Dear Mrs Rachel Vandenberg,
I am writing to apply for the position of “Uncle”, as advertised in the last family newsletter, “RE: OMG Jono and I are having a baby!!!”. I am enclosing a completed application form, resume, and those photos mum took when we were five of me shoving your face into a mound of dirt “for a joke”, just in case you’ve forgotten who I am. Below I have listed a few unique qualities I feel I can bring to the role, that I trust will become a compelling and hopefully essential part of your new family business.
I am related to you and have a penis
In my extensive research, I understand one of the most important things an uncle must possess is to be what’s known as a “brother”, and not in the cool way black people mean. As you can see from my attached CV, I have been gainfully employed as a brother since January 1979, when you came into the world and ruined everything. As I write this, a solitary tear descends down my left cheek thinking about all the Star Wars figures I was denied by relinquishing my only child status (Tie Fighter pilot, Han Solo Hoth fatigues, and Lobot to name but a few), and to this day I hold you personally responsible for sucking all the oxygen out of Christmas morning with your Strawberry Shortcake My Little Cabbage Patch Kid loving she-devil in diapers wah-wah arse. These small matters notwithstanding, I feel the extensive experience I have within this cornerstone portfolio makes me an exceptional candidate.
Sometimes I’m around, and sometimes I’m not
I lead a random and chaotic life, full of career upheaval, emotionally scarring u-turns, and life choices that could best be described as “puzzling, bordering on batshit mental”. While to some 35 may be considered quite young, I have the memory of a withering Alzheimer’s patient, and live my days hand to mouth, barely remembering what happened five minutes ago let alone five days. Though many potential employers may be somewhat off-put by a suite of such traits, surely there could be no better strings to an uncle’s bow than this motley assortment of wild, cavernous flaws. An uncle should be esoteric and illusive, full of wonder, uncertainty, and almost reckless irresponsibility. No one ever says to an uncle, “Can I just leave you to look after Jasper for a few hours”, and believes the task will be carried out without a cat being gaffa taped to a VCR by the end of it. No one ever says to an uncle, “Kirillee’s party is 2pm at the playground, make sure you pick up the cake with plenty of time to find a park” and doesn’t expect to get a KFC twelve-piece feed delivered to a bowling alley at half-six. The next day. If such a thing were ever to be expected of an uncle, I believe DOCS would have a raft of serious questions about your capacity for parenting in the first place. And to be honest, I’m amazed I’ve managed to successfully apply for this position at all. All I can hope is that I have given you an incorrect phone number or have somehow mistakenly faxed this to my mate Paul (NB: Paul doesn’t have a fax).
I have a few good drug stories, but not too many
Once a mate and I went to Amsterdam and got ripped off three times in twenty minutes trying to buy drugs off the street. And then there was this other time I had a hash cookie and thought I could control time by opening and closing my eyes. And this other time where a mate took mushrooms and thought the police were wizards trying to steal his source of power so he swallowed his gold ring and tried to swim away in a canal with only two inches of water in it. And… that’s about it. The point is, I doubt sex and drugs and rock and roll are going anywhere, and when this kid grows up you’re going to want to provide honest answers to tough questions without tarnishing your delicately crafted parental veneer. This is where you need a fall guy. Someone who’s spent years systematically eroding their shame as if it were some sort of Buddhist practice in letting go of decency. In short – an uncle. Sure, you might be able to muster up the stones to flitter over the birds and the bees talk, but in twenty years time birds and bees are going to be getting so freaky you’ll be fielding questions like, “Mummy, how can a bee give a bird a reach around without hurting its wing… and do bees really have fists?” Save yourself the hassle. Hire me, and the kid will be so scared from the walking talking cautionary tale sitting in front of them, that they’ll be chaperoning you on your monthly date night.
The likelihood of me ever getting my shit together enough to procreate is so low this could well be a job for life
Far be it for me to tell you how to suck eggs, but IMHO, the one thing you don’t want in a role like this are time wasters. You know the type. They dazzle you in the interview with their enthusiasm. Their eyes all starry with the mere thought of clutching the bottom rung of their dream ladder, and then… VOOM! They’re headhunted by the firm across town and all you’re left with is a mound of paperwork and all your trade secrets gone straight to the competition. There’s an old saying in the journalism game, “If a story sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. And as you may be able to tell, mine is in no danger of any such tantalising hoodwinkery. The chances of me being distracted by my own little bundle of joy are so slim that I’m willing to put the house I obviously don’t own on it never even coming close to eventuating. Sure, I may get distracted by shiny things and forget to show up to the christening, but at least you can rest assured that yours will always remain, the best offer.
I am proficient in Adobe Creative Suite and have a typing speed of 60 wpm
I’m not sure if this is really relevant, but wanted to add it in just in case.
And finally, on a personal note, might I just say how pleased I am to hear that you and Jonathan have decided to employ the stork method for the conception of your first-born. Such a rare and might I say brave thing for a couple to do these days. I believe stork technology has come a long way since our parents definitely certainly no really la la la la la I’m not listening la la la la la used it to bring you and I into the world. In this sex-obsessed age, it is heartening for an older brother to go about his life with the delightfully delusional knowledge that his angelic little sister is having no part in such filth.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon at Dad’s birthday dinner about this overwhelmingly exciting employment opportunity. Ps – Do I owe you money for Dad’s present, and if so, what did we get him?
As far as guys go, I like to think I’m a fairly average specimen. I don’t have tats, I don’t have piercings, and I certainly don’t have tats of piercings. I drive a sensible car to a sensible job and do sensible things, tempering this near complete lack of edge by listening to discordant guitar music, and swearing at times when you’d fuck least expect it.
So basically everything I do, say, or think, is to my eyes fairly dedicated to orbiting a lazy arm’s length from the status quo. But lately I’ve started to feel like a bit of a freak. A weirdo. That something I’ve been a part of for the past thirty odd years might be a bit abnormal. That I might not be on the winning team come grand final day. You see I, am a hankie user.
Go on. Gasp. Run. Sick into your perfect mouths. Shield your child’s delicate eyes from the elephant man of mucus management, as little Timmy clutches your leg and screams, “Why does the bad man do that, mummy? WHY MUMMY, WHY???”
Pipe down pipsqueak. I, am not, an animal.
Far from it. I’m old school. Old money. Out, proud, and sneezing perhaps a bit too loud. See, I have a nose with no use for a part-time lover. It needs a life partner. A snotty soul mate, not some flash in the pan two-ply temptress who’s here for a good time not a long time. Some papier-mâché prostitute these tissue transients are just all too happy to use, abuse and discard once they’ve had their way with it. Tossed into the bin like it meant nothing. Like it was nothing. Like she is nothing.
I doubt they’d understand the love between a man and a handkerchief. They couldn’t even comprehend the commitment. I’ve taken my hankie to the movies. Horseback riding. Paint-balling. We’ve sat on beaches together. We’ve taken long walks on promenades. We’ve been around the world, quite literally never leaving each other’s sides. I bet they’ve never treasured a tissue. They’re probably a dime a dozen to them, a means to an end. I bet they’d even say they all look alike too. Racists.
I bet these booger bogans are completely oblivious to the heritage of the hankie. They wouldn’t know the handkerchief has seen the Age of Enlightenment. The Reformation. The discovery of the New World. The Industrial Revolution. As mankind evolved through the ages, the hankie was there, absorbing history, human achievement, and various bodily fluids. The upstart tissue, if it could even be bothered to leave its cultural cardboard coffin, has maybe seen a few crappy silent films and the Great Depression. No wonder everyone was so bummed.
Do these people even know who invented the handkerchief? Do they? It was King Richard the bloody second. You may have heard of him, some dude once wrote a fairly well known play about the guy. You know who invented the tissue? Probably some disgusting fat loser who just wanted to mop up a wank.
You’ll never see a grubby little tissue in a three point fold taking pride of place in the front pocket of a single breasted Armani. You’ll never wander into Harrods’s and be dazzled by the array of hand-sewn monogrammed Kleenex. If anything, the cultural high point of the tissue was when Scarlett Johansson auctioned off a used one on Jay Leno. Seriously, that is so frigging lame I actually had to Google “has anything interesting ever been done with a tissue, EVER” to excavate that tiny nugget of nothingness. Let’s put that up against, oh, the handkerchief being used as a key plot device in Othello. Go on, crack out the scales fanboys. Weigh them up. I’m keen to guess.
And then there’s this environment these nouveau hippies are so tizzed up about not destroying. Well, let’s see what blinkered hankie bashing is doing to our little ball of Eden. Did you know that a hankie uses four and a half times less water over its lifetime than one single tissue? Did you know it takes three times more energy to grow the trees and manufacture the pulp for a tissue compared to producing one puny pocket square? Did you know most tissues are hewn from virgin timber, dolphin shards, and hypocrisy? And if I’m reading this right, the entire justification for raping and pillaging God’s green Earth and shunning the pure ecological majesty of the snot rag, is because, “Ewwww, hankies are gross”.
Well I’ve heard just about enough of this rubbish. It’s time to toughen up, princesses. Open your eyes. Repent from such unsightly unsustainable ways. From disposable depravity. Confess the sins of the sinus, the crimes against congestion. I’m not a fighter, but when it comes to defending quirky affectations that are way too entrenched in my psyche to confront or even consider changing, believe me, there ain’t a punch in the land I’m willing to pull.
And when it does end in tears, know that the humble, forgiving, stand-up guy that I am, will always have a fine piece of plaid edged fabric at the ready, to dry those weeping peepers. Who knows, it might even be a clean one. But I doubt it.
First published June 2012, Smith Journal Issue 2.
One of the hardest times of my life was the day my metabolism broke up with me. We’d been together for about thirty years, and I gotta say, it was a magical relationship. I loved that metabolism with all my stomach, and it loved me. Together we had purpose. We had direction. I wanted to eat whatever I wanted to eat, and my metabolism wanted to metabolise whatever things were around that could be metabolised.
Stuffing all sorts of junk down my pie hole every day was like an investment banker relentlessly bringing home designer clothes for his desperate housewife. “Oh darling, another Double Down? Why you shouldn’t have! Come here you burning hunk of fat you!” It was erotic, symbiotic, and most of all, gastronomic. And despite today’s ominous crystal ball of divorce, the cake-eyed optimist in me honestly thought we’d be together, forever. Fat chance.
Like clockwork, as the sun set on my twenties, so did the relationship with my one true love, and my ability to effortlessly break down organic matter and transfer it into useful expendable energy. No goodbyes. No notes. No regretful text messages at one in the morning begging for me to take it back. Nothing. It was just gone. Gone from my life, leaving nothing but suspicious deposits of adipose tissue around my waist.
For years I never understood what belly button lint was. Now I not only get it, but I amass it like a frigging tumble dryer. For years I would be able to run for a bus and emit just a few puffs as I shelled out a fistful of coins. Now if I can even be bothered to run at all, I can feel parts of my body responding to gravity and anatomically pissing themselves. For years I thought skinny jeans and fitted shirts enhanced my wimpy frame. Now I’ve started fantasising about drawstring pants and never breathing out again. I even considered the possibility that I felt “bloated” the other day. Man alive.
Sure, I’ve tried to get back into the game. I dated exercising for a while, went out with low-fat a couple of times. Had a few low-carb one-night stands. It was ok I guess, but it’s never the same. I’m forever haunted by those intimate memories of pure metabolic ecstasy. Those late nights we’d stay up together, me scoffing Oreos and necking bottles of full cream milk, it setting off a series of chemical reactions and organising them into metabolic pathways. The way I used to play with its hair, while it would couple enzymes together to allow for spontaneous reactions of energy release. The way we’d get loved up and listen to Kenny G’s Songbird without any sense of irony, while carbohydrates and nucleotides and amino acids processed sensuously and automatically inside our young, digesting, nubile bodies.
The way we’d… uh. I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can do this.
I planned to make this a cautionary tale for all those skinny thirty something guys out there who think they can keep inhaling whoppers and schooners and zingers and I’m Entering Crust Pizza Fridays #crustpizzafridays, and think they’re set for life because their metabolism said it would never leave them. I want to cast off the Beelzebub of the belly, preach from the Mount Franklin and tell them to turn away from the darkness of stomach stuffing sin, and powerwalk in the low fat light. But I, I can’t.
I don’t care if it makes me sound like a hopeless romantic, or some sort of pathetic loser who can’t get over that one high-school home-wrecker who ripped out his heart and drowned it in the deep fryer of despair. I don’t care what my friends say. The fact is, I miss you metabolism. I miss you so god damn much. I want to be with you, and I’ll do anything I can to win you back in my heart and biochemistry.
And if there’s anything I can do to prove my love that doesn’t involve working out or understanding nutrition or changing my lifestyle habits in any way at all, I just want you to know I’ll do whatever it takes to make you McHappy. And most importantly, I need you to know that I ain’t too proud to beg. Especially not for seconds.
First published November 2012, Smith Journal Issue 1. Way up the back past all the fucking Benjamin Law articles.
By now you may be aware of the offensively Draconian nanny state mandate handed down this week to the fine employees of BHP Billiton.
The memo entitled, Mine Kampf: BHP’s Office Environment Standard And Glorious Five Year Plan, outlines a thousand and one workplace bugbears that the BHP politburo have declared no longer negotiable, punishable presumably, by pain of performance review.
It’s a grossly heavy-handed document, undermining the worth of the employees who deserve respect not only for making BHP the success story it is, but also just for being humble and honourable members of the human race. And it would be an indefensibly deplorable document of foolscap fascism, if it were not for one tiny problem: as a rule, you people are f#$king disgusting.
I’ve seen how you work. Matter of fact, I’m working with some of you right now. And your hate crimes against cleanliness make my skin not so much crawl, as yearn to evolve tiny little mouths just so it can vomit away the badness.
Have you people even been to the kitchen lately? Have you seen the way you treat the “communal space”? It’s not so much a fridge but a frigging Smithsonian exhibition, that scientists are currently examining so we can understand what Kraft Singles really were like in 1983.
And when some poor world weary soul posts a note saying, “Hey do you guys think you could not leave a f#$king Hazmat scene in the sink some of us would like to not pass on AIDS to our clients anymore”, suddenly that’s called being “passive aggressive” and the solitary dissenter is cast out as some sort of workplace pariah, never to be invited to Friday drinks ever again.
Then you’ve got the desk. The workstation. Grime zero. The little corner of the room that for some reason the entitlement generation think is their very own episode of The Renovators, to “personalise” as if they’re fifteen again where the single goal occupied by their single brain cell is to plaster every inch of their bedroom walls with pictures of that dude from Twilight, lest their very identity be dragged listlessly into the recycle bin and trashed for eternity.
Now I’m all for people expressing themselves, but at what point did you think this was your house? When did you think it was your coffee table to lump your dogshit-soaked loafers on, brush Cheezel remnants from the remote and stick your diseased hand down your pants just so you can “get comfy”? Make yourself at home at other people’s places much, asshole?
Do you think I’m going to call up Rupert Murdoch and say, “Listen Rupe, the logo on my business card, it’s just… it’s just not me. It’s way too, I dunno, newsy. If it’s ok with you I’m going to make it bright pink. And I’m changing the font to Comic Sans. You know, make it fun. Like me! Oh and “News Ltd”? Booooring. I’m going to tell everyone I work for “Hot Sauce Banana Party OMG Harry Potter rulezzz! Ltd”. I just need to express myself, you know?”
Are you shitting me? I would happily fire me forever and lock away the CV.
But it’s not just tactile terrorism. There’s also the matter of your incessant audio atrocities. No I’m not talking about Kevin from accounts payable and his annoying snorty laugh, or the I.T guy who breathes so loud I feel like I have to call a sex pest every time I have trouble logging in to my Mac.
I’m talking about you and your rubbish music pumping through your rubbish little iPod dock, or leaking like sonic puss from the gaping wound of your “noise cancelling headphones”. Noise cancelling my right testicle.
Oh, I’m sure it sounds just great FOR YOU in your dreamy utopian pop world where Christina Aguilera sings about how beautiful you are in every single way (but conveniently not how shit you are at Excel), but for the rest of us, all we can hear are the tinny bleatings of something that sounds like it’s about to die and hopefully will before you find a filing cabinet lodged in your spinal column.
Exactly when did you think you were attending your own personal rave party?
My favourite is when I need to ask a BUSINESS question of my WORKMATE about how we can help the company earn MONEY so we can all get PAID to LIVE, and I have to get up from my desk, walk across the entire office, put on a neon yellow chicken costume, stand on his desk, drop my pants and wiggle my junk right in his face just so he can do me the honour of removing the Marshall stack from his stupid little sound holes.
Sod all that. You crazed cubicle hippies have had a pretty good run over the decades with your collaborative office love-in, and quite frankly I’m glad BHP are manning up and putting you truculent little upstarts in your place.
I know you all want to sit around in a circle, hold hands, and get to the emotional crux as to why Debbie just couldn’t be f#$ked getting rid of the empty printer cartridges everyone keeps tripping over, but this isn’t a God damned citizen’s assembly.
It’s a job, and if you don’t like the fat wads of cash being bestowed upon you by your benevolent dictators, maybe it’s time you pissed off and worked for a not-for-profit. Or worse still, advertising.
I’m not here to win friends. I’m here to draw a line, lest we allow ourselves to fall helplessly down the slippery slope to complete office anarchy. Because one day you’re allowing people to put post-its wherever they please, the next you’re turning a blind eye to people getting raped at the photocopier.
It’s called “taking responsibility”, like how Penny Wong’s gay baby is indicative of the fatherless society which is directly responsible for causing the London riots. Cause and effect. Do I really have to spell this out to you?
Wake up to yourselves people. Open your eyes. Maybe if you did you’d be able to see the blood all over your hands, if there wasn’t so much ink on them from the dodgy fax machine that you couldn’t be arsed doing anything about.
Whitehouse student mags
Proud of my guys. More pics coming.
Welcome to the first ever I Call Bullshit on I Call Bullshit, inspired by Shane Coghlan’s critique inspired by Tory Shepherd’s critique of the soundtrack to the music of the book of the film of the TV adaptation of Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys.
The piece was undoubtedly conspired in Shane Coglhan’s irony tower where there is a complete ban on any form of criticism of something so highly anticipated and loved unblinkingly to within an inch of its life.
It’s probably the most painful humourless critique of a critique I have ever read, and is so tiresome it’s made me question not only my opinion of Lilley’s latest masterwork, but also my gender, sexuality, stance on asylum seekers, and even whether I still love my sister anymore. And if you met her you would know how offensive that last statement is. She is absolutely wonderful, but right now, after reading this humourless blackhole of a piece, I just don’t know.
Shane brushes Tory’s critique of Lilley’s new series aside with strokes of absolutely nothing. He makes gigantic assumptions about her character, her sense of humour, and whether or not the woman has any appreciation for bum and poo gags.
Well Mr Coghlan, full disclosure, I once attended a karaoke night with our fair writer, and I can personally vouch for her gutter-ridden foul-mouthed Philistine-loving cess-pool of a mind.
Three times I did the eternal “pull my finger” gag, and each time the laughter from Ms Shepherd was so intense I felt like the ghost of Rodney Dangerfield had taken control of my entire person. Took three days for my eyes to return to their natural state and for me to stop wanting to bang cocktail waitresses. True story.
In a world with little to laugh about, pissweak critiques of critiques such as this make life somehow worth sticking around for, if only to see how far down the pissweak rabbithole we can go. As I read Coghlan’s Whinefest 2011, for a moment life’s little problems went to the back of my mind, like “Should I be worried about running over that kid if I’m fairly sure there were no witnesses?”, and “Do you think that rumour about not getting pregnant the first time you have sex is true and if so how can I fake a DNA test?”, and I just had a good old fashioned wholesome laugh at someone else’s expense.
I won’t go into the details (there are none), but Coghlan rattles off a bunch of inconsequential palava before making the life-changing analogy that the Kings Of Leon only attracted criticism because they started becoming successful, thus the tall poppy syndrome has now contaminated the god among men that is Chris Lilley in a similar fashion.
For anyone who knows anything about music, the Kings Of Leon had a moderately ok first album, then nailed a balltearer on their second, then started to disappear up their own stovepipe covered arseholes to become the new Foo Fighters (who in turn disappeared up their respective poop chutes to become the new Bon Jovi, who in turn disappeared up their own back passages to become the new new Bon Jovi).
What I’m saying is, the Kings Of Leon are shit now, and that the adoration of a billion Sex On Fire loving bogans is purely happenstance, and is not only merely a signpost on their way to the bargain bin of music history, but has nothing to do with the artistic output of arguably Australia’s finest comedic talent.
You know Shane, maybe Angry Boys just isn’t as crash hot as it could be. Or maybe it is his best yet. Or maybe it’s going to grow on us. Or maybe the Emperor has no clothes. Or maybe he’s wearing a mad Snuggie. Or maybe it doesn’t matter. Who can say.
But one thing’s for sure, there is nothing funnier than someone taking themselves so seriously denouncing someone else taking themselves so seriously. I mean, you just can’t write irony like that anymore. Not unless you’re Chris Lilley that is. Oh no, I can feel the event horizon of meta starting to rip apart the fabric of space and time.
All I can hope for now is for someone to write a critique of my critique on Shane’s critique of Tory’s critique and so on and so on and so on which turns this into the opinion equivalent of the Jackson 5’s Blame It On The Boogie video. At least that will be a laugh.
Everyone’s talking about it
I dun wan no trouble mister