When I studied for my GCSEs back in the mid-nineties (I know what you’re all thinking – surely, with his boyish good looks, wrinkle-free forehead, and not a single grey hair in sight, he can’t possibly be that old; but, like Shakira, my hips don’t lie), there were certain core subjects we had to take as part of the National Curriculum: namely English, Maths and Science.
English was split into two subjects, English Literature and English Language, and we received a separate grade for each. Maths counted as a another.
Then, for reasons I am still unclear on to this day, the three sciences (biology, physics, and chemistry) were also studied separately, and for our efforts we were awarded two GCSEs. Not three. Not one per subject, like you might expect. Oh no. Two.
This was sold to us on the premise we were studying ‘double’ science, as if that would convince us we were still getting a fair deal (“wow, double science, that’s twice as good as just regular science!”), but even those who struggled with maths could tell it was utter bullshit. Biology, physics and chemistry are three separate branches of science and, if students are going to have to persevere with all three of them, then surely they should receive a ‘triple’ science GCSE, with three distinct grades.
It’s not rocket science, really (because, unless I’m mistaken, you don’t even study that at A-level).
Anyway, grievances aside (can you tell this still pisses me off nearly three decades later? Maybe I’ll bring it up with Ollie’s teachers when he chooses his GCSE options at the end of this academic year, because they’ve still not added the extra qualification even now), I ended up doing well in my exams, but only because I was good at two of the subjects, and this made up for the third.
Biology was always my favourite (and, if it weren’t for the truly formidable ‘Love Machine’, the same comment would also be true of Girls Aloud’s back catalogue, because ‘Biology’ is a fucking tune), and I was good at it, so I ended up studying the subject at A-Level, then again as a minor course in my first year of university – although, in all honesty, this was only because the subjects I really wanted to do clashed with my law courses.
I also really enjoyed chemistry (and, if it weren’t for ‘Closing Time’ and ‘Secret Smile’, the same comment would be true of Semisonic’s back catalogue, because ‘Chemistry’ is also a tune) but, unlike biology, it would be fair to say I struggled with it. Ok, it would be even fairer to say I was shit at it.
I was fascinated with all the scientific experiments and the periodic table (fans of my monthly pub quizzes will attest to this), but I really struggled with topics like chemical equations and reactions, and it ended up being my lowest mark at GCSE by some margin. So, in that respect, perhaps it’s best I didn’t have to study it separately from the other two subjects, because chemistry on it’s own was a shit-show, yet I still somehow ended up with a double ‘A’ grade overall, thanks to my performances in biology and physics. Imagine the core sciences are the three members of Nirvana, then for me chemistry was Krist Novoselic.
Finally, we had physics, which I always found to be intolerably dull (it was my least favourite of the three sciences by some margin), but I was somehow pretty good at it. Again, probably for the best, bearing in mind my performance in chemistry. In fact, using the same regrettable Nirvana analogy, physics was always Kurt Cobain, because my performance was generally good, but I took no joy from it whatsoever (and, by default, that leaves Dave Grohl representing biology, because he’s always fun and really interesting).
In fact, physics was so boring, I can only assume the final exam paper was marked more generously than the one in chemistry, because to this day none of it makes any sense to me whatsoever, and I have never got my head around all the laws created by the likes of Pascal, Hooke and especially Newton (who, it now transpires, was only the second most baffling Isaac in human history).
Nevertheless, despite loathing this part of the subject, when I was in first year at university I decided to come up with my own series of laws based on observations I had made in human behaviour (because I was/am a nerd like that, and girls weren’t exactly troubling my diary at the time), and I called these, rather appropriately, Greg’s First Law, Greg’s Second Law, and Greg’s Third Law.
Greg’s First Law
‘When talking in a loud environment, the source of the noise will suddenly and unexpectedly cease at the precise moment of maximum embarrassment.’
By way of an illustration for Greg’s First Law, consider the following example of two people having a conversation in a nightclub:
*Very loud music plays in the background*
A: “I’m nipping to the bar in a minute, if you want a drink?”
B: “Say again?”
A: “I’m nipping to the loo, then I’ll go to the bar. Want another?”
B: “Sorry, I can’t hear you over the music!”
A: “DO YOU WANT A DRINK?! I’M GOING TO THE LOO THEN THE BAR!”
B: “YEAH. I’LL HAVE ANOTHER RUM AND COKE. CHEERS! YOU GOING TO THE BAR NOW?”
A: “No, I’m going to the loo first.”
A: “I SAID, I’M GOING TO THE LOO FIRST, BECAUSE IF I DON’T GO NOW-“
*Loud music suddenly and unexpectedly stops*
A: “-I’M GOING TO FUCKING PISS MY PANTS!”
*Everyone in the vicinity turns and laughs at Person A*
NB: I hasten to add this is purely an example, rather than based on any personal experience to my knowledge, but I’ll be honest and say it did spring to mind very quickly.
Greg’s Second Law
‘When walking through a double set of doors and holding each door open for the person behind you, that person will never thank you in the same way twice.’
For example, if you are entering a small foyer type area, and you hold the first (outer) door open for someone, and they say “thank you”, they are then physically unable to say “thank you” again for the next (inner) set of doors that you hold open, and will invariably opt for something friendlier (because, you’re door buddies now), such as “thanks,” “ta,” or “cheers.”
If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself next time you find yourself in a double-door situation.
NB: Of course, if you live in London, there’s no point trying this, because the other person almost certainly won’t speak to you at all.
Greg’s Third Law
‘When creating three scientific laws of human behaviour, always write them down, because you will never be able to recall the third and final law two decades later, and if you’ve already committed yourself by writing 1,000 words of a blog entry, you’re going to look a right tit when you can’t remember the last one.’
One thought on “Blog’s First Law”
I subscribe to Greg’s laws! At least you got 2 Sciency GCSEs. I had to choose between Art and Physics at A level and close Art along with English Lit and Geography. My dad was an industrial chemist/food technologist so I always felt a bit lacking in my science knowledge. I like the music references – especially because I’m a big Semisonic, Foo Fighters and Nirvana fan. An entertaining read as always.