Australian Culture Lessons #1
Like I've said before, the main problem a person can have (other than bone marrow disease) is thinking they know it all. Sure, I've painted a pretty clear general picture of Australia, what with my rugby shirts and mentions of slightly unkempt, devilishly wavy hair; with dudes always crackin' lagers the size of tennis ball canisters; with girls who punch horses in the side of the head when they don't behave. That's just the basics of what Americans know about this great country, though, so I hired on this Australian guy, Roger Barnaby, to teach me the real nuances of the place. I want to enter the country with grace and graciousness, all. That's the only way a player should *ever* act as a guest.
Here's how my first call with Roger went:
- - -
ROGER: [answers phone] Crikey, there's a big 'un!
ME: I...Hey man! This is Ray Smuckles! I emailed you? From the thing?
ROGER: Roight, roight! RAH'-dja BAAH'-nuby hea'! [Hard to represent his accent, and i won't keep doing it, but it was cool.] Listen mate, I've got a pod 'a meal wasps settin' up shop in me kitchen alcove, can I ring you right back?
ME: It would be better if we just went on speakerphone. That way I could see how a real Australian handles a pod of meal wasps. Start the lesson early, you know!
ROGER: Bloody good idea. Awright, I'll set me handset down, and you can listen while I work these bastards into a right paste. COME 'ERE, YOU LOT!
ME: Awesome. Just do what you gotta do. It's all gold to me, man.
ROGER: [handset clanks on table] Aye, this main bloke here's the size of a lager, he is. I've got me knife through one 'a 'is wings, and he's mad as a cut snake, I tell you. I'll be gone a minute, got to fetch me shotgun. You'll keep an eye on 'im, will you?
ME: I'm on the phone, man.
ROGER: Right, right. You don't hear back from me in five, call the Koolaburra Station antidote unit, will you?
ME: Definitely, man. I'm Googling it right now.
ROGER: [boots clomp off, huge buzzing sounds in the room]
ME: [gets distracted, starts looking at a website about women]
ME: Oooh! Ooh! You get him? The big guy?
ROGER: Nahhh, I were just blowin' a wallaby off me mailbox.
ME: You blew away a wallaby? They're hella cute, dude!
ROGER: Bastard were munchin' on me mail, he was.
ME: Well, I guess that's acceptable. He'd probably die from magazine cologne samples anyway. So — what's up with the wasps?
ROGER: They're right cranky, now. But I've got old Bonnie Busket full 'a rock salt and that'll be the end of it.
ME: You shoot them with salt?
ROGER: It's easier on the wallpaper. Me wife loves the stuff, hates when she's got to paste a new patch up. I can go two, three infestations and it's still fit for Christmas.
ME: Dang. Alright, I'll wait while you take care of business.
ROGER: Good on you, mate. [BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM BLAM BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM! CRASH! POOSH! BLAM! BZZZRRRR! SPLAT! SPLOT! SPLOOT! STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP *STOOMP!*]
ME: Dang, dude! You get 'em all?
ROGER: Aw, blast it. I've put a hole in the damned wedding photo.
ME: Just put new glass on the front of it and smooth the paper out with your finger, man.
ROGER: Naw, it's worse than that. Her 'ole 'ead's blowed off. Stands out like a shag on a rock.
ME: That's tough, man. I ain't even think Photoshop can fix that one.
ROGER: Eh, what can you do. Got time for a lager?
ME: Yeah, I picked up a couple before the call. [Cracks a lager]
ROGER: [Sound of a lager cracking]
ME: So, how's the economy down there?
ROGER: Bloody good, mate. Exports steady as ever. Life's beautiful.
ME: What's for dinner tonight?
ROGER: It's six in the bloody morning, I dunno. Steak, likely. It's Friday here.
ME: Wow, it's only Tuesday here.
ROGER: Big planet, innit, mate.