwhile, was apoplectic, turning purple as he yelled at us all to stop laughing. He ended up threatening to put the entire school in detention – and completely losing what little dignity and respect he had.
Simon, I am pleased to say, recovered, although he always appeared to be even more dopey than he was before the accident. He went on to find further schoolwide fame as the player who cost the rugby team a win over the only school they had never beaten when he ran into a goalpost as he was about to score the winning try.