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Saturday, November 23, 2019

I’m Not Smart and I Can Prove it.

Recently, I bravely uploaded my raw genetic data into a website that can tell you what predispositions you have towards dreadful diseases, personality quirks and whether asparagus makes your wee smell funny or not.

Daunting much?

Naturally, it turns out that I harbour particular genes which predispose me to the usual horrible afflictions like, ALL the types of cancer (including prostate), coronary heart disease and colour-blindness,… but happily, I also possess some of the ‘protective’ genes, so fingers crossed they balance each other out.

Unfortunately, though, there was some more important and devastating news in the report.

Apparently, I am in possession of an average intelligence.

I KNOW. I was stunned.

How could this be when I've often suspected I was a bit of a genius?

The first thing I did when I read it was ring my mother.

“Mother dear," I croaked piteously into the phone. "Do you remember how you yelled at me when I ashamedly brought my grade five report card home and I came eleventh out of a class of thirty? Well it turns out you’re a child abuser. It wasn’t because I was lazy and mucked around in class, it was because I have average cognitive ability. IT WAS’NT MY FAULT! I have the intelligence of a ringworm!”

She didn’t react because she can’t hear me on the phone due to an inheritable, age associated propensity to hearing loss.

I told my father face to face. He just kept nodding and smiling at me as if I wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know. Mind you, he’s deaf as well.

I won’t say I haven’t struggled adjusting to this new and unpleasant level of self-awareness.

Now, when the television ads for the Bachelorette come on the telly, I have to pull myself up short. I can no longer scream out, “What frickin moronic imbecile would lower their IQ and watch this drivelly tripe?” because the scientific evidence shows that I’m the exact kind of imbecile the programme is aimed at.

When I read the inane comments in the ‘Text the Editor’ section of the local newspaper, instead of casting a scathing eye over the rubbish they write and sitting back in superior disgust, I now feel an affinity with the idiots. They’re my people. My tribe.

I’ve come to understand why it is that I have done, and continue to do, silly, silly things.

I’m just not that clever.

I tried to reason that perhaps in my case, nurture has outweighed nature and that even though I wasn’t gifted great cognitive prowess at birth, I may have developed higher order thinking through my upbringing and education.

But then I realise that in the last five years I’ve never been able to fully complete a Courier Mail crossword, or learn to conjugate simple French verbs or understand gravitational time dilation even when Scotto spent three hours trying to explain it to me after we watched the movie Interstellar.

The report did reveal that I possess a significantly higher capacity for memory but even a parrot can reel things off so that’s not really indicative of intelligence, is it.

It also said that I have larger than normal cranium area which could be a sign of enhanced brainpower. Of course, it could also be a sign of a hollow space with nothing to fill it.

In short, the whole revelation has been quite liberating. Whenever anyone tells me, “Surely you can do better than that, Pinky?” I can reply, “Well, actually I can’t… and I can prove it.”

I must add the website was free so if you have any raw data hanging around and you want to find out if you’re a mediocre human too, feel free to message me for the link.

And my wee does smell funny after eating asparagus in case you were wondering.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Surviving School Camp... Just

My Tent

Part of the recent school camp last week involved actual camping. You know what I mean, the ‘sleeping on the ground with only a veneer of delicate nylon between you and the local bunyips’ style of camping. To say that I wasn’t looking forward to it is like saying that Russell Coight is a bit accident prone.

Two other teachers and I, chaperoned seventeen boys and six girls on the ominous adventure and as we trooped along the track to the camp site, we lugged heavy backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, cooking paraphernalia and a sense of morbid anxiety in our hearts.

Actually, I was probably the only one carrying the anxiety because the two other teachers were young strapping males in the prime of their lives and the kids were all manic with excitement and nothing could dampen their enthusiasm.

Bear in mind there’d been precious little sleep the previous night. 

On arrival, I’d found myself allocated a cabin containing sixteen 12-year-old boys who all seemed to have early onset prostate issues.

They’d been up and down to the toilet every twelve minutes during the night. I’d hear the squeaking screen door whine piteously, then slam with the force of the bomb at Hiroshima and then their heavy feet would stomp along the wooden floor back to bed as if they were trying to make a point of waking everyone in a three mile radius.

If it wasn’t the freezing air seeping through the floorboards disturbing my sleep, it was the thunderous galumphing of nocturnal ablutions at 12-minute intervals ALL NIGHT.

After our dusty trek to the camp site, the teacher in charge assigned two of the girls to choose a spot for my tent and set it up for me. Whilst I was grateful for this kind gesture, I couldn’t help but be alarmed at the position they eventually decided upon for my sleeping spot.

Not only was it set underneath one of the only two trees in the entire area, it was set under the other tree as well.

Isn’t it recommended to never pitch a tent under a tree because of lightning strikes/falling trees/fornicating possums? 

And here I was placed under two very large eucalyptus trees which frankly looked slightly rotten at the base to me.

Also, it was about a ten-minute hike to the Portaloo from where they’d placed me and we all know what a 59-year-old woman’s bladder is like, don’t we? But I couldn’t say anything because I’d already whined about the possibility of snakes and spiders getting into my tent all the way down the track, so I had to just suck it up and not be a princess.

The kids were mandated to cook their own dinner in the darkness by the wispy light of torches.

Guess what they cooked for dinner?

Bean burritos.

Halfway through their dessert of canned peaches and custard, I noticed several boys heading off to the lonely, communal Portaloo across the paddock clutching their stomachs. 

The Portaloo

I needed to get there and do my last wee for the night before the Portaloo was turned into a scene from a lavatory-themed horror movie by twenty-three unstable digestive systems. 

Sprinting across the paddock, images of brown splattered toilet seats whirling around my brain, I suddenly had the urge to just keep running and running, like Forest Gump, never to return. I could run back to the cabin, get my car keys and escape this carnage.

But what would I tell my principal on Monday?

I could say I’d been abducted by aliens, or attacked and held hostage by a Yowie, or that I’d stumbled on a rock and had transient amnesia.

I finally reached the Portaloo panting and spluttering and stood behind Butch Cassidy who was sitting on the step outside the door twirling his Akubra hat in his hands and waiting for Billy the Kid to finish up inside.

“How long has Billy been in there?” I demanded, trying to work out if Billy was doing a number one or number two. 

After a few seconds the smell and noises alerted me to the fact that it wasn’t number ones Billy the Kid was doing. No sirrrreee. Those beans were evacuating through the system with accelerated momentum.

I could hear Billy the Kid humming to himself inside the cubicle. The worst part was that Billy the Kid had gone in without a torch and seemed to be sitting in complete darkness. How was he going to wipe his bum efficiently if he couldn’t see what he was doing? There’d be tan-coloured skid marks all over the toilet seat for sure.

Butch Cassidy let out an audible fart. “Hurry up, Billy,” he called out, hammering on the door. “I’m busting for a poo!”

“Um, Butch, sweetie,” I coerced. “Do you think you could let me go first? Please?”

The notion of suffering the heady pong of two different blends of poop was too much for me to deal with.

“But Mrs Poinker, I’m busting!”

“Well I’ll be quick,” I snapped as, holding my nose tight, I pushed past the departing Billy into the depths of hell.

During the night, I tossed and turned within the confines of my inadequate sleeping bag, kept awake by the unsettling mating call of a randy koala who I estimated was located about three feet from my tent. 

My ears were also pricked for the tell-tale creaking of branches and cracking tree trunks so I reckon I had about ten minutes sleep all up.

I was overjoyed at 4:45 am to finally see the glimmering light of dawn through a crack in my tent. I could hear several boys hooting and kicking a football around the campground already, but I didn’t care.

I’d survived the night.

It was the most horrible experience of my life. It was uncomfortable, cold and I think I have a scrub tick in my armpit.

But I survived.

The Dam