Portrait of a Schoolboy

Wednesday 01 Aug 1984

August, 1984

Filed under: Diary One - Portrait of a Schoolboy — David Matthews @ 11:20 am


The month when all is revealed. The month that will either be depressing or relieving. It’s a black and white situation. I either get two A levels or I don’t. I either go to Froebel or I don’t.


I’d prefer to be a Christian who is really hot than the way I am now. I’m reminded of the verse, “If you are luke warm I will spew you out of my mouth”. At the moment I’m on the fence. Even my strict rule about no sex before marriage is fading out. Masturbation used to be difficult because I would be dreaming up a horny situation and I’d come to the crunch and I’d always refuse intercourse because of my values. Now I don’t find it so difficult to forget my Christianity.


Rachel asked, “Why do we write a diary?” Her suggestion was that it makes us feel more important than we really are. Are people actually going to read and be interested in our life stories? She may have a point there. I think the prime reason I do a diary is because I want to record my life. I don’t just want it to pass.


I’ve got a bit of a tough image at Pleasurewood Hills. A real tougho (hunky, tattoos etc) was clenching his fist and punching the wall. In my usual polite and comparatively posh voice I said, “Do you think you can punch hard?” I then gave him the invitation to hit me as hard as he wanted in the stomach. However I did warn him before hand that I wanted the hardest thump he could manage, and also told him to make sure he didn’t bend his wrist or else he might hurt himself. This was about two and a half weeks ago, and since then I have been hit countless times. Another thing I have in my power to impress people is to hold my breath. My record is 3 minutes 1 second.


I discovered another of my talents this evening. I went to the Beccles Regatta, and one of the attractions put on show for the public was a beer drinking contest. While I watched, the “Yard of Ale” record, went down from 51 to 45 seconds. Then a bloke went up and downed the whole lot in 17 seconds. I overcame my shyness that I had and went on stage and downed the lot in 17.8 seconds. Later on I had another go and managed 16 seconds, but came third overall.


I have been known to boast to you about my kind and caring attitude towards the customers at Pleasurewood Hills, however I did find a limit to my kindness. Shawn advised me that we ought to tell our boss about Vernon. He’s an absolute manic on the Vereran Cars, lifting the handle up to start them when people are half way in the car. I’ve witnessed his madness, and also when I relieve Vernon for his dinner I find that people getting in and out the cars, are hesitant and afraid – looking at me to see if I am going to lift the handle. But my concern for the public didn’t go as far as reporting him, because no doubt if Vernon didn’t do the Veteran Cars, I would do the job more regularly, and I prefer doing the “Crazy Golf”. When I relieved Vernon today I simply said, “John (our boss) said would you buck up.” That made him sit up.


I think I’ve got the symptoms of being pregnant. About a week ago I found myself in agony on the bedroom floor going through cramp pains in the middle of the night. I hope I’m not.


Took Diana out for the day. It was all right except that it cost so much. At Great Yarmouth, Diana suggested the cinema. The film that was on was Super Girl. I jokingly asked her not to tell anyone what we had seen. While I was watching it, it occurred to me that this was the first time I had taken a girl to the cinema.

We seem to be having a bit of trouble with kissing. I believe her former boyfriend kissed a certain way with ones mouth fairly wide open. I’m not too familiar with that method and I like to feel the lips. We’ll have to get that sorted out if we go out again.


Recently I have even doubted whether miracles can take place. I think of all the miracle stories I’ve heard:

  1. At Spring Harvest a lady spoke about how she had been crippled for eighteen years and now she was healed.
  2. Nanna said she had a growth on her neck. Someone laid hands on it and it disappeared as he prayed.
  3. Mr. Halliday saw a leg grow so that the man no longer walked with a limp.

A man today said that he had x-ray evidence of his healing – but then if he has the evidence why isn’t it a bigger thing made of it? Maybe I’m a Thomas, but I’ve never seen a miracle, although I’ve heard cries during that Spring Harvest service.

At Pleasurewood Hills there was a girl who was lost. She came to me crying and distressed. I tried to cool her down saying everything would be all right. I took her to someone. About twenty minutes later some girl asked for some 20p coins. I immediately thought of the difference between the voice that asked for change and the other lost girl – but it turned out to be the same girl. “I’ve been found,” she said smiling all over. What a transformation.


I’m quite enjoying Pleasurewood Hills at the moment, but even so my day was livened up when this boy from the Veteran Cars came to chat to me. There’s this plastic orange in the “Crazy Golf” hut, and as I was handing out change to people, he was handing out the golf stuff. I’ve never laughed so much for ages when he gave this boy a golf club and a plastic orange instead of a golf ball. The boy went off and played with it.


I phoned Mr. Moxen. He said, “David – congratulations.” He told me I’d got a D in R.E., a D in history and an E in English. I was pleased. I’m now on my way to Froebel. I’m on my way to do a degree. I’m on my way to train myself as a teacher. I’m on my way for a life of leisure. At least I’m on my way, instead of staying where I am. I’m moving on.


The conversation at the end of the day at Pleasurewood Hills revolved around how great I was, and how average two other people were. Somehow the procedure of punching me in the stomach was enacted. Shawn hit me with all his might. I said, “I’m just too tough. In fact there’s only one person who could really hurt me and that’s myself.”

The subject then got on to someone else I’m not too fond of. I said to him, “I don’t think you have the potential to inflict hurt on anything. Just look at your arms.” The motive for this controlled polite attack was the way Stephen sometimes puts me down. He swears regularly, but it’s not pleasant when someone swears at you.

Ian said afterwards, “You were lucky you weren’t put upon.” I don’t think he understands. I’m not afraid of it. In fact I would relish the chance of a fight.

The only defence Shawn had, was to say, “Let me punch you in the face then. I bet you couldn’t take that?” Everybody knew what a stupid challenge that was. A reason Shawn may dislike me is because one time, about a week ago, he came into The Bin (our meeting place), and kicked and punched the coffee machine because it wasn’t working. I said to Ian straight in front of him that that’s what my younger brothers do. Obviously Shawn didn’t like to be compared to a child in a fit of temper. Apparently when I left Shawn was swearing, “That fucking bastard.”


I think if I ever have a son I shall call him Gavin after my late father. I didn’t ever know him very well, so it would be a tribute to him. After all, if it were not for him, I doubt whether I would be here.


The conversation after work on Friday is an example of one of my moods. Sometimes I feel very violent. After that incident I was a maniac going home on my motorbike. The speed limit was forgotten, and cars were ignored, as I over took on corners. Its a mixture of hate and excitement (and a desire to get home).

I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde recently and I believe there is great truth in that. For instance when I was working the Veteran Cars a girl came up to me almost in tears and stuttered out that the steering wheel didn’t work. (It was stiff instead of going round). Believe it or not I nearly shed a tear for her and the countless other children’s tears and frustrations at those steering wheels.


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