By Donald Denoon
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Additional resources for Afterlife: A Divine Comedy
I record these reflections only — as they say here — to get them off my breast. CLASS STRUGGLES I n high school, as in society at large, there were mutually exclusive classes. Teachers allocated us to streams the day we arrived, prophesying how each would perform and what each could achieve. All kids — except Aborigines of course — had to stay at school until age 15. It was not mandatory, although that was how it felt, for boys to quit on their 15th birthday or at the end of the next football season and sign on as apprentices.
Instead, he wrapped himself in silence. I assumed that he was putting a brave face on my defection, until it dawned on me that stoicism was not in his character. Celia had insisted on staying at school for the School Certificate, then going to uni where she took up with feminists and campaigned for abortion law reform. Blind Freddy could sense Father’s outrage against Celia; but to me he behaved as if a son’s rejection was a normal feature of family relations. Perhaps it recalled his rejection of his own father’s Primitive Baptist quietism.
Even hospitals are dangerous, despite the chaste clinical style that nurses and doctors adopt. I was completely unprepared 30 afterLIFE to respond to my first sexual proposition. It was made by a female nurse, and the only deflecting response which came to my horrified mind as a way to avoid offence was to claim general disinterest in female companionship. That was a most unwise evasion. Gossip is endemic among hospital workers, and perhaps more widely. Within half an hour therefore I had to respond to propositions from two male colleagues.