Paul Clarke

I crossed another item off ‘the list’ today by completing my RSA training. So that I didn’t lose my mind in the bureaucratic vortex of the Westfield Tower on William St, I scribbled away during the six-hour seminar. These are some of the disjointed observations and thoughts:
It’s 9am and I’m waiting for the RSA instructor to start speaking. His name is PAUL CLARKE, apparently (according to the AV of a policeman in a high-vis jacket pointing to his name in superimposed text).
The room is silent: there are 17 of us in here and counting.
Now 19.
People are either staring ahead of them blankly or flicking listlessly through the


PAUL CLARKE is making a fuss, trying to herd the tables into straight lines like it’s a crowd of disinterested water buffalo.
Two French girls with thin faces are sitting opposite me.
I can see into the adjacent room where another instructor is stretching in his seat, lifting his rolls of fat like you would a bag of onions.
A girl sitting on an adjacent table is staring at me – I can feel it’s heat on the side of my face. I don’t know that she’s ever seen colour before. She’s German.
PAUL CLARKE’s favourite phrase is “it’s a double-edged sword”.
Isn’t it stunning that evolution has designed us as two puzzle pieces that need to fit together to make another human being? It’s like Nature sat down and said: “What is the most rudimentary and yet poetic way that I can make this happen?”
PAUL CLARKE has just told us that he also works part time in an RSL. He’s got a slight belly and a round jaw. He has the curves of boyhood about him still.
My feet are bored.
PAUL CLARKE is quite proud of his self-coined phrase: “the see-saw of death”, which he uses to explain the correlation between the alcohol percentage and the level of consciousness in any one individual.
I’ve realised that it’s impossible to say “sobers us up” quickly on repeat.
PAUL CLARKE’s very witty, according to PAUL CLARKE, summation of the concept of “beer-goggles”: “You go to bed with the princess and wake up with a dragon.” I think I just heard one of Germaine Greer’s ovaries burst in anger.
PAUL CLARKE gives his RSL regulars a lift home if he’s leaving at the same time and his second favourite phrase is “100%” as a substitution for ‘correct’.
There’s a boy in this class with a stunning scar that reaches from his bicep to his elbow. It’s like his skin was putty for a moment and someone skidded their hand across it, making it ripple unevenly, and then it set again.

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