What I've Learnt Won't Save My Life


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1. ~*~

 

What I've Learnt Won't Save My Life

 

  They threw the knowledge into our faces.

"You will need that!" they screamed,

their voices hoarse from reiteration,

burnt to torn flesh from the repetition.  

 

As we shook our heads,

glared down at essay papers and

maths books.  

 

And wondered

'When will we need to know this?'

Before obeying anyway,

because our education systems knew best.

 

Because even though we don't know how to vote,

our brains are brimming with cells and isotopes.

And simple first aid has been tossed to the side,

like unwanted rubbish, a toy left undesired,

before being replaced with

 the soothing balm of Pythagoras's Theorem.

 

And our minds are scoured clean,

of current events, the crime and punishments of today,

we all know about the tricks and taunts of Jack the Ripper.

The breadcrumb trail of torn-out organs he left behind.

But do you know how many years Stephen Wright received in prison?

Or Stephen Griffiths?

Probably not.

 

We were never taught what laws there are.

Let me just repeat that again:

We weren't taught the laws for the very country we live in,

but we all know how Henry VIII killed his women.

One was divorced, one beheaded, one died,

divorced, beheaded, survived.

And that's so much more important that financial advice.

 

Or maybe we should've learnt about domestic abuse?

Or what about mental disorders?

The monsters that haunt people's waking moments and snarl when they sleep,

ripping people from the inside out,

blackened claws of sorrow and despair tearing... tearing...

tearing...

 

And now the political cowers beneath the solar system,

like the least favourite child at a birthday party,  

even though I've got a pretty good idea which might be more important,

when I'm eighteen, and expected to elect a representative

for a bustling and struggling system I've never been presented with.

 

But whatever-

mental maths is far more important

than simple things like that,

even though I carry a calculator with me,

every. single. day.

 

  And wait,

what are the modern-day practical medicines?

I've only ever learnt about the ancient Hippocratic method.

Wouldn't that work instead?

What about ancient Egyptian methods?

Or we could pray, if need be,

 I know exactly which Greek god would help.

 

And when we asked how

we could afford a mortgage,

or how we steal ourselves a job,

We were reassured with words of butter and chocolate,

that 'our parents will teach us that',

but what about if our parents don't know?

Because they haven't been taught

these darling snippets of information either.

 

I can recognise a volcano by the shape of its cone,

I can tell you how it will explode

and the name of the magma that it will produce,

leaking from rock like blood from a wound.

But don't ask me to recite my human rights.

The very things that detail and protect the fragile string our lives

balance on,

the very things that list how we can and cannot be treated, 

the very things that describe how we can and cannot treat others.

 

Because why on Earth would I need to learn about that?

 

And yes, some of these things could be useful

(under very specific circumstances),

but do we all need to learn about Jane Austen's classics,

whilst we don't know how to look after children

when we really do want them?

 

Because even though I can't look after my own health,

the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.

And I can describe my clothes in three different languages,

but that's not going to be too useful when I'm stranded in a foreign country

and the emergency services don't understand a word I spit down the phone.

 

Did you know that the quadratic equation is

far more important than learning about bullying.

Go on! Fight them!

Because even if you're suicidal,

at least you'll know that

negative B plus or minus the square root of B squared minus four AC over 2A

equals X.

Useful, right?

 

So I'm going to point out

that my childhood has been relatively wasted,

on so-called 'education'.

Useless facts and figures and faces.

 

That won't do anything to save my life.   

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