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Saturday, 30 October 2010

DR GOOGLE

“I’ve got a tumour,” said one of my best friends, bursting through my front door, clearly dispensing with the preamble.

“A what?” I tried to feign interest, never diverting my eyes from the television screen.

“A tumour, in my head, my whole head. I’ve probably head cancer.”

“You’ve got what?” I asked, this time hitting the pause button on my dvd and going to the fridge for wine. I felt it was the least I could do.

“I’ve got this thing in my mouth,” he said, getting out two wine glasses, “and it’s been there for ages but I’ve been ignoring it.

“My head feels funny, I feel a bit weird, it’s my throat, there’s a growth…” the words came tumbling out as fast as the wine tumbled out of the bottle.

So I asked the logical question.

“Did you go to the doctor today and is this what she told you?”

“No,” he replied, “I’m going to the doctor tonight. But I researched all my symptoms on the internet and it looks like mouth cancer.”

The World Wide Web has made doctors of us all. We can diagnose every symptom. All we need is the training on how to make people wait around for ages in their underwear, and then we’d all be medical practitioners.

I’m no better. A few years ago, I noticed that every time I got out of bed, or stood up too quickly, I would get a dizzy spell. Or if someone called my name, and I spun my head around to see who it was. Once it happened when I was wearing heels, but to be fair, they were ridiculous high.

It was around the time that this story was being emailed to all and sundry about some poor fellow who, after seeking extensive medical treatment for his constant headaches, discovered he had a brain full of maggots. They said it had something to do with eating too much sushi. Urban legend? I don’t know.

But the story stuck.

And I like sushi. And I had a weird head. So naturally, I concluded that I, too, had been afflicted with the same condition.

Without even consulting a GP, I rang my nearest hospital and booked an MRI. It was just as I was getting in my car to go to the appointment, that a very dear friend gently suggested that perhaps a little visit to her friendly GP (“gorgeous woman, you’ll just love her”) might be the better course of action.

It was. I had an inner ear infection. Not a filthy disgusting maggot in sight.

Another time, the tip of my left index finger went numb. Stone cold motherless numb. It freaked me out a bit. I was a smoker at the time, and it scared me more because I had to hold my fag in the other hand. For anyone who has ever smoked, you’ll know what I mean.

So I did the only logical thing and hopped on the internet and typed in my symptoms.

According to Dr Google, I was having a stroke.

Oh great, I thought, and I’m not even 40!

Google helpfully directed me to a site where I could conduct some basic checks to see whether or not the stroke diagnosis was correct.

First I had to read aloud some sentence that scrolled across my screen. Then I had to throw both my arms above my head and expel air. There were a couple of other checks, which I can’t remember but they involved something to do with eyesight and reflex.

What I can remember is being able to do all these exercises easily. Ah, I thought, with the wisdom you get from watching Grey’s Anatomy and ER, it’s still a stroke, it’s just not fully happening yet. But it will.

Did I call a doctor or a friend? Or even an ambulance? No, I just sat miserably in my home and waited for the inevitable.

Which of course, never came. My finger went numb because I had squashed some nerves by carrying too many plastic grocery bags loaded with food. And after about a week, it went back to normal.

And my friend? No, he doesn’t have cancer. Or a tumour. Or anything serious. A couple of wisdom teeth needed extracting. He’s fine.

Which, of course, was another great reason to crack open some wine!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

LET HIM BE

The first time I noticed it, I mean really noticed it, was when I was wedding dress shopping with a girlfriend. Her wedding, not mine. She wanted a frothy concoction for her upcoming beach wedding.

We were in some over priced, under resourced dress shop at the top of Broadway on the Mall, trying on dress after dress after dress, closely followed by countless skirt and top combos. Alternating between hysterics at how aged and superficial we looked in some of the kit, and fury at the price tags for garments which amounted to no more than a square metre of chiffon held together precariously with two paper clips, albeit diamante paper clips.

Poised on the de rigueur pink circular couch taking prime position in the centre of the shop was this miserable looking bloke. He had shopping bags at his feet, bearing the logos for David Jones, Napoleon and Mollini. In his fidgeting hands were a thrice-folded racing guide and a mobile phone. On his face was a look of desolate boredom.

He didn't want to be dress shopping. He wanted to be at the TAB. Actually I think he would have more fun kissing Jim Carey or having surgery in the Bundaberg medical precinct.

That's because behind one of the change room doors was his wife/fiancé/girlfriend, resplendent with giggles, guffaws and gladiatorial intensity to find the perfect frock for her particular function.

Every few minutes, she would squeal in delight or dismay, open the door and parade around him like a five year old girl showing daddy her first fairy costume.

The man was made of steel. Step aside Superman. He had a look on his face as straight as the Queen Street Mall and politely "oohed" and "aahed" and correctly answered all her inane questions without the benefit of asking the audience or phoning a friend.

"Do you think it's too low at the back?" What a stupid question to ask a male. Women's clothes, in men’s cultured opinion, can never be too low at the back nor the front.

"Do you think it's too low at the front?" Sentence above answers this question.

"Do you think $899 is too expensive?" Silly woman, I thought. Don't ever tell blokes how much clothes cost. Even if you're earning more than they are; even if you're one of the world's eight supermodels and can easily afford crazy price tags. They don't understand.

They will spend the same amount on golf clubs or a limited edition State of Origin signed print, but not on clothes. And certainly not on one dress that will be worn for approximately six hours in total then put in the back of the wardrobe.

"Which one do you like best?" was the next fatal utterance. Don't go there mate! Whatever you say will be wrong, and you will pay dearly for it for some time to come. Why doesn't she ask him something simpler, such as how to test an egg for freshness or whether this season's eyeliner is worn across the top rim or under the lower?

As soon as she ducked in for another change, he'd scan the racing guide and furtively text whom can I only assume was his bookmaker.

Put it this way, I don't think it was to his best mate. Men don't tend to send the sort of text messages to other men like girls do. I am yet to see a male send a text saying: "I am in hell; I'm in a dress shop with her".

With blokes and clothes, I am discretion central. Some may call it deceit central, but I totally disagree. Here's an example. I might buy say a fabulous skirt and wait until there’s no one around to chop all the labels off it, and throw away the store bag. Then I'll chuck the skirt into the laundry basket and generally let it subsume itself into the other clothes.

When next I'm washing, I pop it in, stick it up to dry and just carry on as if it's a regular wardrobe item. Or I'll buy new shoes, but wear them home. Hiding evidence is a trick my mother taught me years ago. She also told me to always wash off my make up before going to bed so she can't be all that bad at advice dispensing.

If it's not in their face, they don't notice. They might say, “Darl, is that new?” Just give the standard answer, “What, this old thing?”

I say let him be. Do your dress shopping sans boyfriend. Take your sister, mother, girlfriend, third grade teacher - whoever - but not your man. Unless he’s gay. It's just not his scene. You don't want to be at Bunnings or Trade Tools with him on a Saturday morning, so don't drag him out for haute couture with you.

There is ample opportunity for joint retail frolicking that doesn't involve change rooms. Think Bose, Mercedes, Flight Centre. And yes, I know that he is incapable of purchasing a pack of 7-days-in-Rio men's briefs without your consultation and support, but accept it. Blokes will be blokes, girls will be girls and Gwyneth will never live down that embarrassing Oscar acceptance speech.

That is, of course, unless he makes you sit at The Gabba for the Boxing Day test match or prop him up at the $25 minimum bet roulette table at Conrad's. Then you've got every right to retaliate.

Oh, and my final piece of advice - hide your credit card statement. My mother might have told me that one too.

Monday, 18 October 2010

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Once I worked with a lady who hired a personal trainer. Buff young man who ran marathons to relieve boredom. Personally I thought he was putting the “fun” back in dysfunctional. For a few weeks, maybe a month, they got along swimmingly. Exercise pun totally intended. He’d rock up at her place at 6am every Tuesday and Thursday and off they’d go to box, or jog or cartwheel.

Until one morning she didn’t want to do it. Late night, too cold, too tired. He knocks on her door, she opens it in her pjs, hands him the $50 fee, closes the door and goes back to bed.

Exercise. The poor person’s plastic surgery.

I’ve tried a few personal trainers in my time. My gym had a 20 year old energiser bunny called Charlie who taught me my fear and loathing of squats.

Then, similar to my workmate above, I had a fellow present at my place two mornings a week. It went well, until I realised that he was costing me almost as much as my mortgage and I decided I’d rather have another house than a 25 inch waist.

Sometimes, I try and engage them in a conversation in order to delay the inevitable pain that will come when they make me do 100 lunges.

I whimper at length about my fitness goals. How I really don’t want to be fit and strong, I just want to look good naked. How my boobs hurt when I jump, and how I think triathlons are a mental sport because you’d need to be insane to do them.

Of course, what I never realised, is that the only time (and money) I’m wasting is mine. This fellow probably couldn’t give a toss if I wanted to discuss the merits of holding a Mardi Gras in Brisbane. Or whether amphibians need to wait an hour after eating before they get out of the water.

Sure honey, he’d think, chat away, I’ll just pop down on the grass beside you and join in. Ooops, there’s your hour up. $80 thanks. Chat again Thursday.

Eventually I made my iPod my personal trainer. She and I go for long rambling walks along the Brisbane River. She only plays the 80s songs I like. When I want to put some grunt into my walk, maybe even a faux jog, she makes sure “Eye of the Tiger” is next in the song queue. When I am stretching she spins “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

And I only had to pay her once.

But seriously, I would exercise more. Only I’d spill my wine.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

MISSION ABORTED

I’ve never completely understood why males train to become obstetricians and gynaecologists. Isn’t that like females giving boys instructions on how to stand up to pee?

Instructions on how to put the toilet seat down, now that I would get.

And so what I don’t quite understand is why men become involved in issues of supreme sensitivity like abortion.

For centuries, women have always been left holding the baby. And the reason we’re left holding it is because sometimes we’re the only one left to do so. I mean, someone has to hold the dear little mite.

Passion will usually have its way. We’re active sexual humans, and we are blessed with all the body parts necessary to enjoy sex, to feel sexual, to love, to feel attraction. To want to rip the clothes off him (or her) and submit to that primal animal instinct.

And it can be jolly good fun too.

Years before contraception. And by that I mean, years before indoor plumbing, antiseptic and dental floss, babies were being born all over the place. And left all over the place to perish.

That’s because there was no social structure to assist an unwed mother, or the family with far too many mouths to feed already. The father could well have been some duke or land baron. The girl may very well have been in love, but love doesn’t buy you security. Or a home for your baby.

Home abortions, with tragic and fatal consequences, were the act of desperate girls more fearful of their father’s rage or family shame than their own health and survival.

The advent of the pill, and certainly widespread acceptance and availability of contraception, has made a woman’s lot in life a fair swag easier. We can now control our bodies, control our decisions, and control our timelines.

Which means we’ve got less chance of ending up like the old woman who lived in her shoe.

But accidents happen. Surprises, if you will. Nothing is 100% foolproof. So somewhere along the way, women, even intelligent, educated, wealthy women, are going to find themselves preggers and think “Oh no!!”

In today’s civilised society — a society of options and choices, expert medical assistance and family support — if a woman makes a measured decision to not go ahead with her pregnancy, she should not have to justify or explain that decision.

Until technology takes us to a place where the men are having the babies... where they come to the realisation that they are pregnant and alone because of one moment. Or where they are simply not ready to become a mother.

Where they throw up non-stop for three months. Where they have to rush out of business meetings to hurl into the work toilets. Where their boobs ache and their stomachs stretch and their hormones make them want to stab people in the heart. Often repeatedly.

Where their vagina is put through so much trauma that they feel they’ll never pee again, let alone have sex. Where their size 10 jeans remain on the shelf for years because their bodies didn’t bounce back as the books said it would.

And where what they were doing before they got pregnant becomes no where near as significant after the pregnancy…

Then, and only then, should they become involved in decisions about abortion.

And the naysayer women, well, my only comment is this. If the woman doesn’t want the baby, then it is her body and she, and she alone, will need to live with that decision for the rest of her life.

I don’t know a single woman who, having gone through a termination, has be able to wipe it from her mind. She may very well wipe the memory of a huge credit card bill or the time she backed her car into a light pole in front of a new boyfriend. But she will never wipe the memory of her decision.

So why that poor couple in Cairns had to endure the humiliation and public shaming of a court trial for taking a very safe option to end a pregnancy is just awful.

In Queensland, we’ve been told we can’t change archaic abortion laws because it is felt that the changes wouldn’t get the full support of all MPs.

Most of who are male.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A FLOOD OF MEMORIES

Not so long ago, Brisbane (and large parts of Queensland) was conserving water by showering every third day with a thimbleful of water, urinating outdoors and filling the dog’s bowl with beer.

We were in the throes of a massive drought. Our dams were dry. Our tanks were dry. And so were the clouds.

I think there was even that moment when former Premier Pete saw fit to scutter off to Singapore and beg them to allow us some of their bottles of recycled water so the state could clean its teeth. In true form, of course, the state revolted, not dissimilar to what we do when New South Wales wins at Origin or when too many Victorians crowd our beaches in summer. We were just fine with our teeth the way they were.

Then, just as it was reaching critical mass, when we were considering syphoning water from the Brisbane River to make our coffee, it began to rain. And rain and rain.

And rain.

To the point where, today, Wivenhoe Dam, the water supply king for south-east Queensland, is opening its spill gates because, quite frankly, it’s got too much water.

With so much rain in SEQ in the past month or so, talk has turned to the Great Flood of 1974. Over a five day period between 24th and 29th January 1974, around 900mm of rain fell and the Brisbane River reached a height of 6.7 metres, four metres above normal levels.

And my mum was pregnant. We were holidaying on the Gold Coast, along the Nerang River. We woke to find the garage and ground floor units awash, the swimming pool and garden disappeared under water, and dad was wondering how he was going to get his paper.

The road to Brisbane was cut, the rain wasn’t stopping, and as it was a Saturday. Meaning our holiday had ended and we were required to vacate.

My mother has a 6th sense and a storeroom of nifty ideas. When flooding threatened, she had popped down to the car and covered the exhaust with cling film (such a housewife). This simple act apparently saved something or other in the engine, because when the water subsided, dad was able to effortlessly start the car. Still not too sure what happened there, but I was only eight and had too many wines since then to fully remember every detail.

Mum had an appointment with her obstetrician on the Tuesday which she wasn’t keen on missing. Dad wasn’t keen on her missing it either. But we couldn’t get back to Brisbane, so the four of us (I have an older brother) descended on some distant relatives buried in the Currumbin Valley who had a spare room.

Oh my, weren’t they thrilled to have four extra people and no fresh food deliveries for miles around. I remember eating a lot of porridge and watching the adults drink a lot of red wine. Even mum had a few. But that was back in the days when cigarette advertising was on television and a Datsun 120Y was a car of choice.

Tuesday rolled around (by now, the date is 29 January 1974) and we made the arduous trek north on a very dodgy road known even then as the Pacific Highway. It was basically a cattle track.


We drove straight to Wickham Terrace, the location of choice of uptight supercilious obstetricians and ENT specialists. Still is, I guess. Except I believe there’s a smattering of plastic surgeons as well.

While mum waited for her appointment, dad took my brother and me for a wander around Brisbane CBD to view the damage.

I clearly remember standing at the high point of Albert Street, where it crosses with Queen. My Brisbane readers, or anyone who has read books by John Birmingham or Nick Earls, will know what I mean. There’s a dirty ugly mall there now, but back then, it was just a street. And not a very good one either, because it was flooded.

Looking down towards the Botanical Gardens, I could see the sign for Festival Hall forlornly yet proudly keeping itself aloft. Kids were swimming around in the flood waters and using the roof of Festival Hall as a diving platform.

I did ask, but dad wouldn’t let me go and join them.

The other thing I clearly remember was the mortification of being in the city wearing nothing but a Sea World t-shirt, terry-towelling shorts and rubber thongs. Circa 1974, a trip to town meant wearing my communion dress and black patent Mary Janes.

My baby brother was born the next day. One month early. I remember we were at home when mum’s waters broke as she was standing in the kitchen peeling potatoes for dinner.

“As if there isn’t enough bloody water around us already,” was her only comment.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

BALI BEAUTY

Bali’s been in the news a bit lately. Julia Robert’s outing in Eat Pray Love showcases the area’s tranquil richness. And Javier Bardem's emanating hotness. And sadly, today, October 12, is the eight year anniversary of that horrific night of bombing where 202 people were killed.

It was only this year that I took my first trip to Bali. Long time listener, but first time caller. I’ve been fortunate to travel our gorgeous planet widely but for some reason, had never been to Bali.

Maybe because Australia’s Gold Coast is less than an hour away from me. Or perhaps I harboured concerns that my shopping purchases would require a charter flight back to Brisbane. Which kind of negates the purpose of all that cheap shopping.

And, I mean, of course, there’s that Schapelle/Bali 9 cloud.


Well, I fell in love with the place. I’ve been to other Asian countries, but this gem was instantly welcoming, friendly and happy. Its people may have been poor but they were happy. Laugh out loud happy. I think there’s something in that for all of us, don’t you?

Bali outwardly appears to have harsher sentencing regimes and criminal punishments regarding drugs (reference Schapelle comment above). No Australian-style resort prisons where you are offered three meals a day, in-room laundry service and a chance to study for a university degree.

But feel free to crack open a Bintang beer and suck down its brewed hops while you wander at leisure down one of Kuta’s multitude of shopping alleys.

Light up a fag as you flick through this season’s fake D&G singlets or Chanel sunglasses. Hell, feel free to flick the butt straight into the street.

Tidak masalah. No problem.

(Although I had to laugh at the stand of fake Christian Dior sunglasses that had the bling on the sides that read: “Diro”. I think someone forgot to do a spell check.)

Here’s the part I loved. Swan dive into the hotel pool and swim up to the pool bar to get stuck into happy hour. Enjoy your cocktail or three while splashing about on a li-lo or chatting with other holiday makers. (Check out the picture, that's the place we stayed!)

When the dinner hour tolls, or if you’re just plain hungry, it’s out of the pool, a quick towel dry, don the crumpled singlet and shorts that have been sitting by the pool all day, then make your way barefoot to the restaurant. In Bali, they don’t care that your wet hair is dripping down your back or that the most make-up you’re wearing is a drunken smile.

They just want you to have a good time.

I caught the Bali version of White Knuckle Transport a few times. This involves sitting pillion on a 50cc motorbike sans helmet, hanging on for dear life, and dodging the other two million bikes, all intent on getting people and their purchases back to their hotels.

Whizzing down those narrow alleys puts the skills of F1 drivers to shame. These nationals know their bikes, know their roads, and know how to get you there. Cepat, cepat.

I visited the memorial, and stood at the sites of the two bombings. It is impossible not to feel the invisible horror of that night, and bow your head just for a moment and pray it never happens again.

The shopping was a hoot. I would guess that many of you reading this have made the trek down the filthy streets and snapped up bargains. I was traveling with someone who was a Bali regular so to watch him haggle was pure genius.


But just to refresh your memory, it goes like this:

Me: “How much for this handbag?”

Him: “Oh, that velly ‘spensive, that leather, but for you, ahh, I say 700." (rupiah) This is about $80.

Me: (adopt look of offense and shake head) “Ahh, too much, too much.”

Him: “I have to feed my family, you no pay this price, I no feed my family.”

Me: “You have plenty of food for your family, I only pay 300.”

Him: (in mock offence posture) “You rob me, I no make any money if you buy that price.”

Me: “It is a fake piece of crap that will probably break before I get to Denpassar airport, it’s not worth any more than 300.”

Him: (again mock shock) “This is best stuff you buy, it genuine leather, here me hold lighter to material to show you no burn.” I am serious, this really happened, he tried to burn my bag.

Me: “ok, 400.”

Him: “600.”

Me: “No, no, no, too much, I’m going now.” And proceed to walk out of the shop and down the street. He chases me.

Him: “Mrs, Mrs, Mrs, wait! Ok, it hurt me but you have for 400.”

And so it goes on.

I amassed 23 sunglasses, two handbags, linen, t-shirts, singlets, scarves, dvds, necklaces, bangles, shoes, hair ornaments, knick-knacks, tops, dresses and a hand woven hat. Two of the sunglasses broke before the end of the day. The rest are doing well.

And I can’t wait to go again. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I bumped into Javier Bardem while I was there!

** was using colloquial lingo regarding rupiah value, so where I say "700" the true value is "700,000", however the point of my story was to be authentic and use dialogue of the locals, sorry if I have confused some readers... So 700,000 rupiah is about AUD80. 

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

PRIVACY ISSUES

If I’d taken up all the penis enlargement offers I’ve had emailed to me over the years, I could square off at a duel, using my penis as a lance. With The Terminator as my opponent.

That’s how big it would be. Or more precisely, that’s how many times I’ve been offered enlargements which would equate to how big it would be.

Pity of it all, of course, is that I’m a girl. And I don’t have a penis. (Nor do I particularly want one, but that is a theme for a future blog.)

About once a week, minimum, I am politely advised that I have a critical parcel collection awaiting my attention. This is from the good folk at United Postal Services in the USA. I always find it odd that my parcel is located somewhere in the USA mid-west and I’m domiciled somewhere in the middle of Australia’s east coast. But perhaps I worry about detail too much.

I am too polite to reveal information about the status and content of my sex life, but needless to say, there are those out there who vehemently believe I need large, regular doses of Viagra. Who have they been talking to?

Oh, and if I want to quit working in marketing, I can simply hand over my credit card and get an instant diploma, making me an accountant, or a vet, or a politician.

Which means that the mobs that send these emails have a less than average marketing department. And a zero budget for market research.

Which got me to thinking about privacy, and why we need to hide behind anonymous emails and social networks. And mentioned in one of the famous rants of bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change, Seth Godin.

Imagine there is no longer access to free emails. No hotmail, gmail or yahoo. What if you had to pay a fee to have that email account, say even just $1 a month. Would that halt this escalating abuse of the wonderful tool that is the world wide web?

How about a fee of $20 for every email you send that violates anti-spam regulations that these email hosts wold enforce. Mmm, maybe then you’d have to actually visit a doctor and get your Viagra prescription in the safe way, meaning that it would be after a physical check-up.

Better still, you would need to provide formal identification when you were signing up for an email account.

Ouch! Would that just be making us honest and transparent?

Why do we need the avenues to be able to contact people anonymously? Are we trying to sell them something? Then you should be making yourself visible. Are we trying to sell something illegal or harmful? Then you should never be allowed access to vehicles that enable your destructive path. You should just go straight to jail. Do not pass go. Forget the $200. You’re screwed buster.

And maybe, just maybe, it might put an end to that hateful little practice of cyber bullying. Or meeting people through internet dating sites, only to find that the Brad Pitt you were chatting with online was really more akin to Frank from Everyone Loves Raymond.

I’d pay a fee, that’s for sure. Because I don’t have anything to hide.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

PUTTING THE BOOT INTO FOOTY

To be honest, I don’t give a hoot about the big football weekend that is being touted around the news services and public bars of our fabulous country.

Two grand finals in one weekend? Does Australia have enough beer?

So St Kilda and Collingwood wouldn’t get their act together and deliver a professional and final result when they had their chance last weekend. Not being a football lover, I didn’t watch the game, but saw the meltdown unfold on Facebook and Twitter.

No, I’m not sorry I didn’t watch the game. But I am sorry we didn’t get a winning team because now the whole debacle has to be played out again.

What happened? Did the players forget that the purpose of the game is to decide a winner? Or maybe they were a bit upset that the NRL was doing better business at TAB Sportsbet and figured they wanted some of that lolly. And the way to do it was to stage a rematch.

What do you get if you see a Collingwood supporter buried up to his neck in sand? More sand. Or you can insert St Kilda. I really don’t mind. If you asked me which team I wanted to win, I’d say St Kilda, only because I’ve spent some fabulous nights drinking at the Espy and one of my favourite TV shows was “The Secret Life of Us” which was set in St Kilda as well.

To add insult to an already injured weekend, the NRL is posting its grand final on Sunday. If you love football, you’d be in heaven. If you hate football, you’d be in the shopping mall.

Having grown up with football mad brothers, my mum and I quickly became accustomed to retreating to other parts of the house when the television turned to football. My dad would umpire the game from his chair. He’d be gesturing and lecturing in such a passionate manner that I kept the emergency room on speed dial in case he had a heart attack.

As a teenager, I learned that it was always the most opportune time to ask him if I could borrow some money or go to some dance. He always said yes. Ask him at any other time, and he wouldn’t just say no, he’d tell me “not in my lifetime”. Or words to that effect.

It seems that men globally know how to play football better than the actual players who have done the training, are getting paid the big bucks and are on the field right now doing their job.

“You bloody moron, pass him the ball would you, you ding bat!”

“Oh for heavens sake, kick the damn thing you idiot.”

“Where did you learn to play football? From your grandmother?”

For a while there, I dated a fellow whose rugby league team consistently came last on the ladder. Year after year, they played with hope and they died in vain. I used to wonder why they bothered showing up at all, and wasting all that energy, only to get injured and lose. Much better to arrive, shake hands, say “you fellas take this one” and then everyone can go have a beer. And not get dirty.

Anyway, when his team lost, as they invariably did, he was so consumed with alternating levels of anger and grief that I literally could not speak to him for a day. Nor he to me.

Early in the piece, I foolishly said what most women who don’t give a rats about football say. “Oh for goodness sake, settle down, it’s just a game.” As I said, foolish mistake. Apparently there is pride at stake. Who’d have thought?

Happy footballing if you’re a mad keen supporter of one (or both!) of the codes. Happy shopping if you’re not.

PS: one last joke, only because it is funny. How many Collingwood fans does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they’re all content to live in the shadows.