Initial Confusion

Scene: The SLC Junior Black (year 10) room and environs, 1959, season not determined.

The Issue: Students were given essay tasks in various subjects, particularly English and History, with the topic being something recently covered in each syllabus. The product was presented in the appointed time (well, by a certain percentage anyway).

There then occurred a hiatus period when students waited with apprehension for the return of the efforts to each. It is particularly relevant that mention be made at this point of specific annotations which may appear on a product. Most relevant were those of Reverend Brother Bernie Crawford and Reverend Brother Dan Mooney.

Br Crawford would note, on unsatisfactory endeavour, “PSM”, a very undesirable annotation, meaning “Please See Me”. A sign of impending doom.

Br Mooney, however, was of the habit of ascribing –in red biro mind you – to less than satisfactory efforts; “BTM”, (Bring to Me) considered by an assembled throng as the ultimate condemnation, and precursor to penance.

One student who received a BTM commented to fellow students “Bugger it. I am not going to him with this.  He will forget. I will take my chances!” (Or words to that effect.)  This bloke was counselled by any number that he would not get away with this, but he was determined.

Well, he lasted three days before he was confronted in the school yard by Br Mooney, who reminded him that he had beckoned him in the usual (BTM) way.

“But Brother, I thought they were your initials!”

A pregnant silence. Ultimately the student was dismissed, but not without a vitriolic critique on his essay.

(As we all said later, a great defence, but one that could be used only once!)