Thursday, January 15, 2015

A slap in the face

We were in class around 10 am. A small class of 16 kids around the age of 12 in the spring of 1999. Geography was in session. I was pretty damn good at it. I could name most of the countries in the world along with their capitals, i knew every single big city in Greece too. It was a subject where i flourished along with history. I was like an information sponge back then.

The school was a private school. It was run by a gambling glass wearing man with fake teeth and self-destructing habits. When someone did something bad he smacked them in the face once or twice as a form of punishment. I only remember him hitting the boys. I remember once hiding in the toilet for 2 hours after i was kicked out of class for being noisy during theology so he wouldn't find me.

He comes in as a surprise visitor and asks what are we studying.

"Geology sir!", echoes from the class with a commanding shout.

"Great. Who is going to stand up so he can show me some countries on the world map?", he says.

We had a particular person (let's call him Sokratis) in class that was always conjuring stories to get out of trouble, enslaved us to do chores and he was the most selfish football player i had ever seen. Nonetheless he was our friend, i guess because when he was not surrounded by his other older friends or cousins he was not an asshole.

The previous week we had finally edged a mini football marathon between us and the high-school class 33-32. So he decided to storm into the principal's office and steal a fake golden cup as a trophy for our win. The principal (the same guy this story is about) sees the missing trophy that was on the left of his office entrance right next to "The Dictator" by Charlie Chaplin. He goes on a revenging rampage trying to find out who did this.

He confronts me, this friend and two others from the higher classes in the entrance to the main building trying to beat the information out of us. Then my best buddy then Stavros arrives. Back then he was a far cry from what he looks like now. Just like i was. No wonder we matched. Small, thin, with baggie clothes and round big glasses and spiky hair.

He arrives casually with a smile on his face and a brand new croissant he had just purchased from the cantina in school. Then Sokratis points at Stavros and says:

"I saw him going out of that room!"

The gambling principal turns around and smacks him in the face so hard that his glasses were thrown away and his croissant fell on the ground. What a bunch of assholes.

Back to our story, after that incident i was fuming as he treated me like garbage every single time he had the opportunity. This was my bright moment.

"Sokratis is pretty good at geography sir!", i yell with lightning reflexes and a quick smirk on my face. Comedy was about to ensure.

He walks to the World Map and i will remember the following thing until i die and hell freezes over.

"Tell me Sokratis, where is Greece on this map?"

You could feel the tension rising, the anticipation of me and my fellow students and the nervousness of the boy next to the nefarious principal.
"Here sir!", he says with a fake confidence that would fool anyone that didn't know him.

"You stupid malaka! This is Africa!" replies the principal.

He then unleashes a fearsome right slap on Sokratis's face and after the initial silence everybody else in class bursts into laughter.

What is the moral of this story however? If there is any that is.

This man now earns 1.500.000 euros per year and he plays football for one of the leading teams on the planet, Borussia Dortmund. He claimed once in 2008 in a newspaper that in his free time he likes to read history and geography books.

The principal lost all of his teeth, his wife left him and his son is a failure. He had multiple heart attacks, lost the school and all his property. I am not even sure he is alive now.

There is another story i can share with you. All of these may seem pointless, but they are not. There is always a moral in the end. You learn that in the army, you can find something positive even in a pile of shit.

I was always good with the English language. Sure i am not perfect. But i speak and write much better than most people if i make the effort. It is one of the only good things i gained from playing World of Warcraft. Vocabulary, accent, speech and communication.

So from a young age in Greece parents instill a need to be multilingual to succeed in this complicated world in their kids. Fine with me. I can speak Greek, English, French, Russian, Swedish and i am learning Finnish now. I was sent to a private school for foreign languages for english. I was pretty good and they recognized that, sending me to summer camps and advanced lessons 3 years above my age. I was there with the big boys and i was 9-10 years old. I was very noisy. Very noisy and irritating to some people. Especially a girl called Christina that was so ugly i would rather see the human race perish than procreate with her. Needless to say i hated her as much as she hated me. She sent me to the principal's office countless times. Once i was sent there accompanied by her and they both told me one month before my Proficiency Certificate in English exam that "There is absolutely no chance you will pass this exam with that attitude." She also told me i suck.

Forward a few months and the results are out. I passed with a great grade. I frowned upon the principal in the ceremony. 90% of the class failed the exam. Including that girl.

What is the moral of all these stories then?

First is that revenge is a part of human nature. We are a competitive species that always wants to be in power and make the others bow and submit to our superiority. And if they don't we will make them to. The other one is that you get what you deserve. Sooner or later. Sokratis made fun of us. He paid in the same way. My girl cheated on me for a new love. She got dumped 1 month later on Valentine's Day. A prick ratted me out in the general for sleeping in the army. He got 30 days extra service.

The last and most important part is: Never back down. Never. No matter what they tell you, no matter how nobody may seem to believe in you, you can do it. Have a goal, fixate on it, trust yourself, like yourself and you can do it. And do not seek revenge on others. Life is a wheel and it will keep spinning. My two cents for the day.

Good day Sweden!

On top of the world in the Arctic Circle.

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