I was in Chile. I meet this woman and she said, “Australia’s so dangerous with all its animals.”
I said, “Not really. The worst thing that lives near me are spitfires.”
She said, “What’s a spitfire?”
I said, “It’s a caterpillar that shoots venom.”
She said, “You have caterpillars that shoot venom?”
I said, “No. It’s really just a liquid that irritates. People say it burns them.”
She said, “You have caterpillars that burn you?”
I said, “No. It’s not a big deal unless there’s a pack of them.”
She said, “They roam in packs, firing burning venom at you, and they’re caterpillars?”
I said, “Yeah. It sounds worse than it is. I have a bunch that group on a tree at my house.”
She said, “You have death caterpillars outside your house?”
I was telling Mum. She said, “It’s a good thing you’re not Australia’s tourism ambassador.”
I said, “I didn’t mean to mislead her/”
Mum said, “You make it sound like they’re massive pythons carrying flame throwers and hunting humans in murder squads.”
I did realise this that at the time. I thought I’d be funny and say to my date, “Oh don’t worry. The caterpillars don’t kill anyone. A friend of mine lost an arm once, but that’s it. Have a look.” and I googled spitfire injuries on my phone showed her pictures from World War 2 plane crashes. I said, “A spitfire does this.”
My date didn’t want to pursue life in Australia after that. She decided staying in Chile with a guy who hunts spiders for a living would be safer. I guess she’s happy. So that’s good for her.
For more on spitfires read here: http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/faqs/spit.html
I went on a date with a woman who worked in a morgue.
I said, “Dead set?”
She said, “What?”
I said, “That’s very interesting.”
She said, “It’s not.”
I said, “It is. How many people work with dead people? Most of us work with dead heads, you know, idiots, but not people who are actually dead.” She didn’t like this. I tried to make a joke. I said, “How many people could have sex with their customers, and the customers wouldn’t even know. Nobody would know. It could be your little secret.”
She said, “I don’t have sex with the bodies.”
I said, “Sure. Do you call them Deadies?”
She said, “No.”
I said, “Ok, but have you ever wanted to slap one on the butt and say ‘Who’s your Deadie? Who’s your Deadie? You’re my Deadie.’ And then before sliding the body into the cabinet, have you slid another one out and rolled one on top of the other so you could have a threesome, or sat and watched them two lie there?”
My date said, “No.”
I told Mum about this. She said, “Is this what you get up to when I’m not around?”
I said, “No. I don’t bring dead bodies back to the house for threesomes.”
Mum said, “You probably should. It’s the only way you’d be able to give a date a stiffy.”
I asked my date if she’s ever used a body as a puppet?
She said, “No,” and then she decided to end the date. She said, “This is why I like to work with dead people.”
Which is good. It sounds like she works with people she gets along with. They might be dead but, that’s good for her. So that’s a happy ending?
I went on a date with a woman from the planet Quarack. It was going okay. I was having an orange juice, she was biting the heads off pineapples, as they do. It was all good, except I don’t think her second head was into me.
I got the feeling that after the date the second head was going to say, “You can do better.”
And the first head, Susan, would say, “Oh but he’s really nice.”
And the second head, Rachel, would say, “You don’t need really nice right now. You need a bit of cock.”
While I do have one of those, I like to think I’m more than that. I’m not like a mollusc, which is mostly cock. I have arms, and legs, and a mostly functioning head. I have an anus, but I’m more than that. Unlike a clam, which is mostly anus. And I’m not like an octopus with a head that is mostly stomach. I’m more of an ape type animal.
Anyway the date went ok. I did try small talk at one point. I said to Susan, “So, are you originally from Ringwoord?”
She said, “No. We started out in the Yarra Valley.”
Then I said something stupid. I said, “The Yarra Valley? That’s a nice green area.” What a stupid thing to say to someone from Quarrak. Green? What an idiot.
I said, “Obviously I mean the grass.”
She smiled and said, “I could tell,” which was great.
The second head just rolled her eye and pulled her tentacles in.
I told Mum and she said, “Don’t date one of those things. We grew here they flew here.”
I said, “Crash landed more like. It was controlled but they didn’t really have a choice.”
But yeah. I don’t think the second head was into me. I called Susan the next day.
I said, “Hello.”
And the voice said, “It’s Rachel. Susan’s busy.”
I said, “Oh, can you let Susan know I called.”
Rachel said she would, but Susan never called back. How hard is it to tell a second head that someone has called. It’s right there. You can’t forget before you see them again.
I suppose when you’re close to someone, you have to consider their feelings. That must be what it’s like to be in a relationship. So that’s good. That’s good for them.
For my niece’s birthday I bought her a book called The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat.
My date said, “That doesn’t sound like a very appropriate book for someone who should be raised a future feminist.”
I didn’t understand. The book’s by Oliver Sacks, and is about brain dysfunctions. He got permission retell his patients stories of diagnosis. The title character is a guy who couldn’t identify faces, and made decisions based on shapes. He thought his wife was a hat stand, not because she was thin, pointy, and made of wood, but because his brain couldn’t identify the difference. They’re lovingly told anecdotes that have inspired many writers and neuroscientists.
The thing that got me about the feminist line is that I’m potentially misogynist enough to promote the idea of women being equal to hats. Women, hats, same thing. During summer you may need to slip on a shirt, slap on some sunscreen and slop on a woman, or a hat, either way, just take whatever is nearby. Careful you don’t pull too tight and split the seems.
I wonder if someone reading that would visualise the wearing-of-a-woman-as-a-hat as made by using the arse or vagina as a suction point. Either way, be careful! If it was me stuck to someone’s head I’d wiggle a lot. I’d probably try to get off.
In my defence to misogyny claims, one day at work I was told to divide the stock of sunglasses into men’s and women’s styles. That was a very daunting afternoon. I had to assign gender to sunglasses, and I still don’t know if I did it right. There’s a good chance that 50% of people who bought sunglasses there are wearing inappropriate eye-wear for their gender. Some sunglasses designer in Monaco could be watching via Google Earth and going crazy, seeing all these people with gender confused glasses.
We were walking, and after explaining the book to my date she stopped and said, “Oh, I’ve got something in my shoe.”
I thought of everything it could be, and said, “Is it an old lady?”
She said, “What?”
I said, “Old ladies sometimes live in shoes. She might be moving in.”
My date said, “No. It’s a rock.”
I said, “She might have a pebble driveway, or could be throwing rocks at you, trying to get you to move out. If I was you I’d push into the shoe and squeeze her out.”
My date put her hand on a railing, removed the shoe, and tipped it over. Nothing seemed to be coming out, so she shook it.
“Yeah,” I said. “Shake the old lady loose.”
My date looked at me like I was an idiot. Which was fair. I was a grown man encouraging her to step on and violently shake an old lady in a shoe.
Maybe I am a misogynist.
Mum said I can’t be misogynist because that implies I have a perceived power over women, and I struggle to have power over a light switch. Sometimes I get confused which way to flick the switch. Like, if I can’t see the light and I’ll flick the switch, I’ll ask Mum, “Is it on?” and she won’t reply, but when I flick the switch the other way she’ll shout out, “Hey, why’d you turn the light off?”
Anyway, my date didn’t think we were getting along. She wished me good luck and said she’d met someone who’s views more aligned with her own. Which I assume means she’s found a guy who has a firmer concept on what the difference is between a women and a hat. For one, a hat doesn’t have legs, and they do have a brim. Anyway, that’s good for them.
I got a Tinder match in Iceland. Not sure why. Maybe because my profile said, “Australian. Not your cousin.”
When we met she said, “Góðan dag.”
I said, “Ah, hello?”
She said, “Sorry, that just means ‘Hello’.”
I said, “Oh, well goon dog to you too.”
She had terrific English. Much better than mine. And the date was going well, I was feeling comfortable, until we started talking about the differences between Australia and Iceland.
She said, “The horses in Iceland are very special. They do a stride no other horse does naturally. It’s called a tolt.”
I said, “A trot?”
She said, “No, tolt. You would call it prancing, but no other horse does it naturally. They have to learn it.”
I said, “That’s bullshit. Icelandic horses don’t have a secret running style that no other horse understands naturally.”
She said, “Yes they do.”
I said, “No.”
She said, “Yes. It’s for muddy places. They walk, canter, trot and tolt.”
I said, “Well that’s just great. It’s about time horses evolved. Humans have been doing all the heavy lifting for hundreds of years. Inventing TVs and airline travel and wi-fi. Why don’t other animals do something for a change. Horses here tolt? Good for them. How about turtles? Why don’t turtles evolve. They’re lumbering around, expecting to be saved by humans. Sure they’ve got their home on their backs, but who cares? I could buy a motor home, it’s basically the same thing. Turtles don’t even know how to run. Horses in Iceland have four running styles, apparently. And what about Mexican walking fish. They haven’t evolved for hundreds and thousands of years. It’s like they’re my grand-mother. She still doesn’t know what the internet is.”
My date said, “Axolotl.”
I said, “No her name’s Dolores.”
She said, “No, axolotl is the correct name for the Mexican walking fish.”
I said, “Oh, good to know.”
She said, “You’re mocking me.”
I said, “No. They’re amazing creatures. I wish I owned one.”
Back at home Mum said, “You’ve gotten a date 200,000 kilometres away and you’re insulting her?”
I said, “No. She lives 16,980 kilometres away, actually. If she lived 200,000 kilometres away she’d be living halfway to the moon. I can’t date someone floating in mid-space.”
Mum said, “I wish you would.”
I said, “And I wasn’t insulting her. I was just saying horses there haven’t created a different stride.”
My date wasn’t embracing the discussion. She said, “Ӕ haltu kjafti.”
I didn’t know what that meant. I found out it meant ‘Oh shut up’, but I took a guess and said, “Do you want an other drink?”
She said, “Nei.”
Right then a New Zealander came into the bar. He’d hired a horse from some stables and wanted to show everyone this amazing running step the horse could do.
I thought it was weird that he’d brought a horse into the centre of Reykjavik, but my date was all for it. She went outside and got a horseback ride down the main street. Prancing the whole way together. So that’s good for them.
I took a vegan to KFC. Not on purpose, it was just near the car park where we planned to meet.
Mum said KFC was appropriate for a vegan, “Because they can’t fucking cook.”
I said, “Immanuel Kant, the famous philosopher, his name is spelt with a K, so the acronym could work there, but it’s unfair to say he can’t cook.”
Mum said, “Couldn’t fucking care.”
My date didn’t like the situation either. She said she had to go. She didn’t have a good vibe about the date and she was hungry and had to go home.
I said, “You can eat here. They have peas.”
My date said, “I don’t like peas.”
I said, “Sure, I don’t like peas either. I don’t like baby peas. I’m the youngest in my family I’d hate it someone ate me. I wonder if baby peas have older brother peas that would beat up their younger brother peas and that how you get mushy peas? And I wonder if they have older sister peas that would use their brother’s face as a test site for make-up designs, and take photos, and then post those photos on Facebook, fifteen years later, three times?”
My date didn’t answer.
I said, “And minted peas. They sound rich. Like they’ve got all the green backs.”
I said, “I actually do like peas.”
My date said she didn’t want to continue the date. She had to go home to eat.
I said, “No. You can eat the mash potato here. There’s no meat in the gravy.” We checked. It is true. My date ate the mash potato and gravy and she loved it.
She said, “Thank you,” and she said she would see me again. She’d found a junk food indulgence that she could secretly have with me.
But I couldn’t see her again, because I googled more and it turned out that the gravy is ok, that is vegan, but the mash potato, it isn’t. The potato has chicken fat in it. The gravy is safe, but not the potato. It’s not vegan.
I had to tell my date. I told her about the chicken fat. She wasn’t so happy then. Vegans can swear a lot. They appear wholesome but they can sweat. But it’s better she knows the truth. And she’s now dating a guy who only eats chick peas. So that’s good for her. That’s a happy ending.
I hate it when people assume things about me. Especially when they’re right. Like the time I was at the supermarket near me. It has free fruit for kids. It’s not good fruit, not fruit they can sell, but fruit they give to families, because they’re a family friendly store.
Everyday I pass this free fruit it’s a reminder of the family I don’t have. Why should couples get everything. So this one day I took a banana. I was eating it and a security guard stopped me and said, “Hey, where’d you get that?”
I said, “What?”
He said, “The banana.”
I said, “I’m holding this for my kid.”
He said, “You don’t have kids.”
That’s not fair.
I said, “I do. Jimmy. He’s over there,” and I pointed.
The security guard didn’t look. He repeated, “You don’t have kids.”
I said, “Sure,” and pointed at some person. “That’s my wife Kate. She’s minding Tom, and Jimmy, and I’m holding Jimmy’s banana, or nar-nar as he calls it.”
The security guard said, “That fruit is store property. You can’t eat property without purchasing it first.”
I said, “Hansel and Gretel ate the ginger bread house. They didn’t take out a mortgage first. There wasn’t any auction or settlement. They just ate it.”
He said, “You’re going to have to pay for that banana,” and he took me to a cash register and placed the banana it on the scales.
I thought I’d make a joke, ‘cause it was silly, so I said, “Do you want the other half?”
He said to the cash register lady, “This ‘comedian’ here needs to pay for this. It was for the kids,” and so the lady puts her hand on the scale, and I don’t know what product she selected, but that half-banana cost me $49.86, and I didn’t even get to keep it. The bruised, not fit for actual sale, banana got thrown in the bin and I got walked out of the family friendly supermarket.
But before leaving I heard the security guard say to the cash register lady, “Thanks Honey.”
I’d like to assume he’s not being a bit sexist, so they’re a couple. So that’s good for them. That’s a happy ending.
Often before a gig I hear people say they’ve practiced their new material on their partner, just to check it wasn’t shit first. I don’t have a partner. As I approach forty I know that’s when most divorces happen, so, fingers crossed.
My date doesn’t have to be divorced. Maybe I can meet someone who’s just been cheated-on a lot, or who’s husband’s died. Maybe. Not all three. I don’t think I have the emotional reserves to handle someone who’s suffered all three.
I mean, the best I could sympathise with is this time Mum drove over my pet snail, and she replaced it with one from the garden. I could tell it wasn’t my Sluggy. I told Mum and she said it was, and I said it wasn’t, and she said it fucking was and if I kept this up she’d put me up for adoption.
She often said that.
She never did, but it didn’t make the feeling feel less real.
If I told a date all that, I don’t think I’d get a second date.
Thinking about it, it wouldn’t be so bad to met someone who had all three happen. In the order that someone was cheating on them, and they divorced them, and that person died.
I’d be okay with that.
That’ll be a happy ending.
In the meantime I’ll try new material on audiences. It might be shit. They might still laugh, and that’ll be good for them.
It was my birthday last week. At 4:30 in the morning Mum poked me awake with a stick.
She said, “Where’s my present?”
I said, “Oh, yeah, ah, Mum, last night I went on a date, and it was her birthday soon, and she told me her mum was buying her something. She said, ‘That’s normal’. She said, ‘Nobody does it the other way around’.”
Mum said, “Don’t believe what dates tell you. Remember, ‘You’re such as nice guy’ means ‘You’re dead-shit boring’, and ‘I’ll be in touch’ means ‘I don’t want to hear from you again’.”
I said to Mum, “But, you’ve never bought me a present in your birthday.”
Mum said, “I gave you the greatest gift of all. Life. What have you given me?”
I said, “Last year I gave you a bottle of gin.”
Mum said, “The year before that?”
I said, “It’s not all my fault. Vodka and gin are in the same aisle. They’re both clear. I’m sorry.”
Mum said, “I had to choke down that vodka with a bottle of Coke. Gin doesn’t even need Coke.”
I gave Mum a handbag with a bottle of gin in it. She gave me back the handbag. I keep socks in it.
I texted my date. She said I was really nice and that she’ll be in touch.
I hear she’s dating a fishmonger. Fish is really healthy. A good source of omega-3.
So that’s good for her.