IN TROUBLE AT MY DAUGHTER’S SCHOOL… AGAIN

It seems like an eternity ago now, but just before the lock-down, we had the Hornswood Ladies College (my daughter’s wonderful school) parents-meet-teachers night. 

Being Hornswood, nearly every mum or dad there was dressed in a suit or something equally as nice. I drove with another parent, “Bolschy” (his poker call-sign) who’s a great mate of mine. We’d come from home, so we were both dressed in thongs, T-shirts and shorts. A tad underdressed.

WE LOOKED A BIT LIKE THESE GUYS.

I’ve always relied heavily on the fact that one overweight yobbo in a big crowd, just blends into the background. But when there’s two, in a sea of expensive attire, we stood out like a Trump-fake-tan and laughed when we saw our reflection in the glass of the entry door.

We arrived early, which meant we got full advantage of the coffee and hand-made, buttery golden biscuits. I grabbed three, two for me and one for Bolschy but due to their irregular size, the lowest bickie dropped off the bottom of the stack onto the floor. It landed near the table.

Me – “That was your one, Bolsch.

Laughing, I handed Bolschy one of the two I held and stayed for a moment to eat mine. As I returned to the table, an exceedingly attractive middle-aged teacher was about to step on the biscuit and grind it into the immaculate carpet. So I bent down behind her, just as her high-heel landed right in the centre of it, unbeknownst to her, breaking it neatly into 3 pieces.

I thought to myself no prob, seeing I’m down here any way, it makes no difference if I pick up three bits or one, it was now going in the bin (there’s no 5-second rule at an HLC function).

But wouldn’t you know it, just as I was picking up the third and final shard of biscuit, she takes a full step backwards, tripped on to me, stumbled, spilled her tea, crushed the bickie and her butt went right into my face as I looked up.

She was understandably surprised to find a man crouched down behind her, in such a thinly-populated space. She was shocked by the stumble and, well, me.

Attractive teacher – “WHAT ARE YOU DOING??

My clothing did not put her mind at ease at all.

Me – “My um… my biscuit” was all I could come up with.

AWKWARD.

Anyway, Bolschy and I went and sat in the classrooms and thankfully the teachers doing the presentation to our group of parents, were really quick. We were out of there before any others were done and decided to go and find our close mate Dange (short for “Danger”, another poker call-sign).

With each of the classrooms in this auditorium, the wall that faces inwards, is glass. So you can actually see into all the rooms.

We positioned ourselves so we could see Dange sitting at a desk, he could see us, but the teacher out the front couldn’t. When he turned around and saw the two of us just deadpan and giving him the ol’ stink-eye, he laughed.

Like students trying to cut class, we did everything we could to get Dange to come out and blow off the last ten minutes of the talk. But he’s a polite Canadian, so he wouldn’t leave. He was just sitting there, being… attentive.

We had to go after him.

Bolschy marched straight in, plonked down next to Dange without taking his eyes off the teacher. I could see him through the glass trying to subtly convince Dange to come out, with a few quiet words and a couple of pokes to the ribs, but no, conscientious Dange was committed until the end. So Bolschy picked up Dange’s phone, held it up in front of his head for facial recognition, and then fled with his now-unlocked, phone.

Outside the room Bolschy and I were having a ball. Now that we had his phone and he could see us, we were pretending to be perusing, looking through all his messages and photos, surfing, all the stuff you don’t want two mates doing. We watched Dange the teacher’s-pet, squirming and gesticulating, wondering what irreversible damage we were doing to his beloved phone.

Hilarious.

I subtly rang Dange’s number, he heard his ringtone outside and then saw us answer. He was freaking out and we were near hysterical.

We were halted by the exceedingly attractive middle-aged teacher who accidently sat on me earlier. 

Ms Attractive (I think it’s a French name)– “What the heck is going on here?

We were busted. We dropped into silence. In the room, Dange knew we were sprung and was now the one trying to control his mirth.

Ms Attractive – “Other parents are trying to learn what their daughters are going to be doing for the next year, and you two are being silly?

Me (nervously) – “Very sorry, we… we were just teasing our mate in there.” We pointed through the glass to Dange, and he looked quite disappointed to see us dob him in.

Ms Attractive – “Teasing? That’s rather immature. How do you think that makes him feel?

Me (looking at the ground guiltily) – “Not very good.

Bolschy (also looking downward) – “Pretty bad.

Ms Attractive – “Do the two of you think that’s a good idea? Do you think you are improving this situation? I would expect better of my Year 7 girls.

Bolschy (looking contrite, like he would have looked when this used to happen thirty years and forty kilos ago) – “Sorry.

Ms Attractive – “I think it’s time you two left. We’ve had enough of your trouble making.

Me (shyly) – “But we… sort of… have his phone.

Ms Attractive just shook her head in disgust. “Well one of you is going to have to go in there and return it, aren’t you? While the other stands here.

Moving with the speed of a startled gazelle, I grabbed the phone out of Bolschy’s hand and said “I’ll return it”, thinking he would then have to stand with the beautiful, but angry, Ms Attractive .

BUT SHE CAME WITH ME!!

Ms Attractive apologised for the interruption and I slunk in and returned Dange’s phone. Luckily the teacher then introduced her to all the parents in the room, so the attention wasn’t on me.

Ms Attractive then rejoined Bolschy and I outside the classroom and suggested we leave.

Having promised my daughter I would be on my best behaviour, I had then been accidently sat on by a teacher and busted razzing Dange.

Me – “Please… is there any chance you could not tell our daughters?

So Bolschy and I made our way to the carpark.

Bolschy – “Let’s go. Dange isn’t coming out.

Me – “Let’s just wait for him. He’ll ring us.

Bolschy – “No he won’t. He’ll just drive home.

Me – “Oh he’ll definitely ring us.” I jingled car keys in front of him. “I palmed his keys.

We laughed and we laughed, having checked Ms Attractive wasn’t around.

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share far and wide via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Please do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art that is – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase

WHO KNEW WE WERE LEGENDS?

Being born and raised at Bilgola, my brother and I are absolute Manly Sea Eagles tragics. One day last season, not only did we get to hang with the legendary players of our beloved club, we got to be one of them! We got to be… LEGENDS.

All we had to do was be dishonourable.

Oracle (my brother’s self-ascribed poker call-sign) and I, were at Brookvale Oval one weekend to watch the big game. It was the excellent “Golden Eagles – Legends Day”, when champion ex-players were glorified for achievements on the footy field. It was awesome. They’d erected a fenced-off marque and it was crammed absolutely full with our heroes of yesteryear.

Oracle and I, along with a huge number of fans, went right up to the area to see how many of our idols we could spot.

One legend who we instantly recognised, walked past us and up to the table positioned at the entrance to the marquee, where a young security guy was sitting.

Security guy (to the legend) – “Legends function?

Legend – “Ooh yeah.

Without checking the clipboard in front of him, the security guy put a yellow wrist band on the legend. In he went, to cheers from the myriad of other legends already in the marquee.

Me – “Quick Oracle, follow my lead. Look like a legend. We’re goin’ in.

Oracle – “Wait… what?

I approached the table and my brother shadowed me.

Security guy (to us) – “Legends function?

I was nervous, but the place was an absolute oasis.

Me (with as much confidence as I could muster) – “Been looking forward to this all year mate.

Then, within seconds, we had yellow wrist bands on and we were in! The place was full of free food, free grog and free… LEGENDS.

We had an immediate problem if we were to avoid having our unfortunate, non-legendary status discovered. They were all wearing special legend jackets. So we casually headed over to the guy giving them out and he gave us one each. It was going brilliantly.

Of course the legends all knew each other, so we had to be on our toes. After an hour of the greatest day of our lives, we had worked out the comments we would throw out, if any legends questioned our identity.

If they got suspicious and asked “when’d you play”, with a laugh we would reply with things like:

About a lifetime ago mate… ’bout a lifetime ago.

When? When I had a full head of hair and knees that didn’t click!

Mate when you’ve taken as many head knocks as I have, I can’t bloody remember myself. It’s still 1988, right?

When? Back when my shoulder didn’t ache, my wife wasn’t angry and the game wasn’t so soft.

(After lifting my shirt and patting my sizeable gut) – There’s a Legend six-pack for you!

Or my brother would slap me on the back and say “jeez you must have put on a heap of weight, nobody recognises you!” And then we’d quickly wander off to chat to other legends. Flawless.

Now I won’t use his real name, or even his real nick-name, but “Horse” one of our favourite players of all time, started to chat to us. We just couldn’t look one of our Grand Final-winning heroes in the eye and lie, so we came clean to him. Horse just laughed and said as long as we don’t go out onto the ground for the Legends Lap of Honour, he wouldn’t rat us out.

I nearly blew the grift when we joined a particular legend-group and I helped myself to one of the exotic looking sandwiches in the middle of the little table. It turned out one legend had special dietary requirements, so he had brought his own food.

Special-sandwich-legend – “WHAT THE F#CK YOU DOING? YOU BIT INTO MY SANDWICH. WHO ARE YOU ANYWAY?

I struggled for a few moments to think what to say.

Momentarily legend-awkward.

Me – “Mate, we’ve all bled for the same team. And that’s what’s important.

Then luckily, they all started to file down on to the ground for the Legends Lap of Honour. After a moment it was only Oracle and I left in the marquee.

Security guard (down the front) – “YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS YOUR LAP OF HONOUR AND TUNNEL FOR THE PLAYERS, GENTS.

Oracle and I looked at each other. We were brazen, but it was time to leave the marquee-of-greatness and head on back to the general populous. It had been an amazing few hours, but crashing the Legends Lap was one step too far. We were men of decency after all.

Me – “NO MY GOOD MAN. WE WOULD NOT WANT TO MISS OUR LAP OF HONOUR.” And down onto the ground we went.

Here’s the photo I took of Oracle on the ground while the players are warming up.

 

Here we are doing our Legends Lap. Giving back to the people.

 

 

Here we are with the cheerleaders.

 

It was an incredible feeling, the Lap of Honour (without dwelling on exactly how dishonorable we were being) with our fellow legends, all our loyal fans cheering and clapping. What a buzz.

After we’d done our lap, we formed a tunnel for the First Grade players to run through and on the opposite side to us… stood “Horse!”

He looked directly at us and then pointed at our faces. Damn, was he going to expose our deceit? It would be a tad embarrassing. But Horse, being a team man, just shook his head and laughed. Like one of us legends does.

Anyway the day just got better and better. All us legends watched a brilliant game of footy from the marquee, in which the team we had all bled for, won a magnificent victory. We then went back to a private room at the club for the rest of the night and the current players and sponsors joined us. It was unbelievable and the respect the players and the fans in the club showed us legends, was incredible.

My brother took his turn nearly exposing the grift, when a fit looking dude approached the group of Legends we were drinking with.

Oracle (to the dude) – “Reuben, you played out there today, like we used to back in the day! You ran hard and straight with no thought to self-preservation. I love it.

The dude – “Sorry mate. I work for Wormald, the sponsor. I’ve never played a game in my life.

Me (trying to change tack with a laugh) – “Typical of you Oracle. If they didn’t play exactly the same time you did, you got no idea who they are!

The private room with Tommy Turbo, Man-of-the-Match.

The private room with Tommy, Man-of-the-Match.

 

Later that night we received a text from our dad (also a Sea Eagles tragic). He sent us a video he’d taken of his tv at home –

 

Boys, tonight I sat down to watch the game. They had the Legends Lap, which I watched really closely to see which players I recognised. You can understand my surprise to see my two sons, at the front of the f#cking tunnel no less! I’m getting older and forget the odd thing, but I don’t actually remember either of you playing for Manly. I got no idea how you pulled it off and I don’t want to know. How the hell did my boys end up being so dodgy?

 

That’s me in the blue cap and Oracle in the scarf.

 

That day last season, we became… LEGENDS.

(disclaimer – If anybody from the brilliant Golden Eagles Assoc. or the Manly Warringah club do read this blog, please ignore)

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share far and wide via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Please do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art that is – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase

THEY THOUGHT WE WERE BOUNCERS

My mate “Psycho” is enormous, probably the strongest bloke I’ve ever met, used to be a tree-lopper and has arms and shoulders like Dean Lukin. And I mean the scruffy, tuna-fishing, weight-lifting version of Dean Lukin, not the post-Olympics slimmed-down, neat, corporate one.

I’m a fairly… hefty bloke myself. One night in the early 90s, we were saying goodbye to each other at the door to a Hornswood pub. It was only about ten thirty, but we’d been there since midday. It was time to go.

Psycho – “GO THE SEA EAGLES! See you, Jase.

All of a sudden three cocky, young, preppy sort of guys came wandering up the street. We couldn’t help but hear them coming as they were being so loud, leaning all over each other, looking very pretty in their expensive clothes, with perfect hair and really nice shiny shoes.

One of them yelled at the top of his voice as they approached – THREE SEXY, PRIVATE SCHOOL BOYS COMING IN. MAKE AN ORDERLY QUEUE INSIDE, BITCHES.

Wankers. Obviously not one of us Shore boys!

The taller one boomed – FUTURE CAPTAINS-OF-INDUSTRY, BITCHES.

I cannot stand that silver-spoon type, disrespecting young women and showing off about the privileged upbringing they’ve had (through no success of their own).

Psycho can’t either. They stopped in front of us.

Blonde Guy to Psycho (with a smart-arse tone in his voice) – “I assume it’s ok for us to go inside your fine establishment, my good man?

They thought we were bouncers!

Without skipping a beat, Psycho dropped into a brilliant, insanely-tough-Pommy-door-man accent. He sounded like one of the Peaky Blinders.

Psycho – “Nobody calls me a ‘good’ man no more. Not wiv what I’ve done, an’ the Guvna, ‘angin’ over me focken ‘ead. Proof of age, boys.

They all quickly produced their driver’s licenses. I smiled to myself.

Psycho (moving his gaze slowly from on to the next) – “Ya not goin’ ta be causin’ no trouble tonight? I’d get real angry if ya did. And ya wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

Excellent, Psycho had started quoting David Banner (a.k.a. the Hulk), in a Birmingham voice.

Blonde Guy (with a bit less smart-arse tone after the Hulk quote) – “Don’t worry about that, my good man.

Psycho (looking closely at their licenses) – “I used ta be a good man… ‘til prison.” He looked away, paused longingly, as if remembering. “But now wiv me mate ‘Cool Hand’ ‘ere, we’s two of the ‘ardest damn bouncers in the city.

“Cool Hand” is my self-ascribed poker callsign. As if rehearsed, without hesitation we executed the perfect high-five.

I tried to hide the smile that started to creep across my face. Men in our line of work, don’t smile often and this was my first time being… “Bouncer Cool Hand.”

Psycho (dead-pan) – “We’s been seein’ a shite-load of snobby private school students wiv fake id’s from the Ukraine recently lads. Ya wouldn’t knows nothin’ ’bout that now… would ya?” He eyeballed them all.

Tall guy – “We’re… we’re all over eighteen.

Me (having become “Bouncer Cool Hand”) – “WE’LL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT.

The three “BITCH”-yelling snobs seemed taken aback by this monstrous “Psycho” bloke, being apparently unimpressed with them.

Psycho (putting one license between his teeth and biting down, testing it like a gold piece) – “Looks legit ‘nough ta me, Cool Hand.” Pointing at the blonde guy. “Michael, ya star-sign an’ dog’s name. Quick now, son!

Blonde guy (hurriedly) – “Gemini. Tim-Tam.

Bouncer Cool Hand – “He’s right on the star-sign part,” (I had no idea if he was) “but I’m just not convinced about the Tim-Tam bit.

Psycho (to Blonde Guy) – “Tim-Tam? Serious?” He was absolutely nailing the Brummie accent.

Blonde guy (embarrassed) – “It’s my sister’s favourite biscuit…”

Psycho and I just shook our heads to each other.

Psycho – “For fock’s sake, Michael this don’t even look like ya! The guy in this photo’s a lot skinnier an’ he’s wearin’ glasses. What ya tryin’ ta pull?

Michael – “I have contacts now.

Bouncer Cool Hand – “WE DON’T CARE WHO YOU KNOW.” This was great.

Psycho (despite Michael looking exactly the same weight as he did in his photo) – “Michael, why have you put on so much weight?” Uh oh, Psycho had forgotten the pommy accent!

Michael – “Oh… well… I didn’t realise I had… I guess I stopped going to the gym and I just…

Psycho (remembering his accent again) – “Likely story.

Moving on to Tall Guy.

Psycho – “Phil, in this photo y’ave a blue shirt wiv some wanky logo. Now, ya’re wearin’ a green one and I can’t see no logo at all. Care ta explain?

The situation was hilariously ridiculous.

Phil (sweating) – “I have… different shirts…

Psycho – “Yeah, I ‘eard how well-ta-do ya’ll are. I’m keepin’ me eye on ya… green-shirt boy.

At this stage I had to walk away a little and turn my back. I was a risk of a emitting a loud, decidedly non-bouncer-like laugh.

Psycho – “DOES YA MA LIKE MEERKATS, ‘ARRY?

Harry – “What difference does-

Psycho (interjecting) – “IT’S THE ONLY PUB FOR MILES ‘ARRY. WANNA COME IN OR NO?

Harry (hesitating while he thought for a second) – “Um… I think she likes them.

Psycho – “Why the ‘esitation ‘Arry? Ya not close?

Harry – “Oh, I just wasn’t expecting that question.

Psycho (staring daggers at him) – “‘Arry… always expect.

Harry – “Ok… thanks.

Psycho – “Now ‘Arry, ya’ve a scraggly focken “moustache(Psycho made air-quotes) in this photo, an’ now you’ve none. How d’ya explain that?

Harry just stared blankly.

Bouncer Cool Hand – “Why were you so desperate to change your appearance.

Harry answered – “It was really itchy.

Psycho (now with an excellent Clint Eastwood voice) – “I guess we’ll just have to take your word on that…won’t… we?

Bouncer Cool Hand – “Psycho, I’m not overly comfortable with any of these guys, especially Mr Disappearing-‘Moustache’ here (I copied Psycho’s air-quotes).”

I was laughing now, but they were all too focused on answering Psycho correctly. Now they had heard his nickname, I don’t think they noticed his Peaky Blinders accent had given way to  “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.

Psycho – “Any of you ever been convicted of Truancy? Homework copying? Or do you know anybody who has? Well do you… punk?

They all shook their heads. Somehow Psycho managed to keep a straight bouncer-face.

Then four blokes who looked the same age as the three we were investigating, stood and waited their turn to be vetted by us.

Bouncer Cool Hand (happy as Larry with the new young arrivals) – “You can go straight in boys.

Harry – “How come they were allowed in?

Bouncer Cool Hand – “DON’T GET LIPPY WITH ME HARRY. It’s because they formed an orderly queue.”

Psycho – “One thing we won’t abide here punks, is any married men being unfaithful. Are any of you married? A man’s gotta know his limitations!

They responded with a chorus of “No’s”.

Bouncer Cool Hand – “You don’t mind us checking do you? Ring fingers please gentlemen.

They all showed their ring-fingers while we checked for not only wedding rings, but ring tan-marks. You can’t be too careful.

Then, the actual bouncer came out of the bar! He was angry.

Actual bouncer – “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

Psycho, who was big enough to get away with it, in a super-friendly way put his arm on the bouncer’s shoulder and led him back inside the door to chat privately. They spoke for quite a while so I knew Psycho was trying to convince the real bouncer, to carry on the gag. They occasionally glanced back at the increasingly nervous boys.

Actual bouncer and Psycho wandered back.

Bouncer Cool Hand – “Howdy, Iron Kev.” I took a stab at his name. I really hoped Psycho had got him in on the joke.

Bouncer Cool Hand – “Here’s a quick rundown Kev, because Psycho and I are both at the end of a long shift. Michael here (I pointed him out), has put on a heap of weight, apparently used to wear glasses, now miraculously doesn’t need them and should be let in due to the people he knows in this place.

“Iron Kev” threw up his hands with a mocking look of being impressed by Michael (who appeared mortified by my summary).

Bouncer Cool Hand – “Young Phil here, was showing off about how vast his impressive wardrobe is. Harry, has next to no relationship with his mother, has no idea of her stance on meerkats and his ‘moustache’ (air quotes again) is suspiciously transitory.

“Iron Kev” (smiling and nodding) – “Transitory – nice word Cool Hand. How could he not know his mum’s meerkat-stance? Ok, I understand your concerns fellas. I’ll see you tomorrow Cool Hand, Psycho.” We shook hands in a manly, bro-bouncer way.

“Iron Kev” (turning to the young lads) – “OK YOU PRIVATE SCHOOL POSERS. FORM AN ORDERLY QUEUE. I HOPE YOU KNOW YOUR EXACT HEIGHT BECAUSE I’LL BE CHECKING, MOTHER’S EYE COLOUR (I won’t be expecting you to know that one Harry) AND MODEL OF YOUR DAD’S FIRST RIDE.

Iron Kev (to Psycho and I) – “Carry on gents. You’ve done some good work here.

Our “shift” done, Psycho and I left.

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and business-people to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase

THREE ANGRY RUGBY-MUMS.

I’m not saying my son Jake was a great Rugby player (I say “was”, because after three broken noses and three shoulder dislocations he’s now retired). He was neither overly big compared to the behemoths he often played, nor particularly fast. Being a leftie, his pass to the right definitely lacked that certain something and he couldn’t kick to save his life.

But like all Flankers he was tenacious, tough, a great tackler and the saying – flankers put their heads where other people wouldn’t put their feet, is apt.

Being young for his year, at high school in the early ages much to his chagrin, he was forced to play with the guys in the age-group below. So his performances did stand out a bit, he was captain and often the best player.

I know I sound like a self-satisfied Rugby-dad showing off about my son, but that’s because I am a self-satisfied Rugby-dad showing off about my son.

Once, when Jake was about twelve or thirteen we had arrived for a MASSIVE game against Joeys and he’d left his mouth-guard at home! You’re not allowed to play without one, but he said he could borrow and ran off to warm up with the team. We saw an old friend Sarah, whose son Tommy was one of Jake’s great mates through primary school and was now the gigantic guy in the opposition team.

Sarah (with a friendly laugh) – “Tommy’s going to SMASH Jake today. He’s six inches taller and probably twenty-five kilos heavier. I hope you’re ready for carnage.

Me (with a knowing smile) – “Oh we’ll see Sare, because Jake’s specialty is taking down the big guy.

She hesitated and look of horror came over her face in an instant.

Sarah – “BUT TOMMY’S GOT BAD KNEES!!

Me (looking around jokingly and laughing) – “JAKE. THE KNEES.

So my wife stayed chatting to Sarah while I went to the other side of the ground where there were less people.

The game was a torrid affair, as it always is against the opposition school’s juggernaut and Jake was having a top match. Just after half-time, three women came over to where I was on the side-line and stood uncomfortably close to me. They looked like sisters.

Sister 1 – “I’m Robert’s mum. You Jake’s dad?” She sounded like a country woman who was a bit pissed off.

Me (nice as pie) – “Yeah. Hi ladies, I’m Jase. You must be sisters.” I had no idea which one of the kids was Robert.

Sister 2 (with no introduction) – “WE’VE COME ALL THE WAY FROM TAMWORTH TO WATCH ROBERT PLAY. I BET YOU DIDN’T COME FREAKEN FAR!

I was taken aback by the agro tone.

Me – “Only Lindfield.” I smiled warmly.

Angry Sister 1 – “TAMWORTH IS A GODDAMN LONG TRIP WHEN YOU DON’T GET TO SEE YOUR SON PLAY! MY HUSBAND ONLY GETS TO SEE A FEW GAMES A YEAR, AND NOW HE’S HAD TO GO AND WATCH THE YOUNGER BOY PLAY, BECAUSE ROBERT’S ON THE SIDELINE. A-HOLE.

Me – “Huh?” I was confused.

Angry Sister 3 – “LONG TRIP, TO BE STANDING ON THE SIDE-LINE… TALKING TO AN IDIOT.

Me – “Huh?

Angry Sister 3 – “HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW WELL ROBERT’S PLAYING JASE?

She put such venom and a little spittle into the Jase, that I became… scared.

Me – “I… don’t actually know which one’s Robert, I just-

Angry Sister 2 (cutting me off) – “THERE.” She pointed to the lanky kid in full Shore footy gear, cheering on the other sideline. Then it dawned on me, standing by myself, they must think I’m the coach and responsible for sidelining Robert.

Me – “I’m not the coach. I’m just-

Angry Sister 1 (interupting) – “YOU’RE TOO MUCH OF A IDIOT TO BE THE COACH.

Damn.

Then I thought I must have met the Tamworth sisters before, offended them in some way and they have got a better memory than me.

Me – “Have we met before ladies?

Angry Sister 2 – “NO WE HAVEN’T. YOU’RE LUCKY OUR HUSBANDS ARE UP WATCHING PHILLIP PLAY, SMART-MOUTH.

I pretended I was following the play and wandered away from them, cheering.

Me (watching them out of the corner of my eye) – “COME ON LADS.

They didn’t fall for it. They followed.

Angry Sister 1 – “YOU NORTH SHORE DADS A SUCH TOSSERS. THINKING YOU’RE BETTER THAN US COUNTRY PEOPLE. WELL YOU NOT!

Me – “I have to… go… over there and…” I pointed at nothing in particular and sprint-walked all the way around to the other side of the ground. And I’m not known for my sprint-walking.

I spent the rest of the match keeping the entire oval, between me and the Tamworth-certifiable-sisters. If they moved anywhere, I moved in the opposite direction. It was like a big game of chasings. Luckily they had no more stamina than I did.

At the end of the match, they at least had the civility to stand quietly while the coach addressed the kids in team. All the time giving me the old stink-eye and adding to my puzzlement.

As we prepared to leave, the Tamworth-certifiables had one last go. A bit quieter this time, due to the boys.

Angry Sister 1 – “You’re no better than us you bald, fat, inconsiderate, annoying, snob. You’ve ruined our day.

She sure knew how to hurt.

Me – “Fat??

I turned and spoke quietly to Jake, while the certifiables, stared daggers at me.

Me – “Jake, who the hell is Robert? His mum and aunties are up me big time for some reason.

Jake (digging through his sports-bag) – “Oh, the coach told Robert he couldn’t play this week for missing practice again, and he didn’t want to let his parents know. He came in full footy gear to the game. It worked out perfectly because I used his mouth-guard and we told his parents that you said as Captain, I should take his, so that’s why he couldn’t play.

Me – “Oh of course. I should have thought of that. Thanks a million son.

Jake then pulls his “lost” mouth-guard out of his bag and announces smiling, at the top of his voice – “I FOUND MY MOUTHGUARD. IT WAS IN MY BAG ALL ALONG.

I couldn’t help myself, they did call me fat after all.

Me – “NO NEED TO WORRY LADIES. HE’S FOUND IT.

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and business-people to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase

NO WAY TO TREAT YOUR BROTHER

When my son was in primary school, there were twin brothers playing in his Hornswood Junior Rugby team. One was a hilarious, smart-ass, piss-taker, the other one was… nice.

Tommy was tall, blonde, handsome, broad-shouldered, super-fast, skilled, scored 2-4 tries every match, our best player, smart, confident and brash.

His brother was Carl, was not tall, red-haired, not quite so handsome, chubby, pale, a slow toiler, shy, good-guy front-rower who had never scored a try despite the team having been together for years.

Right on the full-time whistle in one of the last games of the season, Carl scored his first ever try with a great push from his mates in the forward pack. A Christmas miracle in July! As he jogged back to the half-way, us parents and coaches cheered and high-fived. Being a very close-knit team we were overjoyed Carl was finally in the spotlight.

Great stuff Carl.

Tommy (sprinting over to us parents on the sideline) – “IT WASN’T A TRY! MY BROTHER DROPPED THE BALL OVER THE LINE. NO TRY!”

Mark (dad of the twins) – “Quiet Tommy. The ref paid it. We win, be happy for your brother just for once.”

Tommy (who’d already scored three tries that day) – “HE DROPPED THE BALL.”

As we always did, the parents stood in a group with the kids on the ground in front, while my good mate the coach, awarded the Man of the Match. This one was a no-brainer and he wanted to put special focus on Carl, to illustrate to the kids that continued commitment and effort, will eventually be rewarded.

Coach – “Our Man of the Match today, who also scored the winning try is… CARL.”

In a beautiful team moment, everyone cheered louder than we ever had for another player. The one who had always lived in his brother’s try-scoring shadow, deserved no less.

Tommy – “He knocked-on.”

The coach tried to ignore Tommy and we parents made sure we hid our amusement at the comments.

Getting hard to hide.

Coach (to the team) – “So boys, where do we start when talking about Carl?”

Tommy – “Can start with the knock-on.”

Mark (his dad) – “TOMMY!! EITHER ACCEPT THAT YOUR BROTHER SCORED A TRY, OR GO AND SIT IN THE BLOODY CAR. YOUR CHOICE!!”

Tommy (thinking on it) – “Guess I’ll have to go and sit in the car.”

Off he went and sat in the back seat while the coach went on. We were all finding it increasingly difficult to contain our laughter. The problem was, the car was only about ten metres away and within earshot.

Coach – “Every team needs players like Carl.”

Tommy (yelling from the car) – “IF YOU’RE COLLECTING NON-TRIES.”

Mark – “TOMMY!! SHUT UP OR I’LL CLOSE THE WINDOW.” Just to us parents, “God help me I’d love to.”

Tommy puts up his hands in a sign of mock surrender.

Coach – “Lots of props never score a ‘meat-pie’ in their whole Rugby careers.”

Tommy – “IT WAS AS ‘MEAT-PIE’ AS A BROCCOLI SALAD.”

By this stage all us parents standing behind the players, had tears running down our faces. But Carl, in his shining moment, was focused solely on the coaches words.

Coach – “It just goes to show that you don’t have to be the fastest or the most skilled-“

Tommy (interrupting from the car) – “OR HOLD THE BALL.”

Coach – “A Rugby team is made up of all different types. You can’t win with a team of just halfbacks and wingers. You also can’t win with a team of just Carls.”

Tommy (from the car) – “NOT IF YOU WANT ANY TRIES SCORED.”

Mark – “TOMMY!”

By this stage, us parents are pissing ourselves laughing behind hands and caps. Carl was completely oblivious to his brother’s heckling, as if he’d learned to just tune it out.

Coach – “But Carl wouldn’t have scored, if his teammates hadn’t been there to help him.”

Tommy – “OR IF THE REF HAD SOME GLASSES.”

Coach – “Persistence!”

Tommy – “OH MAN, I’D HAVE PERSISTENCE IF I GOT AWARDED A TRY EVERY TIME I NEARLY SCORED. I’D BE ON A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN 31 THIS SEASON.”

Carl’s smile beamed.

I was shaking with barely-stifled laugher.

One of the mum’s – “There was some excellent non-selfish passing today also, everybody.”

Tommy – “PARTICIPATION TRY! HERE YOU GO EVERYONE, HAVE A TRY.”

Eventually we got the speech done. Mark had the shits with Tommy, said his goodbyes, got Carl in the car and was reversing in the carpark.

Coach (just to us parents) – “I can’t let Tommy have the last cool line. I have to get one more in before they drive away, so Tommy can’t retort.”

Coach (approaching the about-to-drive-off car and yelling to the parents as much as to Carl) – “HEY CARL, I WISH I HAD YOUR TRY ON VIDEO. I COULD EASILY SHOW THE ENTIRE TEAM WHAT I MEAN WHEN I USE THE WORD TENACITY.”

The coach flashed a smile and wink our way. We understood the magnitude of what just occurred. The coach, the old bull, had put the young bull right back in his place. The coaches parting words, were to be the last ones exchanged between them on the matter. Drop the mic.

The car moved off slowly.

Another dad – “Well done, coach. I’ve never laughed so much. I certainly didn’t think you’d be gettin’ the last word in. You are The Man.”

Coach – “Thanks mate. It seems juvenile, but I couldn’t let him be the last to have made a clever comment. As coach I very much need to be the top-dog to this age group, otherwise these kids will run all over me, metaphorically and literally. How could I get them to jog around the oval six times, do 100 pushups, tackle and put their head in a ruck, if I don’t have that… top-dog respect.”

We high-fived, while all the parents continued to hide their laughter.

Top-dog respect.

Tommy (leaning out of the window as they drove away) – “I WISH WE HAD HIS TRY ON VIDEO TOO… FOR THE VIDEO REF”.

And the car was gone.

One of the dads (immediately being reminded of a funny line from a country song he once heard) – “Maybe you’re top dog, coach, but gee it appears as though you’ve been de-sexed”.

Hilarious.

The coach just stared at the cloud of Hornswood Oval carpark dust, left by Tommy’s car.

Gotta love kid’s Rugby.

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and business-people to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase.

WHY DID I WEAR PYJAMAS TO SCHOOL DROP-OFF??

Me – “I’m not listening to your awful music.”

It was early morning a few years ago and my daughter, who I was driving to the wonderful Hornswood Ladies College, dismissively rolled her eyes and put on her headphones. I was immovable on the music debate being fresh from an argument with my lovely wife, at home twenty minutes earlier.

My lovely wife – “I can’t believe your car has no petrol and you didn’t fill up last night because you were late for poker. You’ll run out now, you watch.”

My wife is from Barcelona, so she does a feisty tone even better than most Hornswood wives.

Me – “I’m not an idiot. Thank you, but I dont need fuel management advice from the person whose car is empty every single time I get in. I’ll get petrol on the way and she wont be late to school.”

My daughter’s school has a long drive that circles the oval and there’s a drop-off zone for about four cars at a time. Dropping-off before the zone is strictly forbidden, so each morning we queue. I got to the front of the zone, my daughter got out and walked away and clunk, moving one metre off the zone, the car stalled. Out of petrol.

Oh, CRAP.

I had another problem. Having completely forgotten about my fuel shortage immediately after having the “I’m not an idiot” conversation with my wife earlier, I’d gone to the school run, in my usual drop-off outfit – pyjamas, full-length Superman dressing gown and Ugg boots. My daughter every morning implored me to get dressed before driving her, but who in their right mind could possibly have foreseen this series of events?

Me in my actual dressing gown.

The traffic was already starting to bank up behind me. I put on my hazard lights, got out and not taking my eyes off the ground, jumped into the passenger seat of the car who’d just dropped-off behind me (having already checked it was a dad, not some poor innocent mum). I’m a big bloke with a fully-fused spine and this was a tiny little sports car which for some reason had the seat moved all the way forward.

I could barely fit in and looked ridiculous with my knees squashed up against the dashboard. I desperately tried to slide the seat back to be able to close the door but couldn’t find the bar or button, due to my Superman gown getting all caught up. Eventually, I got the seat pushed all the way back and still could barely fit in.

Me – “Hi mate.” I stuck out my hand to the stranger.

The bloke (shaking my hand but understandably a bit surprised) – “You’re the worst dressed car-jacker ever”.

So Keith (cannot remember his real name, I was distracted) drove me to the petrol station and by the time we returned with a little fuel can, the place was in utter pandemonium. The queue which we had to sit in must have been a hundred cars and went all the way back to the main road. Students were having to jump out in non-drop-off sections, people were getting out of cars to see what was going on, everybody was furious and drivers were honking (and this is Hornswood Ladies College – we don’t honk), yelling out their windows as one at a time cars would squeeze past the idiot parked half-way into the drop-off zone. A true nightmare.

Keith dropped me off and I did the walk of shame to the front of the queue, holding my little fuel can up to show everybody that I am but a humble idiot, not an asshole who parks randomly in the drop-off zone. I began refueling in the midst of chaos, dressed as Superman.

Now look, I am particularly hard to embarrass, but I had truly been plunged into the gates of hell itself.

All of a sudden two dads get out of their fancy cars and approach me. Being Hornswood Ladies College, they were lawyer-looking and I assumed they were coming to help or possibly to have a bit of a laugh to aid a fellow dad in his moment of need. I was incorrect.

Blue-suited lawyer – “HOW THE HELL DO YOU LET YOURSELF RUN OUT OF PETROL HERE? HOW IRRISPONSIBLE.” He was rather mad.

Grey-suited lawyer (seething) – “I HAVE AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT DAMN MEETING THIS MORNING BUDDY!”

Me – “Well boo-freaken-hoo mate!” Up until that point I had been humiliated by the whole incident, now I was just angry.

There was no need for the lawyers to kick me while I was down. The honks and “MOVE YOUR CAR” yells continued around us.

Grey-suited lawyer (furiously) – “DIDN’T YOU CHECK YOUR DAMN PETROL BEFORE ENTERING THE SCHOOL GROUNDS??” He pointed right in my face.

Me (feeling incredibly flustered and vulnerable, but standing tall in my Superman dressing gown) – “Welllll lawyer, let me give you a few guesses to see if you can work out if I did check or not. And before you answer, I’ll give you some clues. I’m standing here in my DRESSING-GOWN, looking like a damn idiot, with a little petrol can, topping up my damn tank, with a hundred  people honking me and two lawyers getting up in my damn face! Now… do you think I checked my damn petrol level???”

Blue-suited lawyer – “I’m not a lawyer.”

Me – Lawyer is a generic term”.

Anyway, I eventually got home, my 40 minute morning drop-off having taken an hour and 40 minutes. My lovely wife was still home, ununusually.

My lovely wife – “Wow, that took you forever. The Pacific Highway traffic must be a nightmare. I was going to have another cup of coffee before I leave, but I guess I’d better get on the road if it’s that bad.”

To make my morning worse, I had plummeted into a moral quandary. My lovely wife is an accountant and works ridiculously hard. For her to be forced on to the road unnecessarily early, due to the “traffic” would be grossly unfair.

Here was a test of my character, my caliber… my very honour. I had to come clean and tell her she was right, I did forget her warning and ran out of petrol, I should have filled up last night and been late for poker, I blocked the drop-off zone of Hornswood Ladies College for an hour, caused absolute chaos, jumped into some blokes car, got him to drive me to the petrol station and back, stood there in the Superman gown she finds so disgusting and got into an argument with two lawyers. Mia culpa. The traffic is fine, relax and have another cup of coffee.

A question of character.

My wife – “Traffic’s a nightmare, hey?”

Me – “It… took me a reeeally long time today, Honey.” She rushed out to work. I hung my head in shame. For quite a while.

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and business-people to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase.

I WAS JUST TRYING TO ARRANGE A DAD’S PUB VISIT

In Hornswood (being the mystical little suburbs snuggled between the bookends of Hornsby and Chatswood) we need to initiate social events, whenever we can.

My daughter attends an “elite” private school, in Hornswood. I don’t say that in a showing-off way at all, I can barely afford it and it’s a bit of a struggle when we have to pay the school/sport/book/camp/uniform bills. But I cannot deny it’s an amazing, very well-to-do-school and most the parents drive cars that are much fancier than my Mazda CX-9.

When she was in her first year I thought it would be a great idea to arrange a piss-up with the other dads of Year 7 girls. Someone arranged the same thing at my son’s school and it was great because you got to know blokes you are going to occasionally see, for the next 6 years.

I was eventually put in contact with the person in charge of such things, Mrs Penelope Correct (my daughter would kill me if I used her actual name). I sent her an email, complete with a Bitmoji.

Dear Penny,

I’m the father of a student in year 7. I was hoping to arrange an unofficial pub visit for the dads of her year, so we can all get to know each other early in the schooling career. Would that be possible? Thanks.

Jase Gram

PC replied in a very timely and positive manner.

Dear Mr Gram,

I’m pretty confident that is the first time anybody has sent correspondence to this school, with a Bitmoji of themselves. Lol. However, that sounds like a wonderful idea. Send me an email and I will forward it straight out to the rest of the dads of Year 7. Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

So I sent her an email with an excellent Bitmoji of me attached, to really set the tone for all the dads, when she forwarded it on.

Howdy dads of Year 7 girls,

I know some of you dodgy buggers already, but most I don’t and we’re going to be at dance rehearsals, soccer, netball, parties and sleep-over drop-offs, for the next 6 freaken years.

Let’s all get together for a massive, rowdy break-the-ice piss-up!!! Who’s in lads? The Greengate, March 17th. 7:00ish.

 

The next day, PC send me back a reply.

I’m sorry Mr Gram. Do you think you could possibly, tone the email down just a little bit? Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

I assumed the picture was the problem, so I sent back a less suggestive Bitmoji.

Penny, please just call me Jase. I’m no “Mr Gram”. How’s this one?

 

PC replied.

I’m sorry Jase, do you think you could possibly, tone the email down just a little bit further? Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

So I amended it to look more like a dad celebration-of-Hornswood-life, than a dad piss-up.

 

PC then replied, in an exceedingly timely manner. I think she was starting to get a little concerned.

I’m sorry again Jase. The school does not want to be seen to be encouraging beer drinking, in any of their communications. Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

So keep in mind I really wanted this thing to happen and I didn’t want to appear like an absolute yobbo to my daughter’s new school. So I sent a Bitmoji which had no amber fluid.

I know what you’re saying Penny. How’s this one?

 

PC replied.

No Jase, could you do one that’s a little bit more representative of us at Hornswood Ladies College? Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

That one was easy.

Penny I’m pretty keen to make it look like fun, so we’ll get plenty of dads actually turn up. How’s this?

 

PC got back to me.

Yes Jase, I have spoken to a few people in the office and teachers and we’re still not comfortable sending that out from the school. Could you do one a little more in fitting with the school’s exacting standards. Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

Easy.

Sorted Penny.

 

PC replied. I think she was getting a little frustrated. As I was.

Jase, could you do one without alcohol mentioned or implied. And how about any single-mothers who may wish to attend? We cannot exclude any parents. Kindest regards

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

Single mothers? Did she completely misunderstand what I was trying to arrange??

Penny, single mothers aren’t actually invited. This is for dads only.

Jase.

 

I got the distinct impression my email was not going to be sent out at all and that my file had been stamped “Dodgy Dad”. So…

How do you do, fathers of Year 7 students?

I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of some of you, however we are more than likely going to be briefly meeting at dance recitals, soccer games, netball frolics, hockey adventures, parties and sleep-over drop-offs for the next 6 years.

I suggest we all gather together for a tea-drinking session, so we may get to know each other. Who is interested in attending? The Greengate Hotel, March 17th. Shall we say, 7:00? The first tea’s on me!

 

She replied.

Mr Gram the school will take the entire idea under advisement. Regards.

Penelope Correct – Hornswood Ladies College.

 

I had reverted to “Mr Gram” and her “kind regards”, had lost their warmth and had been diminished to just “regards”.

After not hearing from her for about a month, I sent her one last Bitmoji, with no words.

That was three years ago, I’m still waiting.

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and businesspeople to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art that is – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase. 

LINESMAN FOR DAUGHTER’S SOCCER – Plunged into hell

Here’s a funny story that happened to a Hornswood mate of mine.

Due to a debilitating hang-over, Andy a mate of mine made the fatal mistake of turning up to his daughter’s Under-15 soccer final just moments before the early-morning kickoff. So all the other dads of course, volunteered him to do the dreaded linesman duty.

Andy had run-the-line for his daughter’s Hornswood Soccer games many times and it wouldn’t normally bother him. However he’d been out on the piss with the lads and his head hurt like a hammer-hit thumb. But what choice did he have? The bastards had stitched him up royally.

It all went surprisingly well, despite Andy being constantly on the vomit-precipice. So well in fact, that after a while he relaxed and started to enjoy the actually game. It was a thrilling 2-2 score-line with mere moments left and his daughter was having the game of her life as striker. They were playing a serious grudge match against a team that neither the parents nor the girls liked as they always took games too seriously and cheered obnoxiously (we don’t like that in Hornswood).

In the closing seconds of the match, one of the Hornswood backs made a desperation kick from well in their half. The ball flew all the way up to Andy’s daughter and she slammed home the winning goal!

Andy erupted into proud-father cheers.

The problem was, because she wasn’t actually expecting the ball at that moment, his daughter was a MILE offside. So much so, that players on both sides, had slowed their sprinting to prepare for the penalty.

With a hangover-exploding head, perched upon the vom-ipice and alcohol still coursing through his veins, Andy was in no condition to sprint. He was way down the line and actually missed his daughter’s offside completely. In fact, in his excitement he actually forgot it was even his role to call it. He had his flag tucked snuggly under his armpit while he applauded the winning goal.

The ref (who looked to be about thirteen) – “Was that goal good mister?”

Andy – “GOOD?? IT WAS FREAKEN GREAT!!” Andy punched the sky and the flag fell out of his armpit.

So, much to the surprise of his daughter’s team, their opposition and the opposition’s highly-animated supporters (and even the Hornswood parents), the ref paid the goal. Then he blew full-time. Hornswood had “won”.

Andy ran to the goal square, high-fived and hugged his daughter excitedly.

Then with a newfound spring Andy set off across the field to celebrate with the rest of the Hornswood parents. Walking past the gaggle of heart-broken opposition girls from whom he had unwittingly burgled the match, he heard comments thrown his way. Some irate, some teary.

“WHAT A CHEATER. THAT AWFUL GIRL WAS A MILE OFFSIDE.”

“I WONDER WHICH ONE IS HIS DAUGHTER.”

“HORNSWOOD ARE SUCH DIRTY CHEATERS.”

“SHE’S A COW.”

“HE’S A FAT OLD CHEAT.”

Thinking that was a bit rough and it wasn’t his fault his daughter had single-handedly beaten their old nemesis, he then walked past a large group of opposition dads, out of earshot of all the girls.

“YOU’VE GOTTA BE FUCKIN’ JOKIN’ MATE! YOU HAVE A FUCKIN’ BET ON OR SOMETHIN’?”

“DID YA HAVE YOUR FLAG UP YOUR ARSE PAL?”

“YOU DODGY? OR YOU JUST SHIT, MAN-BOOBS?”

“KNOW THE FUCKING CONCEPT OF OFFSIDE DUDE?”

Despite the hangover fog in his brain, Andy finally realised his error. And as a predominantly honourable man, he was mortified.

He decided he and his daughter should skip the team celebrations – of their hollow and undeserved victory, and just leave. Quickly.

As he was getting into his car, a slightly scary, little old lady appeared. He smiled and Andy hoped he wasn’t about to cop some more abuse or plumet headlong off the vom-ipice, right in front of her.

Little old lady (yelling in a thick Middle-Eastern accent) – “YOU ROB MY GRAN’DAUGHTER HER FOO’BALL!!” Andy just stood there. “YOU NO GOOD MAN. YOU LIE WIZ ZHE GOATS.”

One of the angry opposition dads (yelling from the sideline to the little old lady) – “JUST LEAVE HIM MAMA. HE’S JUST A DIRTY CHEAT.”

She waved her hands, witchingly, right in his face. Freaked out, all Andy could do was close his door and drive away.

In his rear vision mirror, he could still see her gesticulating, spitting on the ground and yelling.

YOU LIE WIZ ZHE GOATS.”

Anyway, a few days later Andy and Samantha, were with my lovely wife and I in a fancy restaurant in Hornswood having a great night. An hour earlier he’d finished recounting the story of how he unwittingly gave his daughter’s team an exceedingly hollow, finals victory and an elderly lady had loudly accused him of goat… relations.

I reacted as you’d expect.

Feeling a… presence on his shoulder, Andy turned and there standing next to him, was the old lady! Andy froze. He felt as though his heart had stopped beating. He knew what was coming. In reflex, he threw back the final mouthful of Verve in the bottom of his glass. There was more in there than he anticipated, his eyes watered and he coughed.

Little old Middle-Eastern lady – “YOU REMEMBER ME MISTER. YOU ROB MY GRAN’DAUGHTER.”

Andy just nodded, scared. Really scared. Nobody in Hornswood makes a scene in a restaurant, it’s unseemly! He looked to me for support, I did my best to suppress laughter.

But much to his relief, this time she appeared calmer and seemingly had gotten over her bitter disappointment, somewhat.

Little old Middle-Eastern lady – “ISS OK.”

She smiled, turned and left.

Andy much relieved, commenced breathing once again. Sweating but smiling, he started to explain that she was THE little old lady so we’d understand why he was so obviously terrified.

Our laughter, let him know that we had already worked it out.

Then Samantha noticed a piece of paper on his bread plate, folded many times, into a thick little rectangle.

Andy opened it up carefully (see below) –

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and businesspeople to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art that is – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase. 

 

 

SHE DIDN’T LIKE ME, THAT LAWYER.

I sipped my Hemingway Daiquiri (who knew there was such a thing).

Carolyn the lawyer was undecided between getting the absolute shits with me, or laughing. Confident they should all be similarly offended, her four-man entourage of sycophantic junior lawyers become a little agitated.

Me (with a smile and joking tone) – “All I’m saying is, I’ve been standing here for twenty minutes meeting you all for the first time and all you’ve talked about is how rich you are, the fancy cars you drive and the amazing places you holiday! I’m not rich, due in the main to my meagre income, I drive a six-year-old Mazda CX9 (with fancy power windows and a reversing camera) which cannot compare to your Tesla,” I motioned to sycophant 1.

Me – “Our last holiday was Byron Bay, which pales in comparison to your Maldives battery-recharge,” motioning to sycophant 2.

I can generally hide any social-frustration.

Lawyer Carolyn (who decided she now had the absolute shits with me) – “Why don’t you walk away and find some Mazda friends then?”

Me (still with a smile) – “Good idea.”

So, I wondered over to my wife who was talking to the host of the elegant affair, Shane.

Me – “Some lawyers asked me to walk away.”

My lovely wife – “What?? We’ve only been here half an hour!”

Turns out tall, attractive lawyer Carolyn was the head of one of the biggest law firms in the known universe.

We were at a cocktail party in Shane’s magnificent house on the water with twenty others. Hanging with the rich and powerful. Sophisticated waiters buzzed amongst us with fancy cocktails, bubbly and truly amazing food. Shane’s a BIG-TIME lawyer, so the event was highly lawyer-permeated. Lots of very clever people everywhere, but I was feeling pretty cluey because it was so stinking hot on the verandah in the mid-Summer afternoon, that everybody had to put on sunscreen, and I was the only one not wearing a suit!

About two hours later it started to rain on and off, so nearly everybody moved inside. I was full of champagne, Hemingway Daiquiri’s and beer and thought it would be a good time to rejoin the lawyers to smooth things over, as I’d discovered Carolyn was actually Shane’s boss. I was going to bury the old hatchet.

Me – “Sorry about earlier everybody.” I put up my hands in a vulnerable symbol of apology. “I’d had an argument with the wife who didn’t want me bludging a ciggie off those lads out on the verandah. I know, I know, cigs are moronic, but I am guilty of bumming the odd one when I’m on the piss.”

The four sycophants and Carolyn were still standing in exactly the same positions as when I left them two hours previously. I quietly wondered with a chuckle if the warden allowed them toilet breaks.

Me – “You’re all still standing in exactly the same positions as when I left two hours ago… Does the warden allow you toilet breaks?” Damn.

Lawyer Carolyn – “What exactly do you do?? Apart from dressing inappropriately!?”

Me (with a smile) – “I’m a writer!”

I AM A WRITER!

Just at that moment my wife walked past and without stopping says to the gaggle of lawyers – “Actually, he’s NOT a writer”. I had to then admit, that I’m well on my way to becoming, a writer.

Me – “So what are you guys talking about?”

Sycophant 3 – “The actress Madeleine Stowe and her legal team actually.”

This was a great topic, on which I could talk without upsetting any of them. Madeleine Stowe has always been in my top ten most attractive women of all time.

Me – “Ah mate, Madeleine is in my top ten of all time.”

They all stood, silent. Lawyer Carolyn looked like I had just spilled a beer on her Gucci handbag.

Sycophant 4 stared at me with a perplexed look. It was pretty obvious why.

Me – “Not now obviously, but in her day. Madeleine, along with Kate Beckinsale, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Maria Conchita Alonso (especially in Extreme Prejudice), Olivia Wilde, Megan Fox (pre-facelift), Salma Hayek, Liv Tyler, J.Lo of course and Eva Longoria.” Luckily I had this discussion the day before with the lads, so I could rattle my top-10 off.

Lawyer Carolyn – “That’s sexist! You’ve demeaned all of those women.” She had real venom in her voice.

Me – “Huh? I’ve demeaned Madeleine Stowe and J.Lo?? Oooh, I wonder if they’ll be ok.”

Lawyer Carolyn – “Well what if I was to demean you by calling you a fortuneless, boorish, overweight, sexist, Neanderthal in front of all these highly successful lawyers? What then?” Sycophants 2 and 4 chuckled.

Me – “Overweight?”

That was it for me. Too much.

Me (loudly to everybody at the party) – “EVERYBODY, I’VE JUST BEEN CALLED FAT BY LAWYER CAROLYN, SO I’M NOW GOING ONTO THE VERANDAH TO BLUDGE A CIGGIE.”

My wife, who was over the other side of the party, starts yelling at me and gesticulating wildly. Now she’s not a party-yeller, I am, but she’s not, so this was out of character for her. I couldn’t make out her hollering over the music and chatter, but guaranteed it was along the lines of DON’T YOU DARE GO OUT THERE AND HAVE A CIGGIE.

I had to get away from all those who were all trying to publicly emasculate me.

I turned, ignoring everybody, including my wife who was still waving and shouting. I power-walked fast, purposefully. Manfully.

I was a bit annoyed.

And BOOM – I slammed straight into the ten-foot glass verandah door that somebody had slid shut behind me.

I’m 112kg, so when I manfully walk into something, it bangs. LOUDLY. The massive doors shook and there was a communal oooooh sound from the crowd. I dropped to the ground, stunned like I’d been hit by a mallet, leaving a perfect impression of my face, sunscreen-printed on the glass door.

Lawyer Carolyn stepped over me and quietly slid the door open with a smile.

My wife came casually sauntering over, she’s unfortunately used to incidents like these. She left me prostrate on the floor and said to Lawyer Carolyn, I was yelling at him not to walk into the glass.

In my dazed state, all I could think to say to my wife in my defence was – Carolyn started it”.

Shortly thereafter, as we were leaving, Shane stopped to wipe off the perfect sunscreen-impression of my face that had been left on the glass.

Me – “It’s like the Shroud of Turin.” I had recovered my dignity.

Shane – “If Jesus was fat.”

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and businesspeople to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art that is – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase. 

I TOOK DOWN THE SCHOOL BULLY IN 1979

Living in Lindfield, I worry too many people in Hornswood (being the mystical little suburbs snuggled between the bookends of Hornsby and Chatswood) work too hard and don’t have enough… fun.

So just sit back and read this story about my childhood.

All fights at my Northern beaches primary school took place at the “Village Green”. This cliché-named grassy area was surrounded by bush, only a few hundred metres from school and was far from prying teacher and parent eyes.

I was eleven, walking there in a daze with my best mate Pikey and essentially the rest of the school, who all knew to form a big circle.

Biff Gutman (not his real name) was enormous! With shoulders like the Six-Million-Dollar-Man Sasquatch, he took his position as ruthless school bully, very seriously and used to smash guys any chance he got.

And I was fighting him.

And I was terrified.

Earlier that day, Gutman had me in a headlock. My ears burned, neck was stretched painfully and my back screamed. He randomly grabbed any kid in the school he wished (except for Pikey) and this was just my turn.

Pikey was… an animal in a fight! Far from a bully, he was lean and wiry and was the toughest kid in the neighbourhood. I’d seen him ferociously fight three blokes our age once, when they tried to steal our chocolate Paddle Pops, and trade punches with two kids simultaneously from the year above!

Nobody messed with Pikey. While most school fights were mainly wrestling, Pikey was a hitter.

Anyway, Biff was parading me and stopped in front of Melanie Cutest (fake name) the hottest girl in the school and her entourage of good sorts. I had no choice but to lip off, knowing it’d mean Biff would probably keep me headlocked.

Me – “HEY GUTMAN,” making sure I had Melanie’s attention. “YOU STINK LIKE A WET HESSIAN BAG STUFFED WITH FEET JENKINS.”

Paully Jenkins smelled so badly we used to call him “Feet”.

“Feet” Jenkins (standing nearby) – “WHAT?”

Then there was silence.

Nobody ever made fun of Biff Gutman. Nobody. Slowly the girls started to chuckle and before long everybody was laughing at him.

Surprisingly, he let me go. I stood. His massive head was KFC-box red and was en route to exploding.

Biff – “VILLAGE GREEN, AFTER SCHOOL. AAAAARRRGGGHHH.”

I think my heart actually stopped. Everybody cheered. Oh f#ck.

I knew true terror.

I’d seen Biff punch guys in the face until they collapsed and then kick them. He was a brute. Twice my weight, loved hurting and I’d never seen him so enraged! I was going to die that afternoon. A disappointing turn of events.

Feet Jenkins (later on) –“Jaaaase. You’ve got a chance against Biff.”

Me – “Really, Feet?” I looked at him hopefully.

Feet Jenkins – “As much chance as my feet smelling like Pine-O-Clean.”

He laughed and walked off.

I had no choice but to show up. Biff stood in the circle rolling his Sasquatch shoulders and throwing practice Jase-smashing punches. I was skinny (then, now… not so much), I had no chance.

As we approached the already established circle, Pikey was giving me tips about hit first, hit fast but I just couldn’t follow. My mind was a rolling fog of impending death.

Feet Jenkins  – “THE LEMON-LIME PINE-O-CLEAN JASE. THE GOOD STUFF!”

He laughed again.

Pikey – “Jase… you gonna get killed. Gutman’s, Bionic-Man strong.”

Great. My fighting expert gave me no chance.

I couldn’t really hear him or anything else over the din and my fear, anyway. I was near tears and it was all I could do to stop my legs running like Steve Austin.

Pikey – “Want me to take him?”

I heard that!!

Me – “Huh?”

Pikey – “Biff’s been hurtin’ kids for years.”

Me – “Huh?”

On the Northern beaches, you didn’t let anybody else fight for you. It’d make you a coward. A weakling. A chicken. You certainly wouldn’t be able to claim in any way, to be like the Six Million Dollar Man! No Jamie Sommers for you.

But… f#ck that. This was BIFF GUTMAN! My pride would heal a lot faster than a broken face.

Me – “Well (unsure of the etiquette)… would… would that be ok?”

Pikey – “No worries. Hold me bag and me footy cards. There’s pretty much the whole school here so after, we can do some tradin’.” Swapping of Rugby League cards was banned in school ever since Biff had bashed poor Johnny Tinsdale who would not swap his Max Krillich and Graham Eadie cards, for a Terry Randall .

My mood improved markedly.

Biff (holding up his hands in a pre-emptive victory salute) – “GET IN HERE NOW JASE. I’M GONNA SMASH YA F#CKIN’ FACE.” He laughed at his rhyme.

Me (feeling quite chipper) – “Biff! Here’s Pikey… in my stead.” Now that I wasn’t fighting I was using fancy words.

Biff’s face drained of colour. The throng cheered excitedly. They were expecting to see me get beaten senseless, now they were going to see the fight of the century.

Biff immediately resisted and called strongly for the court of public opinion to sway the overwhelming advantage back his way.

Biff – “You, you can’t do that. It’s not… not allowed.”

Pikey – “It’s allowed. You’re not a chicken are you Biffy.”

I won’t go into the violent details. However, they fought, Pike won, Pike won easily. Biff was humbled by about a eight tremendous punches to the face. A popular victory, with everybody present.

Bullying-Biff was lying on his stomach, hands protecting the back of his head, face in the grass, crying with Pike sitting on his back.

Me (leaning over him) – “HAD ENOUGH BIFF?”

Biff (muffled by the grass) – “Yea.”

Me – “EVER GOIN’ TO BULLY AGAIN BIFF?”

Biff – “Na.”

The crowd erupted, cheered, whistled and hugged. All their lives had changed forever.

Me – “Great work Pikey.” We high-fived and I handed back his bag, Bionic Man thermos and footy cards. “NOW WE RULE THE SCHOOL.”

Anybody ELSE messing with me and Pikey?

Pikey – “Nah Jase. Now nobody rules the school.”

Me – “Oh… ok.”

And that, was how I took down the school bully in 1979!

Still to this day I can’t believe we stood up to Biff Gutman… and I won!

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs. Oftentimes simply to enable me to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and businesspeople to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, follow me on Facebook, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

AN AMERICAN BOY, DISCOVERING AUSTRALIA

Would you be impressed if I told you I’m successful enough to have recruited a celebrity guest blogger?

Well sorry, all I have is a mate of mine, who goes by the poker call-sign Hammer. He’s certainly no “celebrity”. The term “guest” implies he’s… welcome to come over. And he’s absolutely not a “blogger” by any means.

Living in Lindfield, I worry too many people in Hornswood (being the mystical little suburbs snuggled between the bookends of Hornsby and Chatswood) work too hard and don’t have enough… fun.

So, Hammer is an American now living in Hornswood and he told me what I thought was a very funny story, so I asked him to write it. Here is the result:

 

AN AMERICAN BOY, DISCOVERING AUSTRALIA (guest blog by Hammer)

A number of years ago our family ventured a long move overseas to Australia. As part of our newfound excitement we took to experiencing as much of the local landscape as possible. Travel, food, social culture and much more. During the first year, the youngest of our children embraced many local sports and activities.

He’d always been very quizzical, wanting to learn new things and full of questions. We have always considered him a bit of a Renaissance kid, happy to try just about any activity or new experience. However, when I say he has always been full of questions, this child averages hundreds a day. Every day. Still to this day.

Being from America, there was certainly a learning curve for the young lad and his various undertakings. Learning about rips and ocean safety during Nippers and surfing lessons. The fact that baseball falls a far distant second to cricket in Australia.

Not a baseball bat in sight.

Despite the tribulations, he persisted in his education and most importantly had fun playing with his new friends.

One evening, my wife and I were enjoying a glass of wine after dinner, still at the table. The meal was over, and kids had headed off to homework and other activities. Into the kitchen walks our youngest with his typical youthful exuberance and stands across from the two of us announcing that he had a question to ask.

Thinking nothing out of the ordinary, I respond to the miniature version of my wife and myself, “What can we do for you?”

To the absolute surprise of both me and my wife, the youngster says, “I have been checking out what sort of stuff you can do in Sydney. I do have a question. What is a hooker?”

We have always been open in our household about subjects regarding the human body, relationships and educating oneself about anatomy and other possibly socially sensitive topics. In reality, these typically just fall into the category of ‘we are all just human’. Teaching our children about what their bodies will experience, and that sex is natural (but should be done lovingly and responsibly), has been part of our approach to child rearing.

After a painfully long silence in which our child took turns alternating glances between the two of us, I finally conceded to his mother that she is likely best to address this shocking question. “Why don’t you handle this one, babe?”

As my wife took control of the situation, I was amazed by her ability to explain the ‘world’s oldest profession’ to the child, in terms that would make sense to a young mind, while at the same time shielding the child from some of the harsher realities of prostitution. She navigated the conversation with an expertise that only a woman speaking to her own offspring, could handle. I was amazed at how well my life partner was able to manage the situation into which we were suddenly thrust.

I decided at this point to offer my encouragement, “Do go on, dear.”

After her explanation, the boy was apparently full of many, many more questions than before he started his quest for an answer. He pondered the new information quietly to himself, but was not satisfied that he was wiser from the moments preceding his entrance. He wanted answers and was not getting the correct ones.

He turned to me, his father, his mentor in life for guidance and stated to me questioningly, “I don’t understand?”

Being the source of all knowledge to a young boy, his father can always provide. A man of many years’ experience surely has the information needed and can put it in a relatable way that will keep his trust for a lifetime. An oracle to a knowledge seeker.

I looked the boy in the eye an explained, “In the scrum, the player in the centre who rakes the ball back with his foot.”

He looked at his father knowingly, “Thanks, Dad!”

As he left the room, off to learn more about his new favourite sport, I felt a burning emanating from the other side of the table. The staring glare of both confusion and disappointment from my wife was remarkable. To clarify her suspicions, she needed to ask, “Did you understand his question from the beginning?”

As a proud father, I let her know that my connection with the boy was strong, “Absolutely.”

She responded, “And you just allowed me to explain this topic knowing what he was really asking?”

Proudly, I replied, “Without question.”

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs. Oftentimes simply to enable me to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and businesspeople to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, follow me on Facebook, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

ANOTHER INCIDENT WITH A LAWYER

Living in Lindfield, I worry too many people in Hornswood (being the mystical little suburbs snuggled between the bookends of Hornsby and Chatswood) work too hard and don’t have enough… fun.

So, here’s what happened to me. Last Friday we needed a lawyer to look at a simple contract, and by the time we were going home, my lovely wife was irate at me!

Right from the start I knew the lawyer was not my sort of bloke. He kept us waiting twenty minutes, despite not having anybody with him.

When he eventually could be bothered seeing us, he was an absolute dick! Three piece suit, massive red wooden desk, kept talking over the top of my wife (so he at least was brave) and seemed to frown at my chewing gum. To rub salt into the wound, he refused to give us even a ball-park fee quote. He thought he was a fancy Pitt St lawyer, not a suburban Hornswood one.

A real dick. A dick-lawyer.

But in his defence, he did have a glass bowl of Werther’s Originals on his desk. The Charles Bronson of lollies.

Anyway, dick-lawyer’s PA made me a mug of tea and it came without a saucer, so I had a chewing-gum issue. I helped myself to one of his post-it notes and plonked the pink gum down onto it, on his desk.

Dick-lawyer stared down at it. Looked up at me. I looked at him. Then he looked down at the chewy. Then he looked back to me. I looked back to him. Then he looked to my wife. Then back down to the chewy. I looked at my tea, was distracted by the thought that it looked way too strong, but no worries.

My wife wondered what was awry, because dick-lawyer had stopped talking enough for her to actually get a few words in. She followed his line of sight.

My wife – “Oh my God.”

Having been together for many blissful decades, she’s rarely surprised by things I do. But this one seemed to take her aback. She rummaged around in her handbag, found a tissue and snatched up the chewy.

Dick-lawyer (ignoring me and talking to my wife) – “Would you like me to get somebody to take that away?” He picked up the post-it pad and put it in his drawer.

Me (to them both) – “I was going to continue chewing after my tea. I wasn’t going to leave it there. I’m not an animal.”

After sitting there for half an hour hearing him prattle on and not listen to my Chartered Accountant wife at all, we had to leave the document with him. He would peruse it when he had less pressing matters and then His Magnificence would give us some idea as to what he would charge.

Over lunch I texted his PA and said tell dick-lawyer (not using that exact moniker) not to bother, we wouldn’t be giving the job to him.

She texted back – Mr Large Toss (not dick-lawyer’s real name) is quite surprised, as he gave you thirty minutes of his time, and he’s a very busy man.

I replied – I could tell he’s busy by the way he kept us waiting twenty minutes and has no time to give us a ball-park fee expectation.

After lunch, I went back to dick-lawyer’s office to get the document. Due to an earlier chewing gum… incident, my wife refused to go in and waited out the front.

To show there’s no hard feelings, I stuck my head into dick-lawyer’s office to give him the traditional “thumbs-up of thanks”. He was on a conference call at his desk, saw, but didn’t acknowledge me in any way. Dick-lawyer looked like he’d been tucking into the Werthers Originals, with the bowl moved in front of him in his fancy red chair.

Acknowledging I probably had no right to grab one, I did an over-exaggerated, comical tip-toe into his office, so as not to disturb him. I can be considerate.

I mouthed “cheers” as I leaned over his desk and dipped my hand into the bowl and pulled out a golden-wrapped Werthers. Beautiful.

I’d got away with it.

He gesticulated his hands with a “WHAT THE HELL” movement, but due to the conference call, he couldn’t say anything.

Now you must understand, it is extremely difficult for a man of my nature to grab just one, Werthers Original. It was like I could hear them calling to me, come back sweet prince, take another of us. Dick-lawyer was having none of that. He covered the top of the bowl with his hands.

Realising I’d been blocked, I pretended I was actually coming in to grab the post-its that had been placed again, on the desk. Like a moth to a flame, dick-lawyer moved one hand to protect the post-its, leaving the bowl foolishly half defenseless. I swooped in and like taking candy from a proverbial baby, plucked up another Werthers Original.

Dick-lawyer, had been taught a hard lesson.

A while later, outside:

Wife – “You sucking a lollie?”

Dammit.

Me – “Huh?”

Wife – “Is that a Werthers?”

Me – “Huh?” Cleverly trying to throw her off.

Wife – “Is… that… a… Werthers?”

Me (with a look of contrition) – “Yeah… dick-lawyer said I could.”

Wife – “You honestly took one? After us deciding not to use him? After putting gum on his desk?”

Me – “Yep.”

We walked a few metres.

Me – “Just one.”

 

Thanks for reading. I write blogs. Oftentimes simply to enable me to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and businesspeople to get their message across.

If you could Share via the buttons below, follow me on Facebook, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase.

 

UNDERSTANDING MEN’S ROOM ETIQUETTE

I know for my readers that are mums, this topic may seem unimportant or even unsavory. However for men, men’s room etiquette is essential for social wellbeing and this blog should be passed on to your sons (and some husbands too). And in turn onto their sons, and onto their sons…

 

THINGS I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME AT TWENTY: PART V

 

UNDERSTANDING MEN’S ROOM ETIQUETTE

If you haven’t read my previous blog about this series, you definitely should do so before reading this one. It will make a lot more sense:

(https://writehandman.com.au/2018/05/17/things-i-wish-somebody-had-told-me-at-twenty-jase-gram-hornswoodexpress-com-au/)

But basically, single mum Sandy asked me to teach her socially awkward, twenty-year-old son Rick, some “how to be a man” stuff. Some of the essential life lessons, that her son would eventually learn as a bloke over the years anyway, but are much easier if I just tell him.

I agreed to use the majestic, noble art of blogging to cover things that he may struggle to find written elsewhere.

I’ve never actually met Rick, but if we did have a chat:

 

 

Thanks for reading. I’ve put my heart and soul down in words, for you. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream of being able to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

 

DON’T FOLLOW PROFESSIONAL SOCCER WHEN YOU’RE 20

At an absolutely elite, professional level (only), I find soccer… an abomination!

Nothing (except possibly watching my son play Colts Rugby) gives me more enjoyment on a weekly basis, than watching my daughter play club soccer. It’s a brilliant game at a social level and is wonderful for fitness, team spirit and personal accomplishment.

THINGS I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME AT TWENTY: PART IV

DON’T FOLLOW ELITE SOCCER

If you haven’t read my previous blog about “dealing poker when you’re 20”, you should do so before reading this one. It’ll make a lot more sense (https://writehandman.com.au/2018/05/17/things-i-wish-somebody-had-told-me-at-twenty-jase-gram-hornswoodexpress-com-au/)

Basically, single mum Sandy asked me to help bring her twenty-year-old son Rick up to speed, on some “how to be a man” lessons. I agreed to use the noble art of blogging to cover things that he may struggle to find written elsewhere.

I have never met Rick, but if we did have a chat:

soccer1

soccer2

Thanks for reading. I’ve put my heart and soul down in words, for you. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream of being able to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase.

MANAGING “THE VAULT” WHEN YOU’RE 20

Most of us men instinctively bottle our emotions, so we need to be able to occasionally bare our soul to other blokes, ask that it be put in the “Vault” and know it will be taken to the grave. Talking in confidence to a mate, is integral to our mental health.

THINGS I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME AT TWENTY: PART III

THE “VAULT”

If you haven’t read my previous blogs in this series about “managing the beer shout when you’re 20” and “dealing poker when you’re 20”, you should, it’ll make a lot more sense.

First read Part I – https://writehandman.com.au/2018/05/17/things-i-wish-somebody-had-told-me-at-twenty-jase-gram-hornswoodexpress-com-au/,

Then, Part II https://writehandman.com.au/2018/05/22/things-i-wish-somebody-had-told-me-at-twenty-part-ii/)

Basically, single mum Sandy, asked me to help her twenty-year-old son Rick, become less socially awkward. I agreed to use the noble art of blogging to cover things that he may struggle to find written elsewhere.

I’ve never met Rick, but if we did have a chat:

Vault.v2

Thanks for reading. I’ve put my heart and soul down in words, for you. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream of being able to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

 

MANAGING “THE BEER SHOUT” WHEN YOU’RE 20

While drinking with your mates at bars, The Beer Shout comes with inalienable rights and obligations.

THINGS I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME AT TWENTY: PART II

MANAGING THE BEER SHOUT

If you haven’t read my previous blog about “dealing poker when you’re 20”, you should do so before reading this one. It’ll make a lot more sense (https://writehandman.com.au/2018/05/17/things-i-wish-somebody-had-told-me-at-twenty-jase-gram-hornswoodexpress-com-au/)

Basically, single mum Sandy, asked me to help her twenty-year-old son Rick, become less socially awkward. I agreed to use the noble art of blogging to cover things that he may struggle to find written elsewhere.

If we did have a chat:

Rick – “Getting the first shout upon arrival Cool Hand (my self-ascribed poker call-sign), you’ll probably be buying less beers right? Because not everybody is there yet?”

Me – “Clever, however if any blokes arrive within ten minutes of your shout, you are obligated to offer them a beer, thereby having to go to the bar twice.”

Rick (with a cocky smile) – “Not eleven minutes?”

Me – “Ten. You want to hear the rules or not?”

Rick – “Yes, sorry. If there have already been a few jugs bought, am I obligated to get the same type again?”

Me – “Nope. Your jug, your choice.”

Rick – “Can I ask for help carrying the drinks?”

Me – “You are entitled to a beer-helper, only if there are five or more glasses.”

Rick – “Is it better to quietly shout when it’s your turn?”

Me – “Absolutely not! When it’s your turn you loudly announce to the table – MY SHOUT LADS. And when you return you are Jesus, turning water into…beer. Make sure everybody knows about it!”

 

Me – “And try making the shout jugs, not individual beers. It’s a hell of a lot easier to carry 1-2 jugs than 3-6 schooners. And if anybody is a little more or less thirsty, they can fill their glass as full as they wish.”

Rick – “What if people argue when it’s their shout Cool Hand?”

Me – “Every time you’re asking a bloke to put his hand in his pocket to provide you with beer, there’s going to be a momentary push-back – IT’S YOUR F#CKING SHOUT MACCA, will automatically be responded by something akin to – NO F#CKING WAY, I GOT THE SECOND LAST ONE. The person you’re calling out, always has a right to defend himself initially, then you work out whose turn it actually is. It’s very structured.”

Rick – “What if people try to avoid their shout?”

Me – “Rick, an under-shouter is the lowest form of life in an Aussie bar setting. “Whisperers” (because they under-shout) are like an All-Blacks fan, a soccer injury-feigner and a Steve Irwin-hater, rolled into one. You have the right to lambast with lines like – MACCA WOULDN’T SHOUT IF A SHARK BIT HIM.”

Rick – “Does every group have a Whisperer?”

Me – “Unfortunately they do in “Hornswood” just like everywhere else Rick. So don’t be naïve. Watch them like Delta Goodrem watches a muscular, young male contestant on The Voice. They will tend to be the same Whisperers, so you’ll know who to hawk.”

Rick – “Do over-shouters exist Cool Hand?”

Me – “Despite their best intentions, a “Bellower” (over-shouter) causes nearly as much chaos as a Whisperer. If some brief discussion is going on as to whose turn it is and a “Bellower” says “I’ll go”, it screws up the order completely and lets the Whisperer temporarily out of his shout.”

Rick – “What if I want to stop drinking?”

Me – “It’d just be dumb to ever drink more than you feel comfortable with Rick. Really dumb. You can stop after your shout.”

Rick – “What if somebody is drinking faster than everybody else?”

Me – “They get themselves a “wedgie”, a personal in-between-shout. This has no impact on the rights and obligations of the regular shout however.”

Rick – “What if everybody else is ready for another and I’m still drinking?”

Me – “As irresponsible as it sounds, if you are in the shout, you have to roughly keep pace, or drop out.”

Rick – “Cool Hand what if somebody asks for a bourbon and coke?”

Me – “Despite many shouters getting annoyed at this, bottom-shelf spirits are roughly the same price as beers, so let it pass. However, you are entitled to complain about the extra effort – OH FOR F#CKS SAKE MACCA. WHAT AM I YOUR F#CKING SERVING BOY?”

With all due respect to actual serving boys.

Rick – “What about offering waters with my shout?”

Me – “Very responsible, but unfortunately likely to be met with derision. When you are shouting, just scull two glasses of water yourself while you’re at the bar. If somebody throws in – CAN I HAVE A WATER ALSO? You reply – OH FOR F#CKS SAKE MACCA. WHAT AM I YOUR F#CKING SERVING BOY?”

Rick – “What if somebody is drinking softies?”

Me – “Coke Zero comes cheap, but not free. However, softies are excluded from the shouting process. So if your mate asks for one, you are obligated to get him one and he doesn’t have to shout-partake. But you are permitted to get up him in lieu of a drink – F#CKING HELL MACCA! GET IN THE F#CKING SHOUT OR GET OUT OF IT.”

Rick – “Thanks Cool Hand. You’re generously explaining things that could take years to learn myself, if at all.”

Me – “Don’t mention it mate. Just being a good man is thanks enough. Look after your family and remember… shout responsibly.”

 

Thanks for reading. I’ve put my heart and soul down in words, for you. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream of being able to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

DEALING CARDS WHEN YOU’RE 20

For a little while my blogging may have a different theme. Meaning, for a little while my blogging may actually have a theme.

THINGS I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME AT TWENTY: PART I

DEALING POKER (AND MOST CARD GAMES)

An old friend at the Rugby, introduced me to her neighbour Sandy from Hornswood (being the mystical little suburbs between Hornsby and Chatswood).

In quite a moving way, Sandy proceeded to explain to me that her husband walked out 13 years ago and left her to raise her seven-year-old son and two slightly older daughters. I was wondering why she was sideline-baring her soul to me and was a tad nervous she was a bit of a nutter (which it turned out she wasn’t). Luckily she got me at half-time, so she had my full attention.

She told me her son Rick is smart, caring and gentle and she’s incredibly proud of him, but having grown up with three women, he’s socially… (she was looking for the right term).

Me – “Socially retarded?”

Sandy – “Awkward”, (damn, I shouldn’t have suggested a word). “I’m concerned Rick doesn’t yet know what it means to be a man, especially in social settings”.

I nodded as she spoke.

Me – “Does he support NRL or Rugby? I know Sea Eagles  and the Aussie Super Rugby teams are in a bit of a slump, but club Rugby is amazi-”

Sandy (interjecting) – “Soccer”.

Me – “Oh dear. Ok then, has he never seen a bloke publically get up an old mate who’s put on a heap of weight?”

Sandy – “Absolutely not”.

Me – “Shit. He’s never been told on the sideline with a bloody nose, I know you’re hurtin’ son but you have to go back on, your team needs you?

Sandy (her lip trembled) – “He plays tennis”.

Me – “Aaah. Never learnt the basics of poker?”

Sandy – “Hearts.”

Me – “Yikes. He does need some help. Doesn’t know he can piss in the backyard if it’s just too far to walk back to the house?”

Sandy – “I didn’t know that was a thing.”

Me – “Oh it’s certainly a thing. Never seen a bloke lying hung-over on the couch, wasting a perfectly good Sunday after having been out with the lads the previous night?”

Sandy – “No! He doesn’t know any of that! Now I know we’ve only just met, but it’s important. Could you write some blogs on things my twenty-year-old son should know? The reason I asked to be introduced to you is that Rick and some of his mates read your blog and think it’s, well… cool. He won’t listen to me, even if I knew what to tell him.”

I thought, sipped my latte and subtly checked how many minutes before the second-half started.

Me – “Sandy I’d love to help Rick, especially if he and all his mates think my blog is so super-cool (my mind was ticking over). I’ll blog the stuff he probably won’t find written about by anyone else.”

She hugged me and left. Lindfield kicked off.

THINGS I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME AT TWENTY

POKER DEALING

Rick, when you start to make your way through life, there is one overriding principle you should learn early and practice often, as it will make your progression much smoother and easier.

Don’t annoy the older blokes!

Let me give an example.

It’s best to go through life never gambling.

In the same way it’s best to go through life – never getting on the piss, never having a ciggie, never eating KFC, never getting stoned, never skipping lectures, never having a messy room, never vomiting in your mum’s Maidenhair Fern, never getting fired, never coming home with one shoe and never coveting your mate’s girlfriend. But realistically Rick, that shit happens when you’re twenty.

There will inevitably be a time that you’re playing poker. Whether it’s at the local pub, on a buck’s or in your mate’s garage, there’s one piece of etiquette which must be heeded to not give the absolute shits to the older blokes (those of us who do know poker).

When you’re dealing, DON’T… FLIP… THE… CARD… TOWARDS… YOU… and NEVER LOOK AT IT FIRST.

If you’re dealing you must flip the card away from you, towards your opponents. And you must flip it quickly and don’t look at it before the other players.

This sounds to non-poker players, a small thing. However to poker-experienced men, small it is not. A “deal-peeper” is generally either a newbie (if that’s the case you probably should prepare for a night of really hard lessons) or just doesn’t give a shit about common poker courtesy. Both of which you want to avoid. A “deal-peeper” unfairly gaining that one extra moment to decide on a “clever” comment like “you got a hand like a foot” or “you played that like a vegan”, is unacceptable.

Don’t go pissin’-off the older blokes at poker.

Another important part of poker Rick, is knowing how your chip stack compares to everybody else’s. So it’s polite to stack yours so all players can quickly see how many/much you have at any time. There is nothing more freaken annoying than some bloke who conceals his valuable chips behind a wall of red ones, hiding it like it’s his f#cking Browsing History! Nobody’s going to steal them! You’re not building the Trojan Wall out of Lego!

Put your chips in rows, by colour, so we can all see instantly what each other have got and get on with the game.

Rick when my brother and I in the early 90’s had to travel to Campsie, Marrickville and Blacktown to play cash-games in the homes of dodgy blokes of… ill-repute, we luckily knew to flip the cards away from us, without looking at them and didn’t try to hide our chips. Luckily. Can’t say the same for our old mate Brett “Deal Peeper” Jorgenson… God I miss him (just joking, he’s fine… now).

Welcome to being a man Rick! It’s amazing, but it comes with certain obligations. One of which is don’t annoy the older blokes! More things I wish somebody’d told me at twenty, to follow.

Thanks for reading. I’ve put my heart and soul down in words, for you. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream of being able to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

MEETING ONE OF MY NRL HEROES

We’d drunk like Romans (with all due respect to any Romans reading). It was late and time to go and talk to some NRL LEGENDS.

Last Thursday I was at a Hogs For The Homeless fundraiser, run by awesome ex-NRL players like Josh Perry, for Youth Off The Streets. A superb charity.

They don’t come any higher on the “legend” totem pole, than Brad “Freddy” Fittler. Most capped player for the Blues, captain of Australia and newly appointed Blues head coach! My brother and I, and three blokes from our table, went up for a photo.

A true legend.

Possibly second only to Freddy, from a Blues fan’s perspective, is the amazing Danny Buderus. A phenomenal player who looks like he’s been bench-pressing his Harley, not riding it.

Danny walked out to the car park to leave. I went racing after him, but him still being as fit as all hell and me, not so much, by the time I had covered about 5m (and stumbled), he was 30m away. I had to call out.

“DANNY. PHOTO?”

He was a long way away and my brother and I were two drunk lads, so I expected the old SORRY BOYS. GOT TO GO. But he didn’t. Like an absolute legend he ran back to us, we congratulated him on his appointment as assistant coach and thanked him.

You know what he said?

“Anything for Blues fans.”

LEGEND. Perfect selection.

Then back to the bar and who happened to be standing there all on his lonesome? Just Brad “Freddy” Fittler.

My time to shine.

In my memory the conversation went something like this.

Me – “Freddy! Can we have a chat?”

Freddy – “The day people stop wanting to have a chat my friend, is the day I lose my job.”

Me – “Freddy, I think you need help with some Blues selections.”

Freddy – “Oh.” His keenness seemed to wane.

Me – “First of all, Jarryd Hayne is on notice! If he’s playing brilliantly, he’s in. If not, he’s out!”

Freddy – “Gottcha.”

Then I went on to list out a few players who definitely should be in.

Me – “Dylan Walker deserves another chance. Both Jake and Tommy Trbojevic are absolute musts. I think you should probably look at a young, tough player like Curtis Sironen maybe.”

Freddy – “Hang on! THEY’RE ALL MANLY PLAYERS.”

Me – “Ahhh, yes you’re right…. So I suppose my ideas on Darcy Lusic and Frank Winterstein are a bit moot then.”

Then I went on to discuss others and their relative merits. Freddy, was absolutely brilliant and stayed for at least ten minutes, listening intently. He didn’t have to.

Me – “Freddy, shouldn’t you be writing these ideas down?”

Freddy (tapping his head) – “All up here mate.”

Me – “Just like a great coach.”

Freddy – “Thanks mate.”

In all the excitement, I drunkenly spilled a little of my beer.

Me – “Whoa whoa”, I yelled to my beer.

Freddy smiled.

Me – “Freddy it’s funny, with you being an NRL mega-star, I was hesitant to come over and give you my selection theories, because obviously you must have at least 20-25 percent more NRL knowledge than me.”

My brother – “You weren’t hesitant!”

Freddy – “20-25 percent?”

Me – “Yes, but then I thought stuff it, right at this particular moment being the NEWLY appointed coach, you haven’t actually selected any more Blues teams than I have. So from that regard, we are on a par. Currently anyway.”

He was patient.

Freddy – “Ok mate, what are we going to do in the halves?”

I thought it unlikely, but just in case Freddy wasn’t getting as much out of our conversation as I was, I looked for a way to give him a rap.

Me – “Well Mitchell Pearce is a good half-back, but a good half-back, needs a great five-eighth to pass the ball to and let him make most of the decisions. And we haven’t had a great five-eighth since… well since you Freddy.” I slapped him on the chest.

Freddy – “I’m happy to get a mention.”

For another few minutes I espoused my selection ideas and Freddy listened intently. Then…

Brad “Freddy” Fittler, one of my all-time hero’s, put his arm around my shoulders.

Freddy – “How about this mate? Give me your mobile number, then in May, when I’m choosing the team with Danny, I’ll give you a ring and we’ll sit down and talk selections.”

I was speechless.

This was an amazing moment.

Then with a nod and a simple “cheers boys”, Freddy turned, walked out the door, got on his Harley and rode off…

…without my phone number.

With great men like Danny Buderus and Freddy Fittler in charge of the Blues, we cannot lose.

 

Thanks for reading. I’ve put my heart and soul down in words, for you. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream of being able to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer.

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be wonderful. Cheers. Jase. 

McDONALDS IS SO UNFAIR

At McDonald’s, I get treated like everybody else. I queue up, order, eat, leave.

It’s extraordinarily unfair!

I have been an obsessively staunch supporter of Macca’s my entire life (especially since discovering my KFC-retention problem, so the Dirty Bird is now dead to me). I have pumped infinitely more money in over the years, than anybody else I know.

I deserve recognition far and above those who only look at Macca’s as a place to have a Mc-piss on a long trip.

Here’s how it should go –

Casually walking into a North Shore Macca’s, ignoring the protests I go straight to the front of the line and raise my hand towards the 19-year-old staff member, Tommy. I show him my thick, “M” emblazoned gold ring. The youngster, thinking I was going for a fist-pump, is unimpressed with it.

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Me – “This ring mean anything to you son?”

Tommy – “Nope.”

Me – “Good. It’s a few steps above your paygrade.”

Tommy – “Most things are.”

Me – “Go get your proprietor son. Say to him or her… the fat man walks alone. They’ll understand.”

The kid hesitates and then ambles off to the back room. The owner comes racing out after hearing the secret phrase. He looks nervous, is sweating and steals a wide-eyed ring-look.

Proprietor – “I had no idea you were coming Sir. I’m Benjamin Sherman. We don’t get many… McRing wearers in here.”

Me (looking around distainfully) – “I am not surprised to hear that, Sherman. Not surprised at all.” I frowned.

 

Sherman looked crestfallen.

Me – “Just joking Sherman! You need to maintain a McSense of humour.”

Sherman – “Oh, joking. Right.” He giggled uneasily.

Sherman noticed the large, middle-aged man working the chip fryer. A button around his gut, under more pressure than any button deserved, had popped open. The proprietor raced over and spoke into the big man’s ear, who then looked over to me questioningly and did the button up.

Me – “DON’T CHASTISE HIM SHERMAN! THIS MAN IS A SHINING EXAMPLE OF THE McSTANDARDS WE SHOULD ALL ASPIRE TO.”

Me (to the gut-baring fryer-master) – “GOOD WORK. IT’S WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING THE PRODUCT.” I turn my eyes to Sherman. “You could afford to stack on a few kilos yourself Sherman.”

Sherman (to young Tommy) – “Let’s prepare a fresh Big Mac pronto Tommy! One that’s been sitting on the tray is not good enough for a McRinger. And let’s throw a heap of extra salt on the chips, a bit more lard on the meat pattie, a couple of extra pickles, upsize that Coke Zero and while you’re at it… don’t skimp on the Big Mac sauce!”

The proprietor looked to me for approval. I let him hang for a few seconds before commenting.

Me – “I like the cut of your McJib, Sherman.”

The digital board showing the other customer’s order numbers went blank, until my order was ready. Then a big Number 1, flashed up and I collected my food.

As I ate at a table, Tommy, the fryer-master and Sherman stared at me intently from behind the counter. The stout fryer-master asked what was my story and Sherman turned to the two of them.

Sherman – “He a wearer… of the McRing!”

Fryer-master (sucked in air) – “Wow! A what?”

Sherman – “The McRingers are more a part of Macca’s success over the years, than the Happy Meal, our ‘do you want fries with that’ and the highly addictive qualities of salt, sugar and fat, all combined!”

Sherman gave me a little wave. I didn’t notice.

Sherman – “We don’t know from where the McRingers have come, but he’s one of the reasons you have a career boys. The McRingers are personal friends with our founding father… Ronald McDonald himself, Grimace and The Hamburglar. They helped us win the war in the 80’s against that accursed Colonel Sanders.” He waved a fist in the air. “Some men have eaten so much product from our restaurant chain, so often, with no thought to their personal wellbeing, that they become… McLegends.”

Fry-master – “Whoaaa. He’s awesome.” He stared at me with admiration.

Sherman – “We proprietors have a saying – McRingers don’t have Junior Burgers, they have Senior Burgers. No McHappy Meals for them, it’s McEcstatic Meals. Their Big Macs, are Colossal Macs. Cheeseburgers are Brieburgers. Chicken McNuggets? Uh uh, Pheasant McNugget. Their Hash Browns? Real hash!”

Tommy looked shocked.

Sherman – “Just joking on that last one Tommy. No Quarter Pounders for McRingers, One-Third Pounders. McFeasts become McOrgys.”

I stood to leave. Sherman nodded respectfully.

As I walked past them, towards the door, I stopped. They all stiffened.

Me – “Sherman. Tell me about McClub!” I didn’t look at him.

Tommy and fry-man realised the McRing was just the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more they didn’t know.

Sherman – “I don’t know what you mean. I’ve never heard of any McClub.”

Me – “I repeat, tell me about McClub!” I turned and looked him in the eye.

Sherman – “I don’t know what you mean.”

Me – “McShermanator, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

He grinned from ear to ear and beamed with pride. Tommy and fry-man, high-fived and then hugged.

Thanks for reading. I write blogs, oftentimes simply to claim at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact… a writer. At other times, to allow businesses and business-people to get their message across. Get ready for our upcoming Podcast!

If you could Share via the buttons below, that would be amazing. Pleeeease do. I need to one day be a famous contributor to the noble art – Blogging.

Cheers. Jase

RUGBY CAN BE TELLING

It’s rare somebody does something that makes their whole family, community and every single one of their friends think, gee he’s a fuc#ing tosser!

My good mate John McAndrews, is a hilarious smartass and was a really good Rugby Union player. He’s now a Hornswood man, but he was born and raised in small-town New Zealand and had the honour when he was just twenty, of playing in their club’s first Grand Final in sixteen years. So pretty much everybody McAndrews had ever known, was at the game, in fanatical Rugby mode.

There was only a minute left in the Grand Final, they were two points behind and had the scrum feed on halfway. The big men packed down into the mass of heaving bodies, stinking of sweat, armpits and scrotums. The forwards (the only men on a rugby field worthy of true respect) strained like their very lives depended on winning the ball.

Behind the scrum John McAndrews eye-balled his opposite fullback, Tapana Tangaroa. They’d been best mates for a decade and Tapana had always been a little bit better than McAndrews at… pretty much everything. McAndrews was really fast, Tapana was just a bit faster. They both played representative Rugby, Tapana played a little bit more. Tapana was getting better marks at Uni, had a car, could complete a Rubik’s cube and was one hell of a dancer.

McAndrews was desperate to overcome his best mate that day.

The hard men in the forwards having done all the work, hated giving their fate over to the glory-boy backs to potentially squander, but with a minute left there was little choice. The half back passed the ball to McAndrews, who sprinted at the defensive line as hard as his fatigued body could. To his surprise, he burst through.

No time on the clock, and a sprinting John McAndrews only had one man to beat.

Tapana.

McAndrews feigned left, then right. Tapana rarely fell for his dummy or his sidestep, but it was make or break.

TAPANA FELL FOR IT.

McAndrews was away. He had forty metres to the try line. The open, Grand-Final-winning try line! Thirty metres. Twenty.

John McAndrews, was living his dream, his parent’s dream and the dream of everybody he knew. He glanced back, expecting to see his opposition fullback about to nail him. But Tapana was on the ground, and he was the closest defender! There was nobody between him and the line. Between him and… immortality.

McAndrews (yelling to the crowd) – “McANDREWS SCORES THE WINNING TRY UNDER THE POSTS.” Still looking backwards while sprinting, he poked his tongue out at Tapana.

The game finished.

John McAndrews was lying on a gurney, staring at the roof of an ambulance. His team’s enormous, facially-tattooed Maori prop captain, was sitting next to him. It’s fair to say McAndrews was intrigued as to what had transpired.

Matui (in full Maori accent) – “It’s your first year Andrews eh? I’ve played for this club for twelve straight f#cken seasons bro.”

McAndrews (feeling terribly woozy) – “I know Matui. You’re a club legend. It’s actually McAndrews… but that’s ok.”

Matui – “This was my first ever Grand Final bro. Didn’t think I’d ever play in one. To win one, was just too much to ever f#cken dream of eh.”

Matui nodded to himself and flexed his ham-sized fists.

McAndrews – “Glad I could do my bit Matui.”

Matui – “What the f#ck are you talking bro? After announcing to the crowd you’re about to score the winning try, because you had your head f#cking facing backwards… you ran into the F#CKING POSTS bro! You knocked yourself out f#cking cold, dropped the f#cking ball and we lost the f#cking Grand Final eh.”

The gargantuan prop took a few deep breaths to calm himself.

McAndrews – “Oh.” That explained the neck brace.

His world tumbled in. He couldn’t speak, which was most unlike him. He wanted to vomit.

Matui – “You’re f#cking lucky you started fitting on the ground bro, a number of the lads wanted to beat you and when you get out of hospital I’m sure they will do just that eh.”

”Your father was too angry to get in this f#cking ambulance eh bro, so I had to do it.”

McAndrews felt like crying.

Matui (in a consoling voice) – “It’s not all bad f#cking news though Andrews. I have started a new award for the club eh bro. It’s for the player who makes the most STUPIED F#CKING PLAY of the season eh. We will call it the ‘JOHN ANDREWS IS A REAL F#CKWIT’ award.

McAndrews – “You mean the ‘John McAndrews is a real f#ckwit’ award?”

Matui didn’t smile.

John McAndrews – “So… who won the award this year?”

Matui didn’t smile.

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

A POMMY AT THE RACES

A few months ago we had a brilliant races day. Nine great mates, my awesome old man, all (except one bloke) won big and it ended in drunken kelly-pool at my place, much to the chagrin of my lovely wife (whose annoyance was fully justified! – in case she decides this will be the first blog of mine she actually reads).

My brother-in-law “Carrot” was the “except one bloke”.

We come from a long line of gamblers, bookies and owners. We grew up at the track, so we know the races language and tactics better than most. My dad had printed his tips for us all. Carrot kept it quiet that he’d never been to the races before, which led to humorous (hopefully for non-punters also) moments.

The next day, Carrot was complaining to my sister Doc, that I hadn’t looked after him.

Carrot – “Doc the first race all the boys start cheering for French Bastion, which wins! But I’ve followed the sheet and backed Reddish Devil!”

Doc looked at me like a disappointed school teacher.

Me – “Carrot, we were at the bookies and I said, Devil’s on the blow, watch if Bastion firms. Reddish Devil blew out from $2.50 to $5.50, French Bastion firmed to $3.00, so we got on.”

Doc (nodding understandingly) – “Jeez that’s quite a blow. Did it throw a shoe in the stall?”

Carrot – “I didn’t know what the hell that meant! Then twenty minutes later they’re all cheering for a winner in Melbourne paying $11.00. Turns out the second page of the tip sheet has an M for Melbourne in the corner, but with my sunnies on I missed it.”

He throws up his hands.

Carrot – “Then I’m queuing to back Romeo’s Lust and as he walks past Jase says, Quinella with five.”

Me – “Exactly. Annnnd, the five won and Romeo’s Lust came in second. All the boys were collecting again.”

Carrot – “I had no idea what a Quinella was!”

He hadn’t had the best day.

Carrot – “And when I had my first winner, I queued up, gave him my ticket and the bookmaker says that’s not us, he’s over there. So I went to the right bookie, queued again and he says that’s us, but you collect over there. So I went and queued over there and the lady says we don’t have correct weight yet. Your brother had a good old laugh.”

I chuckled.

Carrot – “And I won a Trifecta, so all the boys said I had to shout. I did, then went to collect and I got back $27. FOR A $20 BET.”

Me – “Yeah, you really stuffed up that one. God knows what you did. Then I got a call from a mate, whose horse’s racing against Winx in the next, saying he can get us all in to the mounting yard.  We raced off, unfortunately without Carrot and Oracle (my real brother’s self-ascribed poker call-sign) who’d gone to the betting-ring. It was amazing, because we also snuck into the owners circle! We’re cheering for Australia’s greatest ever horse, standing right next to the owners! Brilliant moment.”

IN THE MOUNTING YARD WITH WINX. From left to right – John (aka Sparrow), Paul (Guv), Brian (Trebles/dad), Ian (Batman), Greggy (Bundy), Me (Cool Hand), Lee (Neo) and Jase (Bolschy).

Carrot – “However, Oracle and I hadn’t both gone to the betting-ring. I’d gone to the toilet! I came back, everybody was gone. It’s packed and I had to mind our enormous table. Then Oracle comes back for the race, having backed this other starter, paying $33. As the horses turn the corner, it’s twenty lengths in front of Winx! He starts cheering and yelling his head off and all the lads in the massive buck’s party behind us are getting the shits that he’s bet against Winx, who they’ve all backed. Oracle’s going berserk with his one still ten lengths ahead, bellowing and using his rolled up race form to whip me like he’s a jockey. Shouting to the buck’s blokes, UP YOURS MOTHER FUCKERS, 33 TO 1.

“They’re hurling abuse at us and of course, Winx starts to wind in the 33 to 1 shot. Oracle’s volume get lower and lower and thankfully the race form whipping lightened up. The lads reach a crescendo of insults as Winx eventually made Oracle’s look like it was standing in mud and flew past to win. Oracle, having become silent, goes for a piss and the lads start giving me crap.”

“One at the back of the bucks threw ice and I had to duck under a flying race form. I was hit with a chicken leg which stuck on my coat. When, Oracle returned, I told him I was actually happy that one of the bets I missed, didn’t actually win. Especially a 33 to 1 shot. And he tells me he went Each Way, so he still made a fortune! WHAT THE FUCK IS EACH WAY??”

Me – “We return high-fiving and hugging after such an emotional moment with a champion.”

Carrot – “The crowd was enormous when we were leaving-”

Me (interjecting) – “In a Jesus-turning-water-to-wine miracle, two empty cabs miraculously pulled up in front of us. All the lads piled in. A cop had forced Carrot to wait for the green walk signal to cross and made the two cabs leave. He had to wait forty minutes and get one by himself. Once he got to my place, he thought oh shit, where are my sunnies.

IN THE MOUNTING YARD WITH WINX. And Ian (aka Carrot).

If you haven’t read it before, check out my previous blog about my poor Pommy brother-in-law’s first day in Oz https://writehandman.com.au/2017/02/13/pommy-welcome-to-oz-a-blog-by-jason-gram-write-hand-man/

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

COPS AND THEIR BATONS

Though only spoken about in hushed tones, many Hornswood parents partake in the odd marijuana puff. It’s a boredom-avoiding necessity, because Upper and Lower North Shore pubs and restaurants are too quiet and close early.

About twenty years ago an old Uni mate of mine, was sitting at the end of a deserted Hornswood station. It was 11:00 pm and he was pretty pissed. He pulled one of those boredom-avoiding numbers out of his pocket and lit it.

He then heard the cop laughing behind him ask “are you serious boy?”

Within half an hour my extremely anxious mate is locked in the holding cell in Hornswood police station and a grumpy Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly is sitting at the desk, on the other side of the bars filling out the paperwork.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “Weight?”

My mate – “108 kg.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly (with a chuckle) – “I’ll just tick the box that says fat f#ck! Height?”

My mate (being as respectful as possible) – “Am I entitled to a phone call?”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “This isn’t Las Vegas son. Height?”

My mate – “190 cm.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly (rocking back in his chair) – “What are you a f#cking comedian? BULLSHIT.”

My mate (unsure what he’d done to cause offence) – “Sorry?”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “NO F#CKING WAY YOU’RE 190. I’M 190, YOU’RE NOWHERE NEAR.”

My mate knows his height. Just the previous weekend at a family BBQ him and all his brothers had measured up.

My mate – “No, I’m definitely 190.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “PISS OFF. I’M NOT WRITING THAT SHIT DOWN.”

The other copper (speaking gently to my mate through the bars) – “Look here bud, the last thing you want is to get angry-Sarge here, pissed off. You sure you’re 190?”

My mate nodded.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “AH F#CK THIS.”

He snatched his baton off the table and rushed up to the cell. My mate nearly crapped himself.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly (yelling to the other copper) – “OPEN THE DOOR UP JOHNNY. THIS DOPE-SMOKING MOTHER F#CKER NEEDS SOME SORTING OUT… DISRESPECTING ME!”

Other copper – “SARGE!! Settle down. Put the baton back on the table.”

Keep in mind readers, this is all true. Things were different back then.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “OPEN THE DOOR JOHNNY. I’M NOT LETTING THIS PRICK TREAT ME LIKE AN IDIOT.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly slammed his baton against the bars. My mate leapt in the air.

Other copper – “SARGE! It’s not worth it. Remember last year!”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “That was self-defence Johnny.”

Other copper – “Hey, I’m not your union rep. Calm down. Let’s give him another chance.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly was red-faced and seething. His knuckles were turning white on the baton in his hand.

Other copper – “Is there any way you could be mistaken?”

My mate – “I’m 190.” He’d thought of changing his height, but then he would be lying to the coppers.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly belted his metal baton against the cell door again. The noise struck into my mate’s very soul.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “OPEN THE DOOR JOHNNY. Now.” He pointed at the other copper with the no-doubt-often-wielded, baton. The door was opened.

My mate was about to piss.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “TURN AROUND AND FACE THE BACK WALL MISTER-SMART-AS-F#CK-190.”

My mate spun around.

He heard some shuffling sounds. Facing the wall, shaking like a dog shitting, he felt something warm push up against the whole length his body. It was like he was being standing-up spooned. This certainly did nothing for his nerves. He felt like Ned Beatty without a canoe.

Then he realised what was happening.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly had removed his boots and was standing back-to-back with him, comparing heights. My mate already had his shoes off, because upon entrance they confiscated his shoe laces and his belt, so they kept falling off. The other copper carefully placed the baton on the top of both their heads to test their relative heights.

Other copper – “Oh jeez Sarge (he squinted as he analysed the flatness of the baton), it’s pretty close. I think he actually could be 190…ish.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “PIG’S ARSE HE IS. CHECK HIS HEELS! ARE THEY ON THE GROUND PROPERLY?”

The other copper gave a defeated nod of confirmation.

My mate could feel the tension in Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly’s buttocks as, like a six-year-old getting his height marked on the growth chart in his kitchen, he stretched his spine as long as it could go.

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly – “PUSH HIS GODDAMN HAIR DOWN.”

About three hours later my mate was released. He was shuffling out of the cell area when he heard them talking.

Other copper – “Hey Sarge… you wrote his height as 188.”

Senior-Sergeant O’Reilly (yelling back) – “HE WAS LIFTING HIS HEELS!”

My mate walked down the street. A broken man. His shoes nearly falling off, jeans hanging low, laces and belt in his hand.

He rang his wife and explained the entire situation to her.

My mate’s lovely wife – “No honey, remember it’s your brother who’s 190. You are 188.”

My mate – “Oh… shit.”

 

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

PING-PONG BALLS AND POKER

Back in the day, if the wife of one of our poker crew was generous enough to allow a game to take place in their house, the lads were always very thankful and respectful. We realised what a disruption eight swearing, drinking, overweight, particularly unattractive, gambling blokes, can be to a mid-week family routine.

One night we were having our game in the rumpus room of Jacqui and “Apollo” (his self-ascribed poker call-sign), under their house.

One of the lads had just returned from two months working in Asia and was giving us the rundown on how a client had taken him to one of those unsavoury places where (there’s no delicate way of saying it)… Thai ladies shoot ping-pong balls into schooner glasses. Of course I had no idea any such places existed.

I know, I know. This is not a very pleasant, nor high-brow blog topic and it is even a pretty tacky conversation for poker boys.

Anyway, we always order pizza and bring our own beers, so there’s never any onus on the hostess to do any sort of hosting. In fact normally, the wives do like my wife and avoid the area like we are playing in a “Tuberculosis, Syphilis and Leprosy-Sufferers Tournament” (one which I’m assuming would find it somewhat difficult to maintain a suitable level of spectatorship).

But most unexpectedly that night Jacqui, being wonderful, walked in with chips, dips, cheeses and crackers. We all cheered loudly, however “Dodgy” (his ascribed poker call-sign), who had been at a harbour cruise all day and had turned up extremely drunk, yelled “GET OUT THE PING-PONG BALL AND SCHOONER GLASS”.

It was an indefensibly sexist and disgraceful comment, which was extremely out of character for the much-loved-by-wives, Dodgy. But because he and Jacqui had been close friends for years, she just said “you’re an idiot Dodgy” and left. We all then got up him for being a drunken swine, so much so that he went upstairs and apologised.

I won the poker, by quite a margin. Played like a man possessed. This has no relevance to the story.

So the next night, three of us lads from the poker and our wives had gone to an Italian restaurant. “Tiger” (his self-ascribed poker call-sign) and Suze, Jacqui and Apollo, my lovely wife Isabel and I, had just sat down.

Me – “Thanks heaps for having the lads around last night Jacqui.”

Jacqui (to the other two wives) – “IT WAS VERY UNCOMFORTABLE! I felt demeaned!” She started to cry.

Issy gave me a look of death, as she consoled Jacqui.

My wife – “What did my husband do?”

Sobbing a bit, she recounted the story of the highly inappropriate, Dodgy ping-pong ball comment.

Eventually Jacqui stopped crying and we had a great night. We told Dodgy the next day the repercussions of his drunken off-the-cuff line. He was mortified, went around there with flowers and ate humble pie. He ate so much pie he would have done Artie Beetson proud.

A month later, surprisingly, we were invited back to the Jacqui/Apollo abode (the site of my magnificent victory) for more poker. We knew we had to be on our best behavior.

Tiger and I were the first to arrive. Apollo had been held up at work. We hadn’t seen Jacqui since she had been upset at the restaurant, so Tiger and I were very much on tenterhooks.

Jacqui asked us, while we waited for the other blokes, if we could help her move a cupboard in their living room. Putting my glass down on the ground (I was responsibly hydrating before our night of beer and poker), I got on one side of the cupboard while Tiger and Jacqui got on one corner each at the other end.

We lifted.

Bing. Bing. Bing.

I kid you not. A PING PONG BALL, dropped out from behind the cupboard at Jacqui’s corner and bounced along the tiled floor.

It felt like one of those moments of impending disaster, where things happen in slow motion. Tiger and I froze, horrified, just staring at the bouncing demon. We knew if this was not managed with aplomb, it may have nightmarish ramifications. Jacqui felt demeaned the first time, a second time could be terrible.

Bing. Bing.

The ball hit my water-glass and nearly went in it.

Thoughts rushed through my mind.

Do we just ignore it? No, one of us surely had to say something sensitive to the situation (that generally would rule me out), yet diffusing.

Do I say – Wow. That’s a bit awkward.

Or – Were you looking for that? 

Or – How did that get stuck behind there?

Then I hit on it.

Me – “You missed.”

There was silence. Tiger strangled a smile. Jacqui burst out laughing. Phew.

 

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

CHEATING AT A CHARITY POKER EVENT

My brother and I played ninety-eight Port Macquarie lads in a wonderful charity poker event a few months ago. The $100 entry fees all went to the trust, so we were playing for nothing more than pride. Good-hearted, piss-taking banter abounded. I’d been lipping-off incessantly about what a sensational player I am and how I’m called Cool Hand (my self-ascribed poker call-sign) for a reason.

Here’s what happened.

In Texas Hold ‘Em (the Cadillac of poker), you end up with five communal cards on the table and your two cards (called “hole” cards). You then make the best hand, with any combination of the seven.

The communal cards were K 9 K Q Q. When those last two cards came out the Port Macquarie lads immediately yelled “TWO SYDNEY BOYS.”

My two hole cards were Jacks, which were great at the start of the hand, but by the end, being lower than the KKQQ communal cards, were not going to win.

Matty the doctor, had committed a big chunk of his chips. Johnny the plumber, Phillip the lawyer and myself, had already gone “all-in”, meaning we had bet every chip we had. The pot was MASSIVE.

The doctor turned over his hole cards. Ace, 4.

Damn. His Ace, plus the KKQQ, was the winner, assuming nobody had another K or Q in their hands. I readied myself to chuck in my losing cards and head to the bar.

The plumber flipped his pair of 7’s with a loud cheer, incorrectly thinking he had beaten the doctor’s Ace.

Lawyer (yelling loudly) – “READ ‘EM AND WEEP JOHNNY.” He proudly flips a pair of 8’s, thinking he had just pipped the plumber’s 7’s, out of this enormous pot.

I was ready to say “sorry lads, but Matty has knocked us all out.”

It didn’t come out that way.

Me – “YOU CAN BE THE BEST PLAYER IN ALL OF PORT MACQUARIE, AND THAT WON’T EVEN MAKE YOU THE BEST PLAYER AT THIS TABLE BOYS! DOCTOR’S ACE, PLUMBER’S SEVENS OR LAWYER’S EIGHTS, NOT ENOUGH AROUND HERE. THERE’S A HORNSWOOD MAN AT THE TABLE!” I flipped my (losing) Jacks.

I held my breath.

They all groaned.

Me – “Bar’s over there boys! You put up a much better show than I was expecting. You play just like we do in Sydney… but less hard… with not as much skill… or insight… with a slightly feminine twist”.

They hurled all sorts of light-hearted abuse at me and left the table.

About an hour later, I had been knocked out and we were standing around having beers.

Lawyer – “F#ck Cool Hand, you knocked me and Johnny out in one hand.”

Me – (with a smile) “Don’t feel bad Phil… I cheated.”

Doctor – “Wait… What?”

Plumber – “Cheated???”

Even my brother had a look of astonishment.

Me – “Had no choice. I was looking at an early exit.”

Oracle (my brother’s self-ascribed poker call-sign) – “And the next hand you used those ill-gotten chips to knock me out mother-f#cker.”

Me – “It’s the age old question fellas. If somebody cheated in a charity poker event, and nobody caught him, did he actually cheat?” I gave a nonchalant, what can you do shrug.

Oracle – “YES YOU CHEATED!”

Me – “Hang about, let’s not use the word cheat, let’s go with… bamboozle. Oracle, some of these boys are fairly new to the game, but by you not catching me on the bamboozle, you’re an enabler! On some level, I’m the real victim here, my reputation could have been sullied.”

They stared at me, dumbfounded.

Me – “I just saw an opportunity you guys were offering, to bamboozle, and took it. You were all so excited about 7’s being beaten by 8’s, that I knew you’d be totally thrown by my Jacks. I expected Oracle to loudly out me as a cheat, but he was chatting and missed it.”

I sipped my beer.

Me – “The bamboozlement was not premeditated, but once done, I had to cover my tracks. You must be brazen when collecting chips you haven’t won, or people may intercede. You put your illicit booty just to the side of your proper chip stack, so if you get caught bamboozling you just act embarrassed and slide them back into the centre. Once you’ve bamboozled, you quickly rake in all the cards, so even if somebody is unsure, the moment’s passed.”

Plumber – “Are all North-Shore blokes dodgy?”

Me – “Aaaah, you know… it feels good to come clean. It was getting me down, being a charity event and all. Like a pasta-engorged Mafia boss confessing to a donation-loving priest, it’s like it never happened. Let’s not forget lads, we’re all here for a common cause! We’re all here for the right reason! We’re all here to make a difference! We’re all here raising money for bowel cancer! AM I RIGHT BOYS?”

Plumber – “Prostate cancer.”

Me – “Oh, whatever. Whose shout?”

 

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

SOME LAWYERS ARE TOSSERS

Every third person on the Upper and Lower North Shore, has a law degree. They’re my people, so I’m not anti-lawyer. However…

After a thousand beers, I was busting at a Hornswood Christmas party. There were four people in the toilet cue, so I discreetly headed to the backyard (I know, I know, it’s uncivilised, but my wife had already left, so I had no etiquette compass).

On my way I heard two cigar-smoking guys on chairs in the backyard, mention NRL, so I got sidetracked. I shook the hand of the first guy, Jack Townsend. I went to do the same with the big guy. He put his hand forward, patronisingly limply.

Me – (with a friendly smile) “Jeez mate, your hand’s so flaccid I thought you wanted me to kiss it!”

Jack laughed. Old limp-hand, not so much.

Old limp-hand – “Oh how terribly droll. I am Thomas Davies the third, SC.”

Me – “SC?” I pondered. “You’re not… Santa Claus?” I jokingly pointed at his large gut. “I’m Jase Gram… TCEB.”

Old limp-hand/Thomas Davies III – “SC… Senior Council.”

I realised Thomas Davies III wasn’t taking the piss. That’s actually the way he introduced himself.

Thomas Davies III – “To what does TCEB refer?”

I felt a little inadequate.

Me – “Oh… I thought we were just mucking around. It stands for The… The Clint Eastwood of Bloggers.”

That made him laugh. At me!

Me – “Thomas Davies the third. I know that name.”

Thomas Davies III – “A lot of people do.”

Me – “Weren’t you the rich old guy on Gilligan’s Island?”

Got him.

No laughter.

Me – “Is that a Pommy accent I hear Thommo? You-”

Thomas Davies III (interjecting) – “No, I am just educated. It’s Thomas, in point of fact!”

Me – “Did I hear you lads mention NRL?” The hostility was getting me down.

Thomas Davies III – “I would only mention the NRL if I was in court defending one of their players.” He looked at my drink. “Why am I not surprised you put Coca Cola in your whiskey?” They smiled at each other rudely.

Me – “It’s rum, in point of fact!”

Got him again.

Thomas Davies III – “Do not take this the wrong way, however I have little desire to talk with you.”

Me – “Hmmm, how many ways can I take that?”

Thomas Davies III – “I just don’t think either of us will gain anything, from us having a colloquy.”

Me – “A what?”

Thomas Davies III – “A conversation.” Damn, he was smart.

I was desperate to urinate and he wanted me to leave, but I did not want to give him the satisfaction.

Thomas Davies III – “You simply will not be able to contribute on our topic?”

Me – “Oh yeah? Upon what topic are you palavering?”

Got him a third time. I’ll see your colloquy and raise you one palaver!

Thomas Davies III – “The law.”

Bummer

Me – “The law it is then, Thomas Davies…” I deliberately left off “the third”.

Thomas Davies III – “Unless you are a lawyer… you… wont… understand. Are you?”

Me – “Well… no I’m not, but you didn’t know that.”

Thomas Davies III – “You don’t look like a lawyer.”

Me – “I’ll take that as a compliment!”

Thomas Davies III – “It wasn’t meant as one.”

Me – “Too late! I have taken it.”

Got him once again.

My bladder was about to explode, but I wasn’t budging.

Thomas Davies III – “You’re a blogger. How cute. To the housewives about cooking or makeup? Obviously not clothes.” He sure knew how to hurt.

He pulled out a pocket watch and checked the time.

Me – “So bloggers can’t be intellectual hey? Tell that to Richard Van Der Sande.” Fake name.

Thomas Davies III – “Who?”

Me (to Jack Townsend, I pointed my thumb sideways at Thomas and said dismissively) – This guy.”

Got him. It had become easy.

Me – “It’s been wonderful Law Dogs, but I have to urinate.”

Thomas Davies III – “Charming.”

Me (as I walked towards the back fence) – “You the urine police? WHO WEARS A THREE-PIECE SUIT TO A PARTY ANYWAY?” I gave him the bird over my shoulder.

Thomas Davies III – “IN A SUIT IS HOW I AM MOST COMFORTABLE.” Man, he had an answer for everything.

I had never been in my mate’s yard before. In the darkness I didn’t notice it dropped away at a 45 degree angle. I stepped out and in a shower of rum and Coke plummeted into the abyss. I tore all the muscles on the top of my left foot (which was to take about a year to repair) and was rolling around in absolute agony. I couldn’t walk.

Me – “FELLAS! HELP!” Silence.

Me – “JACK! THOMMO? BE THE FIRST TO HELP A POTENTIAL LITIGANT?” Further silence.

I was hobbled. I had to swallow my pride.

Me – “THOMAS DAVIES THE THIRD?”

Thomas Davies III – “Yeeees?”

Finally they came down and helped carry me back towards the house.

Me – “Either of you know a GOOD lawyer?”

I was in intense pain and had drink all over my shirt.

Me – “Lads… I still have to piss.”

 

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

A VEGETARIAN FRACAS

A few weeks ago, thanks to the generosity of some great friends, we were staying in a fancy ski lodge. I had a run-in with six 100% vegetarians in the café underneath.

My wife had already had dinner, so she went upstairs, while I waited for mine.  On the next table sat three ridiculously good-looking couples with perfect clothes, skin, hair and teeth (it was like a table full of Osmonds). They all ordered gluten-free.

Not them, but you get the idea.

The vegetarians had been drinking, were laughing loudly and yelling. I suspected they were wealthy Eastern Suburbs preppies, they weren’t down-to-earth like Upper and Lower North Shore folks.

Me (walking over to their table) – “Howdy Chad’ster (I’d met Chad in the lobby). It’s good to meet fellow vegetarians! You’re ALL gluten intolerant?”

Chad’s wife (I didn’t get any of their names) – The six choose no gluten.”

I burst out laughing. I stifled it immediately upon realising she wasn’t joking.

Chad’s wife – You’re a vegetarian?” She seemed surprised.

Me – “Hells to the yeah! I must admit, though it seems a lifetime ago now, I only came into the light fairly recently.”

Chad’s little mate – “I can’t even look at killers of innocent animals, eating carcinogenic meat. The smell makes me want to puke. Don’t let me get started on the ecological footprint! They’ll all die early, and rightly so.”

Me (not quite knowing what to say) – “I had a vegetarian frittata for lunch.” I smiled proudly.

Chad’s wife – “If it had a face, or if it had a mummy, it won’t end up…”

All the vegetarians answered loudly – “IN OUR TUMMY.”

I was taken by surprise and reeled back slightly.

Me – “Vegetarianism purges my body of past dietary sins. And God knows I’ve committed more than most!” I patted Chad on the back.

My food arrived, so I returned to my table.

Ten minutes later I could hear hushed voices coming from the vegetarians. I flashed a look at them and they were all giving me the old stink eye!

Waiting a few moments, pretending I was reaching for the salt, I snuck another look and there were six great-looking, Eastern Suburbs vegetarians, glaring daggers at me! What had I done?

I heard Chad’s wife’s raised voice, “WELL I’M GOING TO SAY SOMETHING IF YOU WON’T.”

After a few minutes I got a tap on the shoulder. It was Chad with a weird look on his face.

Chad – “Jase, you told us how wonderful it is to be a vegetarian.” He slurred his words a little.

Me – “Yeah mate. Wonderful.”

Chad (pointing at my dinner) – “You’re eating a meat pie.”

I heard Chad’s wife call out “It’s disgusting… HE’S disgusting”.

Me – “What? Oh.” With a friendly chuckle. “I am a vegetarian Chad’ster, but not in the traditional sense. I do eat meat every day.”

I sipped my beer.

Me – “But Chad’ster, I’ve had meat for lunch and dinner, every day of my life. But, now I only have meant ONCE a day. It’s literally a 50% drop in my meat intake. In fact if you include my breakfast of vegemite toast, I’m actually 70/30 vegetarian.” I smiled.

Chad – “Meat every day?”

Me – “ONCE a day only Chad’ster. 70/30, so I’m just rounding up.” I smiled warmly.

Chad – “You cannot call yourself a vegetarian! The six are vegetarians. YOU’RE NOT.”

Me – “You call yourselves the six? Chad’ster I’m… predominantly vegetarian, so surely I should be able to use the cool title.”

Chad – “You’re having meat every day for crying out loud.”

Me – “Of course it’s hard for me to be considered a vegetarian when compared to you purists, you hundred percenters, but surely there are different levels. Anyway, it’s your vegetarians fault, for not having a term that describes somebody who is… pretty much, vegetarian.”

Chad – “YOU’D BETTER STOP.”

I was taken aback by his aggression. I cut off a huge piece of pie, mouthed to Chad “I’m a vegetarian” and defensively shoved it in my mouth. It was really hot.

Me – “Looook Chad’ster, I’m on holiday with my family. I don’t want any trouble. I’ve become 70% since Sunday, but what if, in the spirit of compromise, I don’t call myself vegetarian until I’m say… 80/20?” Chad shook his head.

Me – “How about this, what if I call myself… a Meagan? A meat eating vegetarian.”

Chad – “YOU’VE BEEN OFF MEAT SINCE SUNDAY??? TODAY’S ONLY THURSDAY!!! WHAT SORT OF MAN ARE YOU?”

Me (sensing Chad’s dissatisfaction I quickly racked my brain) – “How about a vegemeatagain?”

Chad gave me a look that said, God I hope the bottom falls out of your share portfolio. All the vegetarians stood up to leave, just as my lovely wife arrived.

Chad’s wife (she stopped and staggered a little at my table) – “We all think what you’re doing is a HORRIBLE… loser.” On they walked.

Me – (speaking to my wife, loudly so the vegetarians could still hear from the door) – “I SHOULD HAVE GONE VEGETARIAN AGES AGO DARLING! IT’S BLOODY EASY!! I MAY NOT BE A HUNDRED PERCENTER, BUT THE COW IN THIS PIE CERTAINLY WAS!!” I rammed some more pie in my mouth.

My wife looked incredulous.

Me – “Not my fault! The six are vegetarians who won’t let me call myself one!”

My wife – “I was gone ten minutes!”

 

Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you!

What’s new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal.

Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I’ve started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers.

Imagine “Hornswood Pool Shop”, who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at… pools.

Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened.

But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people!

Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King.

At the moment I’m… low-tariff, because I’m just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife’s chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer.

If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? https://twitter.com/writehandman99

Cheers.

A JUNIOR RUGBY CAMP

Rugby camp with my son, was always one of the annual highlights, until –

Years ago, sixty dads and our Hornswood Junior Rugby-playing sons, attended a Northern Beaches fitness camp, bonding weekend. Canoeing, archery, orienteering, climbing, swimming and watching rugby with our sons all day. Then at night the dads sat around with beers, while the kids ran wild.

But this year there was a new Camp Supervisor from Germany, a big, serious guy.

Bartlet Bachler (addressing all the dads and kids) – “I am Camp Supervisor Bart Bachler. Fathers are not allowed to drink zhe alcohol outside of zhis dining hall, which will close at nine o’clock.”

I was way up the back, the sixty or so kids (and plenty of the dads after hearing the rule) were nattering loudly.

Me – “SORRY CAMP SUPERVISOR, I CAN’T HEAR YOU VERY WELL. DID YOU SAY YOUR NAME WAS, BUTT BUTLER?”

That’s what I thought he said. The place erupted into laughter.

Bartlet Bachler – “BART BACHLER!” He shot me a look of German Camp-Supervisor wrath.

Me – “THIS NON-DRINKING THING, I ASSUME THAT’S MORE OF A… GUIDELINE… THAN A RULE?”

Anyway, ten dads and kids had been allocated to our room. On the second night, one dad (who I didn’t know) had to head back home for some work emergency. His son Tyrone, was a really fat kid, played in the front row in another team.

Dad I didn’t know – “Can you keep a rough eye on little Tyrone for me tonight?”

Me – “It’ll be a very rough eye indeed (I waved my beer). Isn’t there somebody more responsible you could ask? It’s a classic how you call him little Tyrone by the way!”

Dad I didn’t know – “What do you mean?” He looked at me quizzically.

Me – “Nothing…”

We swapped mobile numbers.

We had eskys strategically hidden around the camp. If anybody saw big Bart Bachler coming, the call of JEEVES would go out and we would all hide our beers.

At 11:45pm I was still sitting around having contraband beer. All the kids and the Butt Butler had gone to bed. I got a text from “Dad I didn’t know” – I’m confident you’ll still be up Jase, ha ha. Just checking on little Tyrone.

OH SHIT. LITTLE TYRONE!

I hadn’t thought of him since “Dad I didn’t know” left that afternoon, about eight hours prior.

I text back – Will advise.

I rushed to our room.

Little Tyrone’s bed… IS EMPTY.

FAAAARK.

Me – “WHERE’S LITTLE TYRONE.”

My son (half asleep) – “Dad I haven’t seen Ty for ages. He hit his head on a bit of metal and ran off into the bush crying. We were going to find him, but Charles hit me with a wet tennis ball, so I had to chase him. And then I forgot.”

FAAAARK.

My mind flashed back to when the Butt Butler came to our room after dinner to do a head count. There seemed to be more than enough running around, so I just assumed they were all there.

The Butt Butler (checking his list) – “You must do zhe ‘ead count.”

Me – “We got no Ed’s here Butler… but we have two Johnny’s!” The Butt Butler didn’t smile. “YOU ALL HERE KIDS?”

The kids – “YES!”

Me – “They’re all here Butler.”

So little Tyrone is somewhere out in the pitch-black bush and has probably bled out. I told my son to go and check every room.

I went to wake up the Butt Butler.

He was not enthused to see me.

The Butt Butler – “VHAT ZHE ‘ELL? Is zhat a beer in your ‘and?”

He crossed his arms angrily. He looked like he was ready to annex Austria.

I rushed to the bin a few metres away to throw the bottle out. I went to swallow the last sip and in my agitated state, underestimated the amount I had left. I tossed the beer into my mouth and a lot more flooded in, than I was expecting. I coughed and the beer went up my nose and sprayed out like a fountain. I erupted into a terrible gagging fit.

Spluttering as my nose and eyes ran, I got a text from my son – All good. He’s asleep in Harry’s room.

THANK GOD.

The Butt Butler was REALLY pissed off, but I no longer had to inform him that I had potentially, irresponsibly, drunkenly killed one of the kids.

The Butt Butler (in that loveable German accent) – “VHAT YOU VANT???”

I was inebriated and had just been on a roller coaster of adrenalin-laden emotion, so I struggled to think of any explanation for my knocking.

Me – “Sorry… for calling you Butt Butler.” He slammed his door.

Then I get a text from “Dad I didn’t know” – Jason I’m concerned.

Me – Found him!

“Dad I didn’t know” – You’d lost him?

I wondered why these things always seemed to happen to me.

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

A DIVORCED MATE

The old cliché that men have a mid-life crisis and leave their wives, in my group of Hornswood (being my term for the curious little suburbs from Hornsby to Chatswood) friends, seems to be outdated. I know eight couples who have sadly split and in every case except one, it’s the wife who has left. Not the bloke.

I think we are going to find our Hornswood generation is going to be different from past ones, in that regard.

Two of our Hornswoodian friends put on a dinner party, with the express intention of getting our buddy Stu (whose wife had left him a year or so earlier) to meet their friend Kelly, who had split with her hubby years before. So there was my lovely wife and I, Stu, two other couples, the hosts, Kelly (who we’d never met) and her sister-in-law Lana.

Stu, being pretty nervous about being out with the woman who was potentially his first, post-separation date, got a bit… pissed.

Now Stu, is a truly lovely guy and a great mate. He was broken for a long time by his wife leaving him. He’s polite, concerned with other people’s feelings, never swears in front of women, is just a really nice bloke.

Two things happened that night, which he wished… didn’t.

We were all sitting around the table, eating, drinking and having a great time. Stu stands up and in his courteous way, asks if anybody would like a drink.

Me – “Water Stu!” I had a large, orange, plastic tumbler in my hand and threw it to him.

Stu – “I don’t get water for blokes. Alcohol only Cool Hand! (most of my mates call me by this self-ascribed poker call-sign) He threw the tumbler back.

Me – “We’re not freaken sixteen here Stu. You know I never need encouragement to drink beer, I just want a water too.” I threw the tumbler back.

Feeling a bit loose and crazy, with a loud Seinfeld Soup-Nazi voice, Stu yells “NO WATER FOR YOU” and theatrically swiped the tumbler out of the air. It went flying into the living room.

It turns out, that some expensive glassware, actually looks and feels like plastic.

The tumbler slammed into a painting on the wall and shattered! Shards of glass went through the living room carpet, all over “John Howard” the Cavoodle, into the couch and covered the floor.

A relaxed, pre-“incident”, John Howard

Mortified.

Stu was mortified.

He appeared to Kelly and Lana to be a man who had just deliberately smashed a glass all over the next room, because he didn’t want his friend drinking any water.

Anyway, after about half an hour of vacuuming the floor, the couch and John Howard, we all settled back down to the table once more. We all laughed, but Stu felt terrible and kept apologising to the lady of the house.

Meanwhile, I kept mentioning to Kelly that I knew her face from somewhere, but she didn’t know me. We finally worked out that she was the sister of a good friend of mine Roger Angler from school and they look incredibly similar.

Me – “So Kelly, that means Stu took your sister Amy to our Year 12 Formal.

Stu was in the kitchen apologizing again to the hosts.

Kelly – “Oh wow! And Amy is now Lana here’s sister-in-law. Small world.

Thank God, something they could talk about to drag the attention from Stu smoting glasses. I knew he really liked Amy and they were still friends, so they could all sit around saying how lovely she is. What a great conversation piece.

Stu walked back to the table.

Me – “Hey Stu! You remember our mate Roger Angler from school?”

Keep in mind that Stu was quite inebriated and was still recovering from the emotional roller coaster of having glassed the living-room.

Stu – “I do indeed Cool Hand (he said with a smile and a cocky head wobble). He was a dick! Now I don’t wish to talk out of school, you may want to block your ears ladies, but Hot Amy and I lost our virginity together behind Curzon Hall at the formal, with an old Fijian kitchen-hand looking on. She was a wild child and loved the fact that he was watching. Amy was an aaaaanimal. I loved Amy. I thought I was the only one for her. Turns out, I wasn’t even the only one for her that night!” He laughed loudly.

I was not quite expecting that.

Kelly – “My little sister Amy?” Kelly looked perplexed.

Stu – “Huh?” He looked to me and I mouthed the word sorry.

Lana – “The Amy who married my brother?” I wasn’t expecting that either.

Stu just stared blankly. Wordless. Unmoving.

It’s funny, Stu and Kelly never ended up going on a date. There must have been no spark.

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A CLINT EASTWOOD MOMENT

Every man, wants a Clint Eastwood moment (without any violence of course). I write this self-indulgent blog post, with all due respect to drunk, aggressive, Irishmen.

I was standing in a wine-bar. We’d been drinking for hours, so all my mates had slowly drifted off home. I was left with Charles, a really nice accountant, who I hadn’t met before that evening.

A completely pissed Irish bloke was wandering around aggressively bumping into people. Being a small bar, there was no security, so this bloke felt free to give shit to everybody.

Me – “Remember I was telling you earlier what a great poker player I am Chucky?

Charles – “Yes Cool Hand (my self-ascribed poker call-sign), you made it sound like you’re quite the master.

Me – “You’re about to see, the bluff.

Charles looked at me quizzically.  The drunk Irishman shoved him in the back

Drunk agro dude – “You spilt me F#CKEN beer. Get me another, before I… smash… your… face… in.” He stood really close and looked down at nice guy Charles

Nice Guy Charles – “I don’t want any trouble.

Drunk agro dude – “A F#CKEN DRINK. NOW GAY F#CKER!” He started poking Charles in the chest.

Any fight here, would last about one punch and then I’d be stuck in the middle of it any way. So being pretty pissed myself, I dived into, stone-cold bluff mode.

Everybody in the bar watched, glad the Irish drunkard had moved on from them. He was about my height, but not nearly as heavy. I had to use my 112.4kg size, as my bluff. Whoever said “sometimes the best defence, is a good offence”, nailed it.

Me – “Whoa back there Fightin’ Irish!

I slowly but firmly, pushed the finger he was stabbing into Charles’ chest, down and away. He turned to me. Nice guy Charles was relieved. I wasn’t. My heart pounded, but I had to give a persona of cool confidence. Bouncer-style, I pushed out my shoulders.

If I pulled this off, I was effectively Clint Eastwood. If I stuffed it, I was trading punches with an Irish drunk and I wasn’t banking on nice guy Charles being much help.

Me – “Look here Guinness. By your homophobic slurs and Charles-poking, I suspect you and I are going to be punching the shit out of each other very soon. Now you seem like a decent enough bloke, so in the spirit of full disclosure, I have three things you should know, scrapper.” I sipped my drink.

Drunk agro dude – “I’LL SMASH YOU.

I wanted to flee.

Me – “Number one Guinness, I am twenty kilos overweight. I’m slow. If you dance around like Michael Flatley, I won’t catch you.

I gave him a confident wink. He seemed a bit flummoxed.

Me – “Number two, I have a very sensitive nose Irish. Land a good punch there, and my tears will flow like your Ma’s when you left the old country.

Drunk agro dude – “Me ma?” He seemed a bit confused.

Me – “But here’s the most important thing, Fightin’ Irish.”

I motioned with my hand for him to come in closer. He did. I nearly whispered. I even put my hand on his shoulder for effect.

Me – “I hit like Thor’s… fucking… hammer!

He looked at me and blinked.

I was overjoyed with my presentation. I spoke slowly, calmly and… toughly. Just like Clint.

Me – “I thought you’d want to know.

He stumbled and steadied himself.

Me – “I can see you really want to have a scrap. I get it, you’re Irish and you’re on the grog. It’s not your fault. But what you certainly don’t want to do… is lose a fight. Not in front of all these people.” I smiled at him warmly.

Because he was practically falling down drunk, through his face, I could nearly see his thoughts ticking over –

I want to smash this f#cken Aussie! He’s been insultin’ me. He’s slow an’ has a weak nose. I can’t lose. These rich pricks’ll know I’m a fighter just like Pa was… But hold on now… Thor’s f#cken hammer?? I don’t want to get hit by Thor’s f#cking hammer! An’ he give me all that voluntarily. Who’d say they hit like Thor’s f#cken hammer if there weren’t somethin’ to it? OH SHITE. I’ve picked THE WRONG F#CKEN GUY! Of all the soft suits in ‘ere, I picked the wrong f#cken guy. F#CK.

Me – “Maybe it’s time you left Irish. You can’t take a pint of Guinness, drop a potato in it and call it a cocktail, in this place.” I was on a roll.

He stared at me for a few seconds more. I put my beer down. He turned and left.

The patrons all gave me polite applause. I was Clint Eastwood.

Charles – “Holy shit Cool Hand. You’re a fighter!

Me – “Jeez no Chucky. I’m just a great poker player.

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POMMY, WELCOME TO OZ

My brother-in-law “Carrot”, the world’s nicest bloke, recently emigrated here with my sister from Nottingham. Being a Pommy, he’s nervous around things that slither and crawl, which is unfortunate when you are staying in leafy, insecty, spidery, snakey, Hornswood.

Let me recount Carrot’s first day in Australia.

I had made a poem for him, so he’d know what’s really dangerous in Oz, and what isn’t.

 

Australia has a myriad of spiders,

that can bite and really hurt.

The ones to be shit-scared of Carrot,

are the black ones, in the dirt.

 

Oz is full of many snakes,

most won’t try to bring you down.

The only ones who’ll fu#k you Carrot,

are the big ones, coloured brown.

 

So my lovely wife Isabel and I went in two cars to the International airport because they had heaps of luggage. Carrot and I were packing the bags in the back of mine, in the car park.

I politely opened the passenger’s door for Carrot. He went to get in and then recoiled in absolute horror.

Carrot – “OH DEAR GOD!! WHAT THE HELL’S THAT?”

Sitting in the centre of the passenger seat, was the most enormous Huntsman I have ever seen. Even by Hornswood big-arse-spider standards, it was huge. It looked like a Blue Swimmer crab and seemed to be rising up and down as it breathed.

I had seen Mr Huntsman a few days ago, as he ran across the outside of my windscreen and nearly gave me a heart attack. But I’d forgotten about him.

Me – “LOOK OUT CARROT!” I moved him aside. I was pretty keen to get rid of this unwanted arachnid.

Not wearing thongs, the quintessential Aussie spider-crushing tool, I had to squash him with the size ten Blundstone boot I was wearing. As I lifted my foot, he ran under the seat. Luckily he popped out on the floor of the back.

Perfect.

I landed a boot flush on top of the monster and squashed him flat! I don’t like spiders. I don’t “rehome” them. I was happy with myself for exterminating this one, considering it was in my vehicle.

I looked to Carrot. His mouth was ajar. His face was bloodless and being a Pom he already had a predominantly whitish hue.

Carrot – “WHAT WAS THAT?”

Me – “It’s ok. It’s a Huntsman. Big, but harmless.”

Carrot – “Harmless? Then why’s it called A HUNTS-MAN? I don’t mean to be rude but what sort of country is this? I’m still at the f#cken AIRPORT!”

About six hours later, he had calmed down and was drinking a good Aussie VB and wandering around our Hornswood backyard. All of a sudden he was waving and signaling for me to come down and check out something distressing about our gum tree.

Carrot (yelling from the garden) – “MATE I’VE FOUND SOMETHING AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. ANY CHANCE YOU COULD COME DOWN HERE! SHARPISH!”

I hurried down to the backyard. Carrot was hesitantly standing guard at the tree.

gumtree

Carrot (quite agitated) – “Over here mate. C’mon. Please.”

I was hoping, after he was airport-carpark-Huntsman’d, that he hadn’t stumbled upon anything worse. Our house backs onto thick Hornswood bush and a creek, so spiders, leaches and ticks, even the odd snake, are pretty commonplace. He was staring intently at the gum tree when I arrived.

He was very agitated, beckoned me over and silently pointed at the threat. I was on my guard but I came in close.

Now keep in mind poor Carrot had only been in the country a few hours, and there, you wouldn’t believe it, hanging on the side of the big gum tree that I’ve been past a thousand times, was a fairly large, brown… cicada shell.

Carrot – “LOOK OUT! What is it?” He was standing safely behind me.

I couldn’t help but laugh, loudly.

Me – “Carrot, you can relax. It’s just a cicada shell.”

Carrot – “A what? LOOK AT THE MASSIVE EYES AND CLAWS. Looks like an alien. IT’S DEAD AND STILL HANGING ON THE F#CKEN TREE!”

Me – “It’s a harmless insect.”

Carrot – “Insect? IT’S NEAR AS BIG AS ME F#CKEN HAND.”

Me – “Yeah, it outgrew that shell is all.”

Carrot – “You’re joking? NOW IT’S BIGGER?”

Me – “They’re nice though. Very Aussie. You can hear them beating their wings all-”

Carrot (interjecting) – “WINGS?? IT CAN F#CKEN FLY?? WHAT SORT OF F#CKEN COUNTRY IS THIS??”

Anyway, we were sitting on the veranda later and after three or four more VB’s I managed to calm Carrot down. He was actually starting to relax and see the funny side of his introduction to Aussie nature. But then a Christmas beetle kamikazed into his hair. I didn’t warn him not to sit under the light.

He jumped up but, with a seemingly newfound degree of mature resignation, he just dropped his head and laughed. He laughed and he laughed. We all did. Through the laughter Carrot did say “I don’t think I can do this”. But he laughed again.

I told him that’s exactly what he needed to do. Go with the flow. Don’t try to stand up against Mother Nature in Australia. She’s just too powerful here. You can keep her under control in Europe, but here you must learn to get along with Mother Nature and don’t be bothered by her presence. I said to him, just like you were a puny, white-skinned little Pommy boy who’s having his life made miserable by the soccer-loving school-yard bully back home, just try to co-exist!

In a moment of absolute epiphany, it dawned on him that mine was actually sage-like advice. I could see, right before my eyes, him take on a new perspective. Just at that moment, he’d completely altered the way he was going to approach his new life in this country. He’d got it wrong! He’d have to become positive about our closeness to nature. He had to embrace it, not hate it!

His bright new perspective lasted right up to the point that he sat down on the veranda to put on his shoes and a bull-ant bit him… on the scrotum.

It was a tough first day in Oz.

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.