The Law of the Playground
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farrow
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Farrow was a gangly kid who was assuredly mental, and ginger. One of those 'funny' ones.

Allegedly his parents had an obsession with lawnmowers, and had a vast collection. At Christmas a single lawnmower would be decked in fairy lights and placed on the roof of their house.

Towards the end of the year I was phoned by my mate Jon, who barked "You know Farrow? He's DEAD!" before he was inexplicably cut off. I thought it was a joke, obviously, but Farrow really was dead; he had hung himself. That should have been the end of it, but perhaps because of his eccentricity, comedy stylings became applied to his suicide. It became common knowledge, accepted fact that he had "Put the noose round his neck and stood on a chair as a joke, and then he called his friend and said 'come round and see what I've done!', but he accidentally slipped off the chair and really killed himself!" It seems pretty obvious to me that it was a cry for help. I mean, how good a joke would that have been? Friend Enters Room. Farrow: 'Hahahahhaha! Look: I'm standing on a chair, and I have a noose round my neck!'

Then it entered a new stage of ludicrousness. With that touchingly naďve manner that teachers possess, where they assume that kids will be traumatized by a pupil killing themselves - as opposed to, say, finding it funny - our tutor asked for silence so that we could discuss the matter.

"I just wanted to make sure everyone knew what happened, and had the right story." Then, unexpectedly: "Does anyone know the right story?"

Benham, of equally mental and ginger status to Farrow, put up his hand. With deadly sincerity (he was not complex enough to be this deadpan), he said "He was talking to his friend on the phone, when he fell over the balcony and hung himself on the telephone cord."

I looked around. There were no smirks, no raised eyebrows. "I see," said the tutor. "I wanted to make sure everyone was clear on this."

What!? I wanted to stand up and shout "For fuck's sake, he didn't accidentally hang himself with a telephone!" But I started to doubt myself. I still don't know to this day. Maybe he DID accidentally hang himself with the telephone cord. Or maybe people just couldn't accept that a ginger fool would die in a way that wouldn't involve slapstick.

Luckily, later that evening, my spiritualist uncle was on hand to give me some excellent advice: "You must pray to the Great Spirit for your friend-" "He's not my friend!" I never did pray to the Great Spirit, so if Farrow is in Spiritualist Hell I guess it's my fault.
approved Jan 8 2004, submitted Oct 23 2003 by Raz .
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