Why my shirt was always tucked in while in secondary school

I hate needles. I dread injections. The devil has set camp in my throat. I can neither sip, swallow nor speak. I’ve contracted tonsillitis plus some funny infection, perhaps bilharzia.

I fear I might let out a war cry (or punch the lab lady in the throat) when I see the needle. I’m third on a lab queue for a blood test and your columnist is sandwiched by two ladies whom I suspect, from the discomfort in their eyes, will be required to pee in a cup! My column deadline is way overdue. So I’m typing this piece from a super app in my smooth Alcatel, feigning Batman’s composure and courage.

On Friday last week, I was at Lenana School’s auditorium watching the Metropolitan Drama Festivals. Lenana won the best play award. They had this play titled Lazarus, in which the son of some poor chap flunked in his KCSE and earned himself a permanent spot outside the gates of university. The play was good. But it didn’t capture my attention. The boys and girls in high school did.

Imagine, these fellows who are yet to discover what happens when sulphur nitrate is burned had the temerity to strut around in pairs, the shirt of the boy untucked, the white socks of the girl doused in arrogant brown dirt. The lady

— I won’t reveal her school

— had her left arm intertwined with the boy’s right hand. They were exchanging smiles and looks of affection the way Patel and Krishna do in Bollywood. I have a feeling they did non academic things later in the evening when the sun sneaked out to sleep. And that amazed me. If you, like I, earned an education from a Catholic school, you are by this time aware that freedoms of association and speech which we were denied are now manna and quail in high school.

In my high school days, an untucked shirt earned you a suspension. A poorly tied tie guaranteed you strokes of the cane, and walking around in the company of a girl, her arm around yours, was a sure way to attract slaps dipped in sin. And FYI, the injection wasn’t that painful. The lab lady even smiled at me.