Do You Have A Receipt For That? The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia Holiday Special

A receipt? Well, no, I don’t. It was given to me as a gift. I’m not even sure I have the wrapping paper or the scotch tape and the card any more. It was given five years ago and there’s been a lot of council bin days since then…

And there is an interesting legal question – many of the possessions we own have been given to us by friends and relations on various occasions – but few of them have been given to us with any paperwork beyond a gift tag. Larger items that we have bought ourselves may indeed be recorded in a paper or electronic trail – store receipt, registration for guarantee, credit card entry, etc. These can be tied to us on a definite date, provided the paper bits have not faded or the company records destroyed. But nothing at all for a gift. And therein lies one of the best opportunities for the Backstabber.

a. Buy something digital and pay for it with a traceable record. Register it with the overseas maker via the internet and remove the registration papers. Do not touch it.

b. Give it to a friend or acquaintance in plain gift wrap. You can choose a festive occasion or any private date.

c. Wait. Eventually the item will fail and the user will attempt to reset it. With no password and no original registration. Learn their mobile phone number and block it from your phone.

d. If you are impatient for fun, put the item on the back seat of your car, smash the window, and then take it to your friend’s house. On the way home call in at the police station and report a burglary. Generally your insurance will pay for the window and then it is only a matter of time…


How To Lay A Kindfield – Part Three

The business of being mean to people occupies a great deal of the time and thoughts for the world’s leaders. Whether they are plotting war, famine, disease, or death – or just kicking back with a beverage, they are constantly dealing with unhappiness. It must take a toll on them.

Far better for them to approach things in a different way – to promote goodness, mercy, thoughtfulness, and kindness. Properly done, with adequate resources and long-term committment, this policy has the potential to devastate large portions of the globe. As individuals we can do no better than to try it for ourselves.

I’ve some experience in this – I give out presents each year during the Chanukah-Christmas period and have had the pleasure of seeing the trouble it has caused. In year’s past I selected books at new and secondhand stores to match the interests and pleasures of the recipients. I put all the people down upon one long paper list and then another long paper list of the appropriate books beside it, carefully aligned. Then I simply slipped the second list down one space and gave out the books on that basis. One year I slipped it two names and lost a half-dozen friends instantly. It was one of the most successful holidays ever.

Lately I have resorted to wines in plain bottles, for which I make up suitable labels. The wines are local produce and sometimes quite drinkable, so I have no fear about actually poisoning the recipients. This would be unfair, and probably illegal. I am content with whatever biliousness, stains, and argumentative behaviour that may arise from the stuff as it is.

Being kind to children is part of the tradition as well, What child would not welcome a pop-pop lawnmower to push around the loungeroom while the parents have a hangover? What child would be unhappy with a plastic rabbit that lays real rabbit poo out of its bottom when you push it up and down? Particularly if it comes with a real bag of real poo. And then there are the dollies. Big, elaborate dollies. Dollies that need an entire new wardrobe every time the child goes to the store…

Now promoting happiness is one thing – promoting morality is, in some ways, even better. And you need not leave anyone out of this. There are any number of religious and moral organisations who wish to press tracts upon us for our betterment…in accordance with their beliefs. It is a kindness to them to accept of these – to even order them especially – and to lay them up for future use.

When you have sufficient stock, it is a simple matter of taking a walk in your suburb  after dark to put the correct pamphlet into the correct letter box. No good putting the 7th Day Adventist leaflet into the post box of the 7th Day adherent – they already know that song. Put it into the box of the Hindu person. Take the Vishnu Society booklet and pop it into the mailbox of the fervent Catholic in the street. And so on. If you are puzzled as to the exact nature of the beliefs of anyone, just make a note of their street address and sign them up for everything – including time-share units at Noosa. If their post box actually falls over in the mud from the weight of paper thrust into the slot, it is the fault of the makers.



Use Before January, 2018

Or freeze and use before the turn of the 21st century.

Nearly everything can be frozen. Milk, bread, bank accounts. You can freeze lots of stuff that would otherwise go rotten and extend the period of time in which it can go rotten. Time shift your smelly garbage bin, if you will. This is not as sad as it seems.

Before Christmas, we bought two cooked chickens from Woolies for use in a party dish – the meat was picked off the bones and the carcasses put back into the heavy plastic bags in which they had been supplied by the store. That went into the freezer – which might seem a little odd. Freezing garbage?

No, freezing carcasses that will be rendered for soup a little while down the track. It’s all a matter of timing. Garbage collection is Thursday morning, no good tossing chicken bodies out on Monday in a hot climate – by Thursday morning the place would smell like State Parliament. So they will be defrosted and boiled one Wednesday afternoon, then the stock frozen in turn for use in winter soups. Then they go into the organic bin.

It becomes a case of frozen Tetris sometimes as one cycles the various components through the freezer in time for disposal or storage, but the actual effect is pretty good – the amount of waste that the family produces is slightly less, and we get home-made soup for our troubles. And soup is a variable equation – nearly anything can be factored in. The only no-no is poultry and split peas – there is a chemical reaction in there that makes the entire house smell like cat pee.

Do we deserve the contempt of gastronomic nations for our freezer habits? Well, if you want to go down to the open air when it is 42º in the water bag and buy a half cup of organic kale for your masterpiece, don’t let me stop you. We’ll take bets amongst us here on whether you’ll make it to the end of the street before slumping over…while we sit in the A/C and wait for dinner to defrost. Off you toddle.

The Christmas Away

A Christmas away from family or friends is something that everyone should do at least once in their life. It sounds sad and depressing to some and exciting to others. The actual experience can be a strange mixture.

I’ve only done it twice – in my late teens when I emigrated to Australia ahead of my parents  – and in both cases it was not a complete break from tradition. In one instance I was the guest of a good friend’s family and in the second my girlfriend’s family took me in for the day. Both were spent in traditional companionship eating extremely hot dinners in an extremely hot climate. I even had the comfort of a long-distance telephone call back to my parents in Canada and this was the days when you booked it with the PMG for a specific time and took it at the main post office in the city. Laugh at that if you like with mobile phone and Skype technology today, but the six minutes over a crackley phone line that I could afford were very precious to me.

The business of taking a Christmas trip away from the family happened to my mother the year my dad passed away. I think she really didn’t want to be reminded by hearty family goings-on so she and another widow lady took a special bus tour to the south of the state for the period. She said she never regretted any trip so much – being with rooms full of complete strangers 500 Km from home proved to be a bad idea.

I did have one semi-miss a few years ago when a studio water pipe burst and flooded the place. I discovered it Christmas morning and had to phone back home to tell them to go on to the family luncheon without me while I mopped out the place. They were good enough to save a complete roast dinner for me for later…when they were all too stuffed to eat any more…and I must say that the floor has never looked cleaner.

Now that I’m older and used to my own company, I could probably enjoy a Chrissie away – if there were some good reason for it. You’d have to pick your venue, though – either a cabin in the bush all by your lonesome with a stack of books to read or the busiest of big city hotels with the fancy dining room and cocktail lounge. And a stack of books. The in-between – the country pub or motel on the road – would be too depressing for words, no matter how many plastic Santa dolls they put out.

The Queen’s Christmas Message

” Greetings to our loyal subjects and to the citizens of the Commonwealth. We are pleased to be able to speak to you again this year during the festive Christmas season. We have been advised by experts that we must not use the word Christmas as it may disturb some of our subjects. As head of the Church Of England we have taken the decision to continue with the traditional greeting and as head of the nation we have decided to exhibit the experts chained in cages at Wapping stairs.

The year past has been a difficult one for the world, but we are gratified to say that we have  survived it. More royal weddings are in the offing and the number of royal scandals has been decreased to the lowest level in four years. This may not have been to the taste of Mr. Packer or Mr. Murdoch but we assure you that it has been a great pleasure to stand the palace spokespeople and lawyers down off speed dial.

There have been proposals put to us regarding abdication and the succession to the throne of the next monarch. We have just taken our pulse and can confirm that this will not be happening today nor any time soon. You may all breathe out again. We would like to make it clear that the Prince of Wales enjoys our full confidence and that he is that way because he wishes to be. We did not play a long-term practical joke upon the nation.

We wish all our loyal subjects and citizens of the Commonwealth a joyous holiday and hope to see them again this time next year. Not lined up outside Buckingham Palace, if you please. We wish to have a little breathing room. “

‘Twas The Night Before ( Insert Holiday Here )…

And all through the ( Insert dwelling here )

Not a creature was ( Insert activity here )

Not even a ( Insert vermin  here )

The ( Insert item of clothing that can hold objects ) were hung by the ( Insert fixed furniture item here ) with care

In the hopes that ( Insert generous mythical creature ) soon would be there.

That oughta do it. The people who want to alter all holiday traditions should be pleased and the people who get irate at the first group will be pleased to have something to be outraged about. Everyone wins.

I should be grateful if it all works out as per the original poem, as we definitely have a mouse who stirs about the place. We surprised him while cleaning out the pantry for the new kitchen vinyl flooring and he shot into the crawl space under the cabinets. I’d grant him a lease there if he would agree to stay in one spot, but I see now that he visits other portions of the house – including the top of this computer desk.

I’m not anti-mouse per se…years of Tom and Jerry cartoons have had their effect…but I do recognise the dangers if he commences on an active social life and makes close friends.

The fact that he has been here for some little time…and is still here…points to a serious flaw in the cat. The great hunter will range the neighbourhood and bring rats back to place on the doormat, but when he is inside the house he apparently ignores the intruder. Perhaps it is laziness, perhaps it is job demarcation. Perhaps he has a pay-off deal going with the mouse. As the cat often sleeps on the bed with us, I am wondering if the next occupant will be the mouse. I am far enough over to the edge as it is right now.

Old Coot And The Yearly Rush

A great many things happen annually, and old coots have seen enough years to know the schedule. The fact that they cope with the pressures is not because of superior intellect or courage – it is just that we know most things are soap bubbles anyway.

Take the holidays –Any holidays. We know from long experience that there will be a whole lot of things – goods, rituals, promotions, events, that are just a commercial hype. This extends through all cultures – the center of most celebrations is generally somewhere near a marketplace and the sellers are all in favour of that. The buyers are stimulated with slogans, pressure, advertisements, pressure, guilt, pressure, trite music, pressure, and greed. Did I mention pressure?

Old coots are just as susceptible as younger people to all this, but most of us peak out at about 15 minutes and don’t give much of a shit afterwards. We’ll go shopping but not for long. And we’ll buy, but not for much. Where you can really get us is at the coffee shop or the soft couch as we sit there and chill out.

Of course we are despised for this – all idle people are despised by the busily employed. It is disconcerting at first but as soon as you realise that it is inevitable, you can relax and drive the busy folk mad with inconsequential things. Do it nicely, do it politely, do it well…but do it repeatedly. And remember that a happy smile can go a long way towards infuriating someone.

If there is a yearly rush for a festival, you can also participate, – but remember that there was one of these last year and there will be one again next year. You needn’t cram the entire thing into your psyche in one hit. It is never going to be as good as it was and it is never going to be as good as it could be, but it can still be good.

A rush for payment of a council bill? Pay as quickly as you can, but there’s a secret – if you pay some and let them know that you’ll continue to pay more, they will be satisfied to wait. Show good intention and the thing is quite civilised.

Any more rushes? Generally not. You’ll not be rushing to replace your car nor to catch the latest clothing fashion. No-one can rush you to the altar at your age. If you are stubborn and inconsiderate you can prevent them from rushing you to the graveyard as well. Eat regular, sleep well, and you can irk your relatives something chronic.