Back in the day when you passed your school-leaving examinations, you could count on becoming a good clerk with one of the small companies they had around… that is if you knew somebody inside.
For back in the day, it did not matter whether you pass or you failed the school leaving, you catching your tail unless you knew somebody who was either somebody or knew somebody that could get you a good job.
They had some fellows who used to have things easy.
They weren’t rich but they came from the right family, the sort of family that knew people who could open doors, narrow as they were.
Some of these same fellows became big ones but not on merit because when they see bright boys who used to cut dem tail in school, they turn away because they know that them bright boys deserve the job that the fellows have and they deserve to be scrounging like so many others.
But so is life eh! Some men become real big because they born into the right connections.
Some poor guys study hard and found that whatever doors were opened for them, they had to push first with their knees.
Many poor people used this as the excuse. They say that how the system against them. How the system discriminate against them. They claim how they fail school leaving because the system did not want them to go and get clerk work.
But when it comes to exam, the system fair. They did fail. They shame fuh admit it but good as they were, they were not good enough.
They fail and since they did not have the right connections, they had to start from scratch.
Some of them end up at scratch. After a while they forgot their dreams. They forget they did want to become a clerk in Bookers or the civil service.
They decide to settle wherever they were, hoping that the boss man remember them at Christmas and when they get old, that the company gun pay them a pension on which they can pass their remaining days.
They didn’t cater for something called inflation and nationalization. When the nationalization thing started, dem boss man decided that it was time to begin to ship out their money.
They kept the company going, hoping that the nationalization thing would pass, but they kept shipping out their money. They send dem pickney outside too and meantime, the poor man find that things getting harder and harder.
Instead of waiting for pension, the poor fellow trying to figure out whether he gun live to ninety because the way the inflation going he gun have to work all he life because he can’t even afford to pay for the coffin.
The poor man sitting down pining away hoping that business gun pick up so that the boss man don’t have to send he home. But things didn’t pick up. Things start to go down… and fast too.
Meantime the boss man has one foot in and one foot out. He is living in two countries, six months outside and six months inside.
At least when he comes back, he does bring a tin a sardine, which the poor man had to hide to eat.
It was when he sat for all those hours doing nothing waiting for things to get better then he does wonder about the school-leaving certificate and why he did not pass.
Up to then he still saying they cheat him that he make the grade and if they did not rob he and all dem other boys, he would have big job like them middle class boys who used to play all day and ended up in good jobs and driving Holden motor cars.
Some of he friends encourage he to try he hand at pork-knocking. They say it have good money.
When he see dem boys they always have money and spending it too on liquor and women.
But that sort of life was not for him. He wanted to work in office. He settle for the storage bond but perhaps one day his children will not have to do like he did.
Only thing is that now the examinations change. Is no longer school leaving. It has another name, and some of these children writing fourteen and fifteen subjects. They don’t need dem big jobs that they can get with dem certificate but it is dem who will get it.
Not he pickney. This time is not the exam that cheating. Is the system. The more you try the harder it gets. Good thing he hold on to his two cents work. It still better than nothing which is what he had most of his life!
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