$50

Just now I was in a coffee shop, buying a coffee. The smallest I have is a $50 note, I hold it out with shame in my eyes. The angry little man behind the counter looks at it as though it’s covered in ants. “Don’t you have anything smaller?” he asks.

“No, …” I refrain from saying sorry. I’m not sorry. I didn’t design the ATM (or cash point, or whatever the hell you call the little machines that spit out money in your country). I didn’t decide that money would come out in a collection of the most annoying denominations known to man. In fact, I always take out $210. I get three $50’s and three $20’s, a nice mix. I’ve given this great amounts of thought. When I was younger and not as street hardened as I am today, I would take out $80 at a time. I went a decade without touching a fifty. They were good times.

Then life happened. I got busy, I adopted some children, I no longer had the luxury of time to allow such frequent ATMs visits. I upped my cash out to $130. One $50 and four $20’s. I tried $180, also a pleasant mix. Many years of my life were dedicated to finding the sweet spot in the compromise of ATM visit frequency and $50/$20 note ratio. Today it stands at $210 but I’m considering bringing it back down to $180 (my favourite). I’ll keep you posted.

So when I’ve done all I can, and – through no fault of my own – I find myself with nothing but a fiddy in my wallet, I don’t want to be made to feel like a puppy that shat in the soup. I want to ask the angry little man who the twenty dollar notes are for. I want to watch him try to think, I want to see if he’s capable of going from angry to any other state in the time that I stand before him. I want to interrupt that thinking and say, too loudly:

“The $20 notes are for people that pay with $50 notes. And no one else. You have a pile of notes in your till with one and only purpose: change for people that pay for things with $50 notes, like me, now. If they’re so precious to you, I imagine you’d hump my leg in glee if I paid with a $20, right? I’d need new pants if I paid with $20. I might need an abortion later if I paid with a $20. Because you love those fucking $20’s. You see me paying with a fifty and all you can think of is those poor $20’s having to leave the comfort of your till. Heart breaking. I imagine it’s a lot like when the Nazis took away my two adopted Jewish children during the war. It was hard, but I knew the risks when I adopted Jewish children. I didn’t really care for them anyway.” At this point I would take a breath. “I’ll be back tomorrow, and I’ll pay with a $20, and after making sweet sweet love to me, I want you to write my name on it and tape it to the under-side of the till. Next week I’ll pay with a $20 again, more swe’ swe’, write on it, tape it under the till. Then the week after that I’m going to pay with a $50. You’re going to take the two $20 notes from the underside of the till, chuck in a $5 and a few coins and hand them over. And if you furrow that fucking brow one millimetre I’m gonna set you on fire. I will literally get a cigarette lighter and hold it up against your clothing until you begin to combust. You’ll have to stand still and it might take a while but so help me god you will burn in flames.”

But I don’t. I’m too nice. I say sorry. Twice.

 

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How to be Rich

OK, I don’t actually have a tip on how to become rich, but it’s easy as pie to have the experience. So try it out, sample a little decadence and see how you like it. Here’s how:

  1. Put your pyjamas in the clothes dryer for 10 minutes.
  2. Take them out.
  3. Put them on.
  4. Go to bed.

That’s what it’s like to be rich.

If you don’t have a clothes dryer because you’re poor then I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

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Corporation Anthropomorphization

I saw recently an article about how corporations are evil or some such twaddle. I feel the need to speak up. Corporations aren’t people. They can’t be nice, and they can’t be mean. They don’t have feelings and emotions, penises or vaginas. They can have a cunt of a CEO and a board room full of cocks, but the company itself is nothing other than a convenient way to group the personalities and decisions of these people.

Remember that 80% of what you consider news is a journalist trying to make you mad (the really good journalists can make you outraged – they have yearly salary reviews based on the temperature to which they can raise your blood).

So next time you feel a little enraged at the actions of some organisation, take some time to think about the people who were involved in the actions that resulted in your rage. How many people? One jerk? A culture of jerkiness? It’s far less exciting, gets dull quite quickly, but you will have a little less hate in your soul and the world will be a better place.

If you hear that pharmaceutical companies are suppressing a cure for cancer, a) move away from the sound source, b) think to yourself: for this to be true, which people would need to do what? The answer is, of course, that a lot of people who have spent an enormous amount of time trying to find a cure for cancer, found one, and decided not to tell anyone. Of course the corporation does this because there’s more money to be made from treatment than from a cure. The cover-up must involve smart people in the lab with no financial aspirations that have just done the most amazing thing they will ever do, all the way to the top where we have a CEO that earns $4 million a year and is hoping for another one or two on top of that. And not a single one of those greedy greedy people leaked it to a newspaper for a large chunk of change. They must have all gotten quite a raise. Now I think about it, to find the people that found, and suppressed, the cure you could drive past the house of every scientist that works for ‘big pharma’.

When you find a house with a Ferrari in the driveway, and in that Ferrari you see a scientist weeping all over his manettino, you’ve found the guy that cured cancer but got paid to keep it to himself and continue to let millions of people die. You gotta feel for the guy.

When you find a house with a pony in the driveway, and on that pony you see a scientist weeping all over her pony’s mane, you’ve found the lady that cured cancer but got paid to keep it to herself and continue to let millions of people die. You gotta feel for the girl.

Those last two paragraphs were like the long version of saying ‘he or she’. Just as disruptive to the narrative, too.

“Tax Payers’ Dollars”. I hate this saying. It is, again, news people trying to make you angry. A politician spends a few dozen thousand on something personal and BAM – spending the tax payers’ money. And I agree.

I agree that all government cash flow is linked to its revenue, which is almost entirely garnered from taxes*. In fact I agree so hard that I want all news stories about speeding fines, parking tickets and petrol taxes to be referred to as “making the tax payer money.” I see someone go through a red light and the little flash thing go off and I lean out the window and yell “thanks dude! That’s $92 divided by 22 million extra for me!”** I often then lean back in the window, then moments later lean back out and yell “You know, if they choose to adjust tax rates to allow for that extra $92 that will be coming in!”

Some days I write all this on a sign, sit just up the road from a speed camera with my own speed radar gun thing, and hold it up to everyone that speeds through the camera.


*First time I’ve ever typed the word ‘garnered’.

**My country has 22 million people in it.

 

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Tattoo Parlour

Near my house there is a place that does tattoos. For months I would walk past and hear the buzzing of the tattoo instrument thing and smile.

Idiots. Someone has a thing that goes buzz, it goes buzz TO HURT YOU. Why would you opt in to them pressing that up against your skin? Anyway, I thought it was one of those sweet duos*: people that think it’s a good idea to get tattoos, and those people getting hurt. It works well for me. But I was premature in finding pleasure in this simple combination. Because months later, a BBQ ribs shop opened two doors up. So now I stand outside the tattoo shop, close my eyes and open my ears and nose holes. I hear the buzzing of metal on skin, smell the sweet scent of burning flesh and I am flooded with joy.

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There is a fancy dress place (‘Fancy That’ – brilliant) in between the BBQ ribs and the tattoo place. I felt the need to get that in writing, but have nothing in particular to say about it.


*Sweet duos: these are the things in life that when you realise they go together, you can never imagine them any other way. I always knew that old men wore their pants up really high, I guess on some level I even realised that as an old man I too would wear my pants really high. But one day it just struck me: my belt-line is rising at exactly the same rate as the world’s sea level. It makes me feel at one with the planet.

 

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Chicken with Rice Chicken

I have a rhythm now. A daily loop in a weekly loop of bus tickets, lunch, coffees, correct change and 600ml of milk on the weekends. My life is a well oiled machine. You know, besides the encroaching insanity.

The lunch part of all this is a small takeaway soy chicken with fried rice. On Wednesday there was a long black hair in it. For whatever reason I thought, ah fuck it, I’ll just eat the hair. No big deal, kind of like when a bug flies into your mouth and you think, ah fuck it, and just swallow. A bit of entomophagy never hurt anyone.

Thursday rolls in, lunch arrives, I go back for my small takeaway soy chicken with fried rice, planning on a little sleuthing to see who matches the hair. You may be a step ahead of me here, but it’s a Chinese takeaway shop. So process of elimination it was not.

I get back to my desk and begin chowing down, when I come across a shard of plastic in the rice. And fucking sharp plastic too. I’m not talking like, the floppy stuff that the sides of sunglasses are made out of. I’m talking about like, really hard, sharp plastic. Fuckers. They did the hair on purpose, and when I came back for more, they raised the stakes. Well fuck them, I’m not giving them the satisfaction of saying anything or taking my soy chicken business elsewhere.

Day three: a crab claw. I shit you not. I didn’t see it because it was the same pink as the undercooked chicken, but my teeth gave me some fairly distinctive feedback about the nature of what I was chomping. It broke into about 17 gritty shards of crab hand and spread to all corners of my mouth. At which point everyone I’ve ever known came up to my desk in a long queue wanting to talk to me about fucking something. I did the hand motion for I’ve got a mouthful, and most of it’s claw, and if you’d kindly fuck the hell off I plan on spitting the majority of it out.

I can’t wait to see what I get on Monday. My money is on either a matchbox car or acid.

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The Humans Behind the Statistics

I’ve been thinking today about road fatalities. It’s one of those numbers that you hear so often that it becomes more and more detached from the reality of it. We hear that 1,000 people died on the roads last year and shrug our shoulders. As Walt Whitman once said “One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic. That’s something that Stalin once told me. He was always thinking big. Such ambition. A handsome man, too. Would you like a chocolate? I have heaps.”

And so we acknowledge the statistic but forget the tragedy. The other thing we forget is that it’s actually really hard to die in a car these days. Seriously, name three people you know that have died in a car crash recently. Right? It’s not so easy. I, for one, have more airbags than body parts in my car. Fucking eleven. My major concern in the event of an accident is that my glasses will come off.

With that much padding you’ve gotta collide with something in a pretty spectacular way if you’re going to move on to eternal bliss in the afterlife. So who the fuck are all these people? I’ll tell you who. People that are really, really bad at driving, and people with really shit cars. And this is why the road toll is going down all around the world. Because the shit drivers are takings themselves and their shit cars off the road.

So fuck 1,000 people a year dying on the roads. Let’s speed this shit up. I wanna see 10,000 really spectacular accidents in crappy old shit boxes over the next 12 months. I want minimum speed limits, mandatory cocktail stops, TV screens in all the cars, greased-up roundabouts, disco traffic lights and surprise potholes.

We’ll get the road toll down to zero in no time.


Yes, Walt Whitman had a time machine.

 

 

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Prepare for the Power

A decade or so ago, in a land not too far away, someone that didn’t know a fucking thing about a thing said, “I reckon phones give you cancer”. Or as they called them at the time, ‘cell’ or ‘mobile’ phones.

Soon after, one of the 3 billion people that just repeat shit they hear, repeated this. This happened one more time and it officially became fact. Same happened with microwaves, which as you may know, I taunt with my testicles hanging in front of the glass. I’m here to tell you, there have been no ill side effects. My tackle still works just fine, I’m still pumping out little Dirks left right and centre. Heaps of them are stillborn but I think that’s just bad luck.

Wireless power is coming, people. You will be able to have a lamp on your dining room table without a cord. Everything that has a battery will never go flat. The idea of ‘charging’ something will be silly. 10 years later will we quip that it used to be called ‘wireless’ power. We will find it strange that there are teenagers who never knew of ‘power cables’.

You will almost certainly hear that it causes cancer. So, dear reader, I want you to decide now. Are you going to repeat the ‘fact’ that wireless power causes cancer? Are you going to be wary like so many geese were with regards to microwaves and mobile phones?

No, you are not.

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