I once came top in Latin (how?). It was a proud moment for my father (I imagine; he never said) as I was chosen with a handful of boffins to study Ancient Greek; he’d studied Greats at Oxford and probably felt how I would feel if one of my many children came over all poetic like (slim chance: too busy with girls, football or Camberwell carrots to bother with fey la-la-ness).
One would have thought that my Latin report would have been pretty darn cool? Well, not quite. The exact phrase which opened the report, which I remember exactly to this day (suffering, as I do, from an unnecessarily retentive memory, which is as much a curse as a blessing), was this:
McGonigal is a lazy and foolish child.
Say what you like about my old Latin teacher, you may comment, but at least he was perceptive. Well, perhaps. Perhaps not. He failed to mention that I was also disruptive, fickle, cruel, a bad influence, disorganized, and, above everything else, utterly, desperately bored, thus giving my parents a completely unbalanced representation of their youngest son.
Teachers, eh? Always hiding behind the language of obfuscation.