So, how did Jack (or Sophie) get on in the Leaving?

You might have been blathering all year about how tough the exams are, but do you know how to deflect the nosiest question?

 

Your son or daughter is about to get the results of the Leaving Cert. Everyone knows that because you have been chewing ears all year about how tough it’s been and how overhyped it all is and how you wish you could have sat the exam for them.

Now it’s coming home to roost: everyone this week from your great aunt who lit all the candles to the guy in Spar who sold you all the energy bars will want to know if your student got what he or she wanted. That’s fine if your child played a blinder, not so easy if they didn’t get what they hoped for and all you want to do is stop the conversation dead.

So what are the 10 best responses if you want to head off the rudest question of them all: “So, how did Jack get on in the Leaving?”

1. Consummately. He extracted from the exploit a corollary synonymous with the magnitude of exertion he invested. 2. Fine. Last thing we need is another lawyer. 3. The Leaving Cert is a crude and outmoded metric for measuring a person’s ability. It cheapens students’ efforts and undermines their sense of worth. I’m disappointed in you for bringing it up. 4. Oh come on, I can’t be expected to remember every little thing. 5. Mercifully the Leaving Cert has spared Jack a life of drudgery propping up Ireland’s creaking health system. We are all very relieved. 6. Gosh, it’s all so different now than when I was doing the Leaving. I can’t make head nor tail of this new points system. It’s all double Dutch to me. 7. Why don’t you ask him? He doesn’t tell me anything. 8. He failed and it’s your fault for not lighting enough candles for your godson. Now you have to live with that. 9. Jack is in a witness protection programme. I’ve said too much already. 10. Brilliantly. The whole experience was so rewarding, he wants to do it again.

And what if it’s your niece/ customer/neighbour that has a child getting Leaving Cert results? How do you acknowledge the event without getting your head bitten off or intruding? Here are top five safest ways to ask: “So, how did Jack get on in the Leaving?” 1. Jack’s a wonderful lad, great mop of hair. Keen sense of smell too, I always said that about him. He’ll go far no matter what he gets in the Leaving. 2. Isn’t it wonderful how many options there are for kids nowadays, what with all these makey-uppy colleges you don’t need any points for? 3. I’ve a few jobs going here in the shop if Jack doesn’t want to take up his place in medicine straight away. Just saying. 4. I’d say you’re glad it’s all over. (Whispered) Is it all over? 5. I suppose Jack will be off to Magaluf now. I’ll light a candle for him. And finally, what if you are Jack? Just remember, this is the most anyone will ever spend asking about your Leaving Cert results for the rest of your life. Promise. So just say nothing and ride it out. It’ll make a great pub story one day.

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