Friday 1 November 2013



French slipped into my classroom the other day.  I teach Comm Tech so the students have pretty cool projects on the go.  I nodded g'day and let him wander around and check out what was going down.  I saw him distract one girl, and, slick as can be, tip a book off her computer into his bag.  She didn't notice at all.  I've actually seen him use this move effectively to shoplift back in "the old days".

I asked him later what that was all about.  Turns out it was a novel about two girls having a competition to see who could lose the most weight; the winner would be the thinnest girl.  He said that he saw the book and that it was bad.  To him there was no debate; it was just bad.  He actually took it down to our school librarian, tore it half, and then handed him twenty bucks.  French told the librarian to buy something more redemptive.


French has another temp job after teaching all day.  There is the usual big rush for people to get their "snows on".  So he is working at a garage swapping out tires.  He was telling me about the people who work there: a family man, an alcoholic, an ex-cop, two ex-cons, and a stripper who works the cash.

The stripper is a single mother of two who works all day, and then a couple of nights a week down the street at a strip-club.  French found this out when she asked him for a lift to her night job.  French went back to work and flipped more tires, then he went back to the club and picked her up after her shift, and dropped her off at home.


I asked him about how he navigates the seemingly endless complexities of his life.  His only response was: "just keep working".