By Bob Halstead
To all our current friends, distant friends and people who used to be friends and other people we have never heard of who keep sending us Christmas cards.
It has been a boring year with little to recommend it. I suppose the most exciting time was when I made a very fast ascent under the boat from 60m. Amazingly my head was OK, but unfortunately the boat sank. The Captain and crew took off in the life raft and all I could find to keep me afloat was the case of Tequila I had hidden on the top deck. What irony! What I needed was water to drink, but, you know, water does not float as well as Tequila. That Tequila saved my life.
Following the rescue dictum of “Do No Harm” (to oneself) I had to kick away the women and children trying to commandeer my groggy life preserver. Most of them got tangled in long lines and were eventually taken aboard shark fin boats, had their arms and legs lopped off, and were chucked back into the deep. Actually that bit is not true, I just made it up to shock you. On the other hand I hear the quality of shark fin soup in Hong Kong is not what it used to be.
I did not actually see many sharks though one sea-monster looked remarkably like a plesiosaur. I discovered that a little tequila in the water around me acted as a superb plesiosaur repellent – I must follow this idea up later along with my other brilliant idea of manufacturing and selling Placebo pills (the most tested and proven pill ever, yet not readily available at pharmacies), anyway, keep that quiet.
After drifting for 3 days I was picked up by a passing Kula Canoe but when they told me they were heading for the Trobriand “Islands of Love” for the Yam festival I nearly got back in the ocean. At this time gangs of marauding Kiriwina lovelies waylay innocent male travellers and drag them into the bushes. One is expected to perform – but my Viagra had gone down with the ship!
I was eventually rescued by the local missionary and that got me to thinking about life. I remembered the short-serving Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s famous reported conversation with his wife Margaret.
“What’s the time, Comrade Margaret?”
“11 am, it’s time to wake up, you bastard”
“That’s it! Comrade, IT’S TIME”
He used this phrase to con the Australian voters to vote for him. Gough’s ability to combine fabulous socialist ideals with total financial incompetence was an inspiration to us all. Now it was my time.
You see I’ve noticed over the past few years a movement away from rationality towards spiritual anarchy, fantasy and fanaticism. IT’S TIME for me to gather like-minded souls and get organised. I decided the most important thing in life is to Pretend to be Tolerant. “Tolerance with a Big Stick” John Howard and George W. Bush would say. When a youthful dive master castigates me for diving one metre deeper on my second dive I now say “I understand what you are feeling, and I am very sorry you feel that way” before poking him in the eye.
To show others that we are all the same, but totally different from everyone else, my group paints our hands green. I immediately discovered that the world is full of prejudiced people who refuse to shake my hand! I found this deeply offensive and hard to tolerate.
I suppose I’m just ranting here – back to the news. We have been pleased to receive all the cards of sympathy concerning the crocodile and five of our nineteen grandchildren. It’s making me a bit choked up here that you should all care so much. It was, I am sure, just a coincidence, or perhaps divine intervention, that the five were precisely those kids that refused to paint their hands green, but, you know, kids will be kids, so what can I say. It was a good effort. They almost made it to the far bank of the Barron River, and almost passed their dive course swim test.
Music has been a steadfast source of solace and joy. I have been practicing my own composition that I call “Primordial Scream” played mostly unaccompanied in the altissimo register of the soprano saxophone. An unexpected benefit was that all the neighbours’ barking dogs have disappeared. It is so wonderful to do good in the world.
Extinction of species is continuing at a “breakneck” (ha ha!) speed due to a special program encouraging school children to collect insects from the Australian Bush, and the depletion of Ozone by releasing yet another Tim Flannery book into the atmosphere. Oh, and Global Warming. I had to have a stern word with my father to get him to get rid of his greenhouse – but he did, so I think I have made my contribution.
Dinah is her usual energetic self, and I have managed to survive the year without forgetting Valentines day, Birthday, Mothers day, Queen’s Birthday, special day, and the other day. If only I had remembered to turn the gas off! Fortunately the caravan park is very pleasant except on Friday nights when we have to go out and fight the Blue Hand boys.
We are working on our list of overseas countries to visit with the intention of doing some travel. You may not know, but the United Nations provides a very useful document showing all the countries you do NOT want to go overseas to visit. It’s called their membership list.
Anyway we are hoping for a more exciting year in 2006, especially when the casts come off and I can walk again.
Deeper! Longer! Harder! Faster! Whoops, have to go, there are people in white coats knocking on the door, probably testing a new Detergent, or from the Council to inspect our swimming pool fence.
All the Best for the Festive Season, and good luck with your New Year Resolution.
This year I am going to give up abstinence.
New Year 2006