Move over for Maxwell Skoda

11th June 2004 at 01:00
This is an open letter of reassurance to my new colleagues. You are not going to appear in The TES Scotland. The eye-popping slimming tips, the accidental rippings of doors from their hinges and the downright scary degree of competitiveness in the office Easter egg hunt will forever remain unattributable to identifiable individuals. Right, that's that out of the way, so you can speak freely.

I occasionally wonder if I should have used a pseudonym all these years ago when Phil Harrass, private HMI, first took to the mean streets. I might have chosen a single Latin tag, except that if I ever saw a column written by someone who signed himself with a single Latin tag I'd give it two fingers and refuse to read it.

A Scots dictionary that landed in the staffroom a year ago gave the name "Willie Cossar" as meaning "large, especially when applied to a woman, turnip or sheep". That would have been a possibility if I was large, which I'm not.

American television programmes are good sources of ideas. My current personal favourite is forensic psychologist Dr Emil Skoda. The Emil would have to go, though. I think I'd replace it with Maxwell. Scots, with a physics connection.

Maxwell Skoda could have dished the dirt from the word go. Nobody would have been safe. Unfortunately, I don't think my ego would have stood for anonymity, and soon I'd have been sidling up to colleagues whispering: "You know that Maxwell Skoda in The TES Scotland? That's me."

"TES Scotland, eh? I only buy it for the jobs. That Morris Simpson's funny, though."

On reflection, I'm happier the way things are, even if it means not fouling my own doorstep. Now here's a story about Maxwell's son. One day he had a supply teacher who gave the class a piece of homework. The young Skoda is a bright wee chap but he hates homework. It turned out that the class had already done the exercise. The supply teacher said: "Just do it again, then. It'll do you no harm."

No harm? Don't you realise you have just reinforced the belief that homework serves no constructive purpose, that it is merely an imposition? Maxwell Skoda is usually very supportive of his offspring's teachers, but he couldn't defend this one. He offered Skoda junior the option of doing an alternative exercise. This was rejected in favour of copying the answers to the original one.

Maxwell Skoda was relieved when the aforementioned supply teacher never appeared again, but you should hear what some of his colleagues said about her homework policy.

Maxwell Skoda is a seconded team leader with South-East Biggarshire Advisory Service.

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