I’VE been thinking a lot about the kinds of insults and slaggings that were flung around when I was at school.

Particularly about the way that someone at school would definitely find something to take the mickey out of you for, even if there was nothing glaringly obvious, and how abstract and nonsensical these putdowns became.

I remember once, I was heading down to join my pals after being held back in a class over some homework I had, once again, failed to hand in on time.

Having got off scot-free for this misdemeanour, I felt 10ft tall and was looking forward to joining in with some patter.

I approached as they waited for me and one of the guys’ eyes locked onto me. He was thinking of something to slag me for. The rolodex of his mind was doing overtime as he searched for a scathing but funny insult. As I got closer I tried to make sure I didn’t trip over anything, stand in dog mess, made sure my clothes were all sitting right, smoothed down my hair and quickly wiped my face in case there was anything on it.

Everything, I thought, was fine. But as I approached my pals, the guy who had been watching me whispered something to them. Everyone stopped talking and turned to stare at me, smirks creeping across their faces. They were looking at my legs. Whatever they were about to say would be creative, to say the least.

“Here, Chrissy,” the guy said. “Have you goat wan leg shorter than the other?”

Hilarity ensued as the rest of my pals fell about the place laughing.

“Wit d’ye mean?” I asked, looking down at my legs of seemingly identical length.

“The way ye walk. Ye walk like this,” and he then performed an impression of how I walked. I had felt self-conscious of many things in my younger years, but never how I walked. I was worried I was going to have to change my style of walking now.

These slaggings were usually forgot about within a matter of minutes as the group moved onto someone else’s perceived quirks and shortcomings.

Then, however, you’d be faced with a moral dilemma. Do you join in and laugh at someone else’s misfortune, perhaps an easy decision to make if the new target had been joining in with laughing at you. Or do you make a stand. Do you say, “Here, boays. That’s no really oan. Pack it in,” at which point everyone will turn on you, but your conscience will be clear.

Lunchtime at secondary school really threw up the big philosophical questions in life.

Sometimes you couldn’t help yourself and you’d come up with the perfect slagging for somebody, nothing too horrible but very funny, and out it would come. Raucous laughter from the rest of your pals as the target looks dejected. Then they’d look at you, eyes brimming with fire: they’re about to get you back.

I remember I did this once, I can’t remember the slagging I delivered or for what reason but the return serve from my pal was exquisite.

“Aye, well,” he said, thinking for a minute, searching for something to hit me back with. I took a sip of Irn-Bru as I waited, feeling emboldened by my own comic wit, sure I could put him right back down again no matter what he said. “Look at the way you drink juice! Ye drink it like a pure posh person!”

I had no idea what this meant, I removed the bottle from my lips. “Wit?” I said.

“Drink it again. Look! Watch!”

I drank from my bottle as I normally would, the way, I assumed, everyone did.

Everyone erupted and started drinking their own bottles and cans of juice in pretend posh fashion, pinkies raised in the air, swirling the juice around their mouths like they were trying an expensive wine. A group of young Shettleston aristocrats.

It makes me laugh so much looking back on that moment. Maybe the way I drink Irn-Bru is “posh” but, regardless, it was such a weird, funny and abstract slagging to deliver to someone.

There’s undoubtedly a line where insults, even between pals, can cross over and become less about having a laugh and more about filling someone with anxieties for other people’s amusement, but, when done right and in good spirit, it can bring mates closer together. Whenever I bump into old school pals at the pub we end up laughing and reminiscing about the days we spent terrorising each other and the absurdity of the things we used to say to each other.

Never thought I’d say this given how much, at the time, I hated it, but I miss it. Working from home provides zero patter. I might pay my wee brother to come to mine and just give me pelters every 20 minutes so I can feel that burn of embarrassment once again.