Years and years ago, like really years and years ago, I was an overweight teen. I looked like Robert Smith in his coke bloat days. I had bad hair (thanks to the 80’s) and went to a high school where hats were part of the school uniform. Oh, and did I mention I was overweight? How overweight was I you ask? I was so overweight I had to be a ‘goth’ so I could wear the over-sized black clothes in the hope they would slim me down – they didn’t. Not for me. Not for Alison Moyet.

Not only was I fat, I was also mathematically challenged and so I found myself at Star Schools one night a week with 100 other idiots. Perhaps if the teachers had used examples like – Two loaves when cut into slices make 20 sandwiches. How many loaves of bread would Melinda have to buy in order to make 100 sandwiches – I would have grasped the basic principles much easier.

Anyway, Thursday nights were extra maths lessons and they were the bane of my existence. All of us would wait outside the lecture room for the last varsity class to finish and then we would walk in one by one and get our card tagged so our parents knew that their hard-earned money was indeed being used correctly. Our lecturer, Mr Levy, complete with his King David accent would try and keep us entertained for 1 and a half hours with equations, algebra and applied maths. “Cummon geyes, it’s easy. Don’t give up, fart it!” he would enthuse us we all sat dumbstruck, pencils in ear, drool down the sides of our mouths. “Ah know it seems hard, but just keep trahing.”

One particular night we are outside waiting for class to start and I needed to go to the loo. There was no way I could wait this one out. So off i went. It was Winter, I remember it clearly. I had my school uniform on, which included a white shirt, a tunic, a tie, stockings and enormous scuba diving broeks…did I mention I was overweight? By the time I got back everyone had already gone in and Mr Levy was waxing lyrical about 2 pies or something (I know realize it was Pi and not pie). I skulked in and took a seat way at the back so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. “Ahem, Malinda ah need to tag your card.” So off I skulked again to the front, down a lot of stairs, across the lecture room, all the way to the teeny tiny desk. People started giggling, there might have even been a guffaw or two but I ignored it – they were probably laughing at my hair or my weight – and eventually made it to the Mr Levy. He clipped my card and sent me on my way. As I walked away from him I heard what I thought was “Oi Vey“…it could have been “Okay”. I turned to see if he was talking to me, once again with my back to the class. And once again the class erupted.

Why you ask…what could be that funny? In my rush to get back to class, I had accidentally tucked the back of my dress into my ‘broeks‘ and extra-large stockings. Instead of a maths revision class, students were witnessing uranus (my anus) and to add insult to injury there was a cute little tail of toilet paper half way down my leg….

Needless to say I never went back. I never passed Maths. And that’s how I got into PR!


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