22 May 2007

AussieBloke Instructions and Tall Poppies

As I've been slaving away at work and at the books these days (a major computer overhaul at work and also a major end-of-session test fast approaching in the Spanish), I've also been a bit slow in keeping up with my daily news reading. Now those of you who are regular readers and who also know me in person know that this is a bit odd for me...say the equivalent of Jimmy Hoffa being found on Mars or something equally likely. I faithfully read my online papers...which range from conservative to liberal, from The Nation to Slate to The Wall Street Journal to several majors throughout Europe...with a dedication that is generally reserved to new mothers with their babies, or so it has been until the very recent past. However, and I say this in my defense more than anything, I do have the whole 'skim and glean' thing down to a pretty good science...a trick I mastered finally in Sydney early last year in an expensive Internet cafe...and can do all of this 'reading' (as it were) now in about an hour's time.

Amazingly, we 'news readers' seem to seek each other out in some fashion. While other people happily spend time online with Second Life or in chat rooms (and there's nothing wrong with either, people, once upon a time I actually would go chat but it all became too boring and clique-ish), I've found myself invited to some interesting message boards, and have become 'friends' (as much as one safely can be online anyways) from such places. And, in due recourse, I've sent (and received) other articles of interest from said friends and other online acquaintances alike over the years (some even from some very nice people here, in fact). I'm honestly not sure what fuels my online 'need to know' obsession (other than being a news junkie and tied away from major media all day long), but I admit it has been a bit of a nuisance to me and downright aggravating to those unaccustomed to my style. I do not read necessarily what everyone else reads, but I do allow I love reading points of view from distinctly non-American sources...it reminds me how big a world we truly do live in now.

So it is with some discomfort I must admit to a couple of FOB (friends of blog) here that I have not been paying as close attention to the Sydney Morning Herald as I should have been, as I normally would in my daily routine. While I will concede the SMH is not my favourite online Oz paper, it at least is the one I can most easily read and see updated regularly. As with all things attached to my love for Australia, I have to take them in severe moderation now; scaling myself back down to just 'future tourist status' again has been a bit harder than I imagined, frankly. But God Bless the SMH has never been shy about including a lot of US-based news (one is never left guessing what the latest gossip is about Britney Spears or Brangelina, for example). Lately, though, it does seem to have some sort of theme going on: namely, that of parodying themselves (as really only the Aussies can do) and also doing a bit of 'public education' to those of us far more removed.

For example, I have a good friend near Rose Bay who has sent me the 'AussieBloke instruction manual' article at least three times since it first appeared, as apparently she's 'in tune' with some oddball prediction I'll need it someday. Dear Sarah sends this not as a piece I should take seriously, but more as just a taste of what I should understand is tried and true Fair Dinkum humour. A humour, she says, that is all too missing in the American self-reflection. It takes great, great skill, she surmises, to not only aspire to be the reviled Tall Poppy in Oz, but also cut yourself down voluntarily before you reach full bloom. Actually, I'm not sure I agree with her assessment of the individuals cutting themselves down (instead, it looks like many others stand all too ready to hold the shears), but I will grant that the whole concept of The Tall Poppy is mostly lost in the States. The sky's the limit here, mates.

Take a look at the AussieBloke Instruction Manual by Richard Glover and see what you think. With the exception of some comedy skits on late night television about rednecks and 'trailer trash', or with the exception of those 'identify your type of man' articles that clog up all the womens' magazines, I'm not sure I've ever read a similar, let alone better, column in comparison on this side of the Pacific. And the jibe is about men, written by a man, no less. (Egads!) All in all, I wholeheartedly agree with many of the observations and/or warnings listed in the column, but I can't help but want to add two additional ones:

  • Never audibly voice flaws about either the exterior or the interior of your AussieBloke, especially in the presence of unspecific friends, SheilaLove models and/or other AussieBloke models. Doing so can result in a near complete shutdown of your model, and may also be accompanied by a dark, ungodly sound from the interior as gears are surely grinding and belts about to burst. Pressure gauges may also indicate a steep increase in combustible elements. This warning holds especially true if your model is unglowingly reviewed in front of newer, trimmer AussieBloke models or even in front of the dreaded KiwiMate models. Manufacturer considers all of these actions deliberate attempts to void warranty and will not not be responsible for damages should such reckless activities occur. If repair and/or comparison must be done, do so only in the privacy of one's home and be prepared to service the ego panel and exterior attachments immediately.

  • In negative situations it cannot currently escape and/or maneuver, understand that when your AussieBloke emits a tone that suspiciously sounds like an "I", it generally means the imperative "you" (meaning the owner hereforth). Not "we", not "you and me", but "you". Newer models may begin with an "I" tone upon start up, but will develop the proper "you" tone all too soon enough. Older models can no longer elicit the "I" tone in negative situations and only reserves that tone when all difficulties are accomplished and/or avoided. Depending on the age and previous ownership of your AussieBloke, some requests and/or instructions may go unfulfilled altogether; manufacturer makes each model one of a kind and, as such, cannot be held liable for individual quirks in operation. However, newer AussieBloke models can be changed/modified by a patient handler; older models are uniquely hardwired to resist change and may have to owned and operated as is. How well an AussieBloke responds depends to some degree on how trusting its owner is with letting out the leash.

    Sarah: I await your reply. I know this is quite inadequate as to the suggestions for additional 'guidelines' you sent me, but I figure yours should be better as you've had almost your entire dating and married life with AussieBloke models. I should at least get 'foreigner points'.

    For the rest of you: I think we all clearly see that while I absolutely adore being in Australia every time I'm there, I may not be 'Aussie wife material' at any point in my lifetime...LOL. Should marriage ever come calling for me, I'm pretty sure I'll be the one needing an owner to keep me in check.
  • No comments: