Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Right Words

In the world of verbal warfare there’s nothing more devastating than the conversation ending blast of a cutting, yet humorous, comeback.  One of my favourites is this exchange between Australian spin bowler Shane Warne and South African batsman Darryl Cullinan:

Warne:  “I’ve waited two years for another chance to humiliate you.”

Cullinan: “Yeah?  Looks like you’ve spent most of it eating.”

And this from Winston Churchill, a dab hand at glib and stinging rebukes, who was attending a dinner party when Lady Astor sneered, “If you were my husband, I’d serve you poison.”  Unfazed, Winnie shot back, “Madam, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

And years ago, while living in a block of flats with walls so thin they might as well have been made of lace, I overheard the following comments during a domestic chat taking place next door:

Husband: “Why can’t you see things from my point of view?  You’re so narrow minded that when you walk, your earrings bang together!” 

Wife:  “Ha!  To see things from your point of view mate I’d have to stick my head up my backside!”

My sniggering interrupted their conversation, so they spent the next hour yelling nasty, but quite funny, things at me through the paper thin walls.  Needless to say, invites to future dinner parties at their place vanished faster than money in the Queensland Treasury.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wished I’d said something clever at the right time, instead of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time; which is something I do quite often… apparently.

The closest I’ve ever come to scathing wit was recently when I humiliated someone who had publicly insulted me.  I was cutting, brilliant, and applauded by amused onlookers as I walked off.  Unfortunately I was also asleep at the time, dreaming of an argument that I’d lost early last year, and it’s taken my keen intellect nearly twelve months to come up with a snappy comeback.  ‘O, thankyou Mr. Brain,’ I muttered before nodding off again.

It’s magical when the right words come together at the right time, and I’d love to end this column with something knee slappingly funny, but for the life of me, I just can’t think of anything.  Although I’m sure the right words will pop into my head soon; probably in two months’ time, at two a.m., and too late.

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Sick with Worry

This Winter some particularly nasty bugs have hit Gladstone, and they’ve spread with the sort of speed not seen since the Middle Ages, when a sailor stepped ashore in London and said, “Say folks, what do you think about these black spots?”

To ward off viruses, I’ve been making a special ‘Flu Brew’; a blend of citrus juices, herbs, olive oil, chilli sauce, vinegar and crushed garlic, stirred with a spoon dipped in tea tree oil.  I don’t know if it works yet because I haven’t actually built up the courage to drink it.  Just smelling it makes me retch, but it does clear the sinuses magnificently.

As I stand gagging over my kitchen sink, I silently wish I was like my mate Lenny the Plumber; well, not the bit where he spends his days up to his armpits in raw sewerage, I am referring to his robust health, because for some reason, Lenny doesn’t get sick.  In spite of his extremely primitive approach to hygiene.

I recall the time, after a vigorous sneeze, Lenny’s false teeth plopped into a septic tank, and he immediately dived in after them.  He eventually re-surfaced, triumphantly clutching his fake fangs, and after a quick rinse under a tap, slipped them straight back into his mouth.   If you ever want help sticking to a diet then Lenny is the bloke you should be around.

That’s if you can handle the stench, because being near Len for too long will cause your sense of smell to disintegrate faster than a NSW footy fans’ hopes.  And you can always tell where Lenny’s been by the lingering trail of pong that wafts about long after his physical presence has moved on.

Risking permanent nasal damage, I once spent a morning with Len to discover the secret of his freakishly good health.  I was doing ok, even when he removed a wheelbarrow of slime from a blocked grease trap with his bare hands, but when he casually wiped his mitts on his filthy overalls, then pulled a half-eaten sandwich out of his pocket and stuffed it into his mouth, I suddenly needed to be somewhere else… anywhere else.

Now, call me soft, but I’ve decided to give Lenny’s viral immunity methods a wide berth.  And I’ve even poured my ‘Flu Brew’ down the sink (which instantly unclogged my drains), because worrying about staying healthy is making feel crook.

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First Aid Frenzy

I don't even want to ask how this injury happened...

Do you have any idea of just how many ways you can be hurt, injured or killed?  I do, because I’ve just finished a First Aid course.  By the time I got home, my anxiety levels were so high, that just watching Long Suffering Wife open the fridge door was enough to make me break into a sweat.

We humans have a real talent for harming ourselves in the most fascinating ways.  It’s like we’re determined to prove to a gobsmacked Universe just how hopeless we are at staying out of trouble.

So, after eight hours of listening to lectures, watching stomach turning videos, and tongue kissing a CPR dummy, I arrived at two conclusions; ‘nowhere’ is completely safe, and  Mother Nature doesn’t like us very much.

If you’re not careful, she’ll burn, freeze, drop, starve, stab, poison, drown, bite, crush and sting you in a variety of horrible ways.  I’ve often wondered why we refer to her as a ‘Mother’?

As I was mentally crossing the beach, the bush, in fact anywhere beyond my letterbox, off my list of places to visit, I was told that things are actually more perilous inside our homes. 

Our living spaces are death traps.

Then I recalled how I broke an arm playing backyard cricket, and got savagely mauled in my own kitchen after making, what I thought were, quite witty remarks to a certain person at the wrong time.

Accidents with furniture, cutlery and alleged labour saving devices, are too numerous to mention.  Then there were all the catastrophe’s involving renovations, car repairs, and attempts to cross darkened rooms littered with sharp edged plastic blocks.

And that’s the problem, I’m the dummy who usually gets hurt, and Long Suffering Wife hasn’t got a First Aid ticket.  Although she has cheerfully assured me that if I do get seriously injured, she’ll quickly put me out of my misery, and after a quick visit to the Merry Widow Insurance Agency, will spend several months aboard a cruise ship mourning for me.

This may explain why I seem to be experiencing an abnormal amount of near misses around our house of late…

So, I heartily recommend everyone learn First Aid, and there are plenty of training mobs in Gladstone happy to help you, just look in the phone book under ‘Neurosis’.

Remember, the life you save could be mine; or someone you actually like.


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