My Beautiful Fucking Mind.
In 1968, in our leafy little primary school, (no snotters, no rickets, no Irish) when we were nine years old, they introduced us to the problem of the overflowing bath in arithmetic.
It runs like this.
A forgetful man wishes to have a bath so he turns on both taps but forgets (because he is forgetful) to put the plug in and is suddenly called away to the telephone. While he is away, the water keeps pouring out the taps, filling the bath. The bath fills at 10 gallons a minute and drains out the plughole at 5 gallons a minute. If the bath holds 100 gallons of water, how long before the bath overflows?
It took me ten seconds to solve it even though I was watching out the window for Batman who was coming at 11am to talk to us about road safety. My poor little classmates however, were in a right tizzy. They were pissing their pants trying to work out the answer before that fucking bath overflowed. They were troubled by the phone call to the forgetful man. At the door were three bags of bottle tops for the blind. They were frightened that the water would get in the skirting boards and flood the electrics. Do they make metal eyes out them? Help! The bath water will soak everything to fuck and back in the whole fucking house!
As the minutes passed, they blamed themselves. Our paintings on the wall looked shit. The water kept on rising in the bath. Their little legs were wiggling in panic. God, they hated the forgetful man. Forgetful? He was a fucking spastic. Can’t he hear the bath running? Is he fucking deaf and dumb as well? They couldn’t even phone him to tell him to turn the fucking taps off because he was ON the fucking phone and the line was busy and it might be a party line and anyway he shouldn’t be allowed to use the phone if he can’t run a fucking bath the stupid useless bastard, we hope he gets drowned, we will be blamed for the whole fucking mess when we got home.
It’s simple arithmetic so you maybe think I solved it by taking 5 from 10 and dividing 100 by the result, but you’d be wrong. This will become clear later. Meanwhile I watched out the window and put up my hand and said; “20 minutes.” Mrs Thompson turned over the page to check the answer and sniffed. I made her uneasy because I was always looking up her skirt at her knickers.