I went to school at a time when strange people were called 'Samples'. 'Sample' was, in fact, more than a trivial dismissal of snuffers who got singing tiffin boxes. It was a very sturdy social construct that rose above gender and class differences. Of course, I went to a school where the only gender was female and the only class was middle. But then, if one were to use a reductionist perspective, (and who doesn’t), 'Sample' was a nail that usually hit odd heads pretty often. And it was cheerfully accurate. In fact, a testimony to its dogged endurance is how people, despite learning new words, will slip in 'Sample' calling ever so frequently.
Two ten year old girls are punished at P.T. The thin one who doesn't like being punished wants water from the flask kept nearby. The tubby one who hates P.T. is taking the opportunity to follow dust motes swimming across a sun beam.
'You want water?', thin one asks, offering the flask.
'Not from that cup', tubby one answers.
'It looks like a plastic piss-bag'.
'Piss-bag?' No, not at all.'
'Yes it does. It looks like the plastic piss-bag of a plastic cow.'
Thin one looks at the plastic cup again and laughs at what she suddenly sees.
'Sample', she guffaws.
A group of seventeen year olds are waiting eagerly for their Psychology papers. The teacher saunters in and paces to and fro.
‘How have we fared, Ma’am?’
‘As expected. And I’m not an optimist, so you know what I’ve been expecting.’
She gives out the papers. Tubby girl walks up to get her paper.
‘Hmm, Mukta, your answers were rather good’, she smiles.
‘They’d have been better if they were correct.’
‘Sample’, Tubby mutters under her breath as she mentally curses teacher using her new Wicca crafts.
Tubby has grown up, moved out, and made friends. Her friends are smart and funny but a little soft on the top. Typical conversation:
Soft top A: ‘You know what? I had set a reminder in my mobile to alert me when it’s time to pay the bill. Hee hee ha ha ha ha!’
Tubby waits patiently.
Soft top A: I had forgotten all about it. Hee hee ha ha ha ha!
Tubby waits patiently.
Soft top A: My reminder hee hee ha ha was: ‘You moron! Pay the bill!’ Then I ..hee hee ha ha..forgot about it and when I got it, .... hee hee I thought Orange had sent it to me.
Tubby: Hee hee ha ha ha! Sample!
Conversation with Soft top B:
Tubby: You should quit smoking now.
Soft top B: I’ve decided to. But I can’t quit it totally.
Soft top B: I think I’ll reduce the number of days I smoke.
Tubby: Yeah. That’s a good idea. Do it only on weekends or something.
Soft top B: Yes. I’ll smoke only on days starting with ‘T’.
Tubby: Hmm. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Soft top B: And today and tomorrow. Snicker snicker!
Now, as chance would have it, soft top B (lawyer with baritone voice) somehow got talking to soft top A (colleague with soothing voice like a needlework teacher who only whispers unto her yarns).
Then, Tubby gets a call from soft top B.
‘She sounds nice’, he says at midnight.
Tubby first rolls eyes, then closes them, and goes off to sleep.
Next day, while Tubby tries to reason with a spider to move out of her hair-twist, soft top A taps her from behind, making her leap.
‘He sounds nice. I’d have never guessed you’d have pals like that.’
Tubby would have rolled her eyes but then quickly notices the accommodating spider exiting from hair accessory.
So, she benignly states in what would have been mellow, treacly light on a film set: ‘Samples!’