Please read this carefully – I do not mean poking them physically. That would be heinous, criminal, and deserving of being strung up on the nearest stout tree. I mean poking them mentally.
I set my limits. No-one under 18 gets poked. Children and teenagers have enough trouble growing up – they do not need the additional stress. There are enough teachers, parents, administrators, and school chums to make them miserable – they do not need me.
And I do not distress the vulnerable even if they are older than 18. People with physical or mental burdens need all the help that a sympathetic society can offer. I try be kind discreetly, lest they feel I am making a mark of them. No-one should be saddened in those circumstances.
But I do enjoy finding a perfectly healthy deserving specimen of youth and twisting their minds until something snaps. I have a good set at my work – young men, and occasionally young women, who are intelligent, sturdy, and gullible. Leading them down ye olde garden path is almost a virtue and certainly a pleasure. The squeal of dismay at the end when they discover they have been practised upon is reward enough for anything.
Take the business of life before 1975. An unexplored country for many of them – earlier than 1955 and they will believe in dragons, Mormons, and basilisks if you tell them. They understand instinctively how to operate the most arcane computer program but strain at any knowledge history. Egad – they know more mathematics than Methodism and very little of that. Macedonia and Meerschaum are alike to them. I believe they could be sold a bridge in any rivered city in the world.
You can play upon their emotions. They may be 20 or 30 or more but you can still use the schoolyard tricks of emotional blackmail and whispering and exclusion to get your own way. Even suggesting that they bring food as offerings sometimes works – morning tea is the best blackmail time. Beware of their tastes, however. They resort to McDonald’s more often than to a French bakery.
I do not talk about sex. They know far more about the subject than I and are in a position to put that knowledge to bad use. I privately wonder if they know what they are doing, but then I remember myself at that age and I realise that they are as clueless as I was. When I reflect that the sexual diseases possible in my youth were actually curable as opposed to the current crop I am glad time has rolled on and it can keep rolling, thank you…
Guilt is always a trip. I have had excellent teachers in my own ethnic group. We could guilt for Australia. I am not sure I can get one of the juniors to wash and wax my car with this but when the summer comes round again I am going to make the experiment.