Friday, 28 November 2014

Page 80

There are many unanswered questions that may never have a satisfactory answer. Some of those questions include:
  • Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
  • Why are the Kardashians alive; and what is their purpose?
  • If you put a chameleon in a room full of mirrors, what colour would it turn?
  • How did a passport made of paper survive the 9/11 attacks but steel didn't?
  • If man evolved from monkeys why do we still have monkeys?
  • Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?
  • When does it stop being partly cloudy and start being partly sunny?
But my own personal unanswered question is:
  • What happens on page 80?
To even have a guess at an answer you kind of need to know the circumstances that lead up to the question. Here is the scenario behind the question.

One day, in an English classroom in 1987, there is a substitute teacher covering a double period of 3rd year English. She is young and has most likely just qualified as a teacher ten minutes before the class started.

Without a clue about what the class was meant to be doing she blindly hands out a book which is neither on the 'approved' list or anything the class has heard of.

Dread covered the entire classroom in just a few seconds. Everyone knows that an hour and ten minutes of mindlessly reading a book aloud, which tomorrow would be forgotten, was too much to bare. Somehow a classroom full of bored teenagers reading a book out loud made time slow down. What was a little over an hour could easily seem like an entire lifetime.

Stephen Hawking once stated that if you had a long enough classroom, with two rows of children reading aloud to each other, and walked between the rows you could actually exit the classroom ten minutes before you entered. He also stated that the effect of time slowing down could be observed more on a sunny day in June.

LEGAL NOTE: There is no evidence to suggest that Stephen Hawking ever stated the above; it is merely a rumour that may or may not have started at the above point.

OK, back to the topic. So a class of 30 children had 15 books. And the book was a book of short to medium poems. Poems were read, discussed, and then on to the next. To be honest the dread soon faded because it wasn't that bad of a book. But then it happened, just as someone was half-way through a poem the bell rang. As with any class that bell was the all-important signal to get out and waste 5 minutes before the next lesson started. The fact it was a substitute teacher changed nothing - the bell rang and within mere seconds the classroom was empty.

What does this have to do with page 80? The poem that was being read started on page 79 and finished on page 80. I have no clue how the poem ends; and to be honest I have no clue ow the poem starts I'm just hoping if I see the poem itself, or the exact book, again I will remember it.

Page 80 creeps back in to my thoughts every now and again as I try to recall the poem or the book. And every once in a while I'll mention it to old school friends who cannot remember the day, lesson, teacher, or the book. It is like page 80 will never be known. But every poetry book that was published before 1988 that catches my eye I instantly turn to page 79 to see if it is the right book.

So far the book, or poem, has not been found and may never be. But it hasn't stopped me looking; and I may never stop looking. If I ever do find it I'll post the poem, and book details here - even though it won't mean much to anyone but me.

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