This morning, Other Half and I were recounting tales from our school days. As you'll probably already know, Other Half went to a rather expensive, posh high school while I went to a school where a "good" textbook was one that still had either the front or back cover attached and most of the pages. We had been reminiscing about games we played at the time, as I recently read Hyperbole and a Half's post about 'Stick Wars' (check it out here http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/02/please-stop.html) and it had been on my mind.
Since Other Half and I both grew up in Britain (she is English/Irish and I am as Scottish as shortbread flavoured heroin) we discovered we played similar games as kids. There was Bulldog, which involved a row of children standing against a wall while one child, the 'tagger' stood in the middle of the playground, defending the opposite wall. We would all rush towards the opposite wall while the tagger tried to grab as many people as possible, using a move similar to a rugby tackle. I was not very good at this game due to the fact that I was small and slight and therefore an easy target for the first couple of rounds, but at least it only involved running (and not the bane of my life, hand-eye coordination) so I didn't get squashed too often.
There was also a game I played but Other Half did not, called Pile On The Biscuit. I have no idea why it was called this, or why we played, because the whole purpose was to select someone to be the Biscuit (usually a willing volunteer, it was considered rude to force Biscuit Selection on anyone) and then the rest of the class in turn would throw themselves onto the Biscuit, effectively and slowly asphyxiating everyone underneath as the ever-increasing pile of small bodies grew. Needless to say, our teachers banned this pretty quickly. We got around this by changing the name of the game from time to time (Filling The Sandwich, Icing The Cake etc) which although childish was a surprisingly effective way of keeping the game alive.
In any case, the conversation soon moved on to the facilities of our high schools.
Other Half: Ours was very impressive. We had these basketball hoops and partitions that would come down from the ceiling. All electronic, of course. Totally state of the art.
Me: We had two basic gyms, and they both could have fitted inside our new flat. What was your playground like?
Other Half: (dreamily) Oh, it was lovely. We had two tennis courts, a huge cricket field, a special garden area... It was nice.
Me: Sometimes if there was a lot of rain, there would be puddles at the bottom of the playground and my friends and I would go stare at those for a while.
Other Half: It's a wonder you emerged from all this unscathed.
Me: I know, right?
During our housewarming last weekend, I had made a slightly drunken joke about how "my body is nobody's body but mine" and one of Other Half's friends had immediately completed the sentence with "you run your own body, let me run mine!" I was astounded. This quote was from a sex education video I saw when I was 11, and the song those lyrics come from have always stayed with me for some reason. We discovered that myself included, four of the people at the party had seen this exact video (our dates of birth ranged from 1978 to 1986, so it was clear that the school authorities had been using this video series across the country for years, recycling it). I was amazed by such a coincidence - after all, how much does anyone really remember about being 11, decades later - and we proceeded to mock the videos, to the absolute bewilderment and fascination of the other party-goers. If we hadn't scared them enough with our Zombie Apocalypse talk earlier, then we definitely managed it with this.
I think some of the people may have been still smarting after we dismissed them as "bait" during a zombie attack, due to the fact that they had no real skills to speak of. Other Half was immediately invited into the club because of her amazing strength. I myself only managed to talk my way in to the Zombie Organising Committee (hashtag #omgzombies, in case this ever happens) by pointing out that I can speak four languages (never mind that I could only use one of them to order a coffee or ask where the station is, neither of which would really be any use in a zombie invasion, and in another I can only say "hello", "goodbye" and "thank you" which again is about as much bloody use as a chocolate teapot) and have excellent knowledge of many different subjects including potential food sources, and that I can also find a printer on a network and hook it up. Thus, I was dubbed Communications Expert. I am seriously considering adding this to my CV.