Saturday, April 24, 2010


It's ANZAC day, and all around the nation and indeed the world, people are gathering to celebrate and remember. But remember what? Don't panic; far be it for me to begin deconstructing the Gallipoli legend or adding a liberal dose of truth or (god forbid!) politics to this blog. I would, however, like to point out that it's the ONE DAY of the year where we celebrate old people. Let's face it, there's no other day of the year where we do that. It's the only day where young people actively seek out the company of the old diggers and actively try to engage them in conversation. I mean, if you all are anything like my siblings and I, the second you hear Gran is coming around, you whip out the cask of chardy, a box set of "Miss Marple" and sit really still, hoping to Christ she is distracted enough not to notice you and start spitting comments in your direction. But ANZAC day, well that's the one day that old people are revered. They're applauded. They're marched down the street and people throw paper confetti at them and wave flags and buy them beer and ask to hear stories. Can you imagine?!?! Actually saying to the old mate at your local pub who you would normally step over coz he has that acrid uriney stank about him, "I bet you've got a story or two (guffaw) - what was the war actually like?".

I might add a side note that you need to make sure the person you're talking to IS actually old enough to be a vet and isn't actually a thirty year old alcoholic who is simply wearing every shot of gin they've drunk in lines on their face. Perhaps ask for ID or a concession card before engaging in conversation about D-Day. Also, I'm clearly writing from a very white Australian perspective here; there are many many cultures in Australia that insist upon lording their elderly but they aren't currently in my living room, so they don't get a say at the moment. Look at the Jedi for example - they're all about old people, particularly little green old people who say things like "begun the clone wars have". Bless. It's clear now that yoda is actually an old person with dementia and gangrene.

Anyway, I think old people are aware of the general disdain we have for them for 364 days of the year. That's why they're so angry and generally suspicious of everything that came after the 1950s. The other day I saw an old lady give a verbal lambasting to a driver who had the NERVE to stop at the traffic lights OVER the white pedestrian line, leaving her a tiny 2 meters of space through which to navigate her passage across the road. She was steaming! She waved her purse and managed to hurl a "you could have moved back you know!" at the evil young'n behind the wheel. Imagine my delight at seeing her wait to cross again only to have the traffic so thick that a car was trapped across 3/4 of the pedestrian path. She huffed and puffed all the way up to the window and then stood there knocking on the car with her fist under they managed to slowly turn the car out of her way. Lesson delivered, this white haired teacher promptly marched her trolley across the road to the vege shop. The thing is, she has the right to tell everyone what she thinks of them because she's ancient; every wrinkle is testament to her wisdom. Youthful skin is not wise skin, despite what Andie McDowell and the entire cosmetics industry will tell you.

I do feel like old people don't try much though. I mean, meet us half way in the conversation stakes. When I talk to my Gran, it's not about the latest ministry of sound release or what happened on last night's episode of Cougar Town - it's about everything SHE wants to talk about. Bingo is up there in the subject matter. As is Judy's scandalous split from Frank. And the upstairs neighbour who doesn't get around much anymore. And the family current affairs, particularly in relation to my spectacularly socially demented cousins (hi Sarah and Rachel!). I mean, I don't want to whine, but what about what I want to talk about you old crone? Sex, money and the latest pornographic movie picture on that new internet machine. I guess what I'm saying, old people, is let's not be selfish, eh?

So happy ANZAC day to all of the golden oldies out there. I hope you spend the day being spoiled with attention because God knows you'll have to wait another year before you cop a whiff of anyone under the age of 60!

disclaimer: this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of or the author or anyone, really. i mean, i love old people. especially grilled with a nicely aged red wine...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

All aboard!

As soon as you read or hear that word, about a billion images crawl through your mind; the family sized pizza you downed last night, the hot mail room guy who went down on you at your Christmas party while your husband was in the next room mingling with you colleagues over canapes and witty discussion around Phillip Pullman and censorship. GAH! It's everywhere. You can't escape it. It's as essentially human as breathing, pooping and eating entire family pizzas! Now you might wonder why someone as seemingly shallow as me is tackling such a heavy topic. You're thinking "Surely, Danielle, this is beyond you. You've never studied philosophy or psychology and let's face it, you're not overly bright." and then BAM it hits you dear reader - guilt. Guilt for thinking that I'm actually a dumb shit. Guilt for doubting a friend's ability. Guilt for being on the computer writing your blog when you should be on your computer reading over the latest tutorial information for your Financial Reporting and Analysis. Guilt. Guilt. Everywhere.

I get the guilts a lot. I won't make a list but highlights include guilt over not exercising, bad food, lies, work productivity, not studying, shopping, wanting what I don't have, jealousy and lack of spirituality or any real political beliefs or interest, my ex, my current, bad environmental practices... Oh Christ, it was a list in the end. Sorry. I lied... oh, here it comes again! You see the cycle don't you? The vicious, vicious cycle.

I don't know how we learn to be guilty. I happen to know people who guilt just simply does not effect. Sure, their confident stride might falter a touch, there may be a moment where their self-satisfied smile kinks for a moment, but it's generally smooth sailing for them. They are guilt-resistant and fine. I observe that these same people are not planners. They're not the "type A" anal rententive, line the toilet paper up in ascending order from the date of purchase, type people like I am. Therefore I hypothesise that guilt and control go hand in hand. I also observe that people who don't feel guilt roll with the punches easier. These are the people who don't mind too much if they're caught by the entire film crew from "Cheaters" with their wang out getting a hand job from another woman in the back seat of the family station wagon because HOLY SHIT, AM I ON TV? THAT'S AWESOME. Therefore, I can further hypothesise that people who do not feel guilt are stupid ie Guilt = control + intelligence. So you see, really smart control freaks feel an inordinant amount of guilt. Sorry, it's a scientific fact and you can't argue with science.

Finally, and now I touch on what inspired this blog today, I wish to discuss how guilt can be absolved. I mean, if it's everywhere, how the fuck do you banish it? It's akin to our spiritual tinea and we need some emotional athletes foot cream to render us healthy again - but you won't find this salve stocked in your local Chemist Warehouse, dear reader! Oh no... it's not that fucking simple. Today is Easter Friday. This long weekend millions and billions of Christians around the world will go to Church and, feeling guilt for sins that have accrued over the last, well, lifetime, they will pray and ask God for forgiveness. And then, supposedly, not feel guilty any more. Et voila! Guilt salve applied, punter happy, cue skipping from church singing a Julie Andrews number about hills being alive with the sound of something or other. Cut to Easter Sunday when same punter is inhaling eggs to the point of self harm when what do you know?? All aboard, for Guilty-town! (note: this is nowhere near funky-town but often right near sexy-town and definitely is not the same town the Jay-Z and Rihanna profess to run) MY POINT IS EVEN GOD CAN'T KEEP US AWAY FROM GUILT FOR LONG.

The time has come for humanity to take matters into its own hands. I'd like to propose the government ditch stem cell research and start focussing on the real public health issue here - guilt. We need it fixed now. We need an implant which releases buckets of endorphines through your body every time you do something naughty. Or one which sends an electric shock through your genitals every time you have a pang of guilt because you didn't stand up for an old lady on the tram and some other schmuck beat you to it. Perhaps the government could put all people on the dole into teams that run around reminding people to not feel guilty. Immediately after finishing a cigarette, the team would remind you that smoking is ok, it's done now so "Yes Gary yes, yes Gary yes, Yeeeees Gary!" Yay. Group hug and high five all around for the smokers! But after significant research and postulation about all sorts of things and stuff, I tend to think our best option is cochlear implants that tell you what a great person you are, even though you just did something to feel guilty about. In a calm voice (I'm picturing Jeremy Irons or the guy from Gardening Australia) it will assure you "you've done the right thing for you... you are your own person... you'll start your diet tomorrow definitely... you're not a judgemental tart... you only drank that much so you could have fun... sleeping with the homeless man in the alley was a liberating experience that has helped you rediscover your sensuality... if your parents could see you now they would be proud but you should probably pull your skirt down... you live on your own and are your own family so eating a family sized pizza is totally the right thing". I think apple or microsoft need to get onto this immediately - the "i-forgive". (TM 2010)

So go forth, readers, and enjoy the Easter long weekend, with everything it has to bring including doing nothing, eating buckets of fat in the form of small eggs and spending heaps of cash SANS GUILT. It's yours and you know what? You deserve it.