Peon Icon: I do solemnly swear…


It’s not what it looks like. He stole from me. Besides, it was an accident. I mean, what’s a chisel in the lung between friends? Fine, I did it, okay? But he should never have been voted class rep. I was just correcting a miscarriage of democracy.

There I was, waiting to give my speech. I was up against some hunch-backed poindexter and a couple of direct-entry scrubs. It should have been a walkover. You just had to look at my record to see I was the right choice.

In first year, I was class rep for seven different modules. I can’t say I knew much about PY3702 Value and Normativity going in, and I’m not sure first year chemists are even eligible to represent honours psychology modules, but restrictive laws never stopped Gandhi, so why should they stop me? My unannounced arrival and speech was so bold that they voted me into the role anyway.

I was also head boy at my school, and during my term in office played a pivotal role in improving the consistency of school regulations. My proudest achievement being to establish, in line with the school’s pre-existing ban on FCUK clothing, a halting of all fundraising initiatives for the RSPCA, because it is an anagram of CRAPS.

The direct-entry nobodies went first. They both made the rookie mistake of reading bland speeches about being friendly and approachable from paper notes, both standing rigid and awkward like a couple of electoral herons. The second speaker, however, pulled out a slight lead because his American accent made the audience falsely believe he was more confident and sincere.

Then it was time for the real show. I strode out to the centre of class with my palms outstretched. My words weren’t from a piece of paper; they weren’t from the heart, either. My words were from my brain — my cold, calculating brain — words the audience would eat up like baby birds swallowing down their mother’s worm-meal spew.

I opened with my best “Hey Guys!” and an authoritative clap which hit the lecture theatre acoustics like thunder. I gave them the eye contact, the confident stride across the floor, the muscle flex and the spiel about my vast experience. They loved me. It was like Mother Theresa had come to Purdie B, with rock-hard abs.

While I spoke, the contacts I had been schmoozing and palm-greasing before the lecture were evangelising about me to their neighbours. There was What’s-Her-Name, and That-Guy from my tutorial group, both talking me up. It’s all about networking in the class rep game.

My minute was almost up. Time for the big finish:

I was dedicated to making, I mean, improving (half second smile, nod to module co-ordinator — see you at the student staff council meeting, professor) this into being a great module. I was hard-working, and I wanted this. I had wanted this since the day I first walked through those lecture theatre doors. Thank you for listening.

Twelve degree bow, another thunderclap, and that was me done. I gave Poindexter the eyes as we crossed. Follow that, chump.

The kid walked out in a natty fleece and a speech saved on his iPad. He went down the self-aware route with a haughty, “Ladies and Gentlemen.” Jeez, I thought, he was going to try and be funny? I settled into my chair and lit a metaphorical cigarette ready to watch the train-wreck.

But something weird happened. They laughed, a lot. He committed to the grandiose tone, parodying Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, and it worked. It wasn’t just stupid jokes, either. He made some real points. Why didn’t they put answers to the past paper questions online? How were labs really marked?

It was clever, sure. But he didn’t have the experience, couldn’t yell “Hey Guys!” as well as I could, and never once mentioned how much he wanted it. I assumed he would be the quirky footnote to my victory. I was wrong.

I came third. Third! Behind even the script reading American! I didn’t understand it. What was wrong with these people that they couldn’t see I was the obvious choice?

Whatever. I wasn’t going to stand by and let the stupidity of the herd damage this university. The Student Staff council meeting is tomorrow, and I refuse to miss it because some fleece wearing prat Napoleon-Dynamite’d me out of my rightful role.

I’m sure there will be many questions in the coming weeks: Where were you on the afternoon of October 20th? Who gave you the chisel? Where did you dump the body?

But for now, the only question that matters is: Hey Guys! Do you have any feedback about the module you’d like passed on?


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