In the course of a rather dull and uninteresting life I’ve met a couple of politicians. Notably, Tim Fischer who shook my hand after mistaking me for someone else, and once I chatted with Mark Latham, long before he became the twisted train wreck we all know, and avoid, today.
But the funniest encounter occurred back in 1994 when we were living in South Brisbane. One sunny Saturday afternoon, while I was out toiling in the garden, a familiar figure came staggering up our garden path. Thrusting out his hand he said, “Hello, I’m Lord Mayor Jim Soorley, and I’m campaigning for re-election.” He firmly pumped my gloved hand, squishing quite a lot of cow poo into his own palm.
He stared at his fingers in disgust, then started sniffing the air and crinkling his nose; obviously my deodorant had stopped cutting the mustard.
As he washed his hands under the hose, I popped inside to fetch a couple of glasses of water and give my underarms another quick spray. Jim downed the water, screwed up his face, stared at the glass, coughed, sniffed the glass then handed it back to me with a dubious look on his dial.
“We usually boil it to get rid of the taste,” I told him, “but I thought you might want to experience firsthand what your residents are drinking. Want another one?”
“Hell, no!” he cried, then shuffled off next door.
Watching him go, I reflected on how every few years, politicians must dread having to mingle with the great unwashed masses, getting their hands mucky, and often ending up with a bitter taste in their mouths.
I continued raking manure as Lord Jim pleaded with my neighbours for another term in office. Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it, and I’m glad it’s not me!