When I was about 14 I made a small wooden box from the carcass of an old wind up gramophone.
My mate Ken had a small power saw attachment for his electric drill.. so we spent the May holidays in 1968 destroying this gramophone and making this case under the family home at Clayfield.
Sort of like a brief case.
Fast forward to yesterday.. 2016 and I “found” this case as I cleaned up.
Well, Deb had gone to see her folks in Gympie.. so a cleaning up I went.
Anyhow.. in this wooden case I found that I had filed every test and exam result from my last year at high school, 1969.
I looked at all of those chemical equations that I had learned to balance and realised that I no longer even knew what the chemical symbols for half of the elements meant.
But in the middle of all of this… was “The Merchant of Venice”.
Well it wasn’t Shakespeare’s version, but rather my description of what the story was about.
You see for 1969 Merchant of Venice was “the book” we all had to study.
And as I read my hand written (poorly I might add) abbreviated version of it from my understanding of the book some 47 years ago…
I was stunned.
I really had it in for Shylock.. and I really put the boot into him with my words.
Did I really write that?
I reread it over and over and could not believe I had written such stuff.
I mean, Ben Zavelski was a Jew and a class mate of mine at the time and we would often go to the movies together after school.
(His family owned the American Bookstore in the city.)
But reading this now.. I wondered if I had been a latent antisemitic without realising it.
Mrs Pitkin, our English teacher gave me 85% for the effort.. so she must have liked it.
My thoughts are that if I handed this same test paper in today in our PC world, I might be sent for counselling or attitude readjustment or something by those in authority in the education system.
Anyhow.. over the course of the weekend I have come to realise i have opened my own personal Pandora’s Box.
Has my thinking been conditioned by 30 years of PC people trying to condition me, in fact all of us to now think that Shylock got shafted my a smart mouthed lawyer named Portia? He probably had an unhappy childhood too. (Now that's worthy of applying for a government grant.. "Was Shylock deprived of a happy childhood?") Poor thing.
Or was I correct when I thought (and wrote) that he was loan shark in today's parlance and got whacked by Karma!
For the last 24 hours I have asked myself... was I a racist 47 years ago without realising it?
I didn't think I was.....
Whatever… don’t read old essays from your high school days is the moral of this story.
Think I’ll have a beer and contemplate the week ahead…..