Monday, 30 April 2007

From Sen. The Hon. Neil O’Nooply

It recently came to the attention of the Minister for Meat Products that certain of his suit-clad minions have breached the Australian Public Service Act (Supplementary) paragraph 10.1, Duty to refrain from looking stupid, and it fell to me to draft a minute to be propagated department-wide, reminding all staff of their obligations. Hereunder a reproduction of the salient points of the minute, including infractions and remedial instructions:

1) Multi-coloured mullets.
No. You are not cool, trendy or young. You are just a (poorly informed) fashion victim with a hairstyle that doesn’t go with anything, let alone business suits or your head.

2) Surf-brand lanyards.
Three times wider than everyone else’s, in eye-blinding colours and emblazoned with trademarks you pay to advertise, these should be avoided by everyone who isn’t a try-hard fifteen-year-old.

3) Expensive utes that have never been on a farm or unsealed road.
What’s the look you’re going for here? Gentleman farmer? Country boy made good? Wealthy landowner? Whatever image you’re attempting to project, the only one I see is ‘tool’ (and not the useful sort).

4) Shorts.
No, no, no, ladies! The weekend was yesterday. I don’t care what Cue has in its window display - today we wear trousers, skirts or dresses.

5) Hands-free mobile phones.
Unless you’re driving a car and on an absolutely necessary call, you should not be sporting one of these. People do not see you swaggering around talking over-loudly into your headset and think, “Now there’s a powerful high-flyer! Look, he’s in constant demand on the phone and far too busy to use his God-given hands!” They think you’re an arrogant technosexual.

Staff are reminded that strict adherence to all parts of the Public Service Act is required for salary progression. Dress code for IT staff remains extant (ie: jeans and tee-shirts are mandatory at all times).

Meanwhile, the Act doesn’t proscribe looking like a comfortable frump, so I guess my pay-rise is in the bag.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Misters Are Doing It For Themselves

I thought he’d learned his lesson after the gaffe shortly before the birth of our second child. The one when I remarked that I hoped this delivery would not occasion the same pain and suffering as the first, whereupon he asked, “What pain?” Sputtering with enraged incredulity, I’d somehow managed to refrain from squeezing his abdomen in a vice and shoving a prize-winning butternut pumpkin through an inadequately tiny orifice while maniacally screaming, “This is what you missed while you watched telly and ate sandwiches, you empathically-challenged pig-man!”

But no. It seems Mr. Lonie wagged a lot of classes at the Academy for Sensitive and Supportive Husbands, because even the greenest of dangly-genitaled spouses would have the decency, if not the self-preservation instincts, to prevent his latest clanger from passing their lips.

“Why does it feel like I do everything around here?” I complained, referring pointedly to Mr. Lonie’s habit of sitting at the computer monitoring sports results while the housework and child-wrangling is accomplished seemingly magically around him. “Hmm, sometimes I feel the same way,” he said. Not as in, “You’re right Darling, I’m sorry I haven’t been helping more”; but as in, “That’s funny, I thought I did everything in this house.”

You can imagine my flabbergastedness. I was so shocked it took a few minutes for the righteous anger to seep into my consciousness, but if he thought for that few minutes he could voice such an outrageous opinion with impunity, he was wrong. Just in case I’d grossly miscalculated, I mentally ran through my obligations and accustomed duties, tallying them against his. “Nope,” said the little accountant in my brain, punching some final numbers into his calculator. “The figures say FIRE AWAY!” So fire away I did.

It was a short, sharp volley which ended in the perhaps none-too-mature denunciation: “You think you do all the work around here? Well now you can see what that’s really like!” followed by my desistance from all normal tasks and complete refusal to lift a finger to help. (Well, except for the grocery shopping. And the laundry. And the washing up. Because if you want something done properly, and all that.)

The only apology I received was half-hearted and obviously insincere, so until I get a real one, I’ll be enjoying my new leisure time. And Mr. Lonie can forget any bedroom hijinx – he’ll soon learn the meaning of doing everything himself.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Ripped off, metaphorically speaking

After its failure to provide me with the anticipated twenty-nine dollars and ninety-five cents worth of enjoyment, it was with a faint sense of disappointment that I returned a book, the latest to fulfil its raison d’ĂȘtre, to the shelf.

The prose was tritely formulaic and the protagonist another eye-rollingly boring woman of great beauty and greater character flaws, who ultimately finds redemption and a happy ending in the arms of the man she loves. Yawn. The characters were as endearing as my baby’s last vomit, and the enticing premise was nothing but a fraudulent ruse, an invitation to undertake a free personality test before an assault by pests worse than scientologists – and the natural enemy of high-school essayists everywhere – metaphors.

Alright, so maybe I should have expected as much, given my selection of a book from the magical realism genre. And I know that must seem like an odd complaint, given that many of the books I enjoy are intentionally rich in metaphors, allegory and social commentary, but the beauty of those stories is that they can, if like me you are lazy-minded and still rebelling against minute analysis of dull school curriculum books, be read as simple tales of good versus evil, or triumph over adversity, or coming of age, or sentient meat products.

What I object to is the laboured metaphor, the diversion from the narrative to irrelevant details designed to sledgehammer the author’s ‘real’ message into our heads, and repeated every couple of pages just in case us thickies didn’t get it the first dozen times. I’m talking about such twaddle as a character inexplicably stopping to pull at a loose thread, and find it unravelling just like her predictable life is unravelling! Or interspersing scenes from The Wizard of Oz with the heroine’s own adventures, because she too is both literally and figuratively lost, and realises there’s no place like home!

Do I lack an appreciation for creative works with non-literal meanings? Probably. I dislike modern dance. Stanley Kubrick films have stolen hours of my life that I want back. I look at most modern art and see bogus tailors making clothes for the emperor. Does this mean I’m contemptibly low-brow? Perhaps. Sometimes my brows are so low I could pass for the amazing moustachioed woman. So to appease my ruffled sensibilities, the next book I read is going to be a familiar favourite, one I know I can enjoy just for the story, without exhausting my brain with ponderings on deeper significance. I was thinking of Animal Farm.

Monday, 16 April 2007

This Is Me...

…but not. My skin is redder, my body more cylindrical, my insides less offally (guaranteed 100% rectum free!), but you get the idea.

I’m off to bed – it’s more comfortable than my computer desk. Wish me sweet dreams that aren’t about populating work databases, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll actually get around to posting something worth a click.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Exhausted and Blasphemous

The intelligence and aptitude tests I was forced to take for my current job are obviously not the dunce-filters my department hoped they were, because I find myself burdened with responsibilities I feel grossly incompetent of shouldering to my satisfaction.

After weekdays now spent alternately berating myself for being an ignorant moron whose underachievement must surely become clear to my colleagues and supervisors once a reasonable period for patient understanding has expired, and marvelling at the contradiction within my ethos which allows me to adopt a ‘good enough is good enough’ attitude towards practically everything else but places such high demands on my performance in a position which lost its lustre long ago, I find I have insufficient energy and brain power remaining to formulate a blog entry of any description, let alone a mildly diverting one. Weekends have not been spared, either; my former days of rest are now victims of the cruel housework:spare time equation.

So, Dear Readers, thanks for your loyalty. While I have absolutely no illusions about the interest in the earth-shattering reports I'm paid to produce, on things I can’t imagine anyone possibly caring about, it’s nice to know that someone reads and perhaps enjoys at least some things I write.

Oh, and Jesus? Thanks for the long weekend! That whole excruciating-death-and-miraculous-resurrection-to-save-mankind-from-our-sins thing was pretty cool too.