And she still has the tomahawk…
Australians who frequent social media sites on the internet have just been served a moral googlie – we’ve been bombarded with a high-sounding call to abstain from the Demon Rum for the month of July. This is advertised as alternately a shaft of saving grace beamed from Heaven, or a warm and fuzzy feel-good socialist fire-side chat.
I prefer to think of it as a crock of shit. Let me explain…
The call to righteousness assumes that we are sinful – or at least wrongful. That we harm ourselves and our families and the planet and little fuzzy kittens by drinking wine, beer, or spirits in the month of July. There are dark hints that we must do better…or risk the disapproval of the people who want us to abstain.
That is interesting. Why should we care about the disapproval of unseen and unknown entities? Particularly if they are the sort of organisations that scold on Facebook. Are they the touchstones and guiding pillars of our lives? Along with Candy crush and ” What is your Viking name? “. Is it possible that this is all a load of hooey?
The scolders who advocate a dry July, stretching as far as next century, want us to do something else – not with our time or our digestion – they want us to do it with our money. They want us to give it to them. Because we will then be moral, and presumably fit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven…or at least the Kingdom of Zukerberg…
Do as you will. If you think you are a drunk because you down a bottle of wine a week and have immoral thoughts, smash the glass in the fireplace and set your mind on higher things. I intend to Up Spirits each afternoon at 15:00 hours and take beer with dinner. I am even prepared to join you in a toast Carry Nation and her tomahawk, but be warned – if you disrupt my table you will be thrown into the street.
You’ve all seen the tee shirt that says ” Been there, Done that. Got this tee shirt. “.
It’s funny and sad on several levels, but mightily encouraging in the end. It frees us from the need to:
a. Go back there and do it again. At least as long as the tee shirt lasts.
b. Go there and do it in the first place. If we really don’t want to travel, compete, shop, or whatever the thing is, we can pretend that it is old hat and that we’re weary of it all.
If we were honest we would wear a tee shirt that said ” Never been there. Don’t fancy going “. Then we could emblazon this slogan over all sorts of images; Paris, Disneyland, Bali, Gold Coast. The reaction on the faces of others would be much more satisfying than with the first version.
c. Envy those who do go and do things.
Again we ought to be honest inside ourselves if we really do not fancy any of it…but instead of emblazoning this contempt on our chests we could settle for a nice silkscreen print of a Messerschmitt or Bullwinkle the moose. Why shit people off over your own tastes and desires?
For myself, I try to avoid any writing on the externals of my clothing – whether that be a brand name of running shoes or the state prison farm. If people want to know where I’ve been or what I like to wear they can ask me.
I try to hit all the stops. And then I really do stop.
Like last Sunday – I was jerked bolt upright at 8:30 AM by the realisation that I did not have to go to work in the cotton fields. Of course we don’t live in Mississippi and I’m retired anyway, but there was still that feeling. And once up, you can’t go back to sleep. The cat will make sure of that.
Then it was off to the shower, the shaver, and the sh….umm..let’s change the subject.
Breakfast. They say we must start the day with a substantial breakfast. Toast is substantial. So is oatmeal. So is rum and motor oil, for that matter. Don’t get near me when I burp.
Out to the Little Workshop. On with the radio. Olde Tyme Wireless from Wireless Hill. So you can avoid the horrid music of millenials by listening to equally vacuous stuff from baby boomers. And it is true that we pluggers can identify a piece of music from the first two notes – if it is one of the only three that the station owns and plays repeatedly. Anyone fancy a Walk In The Black Forest?
Lunch? Don’t mind if I do. The chicken and celery soup is attractive, seeing as it is left over and doesn’t need any effort to heat up. No-one else in the family will eat it, so I get as much as I want.
Shall I work or shall I nap?
And dinner. I must prepare dinner. Fortunately there is an electric oven and as long as you let things cook over a slow heat they will be fine. Too many people think that an fan-forced oven run at welding temperature will be more efficient, but they are eaters for efficiency, and are welcome to it. I cook for flavour, and if this takes 3 hours rather than a blowtorch, so be it.
And the dinner need not be hurried when it is ready. It’s Sunday night and the family is home and there is nothing more important to do than the roast and three veggies. And the glass of red wine. And of course one must not drive or operate machinery after this. Safety in all things.
All my life I have lived in the centre of a whirlpool of fear – fear of bullying, fear of failure, fear of social ostracism, fear of girls, fear of debt, etc. Add to that fear of Soviets and savages and spiders. It’s amazing I made it out of the house some days – it was probably worry about Russians with tarantulas under the bed that got me out of the place.
Well, that was then, this is now. I was young, and then middle-aged, and now I’m not. The fear of business failure was cured by failing – and then living comfortably – and the spider phobia went early in the piece when I started swatting redbacks with my thong. These days being socially ostracized is positively relaxing and debt is expected of us anyway. Girls are still frightening, but I am taking them in small doses and the nervousness is wearing off…
I still get to worry about random attacks of intruders or the collapse of bodily health, but even here the terror is not as great as it might be. There are sensible precautions one can take, and at this age there are a number of dangerous and dreadful options as well that are quite attractive.
The great thing is that you finally realise that no-one knows what is going on, or how to do it, or what they look like, or where it’s at. We all thought so when we were young and quaked or preened with the thought. None of us appreciated what we had half as much as what we thought we wanted – and it is only the fortune of time that’s brought experiences and objects to us to show whether they were worth desiring or dreading. In most cases, nothing was.
But now we oldies have a pretty clear vision of exactly what we don’t give a shit about. The delicate and gentle amongst us – and I include myself in this group – do not go shouting our disdain about to harry others. We merely do not attend, even when we are there. We may have bad ears but we can listen to internal music, and without Apple products either.
Don’t believe me? Look at the ol’ folks on the bus or train. They are the ones enjoying looking out the window or laughing at you as you bend over your mobile phone. You may have no idea where you are and what you look like, but they do.
And I’m going to visit you. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
You’ll never see me coming…because I’ll never phone ahead. You’ll hear the doorbell and open it and there I’ll be. And I’ll force my way in and sit down on the sofa.
From then on it’ll be a nightmare of horror. I’ll demand a cup of coffee, and biscuits. Good biscuits. And more than one. And a second cup of coffee.
I’ll want to use the toilet pretty often. And the bathroom. I don’t use guest towels – I use your bath towel. And I’ll be looking in your medicine cabinet, you bet.
Is this a bad time to call? Who cares? I’m here and social mores demand that you cope with it and smile. I know that and will press the visit as long as I can to maximise your discomfort. If it overlaps your meal time you are either going to have to go hungry, invite me to eat ( And I will…) or commit the social blunder of leaving me in the lounge room while you bolt your food. Be sure that everyone in our mutual acquaintance will know of this within hours.
Do you have pets? Expect them to either detest me or love me more than they love you. Whichever it turns out to be, you’ll be sorry. I’ll feed them greasy treats and you’ll be scrubbing the carpet later.
It’s no good hiding behind the sofa. Your car’s out front. You stay crouched behind there long enough and I’m going to get bored and write you a note. ” I called but you were out. ” is particularly poignant when it’s keyed into the duco.
Note: I can always leave something on the mat. Particularly after that bad taco I had for lunch.
No, not that far down. That’s a different hobby. Stop staring.
My hobby is what you are reading right now. I write now. I write four weblog columns each weekday and three on the weekends. I get paid money to pen one of them and the other three pay in joy.
I did not realise this was going to be the case when my friend Joanne suggested over a café breakfast that I look up WordPress. She, like many young people, is somewhat of an expert on the social media and connection side of things. But she doesn’t make the technical side of things sound as hard and confusing. Nor was it, once I had picked up a couple of simplistic books on the WordPress blog experience.
My first efforts were crude – like my first engagement with Facebook – but gradually the business of telling a story ( and that is all I am doing when I write ) started to flow and it has gushed ever since. I’m a photographer with my own studio so I can make pictures to enliven the print and as much as the graphic designers amongst my readers may quail, I can dot them with words. Generally the words I choose try to be funny. Sometimes they succeed, but only sometimes…
So I finally have to admit I like engaging you in this one-sided conversation – I look upon it as a Catskill monologue. Hence the title of this first weblog column. I’m here all week – try the pasta surprise.
The chef was absolutely surprised. He was aiming for bacon smoothies.
If you were looking for an internet columnist who will write mean things about people, I’m your man. I’m available 24 hours a day to bang out copy telling the world how dreadful your enemies are – no target goes unscathed. I charge reasonable prices for scandalous writing, and I have an ABN number so you can get a tax deduction.
Except today – this is the one day of the year when I write nice things about people – and today it is about Yamina, the Samba dancer.
She was kind enough yesterday to buy me a ticket to the movies during the Festival Of French Cinema and accompany me to the show. As a French teacher, she could get a lot more from the film than I, but fortunately there were very good subtitles. And as it was a show about music and dance, the soundtrack and visuals spoke for themselves.
Totally not what I thought it was going to be. The title was Le Grand Bal, and I expected opera or theatre costuming, sweeping staircases, and Offenbach. As it turned out, it was a doco on one of the festivals of folk music and dance held in the central part of France in the summer. She had been to many of these in similar circumstances and this was the connection. Apparently it was a very accurate as well as charming film.
I found it fascinating seeing people dressed as ordinary tourists but doing extraordinary things – dancing for 7 days and 8 nights while taking workshop lessons and getting 2 hours of sleep in the interim. Performing intricate art for their own enjoyment. Acting as an impromptu corps du ballet – perfectly controlled, and all to folk instruments. Amazing.
After the show another member of the audience recognised her and rushed over to find out if this sort of dancing ball would ever be held here in Perth.
Note: it is very much of advantage to have an experienced French wine-drinker looking at the wine list in a restaurant when you want something good to drink.
But Terrible? Why have I written Terrible? Easy…
I teased her that I was going to write a column with this title, so I know she is now going to read the column assiduously. I am not ashamed to get my readers by subterfuge and sneaky tricks…Of course there is nothing at all terrible about her – quite the contrary – but now she’s reading.
Mwa Ha ha ha …