Nothing screams “CHRISTMAS” in our Hornswood home more, than having eight bottles of Hahn Super Dry (low carb) and challenging your brother-in-law to a push-ups competition. Nothing! Santa, nativity scenes, carols, tinsel, coloured lights, presents, Christmas trees, Hahn Super Dry and push-ups. It all goes together.

I was explaining to my brother-in-law Toby, how after a period of about 20 years of inactivity and fatness, I now have the world’s greatest personal trainer (Wayne Nicholls PT – he deserves a plug) and push-ups have become my area of expertise. With proper technique I had recently set my record at an enormous 25 (keeping in mind I weigh 112.4 kg, so when I push-up, I’m pushing up a fair bit).

Me – “Come on Tobe. Don’t be soft. WE GONNA GET IT ON, ‘CAUSE WE DON’T GET ALONG.” I did a little Ali shuffle, raised my hands in a pre-emptive victory celebration, dropped and assumed the push-up position.


I was feeling pretty good after the first five. My shoulders knew what was coming, they were surprised it was happening on Christmas day mind you, but they were sort of ready.


STAY FOCUSED! My Shoulders and biceps weren’t quite screaming yet, but there were certainly getting rowdy. KEEP GOING.


PAIN AND SUFFERING! I was really hurting. The arms were shaking, my face was red like Clive Palmer in a sauna.



I HAD EQUALED MY RECORD, but it wasn’t enough for me. Not this day. Not on this stage. In front of the family, under my own roof, in my domain! I wanted… no, more than that, I NEEDED, to smash my record. I needed to set an un-beatable total, which I could laud over Toby until probably the next Christmas.


My arms wobbled like a gelatin dessert. PUSH! The last one was going to be slooow.

27… YES!!!!


I collapsed onto the floor, then I jumped to my feet. I was sucking in the big ones, my face burned and veins bulged, I was sweating, I couldn’t move my arms and wanted to vomit up my 8 Christmas Super Drys. But I’d done it. 27!!


Toby didn’t say anything but I could tell he was concerned. He’s seven years older than me, well past his prime at 54. I was rushing around the room, obviously trying to get a crowd chant of “TWENTY-SEVEN” going, while high-fiving my brother and his wife, my elderly Spanish mother-in-law (who thought I wanted the remote control), my son and my wife (who actually refused to return my high-five and just left me hanging).

Toby dropped to the ground and started his push-ups painfully slowly.


I knew he had no chance. One of my push-up record-attaining secrets, is to start fast, so when you hit the wall, you’ve got a decent number on the board.

Me – “Watch that left shoulder mate.” His technique was actually flawless and there was nothing wrong with his left shoulder, but I had to start the piss-taking somewhere.


Me – “Need a breather mate? Jeez twenty-seven must seem so freaken unattainable just about now.


I’d never seen slower push-ups. All that cannelloni and beer had had a bigger impact on him than I’d anticipated.

Me – “Is it too late to get a bet on? Tobe, you know, LOTS of ladies have difficulty getting over twenty.


Me – “Do you want your sister to take over mate?


Me – “It’s not your fault… It’s not your fault… It’s not your fault.


Me – “Don’t worry Tobe. It’s not that you’re weak … it’s just that you’re very fat.” He actually isn’t fat like me, but a good sledge, is a good sledge.


Me – “Maybe, to be fair, I should do push-ups and you should do… Jenga.


Damn, now I was getting a little nervous. He was getting close to my magical number and his pace was still exactly the same. I needed a really hard-hitting sledge to put him off his game.

Me – “YOU GIRL’S BLOUSE.” Damn, that one was much more effective in the 80’s.


I won’t bore you with the details, but once he had beaten my record by twenty, he stood up. Forty seven.

He wasn’t puffing, wasn’t red in the face, wasn’t sweating, his arms weren’t shaking and he could walk properly. His sister (my loving wife), gave him a quick, loud high-five and handed him back his Super Dry. He sat down, sipped the beer and they continued their conversation. It was like he’d just left his seat to change the channel.

My brother – “Another beer Tobe?” My brother high-fived Toby.

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A mate told me he didn’t love my last blog, because the punch-line wasn’t very funny.

Punch-line?? I explained that I’m not Rodney Dangerfield telling a “did somebody step on a duck” gag. My blog is my musings on things that strike me, as I drag myself through life as a Hornswood dad.

Case in point.

My wife and I were in San Francisco a few years ago, at a carnival, when I spied an “I’ll Guess Your Weight” stand (very American).

Now I am, fairly… broad. Broad in the shoulders, broad in the legs and broad in the gut. The thing with broadness, is that people ALWAYS severely underestimate my weight. They say “you carry it well,” which of course means “you’re fat, you carry it well.”

I look about 12kg (26lbs) less than I really am. I know this because whenever the subject of weight comes up and I tell people I’m 112kg, they inevitably say, “wow, you don’t look any more than a 100“.

Anyway, I’m thinking, a guess your weight competition is tailor-made for me. My KFC Retention Problem, is finally going to do some good.

So you pay $5 and if they guess within 3lbs, they win. If they are wrong, but are within 6lbs, you get to pick a prize from the first two (dodgy) shelves. However, if they are outside 6lbs, you get to pick from the entire stand! It was a big stand.

It was my turn. They handed me a microphone. There were about fifty people standing around watching the entertainment and the carnie had picked the last eleven players correctly, so the crowd was right into it.

I knew he wasn’t going to get within 20lbs of mine and I’ve always had a chronic, un-abating distrust of carnies, so I was playing it up a little.


Cigar-smoking carnie – “I’m Calvin. Where you hail from son?


The crowd cheered loudly. I got the sense they were keen to see somebody knock Calvin off his high-horse. I was just the man to do it. Calvin chewed on his stogie.

Carnie Calvin – “We take a disliking to loud Aussies here son.

Me – “That’s all right Calvin. I’VE ALWAYS HAD A CHRONIC, UN-ABATING DISTRUST OF CARNIES.” The crowd cheered again.

Calvin was getting angry. He’d lost the crowd, despite having won the last eleven weighs. He walked around me three times, mentally calculating my height, my clothing and (I assumed mis-calculating) my broadness.

I tried to put him off a bit. It was a battle of wits, for the ultimate prize – a five-foot tall, foam-filled, Spongebob Squarepants.

Me – “Calvin… that’s a funny name for a carnie. Just so you know mate, I’ll be taking that big Spongebob.

The crowd oooh’d. They all admired the massive Spongebob sitting pride of place, atop the stand.

Me – “Hey Calvin, maybe you’re just not used to guessing Aussie weights. Maybe there’s just more to us than meets the eye Calvin. If you know what I mean.” The crowd laughed at Calvin. He was fuming.

Me – “Factor in Aussie girth Calvin.” A bit rude, but I was on a roll!

My wife – “JASE.” She was not enjoying my battle with Calvin.

Me – “Shoulder girth I meant, darling.

Calvin was ready to guess.

Me – “Do you want a hand getting Spongebob down Calvin?” Everybody laughed, I was loving having a microphone.

Carnie Calvin – “YOU’RE TWO HUNDERED AND TWENTY THREE POUNDS SON, OR ONE HUNDRED AND ONE KILOGRAMS.” He smiled a wily old smile at me. He was confident.

I threw my arms into the air in a victory salute as I stepped onto the scales. 246 LBS, 112 KG!! I HAD WON! YES!!

The crowd roared. I pointed at Calvin and his face reddened. His run had been put to an end by the loud Aussie. I had secured a hard-fought win.

My wife walked off when I started “AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE.

A few hours later when we were leaving, a Japanese tourist was trying to console his youngster who’d just dropped his fairy floss onto the ground only to have it rolled over by guy moving a keg of beer.

Because we were stepping on to a plane that night, I gave the kid Calvin’s massive Spongebob. The father was very grateful and became excited when he recognised me from my earlier triumph.

Japanese dad (in a thick accent) – “Hoh, you Australee fat man!

I had no way of informing him that I had in fact won the competition for being deceptively fat, not just for being fat.

My wife just shook her head.

It’d be REALLY awesome if you left a comment on my blog, Share via the Facebook button below, or just give the Facebook post a thumbs up. Check out my new writing business, which allows me to now claim I am in fact, a professional writer (www.hornswoodexpress.com.au). Cheers.