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Thursday, 19 April 2012
His name was Timberlimb,
Anglicised from something foreign, I believe.
He was employed to teach us woodwork,
but he never did. His thing was plastics.
Plastics are tomorrow, he would say.
To make the point he'd posted in the workshop
a cartoon of Tomorrow:
two suited city gents in earnest conversation
in an ulta-modern room: Everything
in here is made of glass, except the windows -
which are plastic, don't you know.
He'd chortle over that, thought it the height of wit.
We did not hit it off, Mr Timberlimb
and I: that happens sometimes -
as I'd find out later to my cost.
I made a table lamp one time. Plastic,
as you've guessed. My own design. I have
to say that I was very proud of it. Not he, for he
dismissed it with: It's modernistic rather
than completely modern, don't you feel?
Well, no, I didn't as it happened, and I wouldn't
have - not even if I'd understood the phrase.
Just every now and then - in a blue moon -
he'd demonstrate a metalwork technique.
Something quite spectacular - but not hands-on
for us. He showed us how to solder, braze
and weld. There was the time he drew a red
hot corkscrew shape from a small furnace.
So there he was, brandishing it, as a warrior
might his weapon, going into war. Sun-bright
and sizzling with heat. Cor, strewth,
a boy behind me said. I wouldn't fancy
that thing up my ******* in the night.
How's that to make you jump up out of bed!
Mr Timberlimb turned ashen,
left the school a short while after that.