Po Boy Views
No Worries, Mate
Since my last article on bicycles (you did read it, didn’t you?) I’ve become a bit of a Go-To Guy when it comes to passing along information on little or notatall considered subjects. Now, sometimes you’ll hear a very authoritative voice coming from god knows where informing you of: “BREAKING NEWS!!... Sources… whom asked to remain anonymous… tell me that apparently an independent study is rumored to confirm the possibility of the truth behind blah blah and blah”.
Let me say this about that; certainly, there are questions that everybody should be asking themselves, especially about blah, blah and blah; but ask yourself this: has anyone thought to ask ‘who are these Australians, where do they come from and what do they want”? No? I didn’t think so. That’s why you have me.
Australians are people that live in a land far far away; a place called, oddly enough, Australia. Most of Australia is inhabited by non-human things that would like to kill you and primarily they live in places that humans do not, which is most of the country. Australia has a buncha buncha deadly animals, insects, plants, spiders and snakes that are only found in that country; and in a greater variety than say… the entire North American hemisphere. This is why Australians mostly live urbanely (or in populated areas). There are only two human beings for every square kilometer in Australia but because most of the country is uninhabitable, by living in what’s left after that’s taken out of the equation, Australia is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. The 50th to be exact. Australia is three quarters the size of the USA with a little over six and a half percent of our population. When you fly from Australia to the good old U. S. of A. you’ll arrive before you’ve departed; when you fly from here to there you lose a whole day from your life: gone forever. Does that make any sense? No? Well, neither does most of that country.
For instance; their indigenous peoples, called Aborigines, have been carbon dated to 60,000 years ago and nobody can explain where the heck they came from because Australia has been an island for a lot longer than that. Incidentally, Australia has no apes for the Abo’s to evolve from; ergo, God created man in his image in what would become the land Terra Australis (a name that means “someplace down under”). Either that or they sailed there before boats and Vegemite were invented. No one talks about Aborigines much; I think that it’s because they’re embarrassed by that whole ‘in his image’ thing or else they’re real sorry that white folks used to treat ‘em like they was, shall we say, less than human.
Anyway, in the 1600s the Dutch came, called the place New Holland and then quickly left, wanting nothing to do with it; in 1770 Sir Jos Banks discovered it as New South Wales, recommended that the Brits should colonize the place and then he came to New Orleans and opened a clothing store, supplying our colonists with much needed seer sucker suits. The Brits promptly emptied their gaols (that’s what they called their slammers) and sent about a thousand petty crooks to the Great Down Under in 1788, many of whom died because they could steal but they could not forage very well. Yes, and Australia missed being a French colony by this * much.
Onward: what do they want? Simple: they want to have fun; and if you’re an Aussie in America you’re having nothing but fun. That and they want us to love Vegemite as much as they hate peanut butter. Why do we see numbers of Aussies in New Orleans? Simple: they love to drink and they’re good at it. That plus they’re just all around the most upbeat, polite, and friendly of folks that you’ll ever meet unless you try to give them a peanut butter sandwich. Mention Vegemite… and watch them light up. Aussies avoid conflict and arguments I think because they know that they are always right and they know that they can kick our asses; that attitude comes with the belief that eating Vegemite makes you tough, smart, easy going, good looking and healthy.
We’re also seeing more and more visitors from Down Under because it’s affordable for them now and they’re happy to be somewhere where there’s not a crocodile stalking them or a giant spider or small snake ready to kill them with deadly venom just for the fun of it. Plus we have plenty of beer.
I’m reading In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson which is instrumental in my knowledge of Australia, supplemented by addendums from the Aussies that I work with. e.g. Bill Bryson tells me that the city of Adelaide is called the ‘City of Churches’ and why. Kristin (whom I work with), on the other hand, explains to me why the city of Adelaide is called the ‘City of Corpses’ and why. A nice balance if you ask me.
When visitors from Australia visit my shop I tell them that I’m reading Bill Bryson’s book they invariably look at me and nod politely as if I had just told them that I was reading the back of a cereal box. When I ask them where in Australia they’re from… their ears perk up They mention that they’re from Australia as if they were saying that they live in Gentilly… not like they happen to come from the sixth largest country in the whole frigging world. Then I mention Vegemite and tell them that I love the stuff. Bingo!, we’re now BFF.
I tell Yanks, that inquire, that Vegemite is an acquired taste; most Americans can’t even get past the smell. I’ve been told that it smells like gorilla butt breath and tastes like decomposing gym shorts. Sometimes I wonder where some people spend their time.
In closing, know that Aussies use slang words like Bluger, fair dinkum, squzz, bluey, figjam, pash, bogan and coo-ee. And here’s a word of advi: if you’re sinking piss with some Sheila and get off your face or rotten and decide to sound like a broken record with the “G’day Mate; toss a shrimp on the Barbie!” routine she might go Aussie on you, do a frog in the sock or get mad as a cut snake and knock you arse over tits. If you don’t believe me, give it a burl, ya nong.