How not to make mistakes
Volume 1 – knot
Let’s make sure we get this right straight from the off. What I’m not going to do is preach or teach you anything (apologies if it happens inadvertently, believe me it’s not in the plan). The premise for this is perfectly simple. I am going to tell you all the mistakes I have ever made on the off chance that you yourself might avoid making them.
I’m starting with mistake number one – knot – because I think it will set the tone nicely and avoid you jumping to any mistaken conclusions such as hereby lies the path to enlightenment. Now, before we proceed, a small word to the wise, they’re not all going to be rude, but this one and the next could certainly be said to be a smallish step in that direction so if this is not for you, please proceed to mistake number 3.
Okay, in the style of Gary Rhodes, on to the actual mistake itself.
I promise I’m coming to the actual mistake very soon but first let me set the scene for you. I was not a new enough teacher (please don’t stop reading, there’s only two mentions of this throughout) to be let off the hook for that reason. In short, I should have known better.
However, there I was, thirty- something in the 90’s with my half- way- through- the -course -of Adult- Basic- Skills night class students. They were typically a nice bunch approximately half and half in the gender department. One of the group was a lovely Turkish woman looking to up her English skills. At the end of session questions, she asked if I could tell her what a (k)not was. I threw it open to the group. It’s a negative and it’s what sailors tie were a couple of suggestions. She was still troubled however, and explained further that in the sentence she had read, it was something that was seen in a forest.
AHAAA! The penny dropped and, like the idiot that I am, while the group finished their worksheets, I proceeded to do a drawing of a knot for her on the board. Now I am not much of an artist but I will admit to being overly zealous by the way of providing a visual cue – in short, I try too hard for my limited talents - so wasted no time in setting about producing a suitable drawing. I spent a good few minutes honing my knot on the whiteboard. If it wasn’t for what happened next I would still be proud of it.
As I stepped away to reveal my intricantly crafted knot I was taken aback by extremely loud and raucous laughter. For some seconds, I stood, offended. Then a slow trickle of remembrance of my gender studies days at college filtered through where emboldened feminists had urged us ‘modern’ women to take a mirror and actually inspect down below. (I could quote Luce Irigaray’s The Speculum here but the truth is I’d just be grasping for justification) Oh the mortification, laughter still ringing in my ears, as I turned to look at the board again and saw that my knot was, from any angle, in all its detailed glory, a foot and a half high vagina. Worse than that, frankly, my frantic rubbing at the board was only making things worse.
An actual knot. I rest my case.