Mel's Blog

The Wonder Years

School was most definitely the best years of my life. Nothing since has topped it and I’m starting to think that nothing ever will.

Others disagree with me on this and believe I’m reminiscing through rose-coloured glasses, to which I replied: “Glasses are for four-eyes!” That sort of joke at the expense of the bespectacled would’ve boded well in any Year 6 classroom, however it slammed my dinner party to a halt.

Perhaps I’ve just never grown up? Or perhaps my once-cool friends are now uptight, quail-munching boredom merchants who’ve forgotten exactly how great school really was.

Clearly, the film industry concurs with me on my love of school. I suppose that’s why there are so many excellent films made about school life – to name a few, Dead Poets Society, To Sir With Love and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

“Oh you guys haven’t seen Harry Potter, you think it’s juvenile? You know what else is juvenile? Your face!” I yell from the kitchen at my guests. This is not going well.

At this point in the evening, I had to acknowledge that some people didn’t enjoy school. And that’s fine. But I did. I suppose that’s because I was lucky enough to have great friends. Sure, all three of them were teacher librarians, but I had a nice time.

I loved the lack of surprise with school. You knew what you were wearing every day. You only needed three dresses to get through a whole year. Team that with a jumper for winter and you have your wardrobe sorted with four pieces of clothing. Take that Trinny and Susannah.

Where else but school can you go up to the tuckshop, slap $3.80 on the counter and walk away with a three-course meal and a drink? When else in life can you eat a sausage roll and a chocolate milk every day for seven years and still weigh only 41kg? Primary school or, in a pinch, Fashion Week. No, Kelly, I’m not encouraging eating disorders, I was joking. Guys, I don’t have any room in the fridge so someone needs to eat those four potatoes. Please, Kelly? No, you’re sulking now. Brilliant, we must do this again.

Fine. So I haven’t convinced you, or my friends, that school was ace. My friends are now talking about the lavender panna cotta they had in Melbourne. Boring. I ask if they have yawn-flavoured panna cotta in Melbourne, but I am ignored.

I ask you this, ladies and gentlemen of the world’s worst dinner party, if school is not the best years of your life then what is?

Let’s start at the beginning. Is school better than child care? You and 52 other kids you don’t know in a sandpit fighting for the attention of a 19-year-old girl who gets paid $12.56 an hour to not adequately stop you from eating sand.

If school isn’t the best years of your life what is? University? Living with nine people in a flea-ridden share house at Tarragindi eating noodles with custard powder because that’s all you can afford. Studying for a degree in a job that, thanks to robots and Twitter, won’t exist in 10 years.

School was the best years of my life. It only gets harder from there. With fewer Nutella sandwiches. And more boring dinner parties with people who 10 years ago you were giving wedgies to – not wedges with aioli and rosemary salt.

As originally published in The Courier Mail