Proctor : February 2019
55 PROCTOR | February 2019 Rapunzel, Rapunzel, wherefore art thou? Boys, beware of fathers with shovels Welcome to 2019, an ominous year if ever there was one, and in no small part because it even sounds like a countdown when you say it (20, 19...). Yes, here in 2019 you have to be nervous, or at least I do, and if you want to know why, I can explain it in four words (or five, depending on the kind and level of pedantry to which you subscribe): My daughter started high-school. (Editor’s note: The pedantic editor says five words – ‘high school’, unless it is used adjectively, such as ‘high-school years’.) I must admit I am not sure how to feel about this – my daughter going to high school, not English grammar, which no one ever truly understands, anyway – partly because it is a confusing and concerning time for a dad, and partly because due to deadlines and publishing needs, I am actually writing this in 2018 and 2019 hasn’t technically (even as far as quantum physics is concerned) started yet. Also, this isn’t really how I thought my daughter’s high-school years would play out (no matter what may be actually happening as you read this) because I had envisaged them more simply. I was pretty much decided on having her locked in the top of a tower until her hair grew long enough for the right boy to come along and climb her hair to the top of the tower, at which point I would jump out from behind a wardrobe and whack him in the face with a shovel. My wife – despite not even being a lawyer – feels there may be some sort of legal problem with this, and not just blatant copyright violation of a story now owned by Disney and thus likely to cost Proctor a fortune just by my mentioning it. Plus, it turns out building a tower costs a lot of money (even if Mexico pays for it) and my having a lot of money rather depended somewhat on Proctor paying me to write this column (Editor’s note: I would comment here, but have just broken several ribs laughing), so we decided that we would send her to an actual high school. The thing is, I am not sure what she should expect at high school, because I went to an all-boys high school, which I loved, although it wasn’t perfect, largely due to the fact that there weren’t any girls there. My old school prepared my fellow students and me (no, it isn’t ‘and I’ trust me. Or I. Who really knows?) for many things we would encounter in life – academic challenges, physical adversity, the possibility of being called upon to knot a tie four different ways – but it did little to prepare us for fatherhood. To be honest, fatherhood lessons would have been justifiably regarded as a waste of resources at the time; in high school, my classmates and I (yes, this time it is I) possessed the same overall desirability as any other bag of malfunctioning hormones with bad hair. Think Donald Trump with zits. The point is that we appeared to have the same overall chance of becoming fathers as we did of becoming Pope – an appearance we shared with every other adolescent boy on the planet (the appearance of becoming fathers, I mean, not the appearance of the Pope). I suspect IVF was invented by a high- school teacher who felt we needed an option other than the men of the future to ensure the survival of the race. So I am not sure what my daughter should expect, although I am thankful that she can be pretty sure not to expect rugby. My school played rugby, and even after many years of watching it and occasionally not being able to avoid playing it, I still do not understand it. I understand, and happily played, soccer, rugby league, cricket and many other sports I cannot recall (largely due to having played rugby league), but rugby union? I suspect the rules were made by feeding pictographs from the Rosetta Stone into one of the early Atari computers, and having a monkey translate the result in to medieval English. Those cursed with refereeing the game simply pretend they understand them and make incomprehensible proclamations about the result, the way people do with Woody Allen movies and modern art. Anyway, I doubt my daughter will have to deal with that because it is much harder to convince girls to engage in a game which largely involves running into one another for about an hour. Boys, on the other hand, do it whether you want them to or not. Speaking of boys, I think I should close by putting on the record some words of fatherly wisdom: you do not have to climb to the top of a tower to be hit in the face with a shovel... Suburban cowboy by Shane Budden © Shane Budden 2018. Shane Budden is a Queensland Law Society ethics solicitor.