Trash And Treasure Is Never Treasure

We have all gone to the Trash And Treasure, flea market, retro market, bring and buy, parish jumble sale, or weekend market in our time. Some of us have picked up bargains – the rest have picked up garbage. The really fortunate ones have picked up a bacterial infection and vowed never to do it again.

It is a basic feature of human psychology – that desire for a good buy. If it can be a swingeing bargain or a criminal rort, so much the better. But it does lead us down some dark passageways of the soul:

a. We seek for these El Dorados of dreck in the worst places. Council car parks on Sunday morning when we otherwise we could be asleep in bed or awake in the arms of a lover. It is the unwashed bottom of the top of the morning – either cold and wet or hot and distressing, and we’re out there looking for bargain clothespegs? Sheesh…

b. We deal with people we would avoid under any other circumstances. To a man, or woman, they have the look of wolves fattened on babies. None of them love us, and we do not love them, and the emotions are entirely justified from either side.

c. We do not need what we seek. We do not seek what we need. It is all greed or grot.

d. Just as Quentin Crisp eventually had to admit that there was no great dark man, we must eventually admit that there is no great dark treasure to be found. We can’t even find Quentin Crisp.

e. We do need the money in our pocket that we think we do not need. Just today a letter arrived from the water supply racket telling me that the state government will remove a subsidy they used to give to old people to help them pay for water. The money will presumably be given to mining magnates or their bankers. I now need to save my money for water. I would like to make water on the state government…

f. The things discarded by others were discarded for a good reason. They are ugly, broken, useless, poisonous, sad, or superfluous. What they are for others they will be for us, but doubly so because we spend real money on them. And if we want to resell them we will have to return to the garbage sale and become the persons we bought it from to get even a pittance back. Do we really want to exchange our souls for that?

g. We can live without it. We lived without it until we arose this morning, and we can make it through to the evening without it.

h. No-one looks cool at a junk market. Sellers, buyers, pickpockets, etc…All have a patina of naff on them, that they could have avoided assuming by staying home and doing something useful.

Well, that should make Sunday morning a lot more fun. See you at the markets?

The Trap Of Entertainment

” Entertain me. ”

Has anyone ever said that to you? What did you feel like? Nervous? Despondent? Annoyed? Or all three in layers like Neapolitan ice cream?

It’s the sort of command that carries with it the unspoken criticism that heretofore you haven’t been doing a good job and the fact must be corrected. And that it is going to be a difficult job.

The whole concept of entertainment is a difficult one in some cultures. I imagine that the Puritans would have been a tough audience to front. Not just for the fact that they were grim to start with, but that they would also be offended with you if you succeeded in making them feel good. All pleasure would have been of the guilty sort, but not sweeter because of it.

Modern entertainment is so varied as to suggest that the very concept is unlimited. We have books, music, plays, television, radio, sports, pastimes, hobbies, and art to occupy us. Of course some will find no pleasure in any of these and some will take it in an inordinate measure. For the vast majority it is a place to run when the shackles slip off the ankles. Until they catch you and weld them on again, you can enjoy yourself. The problem is that there may be too many things available at any one time. Wise escapees limit themselves to one thing at a time, and reserve the rest for a later chance.

This becomes even more important when you are too old to be salable and are left to wander away. Then you need to have cached little pleasures here and there in the landscape so that you can go to them and be refreshed. Don’t be tempted to make them too grand nor too far away – you would have to expend an inordinate amount of energy to get to them. And you might discover that they would have decayed in the meantime – far better to have something small and comforting close at hand.

You may even find that your entertainment need not be provided by others – that you carried it with you all the time.

 

” Not Working, Eh? “

” You’re retired? ”

Yes. Yes, I retired from a profession some ten years ago and a trade two years ago.

” So you don’t work? ”

Don’t work? Whatever gave you that idea? I work every day…and upon some days…all day.

Since becoming a double retiree I work for my family. I make sure that we have clean clothes, good food, a tidy house, and security. And we have those things every day. In fact we have them to a more satisfactory extent than ever before – more care is taken and it leads to better results.

” But you don’t get a pay cheque…”

I don’t need a pay cheque. Nor do I need the governance of the person who signs it. Oh, I thought I did when I first began this second retirement…I thought I would be huddled over a meagre fire of twigs, lost and alone. I was wrong.

” But what is the point of your day? ”

I’ll give you a little time to re-read the paragraph about working for the family. Done? Well add to that my participation in two forms of art and one form of literature…and the occasional visit with a friend…and I’ll think you’ll find that my days do really have a purpose. I have found new vistas to view, and I’m enjoying it immensely.

” But don’t you want a job? ”

No.

 

BGA Senior Discount Applies

I don’t get a pension from the government.

This is not a brag or a moan – just a socio-economic fact of life in Australia. I am considered to be too rich to require it. I agree I am rich, but increasingly I am finding that it is not in money…To be fair, I suspect the government doesn’t have the money either.

In my retirement I fund myself by writing and photographing. Mostly poison-pen letters and compromising snaps of illicit affairs. It is not as easy a task as you might think. Facebook memes have desensitized people to nasty written abuse and no-one really knows how to define adultery anymore. I have a shrinking market amongst the religious and the prissy.  They can still be embarrassed by exposure whereas many others seem to welcome it. I frequently get requests for an 8 x 10 and six wallet-size photos when I threaten scandal.

I am not harsh on the religious, though. They still do have the habit of collecting money in poor boxes, tins, and plates during religious services and in many cases this can be stolen. The only tough proposition is the Salvation Army – they are armed and determined to defend their assets. If you have ever been hit behind the ear with a tambourine you’ll know why I give them wide berth.

My local IGA grocery store has a system of 5% discount on grocery items for seniors – but only on Thursday. If you shop right, this can be a useful saving.

Transperth lets me ride free between 9:00 and 3:00 each weekday, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I shall make use of this in the coming week to go to places of entertainment and save the travel expenses of a car journey for the door entry. Retirement time is a flexible schedule that the desperate and entitled on the freeways cannot appreciate.

I may even be able to pay a visit to a few churches along the way. Ka-Ching…

 

Collecting Things For Gumtree

I have started to collect things for Gumtree sales – or I might opt for eBay.com.au. I’ll get the daughter to show me how to do the registration and presentation and then I’ll get rid of a few things that are surplus around here.

First off I’ll find the box that my Giveashit button came in and repack it. I don’t think I have used it for about 5 years and I might as well get some money back on it before it becomes obsolete. It was in constant use until about 1985 when I shut down some of the North American links. Every year since then I’ve disconnected some of the wires to former professions, businesses, or acquaintances and now it works less than 10% of the time. Oh I try – I do press it whenever someone puts up some anguished meme on Facebook in an effort to make myself explode with either rage or delight. But most times all I get is a clicking sound. Maybe someone younger and with more passion will get some fun out of it.

Then I am going to try to get some return from the anxiety collection. I got some of them as a child – presents from relatives – and then was able to add something new each year as I grew up. My Fear Of Russians cards are still in mint condition – some of them have never been removed from the cellophane packets. With the way the Russians are behaving these days I should be able to get the entire purchase price plus a bonus back. I didn’t save my Moko Lesney Matchbox cars, but these cards should more than make up for it.

I do feel a little bad about the old shoebox full of religious feelings. I kind of hate to let them go. They were like a coin collection – you could take them out on a rainy day and play with them – looking at all the arcane writings engraved upon them and wondering where they came from. In my case I suspect from the Bronze Age. I intend to sell them outright – I don’t want to trade them for someone else’s shoebox.

I’m in two minds about the clothing. The Suit Of Ambition doesn’t fit all that well any more – I have outgrown the waistline on the trousers – and the Cloak Of Humility smells a little – but I still have a feeling that there will be some place I can wear them. But as I really don’t fancy intensive night life, I can’t really think where.

Whats-a Matter You? Hey!

Gotta no respec’?

This theme song for the over 60’s was-a sung by Joe Dolce in the early 80’s. He’s-a now the same age as-a me and I salute his wisdom in penning those lyrics all-a that time ago in preparation for our retirement.

What-a you t’ink you do?

I work all-a time. But I no work-a for the boss. I work-a for me anna family. We live in-a de clean house. We eat-a de good food. We gotta all-a we need.

Why you look-a so sad?

Because all-a the time people no respect-a me. I’m-a want big handshake and slap-a the back an’ tell-a me how great I am. And it don’t-a happen.

It’s-a not so bad.

Okay, well maybe they dont-a slap-a my back but then again…but Hey, they don’t-a slap-a my face. An’ they can’t slap-a me in jail.

It’s-a nice-a place.

Yeah, Australia is a nice-a place. No so nice if-a you in Sydney but den again dat’s-a Sydney…An’ we got-a de whole Nullarbor between us-a and dem.

I’m gonna shut up-a my face.

 

 

 

 

Old Uncle

The Asian cultures have Old Uncles. And Old Aunties, too. These titles have nothing whatever to do with being relatives, but everything to do with being a real someone.

My daughter introduced me to the idea – she says all the Asian food van ladies at her university are Aunties. And I have met Uncles working in Asian businesses. You see, it is an honorific given to the senior workers…because they are workers.

Old Uncle or old Auntie may not be doing quite as much as the rest of the people but they are doing something, and generally doing it well. They are engaged in daily work to benefit their families, their employers, and themselves.

All too often we in Australia see this and scoff at what is happening – saying that the old people are slaves in a culture that has no social security. What nonsense – the Old Uncles and Old Aunties have the greatest security there is – a position in the team. They have not been relegated to the sidelines of the culture – they are players along with the rest.

I have come to admire this…and I hope to be able to continue being Uncle Dick in my daily commercial weblog column. And Uncle Dick at the dance shows, taking photographs that benefit the artistic community. If I am Uncle Dick taking pictures at a wedding or in the studio – or Uncle Dick doing anything useful – I will have retained the dignity we all need.

Note: In my case it is a parlous sort of dignity as I am given to breaking into the occasional fit of folly. Mind you, I am perfectly content with being Foolish Uncle Dick as long as there are drinks and snacks available.