Pinky's Book Link

Showing posts with label Pinky's Past. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pinky's Past. Show all posts

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pinky Takes on a Bully.

Pinky’s personalised number plates arrived in the post a couple of days ago and I suppose that means I’m going to have to be very careful on the road in my ridiculously conspicuous automobile. Not only is my car a garish yellow hue which screams out for attention, but now I can be unmistakably identified by these beauties:

There will be no more saluting fellow road users with the bird, no more stealing car parks and no more driving slowly in the right hand lane because I need to turn right five kilometres up the road.

Oh no… Pinky is going to have to turn over a new leaf as far as bad driving habits go.
An overly resourceful editor at our local newspaper deemed it an innovative idea to print pages and pages of contributions from the general community under the banner of, “Text the Editor”.

All sorts of anonymous know-it-alls send in whinging, cantankerous texts about issues as banal and trifling as; 

“Nbors in Pott st pls shut ur dog up!” to “Hottie driving green ute @ Kmart on Tues, r u single?”

(Pinky used to be a regular contributor to these pages until she realised she could get away with writing a sh#t load more rubbish in a blog.)

I can just imagine some mean, nasty person texting some form of cyber road rage like this; 

“Gr8 move Pinky P on Sat wen u cut me off at roundabout. Ur drivin suks. Get off the road Grandma!”
I know you’ll be shocked but I have actually experienced an incident of real road rage.

It was many years ago as I was making a right hand turn across three lanes of oncoming traffic to get to the McDonald’s drive through. I began to tentatively cross when I suddenly noticed a white Hilux coming directly for me and a lot closer than it had first appeared.

Too late to stop, I thought, so I gunned it and made it across safely. The driver of the Hilux must have got a bit of a fright because I did notice (heard) him hit the brakes abruptly. Oh well, I thought, no harm done.

As we were waiting at the drive-through for our Maccas to be passed out, an angry bearded face appeared at my car window. The Hilux driver must have done a U-turn and followed us into Maccas.

“What the f#ck did you think you were doing back there!” he screamed, spitting in my face. “People like you shouldn’t be allowed to drive. You could have killed my son and I, you stupid bloody woman.”

He stormed away before I had a chance to defend myself.

My kids sitting in the back of the car were outraged and frightened at the same time, after the bullying tirade.

As soon as we arrived home I headed straight for the phone book. Little did Mr Hilux know but I had recognised him. His name was ‘James Nutter’ and I’d been in a theatrical production with him several years before.

Unfortunately for him, I happen to have an excellent memory for faces.

His wife answered the phone. “Hello,” I said sweetly, “Could I please speak to Mr James Nutter?”

“Of course,” answered his unsuspecting wife, “May I say who’s calling?”

“Why yes of course, tell him it’s Pinky Poinker!”

“Hello Pinky?” came the cheery and curious Mr Nutter on the line.

“Hello, Mr Nutter, this is the woman you just abused in front of all my children at McDonald’s!”

You could have heard a French fry drop.

“How did you find me?” he wheezed.

After I pointed out to him at some length that he had been driving a white car at dusk with no lights on, and that there had actually been enough time for my manoeuvre after all, he begrudgingly apologised for his behaviour.

“Perhaps you should learn to keep your temper in check, Mr Nutter!” I lectured pompously.

The moral of the story is this;

“If you're horrible to me, I'm going to write a song about it, and you won't like it. That's how I operate.” 

 (-replace ‘song’ with ‘post’ and ‘Taylor Swift’ with ‘Pinky’.)


Friday, May 17, 2013

Pinky wants to know where YOU were?


(This is one for the oldies... you know who you are!)

Where were you when Louis Armstrong walked on the moon? 

Okay… I know it was Neil, but most of the people who read my blog are so young that even their parents were probably too young to remember the lunar landing. There are a few of you reading however, that have managed to cling to the remnants of life, bravely beating off senility and even worse, the grim reaper. 

You’d have to be at least fifty years old to possess a living memory of the moon landing, and even my husband, Scotto, was still three years away from becoming an embryo when it occurred.

Little Pinky was a tender eight years old and sitting with the entire school watching a tiny black and white telly in the play shed when the ‘great step for mankind’ took place. I recall one of the girls in my class, Beryl Stuart, telling everyone how her Auntie Phyllis knew for a fact, that as soon as that astronaut bloke stepped on to the lunar surface, the world was going to explode. 

Even at eight years of age I knew this was a load of codswallop, but her dark prophesy still unnerved the entire class a bit. Either Auntie Phyllis had a fantastic imagination or she was on LSD, is all I can think.

I was only two when JFK was assassinated so I don’t remember it, but I do recollect my mother crying at the news on television when Robert Kennedy was shot. At the time I couldn’t understand why she would be so upset about a man she’d never known but then I remembered her sobbing at the drive-in when Elsa the lion died in ‘Born Free’ and deduced that Senator Robert must have been a nice person.

Mum and I were on a holiday in Sydney in 1980 when we walked past the newspaper headlines heralding the death of John Lennon. We both cried in the street as I recall.

Cutting up and spray painting foam mattresses in order to create giant banana costumes for a kid's play is what I was focussed on when my mother rang me in shock in 1997 to tell me that Princess Diana had been killed in a car crash. I didn’t believe her at the time; it was such an implausible scenario.

Three months later, sitting stunned in my lounge I listened to the news that Michael Hutchence had been found dead in his hotel room. When I heard the news of Michael Jackson’s passing on my car radio I had the same sense of loss. 

All three; Diana, Hutchence and Michael Jackson were of the same vintage as myself and I felt somehow connected to them. Although of course I didn’t know these people, they had helped to shape my identity, fashion sense and attitudes; they were in a sense, my peers. It’s sort of like losing a part of yourself; or a significant part of your life.

Why am writing about such a depressing subject on a Friday night, I hear you bleat plaintively.

Probably because I’m sitting at home with my dogs lying all over me watching ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and contemplating my mortality. 

I’m getting old and I’ve only just realised it. I’ve been waking up lately in a cold sweat, mentally calculating how many ‘good’ years I have left... and it ain’t many.

So I’ve made a few resolutions that will ensure I enjoy the final decades of my life.

Firstly, I am not going to worry about getting fat anymore. I’m going to just buy larger sized clothing and I won’t give a pig’s a#se. I’ve had enough of salads, cans of tuna and crackers. It’s time to chow down.

Secondly, if I feel like being a grumpy old b#tch, then I’ll be one. When that twelve year old at the chemist asks me if I’ve ever taken Panadol before I’ll give him a piece of my Pinky mind.

Thirdly, I’m going to start doing old lady things like going on cruises, talking to myself, squinting over my glasses, groaning when I get out of a chair, declaring loudly that Rap and Hip Hop music is a load of sh#t , asking strangers in the shopping aisle to read labels for me and farting at will.

Look out peeps… Granny Poinker is heading your way!

PS: Please leave a comment if you remember where you were at any of those times mentioned above. I’d love to reminisce.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pinky's Big Break

                                Pinky about eleven years old.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When Pinky was a little girl she wanted to be a ballerina/movie star/pop singer/airline hostess. A bit unusual for an eight year old, eh? I don’t know any eight year olds like that...  LOMARFL (or is it LMFOLAFEL?).

When I was about eight years old our teacher Miss Lang, courageously decided to join forces with the class next door and hold a concert for all the parents on the last day of school for the year. I loved the last day of school mainly because of the limitless slices of watermelon we’d be allowed to eat. 

How easy it was to please kids back in those days. 

The idea of being a part of a performance concert on such an auspicious day had me in a pink fit of exhilaration.

I was definitely not one of Miss Lang’s favourite students due to an earlier incident where I educated the girls in my class on the intricacies of sexual intercourse… read here

In fact, she made it quite clear on many occasions how irritating she found me to be. I’m not sure if it was her curled lip or forced smiles when I regaled her with my interminably long narratives that gave it away but I’m sure you are all nodding knowingly at this point of the story. A lot of my teachers were of the same ilk and I really don’t know why.

However as I was a particularly loud, overly confident little girl, Miss Lang awarded me a leading role in the short moral play “The Fisherman and his Wife.” I was to play the materialistic, whiny and superficial character of the ‘wife’, but the subconscious typecasting of my teacher went over my innocent head as I had more lines than the two teacher’s pets, Lynette and Kaylene. Those two goody-goodies were allocated the role of princesses, but they only had a measly one line each so I was quite chuffed.

Until, that is, they brought a rather negative aspect of my starring role to everyone’s attention.

“Look at your picture in the book, Pinky!” the girls teased, pointing out an illustration of a strangely unattractive woman with a big wart on her chin and wearing a scarf.

“And you’re married to Bruce!” they squealed in catty mirth.

Poor little Bruce was playing the ‘fisherman’ and suddenly the sheen of my future stardom began to fade. I really didn’t want to be married to Bruce Helmbright in any manner of speaking. Number one, he spat when he talked, and number two, he had a weird name -when I think about this now I suppose ‘Helmbright’ indicated that his ancestors were either very clever or merely wore bright helmets- but nevertheless I couldn’t in a million years be married to a boy named ‘Bruce’.

Miss Lang would hear none of it and I was stuck with the role of the haggard old crone.

“Does anyone have any special talents?” asked Miss Lang hopefully when organising the recital programme.

“I learn ballet!” called out an eager Pinky with stars in her eyes.

Miss Lang looked at me doubtfully, “Can you show me what you can do, Pinky?”

Now I did learn ballet and had recently been a ‘bubble’ in a concert with about fifty other ‘bubbles’, so I had a costume and everything.

I unreservedly kicked off my shoes, strutted to the front of the class and improvised the most ridiculously dramatic dance you could ever conceive. Astonishingly I fooled Miss Lang and suddenly I was not only the leading lady of the class play, I was also the Prima Ballerina of the grade four recital, performing a dazzling solo (sans music) to which I reinvented the steps every time I practised it.

“Tracy Roberts reckons you made that dance up. She told us it’s a load of rubbish,” sniggered Lynette and Kaylene after my glittering rehearsal in front of the class one day. 

Tracy learned ballet at the same studio as me and had also been a ‘bubble’. The big loud mouth was spot on though; my off-the-cuff dance was a load of rubbish and deep down in my heart, I knew it.

The final day of school arrived. I’d crammed the blue sequinned ‘bubble’ costume into my school bag, my lines were learned for the play and I was a nervous bundle of zealous anticipation. The various parents had begun to arrive (not mine I might add, perhaps they knew better) and Miss Lang, in a highly stressed state, was startled by someone tugging on her arm.

“Miss Lang! I think Pinky is sick. She’s laying under the desk and won’t come out.”

Miss Lang, controlling her panic like a trooper cajoled me out from my hidey hole.

“What’s the matter Pinky? Surely you can’t be sick.” She had a bit of an impatient tone in her voice as I recall. “The play is on in ten minutes and then you have your dance straight after that. The whole of grade four is depending on you.”

And just to prove my integrity that I was indeed very sick, I vomited all over the desk, the floor and my blue sequinned ‘bubble’ costume. 

The obligatory bucket of sawdust was urgently called out for, the concert was cancelled at the last minute and Miss Lang probably never bothered to orchestrate another concert ever again. Who’d be a teacher eh?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pinky and the Stink


I’d always imagined that when I ever wrote the post you are about to read tonight... it would be my final post. The reason for this would either be because I had finally run out of my silly stories or because you would all be so horrified you’d  immediately cease and desist reading Pinky Poinker once and for all.

However, the theme of the story flows on so well from yesterday’s post (about how my sleep attire has gone to the dogs over the duration of my marriage) that I have deemed it necessary to regale you with this anecdote regardless.

The adage, “A single woman goes out to dine and a married woman goes out to eat” has a gristly grain of truth in my life. While still in the initial glow of new love I would sit in a lady-like fashion, nibbling on a lettuce leaf and sipping a wine when on romantic dinner dates with Scotto. 

These days it’s more of case of, “Extra sour cream please and don’t hold back on the cheese. Another bottle of wine while you're out there too please.”

A favourite gastronomic interlude for Scotto and I is Mexican, where as an aficionado of fiery hot food I will order an extra-large serving of “suicidal” dip and selfishly pour the entire bowl over my meal. 

If you happen to be familiar with a certain Johnny Cash song, “Burning Ring of Fire” you can probably guess the consequence of scoffing down this chilli concoction which invariably hits me like the proverbial brick sh#thouse the following day.

We were staying in Brisbane a few years ago and elected to go out to dinner on the concluding night of our holidays.

“Do you have any really hot sauce?” I asked the annoyed waiter.

He returned with a small dish of chilli sauce especially created by the chef.

“Well it’s okaaaay,” I drawled, “but do you think the chef could make it a bit hotter. I like it really hot.”

Unsmilingly, the waiter whisked the dish from the table and returned with an equally mild condiment which I pretended was perfect. In truth, it was probably the exact same dish and the chef had merely informed the waiter to tell the stupid show-off woman to get lost and if she wanted hot sauce to go to hell.. or Cactus Jack’s.

The next morning we checked out of hotel and set about shopping in the mall until our afternoon flight home. After about half an hour of wandering around I began to feel the familiar molten gurgling in my stomach and my dire situation hit home; I was going to have to use a public toilet. 

I don’t do public toilets. Firstly, because there are germs, secondly, I’m scared of finding a pubic hair on the seat and thirdly, because they usually stink.

Fretfully kissing Scotto farewell, I slunk into the public toilets in the Myer Centre. 

Joy oh bloody joy! The restroom was empty, spotless, pleasant smelling and… did I say empty?

I’m not going into any detail over what occurred during the ensuing twenty-five minutes, but conjure up visions of a volcano, red-hot, flowing lava and a major eruption and you’ll get the drift.

Over the time I’d been ensconced in my own private hell the toilets had been gradually populated with what sounded like the crowd of thousands who’d gathered to hear the Sermon on the Mount.

Liberally spraying perfume from my bag around the cubicle I bravely steeled myself to face my unwitting audience. As I opened the door two little boys holding their mother’s hand attempted to push past me to get into the gas chamber.

“AHHHH! I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.” I cautioned holding both hands up in the air like a spoil-sport bouncer. “I had too much Chilli last night and it wouldn’t be very nice.”

The sardine-packed restroom patrons stood glaring at me with expressions of revulsion and outrage. Two teenage girls at the sink ogled me curiously, giggling and sniggering as I washed my hands in humiliation. 

No one dared to enter the newly vacated cubicle which had apparently become a bio-hazard site. I’m amazed nobody called the cops on me.

“So how was it?” queried Scotto as a pale and disturbed Pinky materialised after her lengthy absence.

“Not good Scotto, not good. Honesty is clearly not the best policy.”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pinky and the Stripper


When I was in grade seven at school, my nickname was ‘Vanessa the Undresser’. Terrible I know. This was not, however, because I had a proclivity for disrobing in front of the boys down the back of the oval at lunch time.

The biggest annual event for primary school kids back in the 70s was the Show, resplendent with dangerous and dodgy rides, sleazy sideshow alley, fairy floss, waffles, Dagwood Dogs and a plethora of mysterious show bags. We would save our pocket money for months, con Dad into shouting for a new winter outfit and breathlessly plan who we were going to go with. 

In grade seven we were finally permitted to go to the show without our embarrassing parents. My friend Lyndy and I invited two other girlfriends, Kimmy and Suzy, and two boys; the exotically named Ignatius and the unexotically named Brian, to join our prepubescent party.

Innocent as this gaggle of eleven year old ratbags appeared, there actually existed an impassioned love triangle lurking beneath the surface. I was love-struck by a massive crush on Ignatius (who was the only boy at school with long hair like David Cassidy). Ignatius, in turn, was helplessly smitten by the bewitching golden ringlets of Lyndy; and Brian, I strongly suspect, also had a crush on Ignatius because he never spoke a word to any of the girls.

Over the previous years of being dragged around the show by my parents, my curiousity had been peaked by a particular sideshow tent advertising “Vanessa the Undresser”. The tent was intriguingly adorned with a titillating painting of a scantily clad dancer and enthrallingly complimented by a hirsute, shady-looking spruiker out the front, slimily beckoning passers-by. 

"Just keep walking and don't look at him Pinky!" my mother would hiss.

“Let’s go and see the stripper first!” I enthused at 11:00 am on the day of our big adventure as we pushed through the turnstiles.

Why they allowed six children into a stripper tent I don’t know and all I can say is that it was in the early seventies when kids could still buy cigarettes over the counter.

On reflection it was a pretty tame strip show (not that I’ve been to many) but “Vanessa” did remove her sequined bikini top and raising her arms in the air, jiggled the bejesus out of her bazookas.

We girls laughed our heads off and the boys went a deep shade of beetroot red. Poor Vanessa.

On Monday morning at school the next week our teacher Mr Williams left the room for a moment. Word had spread that the six of us had daringly gone to a real live strip show. We were legends.

“What happened?” they shrieked at us.

Standing up on my seat and raising my arms in the air I squealed,

“She took off her top and shook her boobies like this!” and proceeded to shimmy my flat-as-an–ironing-board chest.

It was just as the class erupted into raucous laughter that Mr Williams walked back into the room. I had dropped onto my seat quick as a flash but must have looked guilty being the only student not rolling on the floor laughing.

“Pinky! See me at lunchtime!” he barked.

“That’d be right! Pinky was the damn class clown!” I hear you muttering in disappointment.

Well I probably was… until my parents, sick to death of my appalling report cards sent me to a high school across the other side of town where I knew no one. I was sent straight to the bottom of the pecking order and that’s pretty much where I’ve remained ever since.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pinky the Teeny Bopper.


Groovin the Moo (the regional music festival equivalent to the metropolitan Big Day Out), is coming to our fair city once more and three of the Poinker kids are chomping at the bit. Hagar, in his usual custom, has ordered a costume from the United States and is anxiously awaiting its arrival. This year he will be delighting the crowds dressed as ‘Towelie’ from South Park. 


Please click …here to read about previous adventures at Groovin the Moo.

Music concerts were a smidgeon different back in my day (she says rocking back and forth in her chair). In 1974 my life was irrevocably altered by the appearance of Countdown on television. 

Every Sunday afternoon, straight after The Banana Splits, my sister Sam and I would sit glued to the television watching and gushing over the gaunt, chestless rockers swivelling their hips and miming to their latest singles.

The first time I saw Countdown on a colour TV at my friend’s house I nearly wet my pants with ecstasy. Even though Dad could have bought a colour TV cheap because he was in the electrical industry he refused to because, in his words, “Colour TVs are a gimmick! They’ll never catch on.” 

The main targets of my adoration were Daryl (Dazza) from Sherbet and the baby-faced Les Gock from Hush. 
Sam was in love with Shirley Strachan and Gene Simmons from Kiss. She was always a bit weird! 

Our country town was on the touring circuit and the site for these exhilarating concerts was an outdoor stage and a grassy mound that uncomfortably sat about 1000 screaming teeny boppers, incongruously called the ‘Soundshell’ which made the venue sound much cooler than the actual reality.

When I was about fourteen my fellow Dazza fanatic and I turned up at some ridiculously early hour to be first at the gate so that we could position ourselves right in front of the stage in order to be able to feel the sweat the lads from Sherbet might shake off their sexy chests. 

At one stage I dramatically fell on the ground and was trampled by the cork heels of the other dedicated zealots. There were no injuries but the satin shirt I’d borrowed from my mother was ruined and she hit the roof. She was also a bit angry about the fact that we’d lied about the time the concert ended so we could hang around the dressing room afterwards in the desperate hope of getting to meet Dazza and the boys. We didn’t.

I think about those pop stars in their heyday and wonder what they’re doing now. Of course not all of them made it through. Bon Scott (RIP) from ACDC, Mark Hunter (RIP) Dragon, Guy the guitarist from Australian Crawl (RIP), Brad (RIP) from Australian Crawl, Paul Hester (RIP) from Split Enz, Chrissy Amphlett (RIP) the Divinyls, Shirley Strachan (RIP) the Skyhooks … crikey, I’m starting to feel a bit old.

“That was back when music was music not that silly nonsense Hip Hop crap,” croaks Pinky popping her teeth back in.

I’d like to say my taste in music has matured over the years but sadly, my teenybopper taste in music really hasn’t changed all that much. I do love that Harry from One Direction!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pinky and the Surf Life Savers

Pinky the Surf Girl
The subject of today’s post is a particularly embarrassing incident I still cringe over decades after the event.

When I turned nineteen and had recently been dumped by my boyfriend of two years, my mother suggested I use the resulting heart-break weight loss to my advantage. (The boyfriend didn’t actually dump me… he just stopped calling me. Just like that, after two years… bloody b#stard.)

Mum knew a lady who was scouting out a possible entrant for the local Surf Life Saving Club’s Surf Girl Quest.

“It will get you out of your funk, Pinky.” Mum encouraged and put my name forward with my semi-reluctant and sceptical assent. Hanging out with a bunch of beefy life-savers and p#ssing off my ex-boyfriend was a strong motivational factor behind my decision.

I was accepted and spent the next few months in a whirlwind of selling meat tray raffle tickets at the pub, organising beach parties and progressive dinners and desperately trying not to gain any weight.

The end of the quest quickly arrived and I had to fly down to the big smoke to stay in a hotel with the other 50 odd entrants for the lead up to the final judging.

We contestants had to be interviewed by the judges and parade around in day wear, evening wear and swimmers. The judges would decide on the finalists and the winners would be announced on a live telly broadcast on the last night.

The worst thing was we were staying at a stunning hotel, all meals included and none of us could eat anything for fear of nurturing a pot belly.

Anyway, in preparation for the big night all the girls were required to attend a rehearsal with Mike Higgins (the host) for the big glitzy broadcast.

“Girls! This is very important information… ” stressed a world weary Mike, “If you don’t listen and you are selected as a finalist you will do the wrong thing and make a fool of yourself on blah…blah…blah......”

Pinky had drifted off into Pinky Dreamland, visualising Mars Bars, hamburgers and big glasses of chocolate milk floating on pink clouds and had stopped paying attention long ago.

The evening arrived and we all paraded around in our evening wear for the cameras then huddled in the green room waiting to see if our names were called out as finalists.

While I sat dreaming of the decadent food I was going to devour as soon as this boring rubbish finished, I felt one of the other girls shove me in the ribs,

“Pinky! That’s you. They called your name! You’re one of the finalists!”

I must add there was a hint of incredulity in her voice.

“Oh sh#t! What am I supposed to do?” I yelped.

“Go out backstage and change into your swimmers like they told us to at rehearsal!” she said impatiently, pushing me towards the door.

It was dark backstage and my eyes were still adjusting to the dearth of light. I couldn’t see any of the other girls. Oh well, I thought, I’ll get changed here anyway. 

Whilst I balanced on one foot, stark naked, in a particularly ungainly stance as I attempted to squeeze my feet into the swimmers, something caught my eye. 

It was a crowd of discomforted, fidgeting stage hands and camera guys waiting to go on stage. Oh… and also Grant Kenny (the famous 80's iron man) who was presenting the awards that night.

Of course the other girls were in the toilet getting changed. They were where they’d been told to go because they had listened to the instructions.

I didn’t reach the dream of winning the Surf Girl crown that night, but you know those dreams you have where you are suddenly naked in front of everyone, I brought that dream to reality.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Failed Fashion Victim in the Eighties.

Pinky in the Eighties

Lazing in bed reading the Sunday Mail this morning I came across an article about a lady called Desiree Caira who writes a colourful, photographically illustrated blog at…pullyoursoxup

Wow! Desiree has more style and guts in her little finger than I have in my entire body. I want to be eccentric, eclectic, madcap and fearless too! 

Sadly I know this is unlikely to eventuate unless I drastically alter my ways. Every New Year’s Eve, whilst others resolve to partake of more exercise, drink less alcohol or cut out the ciggies, my resolution is to cease leaving the house looking like a scrubby, informally dressed Bogan on her way to the V8s. 
If I had to trademark my style of fashion it wouldn’t be Boho or Shabby Chic; in fact it couldn’t even be classed as Relaxed Casual. 
Relaxed Redneck might suffice. I like to think that rather than a Country Road label fan, I’m more of a Country Bumpkin aficionado.

Last Saturday when I came home from shopping I complained to Scotto that I’d noticed all the little kids staring at me with googly eyed bewilderment. Why? I wondered. Do I look like a freak or something with my panda, bloodshot eyes and blotchy, make-up-less face (a result from the previous night’s festivities)?

“It might have been what you’re wearing,” commented a thoughtful Scotto gesturing at my Sponge Bob Square Pants t-shirt. 
Sponge Bob resides with his sibling t-shirts in my wardrobe; Felix the Cat, Tom and Jerry and Hello Kitty. Tragic, I know.

Living in a hot, humid climate hasn’t helped the cause. ‘Layering’ is out of the question, nothing (like a stylish scarf) can be worn around the neck and stylish boots must be sacrificed for rubber thongs in this tropical heat.

One of the most reprehensible enablers for my deficiency of style has been the staff uniform shirt. An ugly, disagreeable polyester design which dries in thirty seconds and doesn’t need ironing was too irresistible to snub. 
I bought five. 
A quick trip to Target for five pairs of identical tailored black shorts teamed with my Adidas runners and my work uniform is done for the year. 
I can hear Desiree sobbing into her Gin and Tonic right about now.

It’s not that I don’t want to look nice. I’m not deliberately sabotaging my natural beauty to stave off the attention of lusty suitors or anything. I put it down to innate laziness and a lack of aesthetic imagination. 

Even as a young, single twenty-something there was a dearth of fashionable items in my wardrobe.

“Where are all your clothes?” asked my puzzled Mother one day when she visited me in the big smoke. 

“Oh… in the washing I think.” I lied, knowing full well there were no other clothes as I spent all my spare cash partying it up at the ‘Golden Sheaf’ in Double Bay or the ‘Cock and Bull’ at Bondi.

I recall one day when my fellow Queenslander friend, Bria and I were doing our shopping at an IGA at Vaucluse (a very posh suburb in Sydney). A gaggle of twelve year old Muffys and Tiffanys were in the store buying lollies for the movies. In fascination the mini-fashionistas piercingly inspected our sloppy attire and with disdainful, disapproving expressions on their faces, instantly condemned us as clodhopping hayseeds from the bush. Oh, the shame.

I did try to be trendy in the Eighties but my hair let me down. Fine and straight, no matter how much mousse, teasing or spray I fortified it with, it never made the ‘Big Hair’ stakes. Even the mandatory perm didn't help my desperate efforts to look like Frida from Abba.

I did daringly purchase a Pit Suit in khaki parachute silk with which I adventurously teamed a multitude of leather belts and feather earrings. The photographs still haunt me today. 

I also courageously sported a thin leather tie (androgynous was in baby) every time I went out clubbing thinking I was de rigueur, until some bloke walked up to me and lisped confidentially, 
“You do know ties went out two seasons ago luv?”

All is not lost though it seems. Desiree has inspired me to try again because as she says, anyone can ‘Grow Old Disgracefully’ if they have the stamina. 
I’m burning those work shirts and heading off to buy a sh#tload of leopard skin and lace.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pinky and her Sixteen Jobs

My days working at the Sheraton Hotel/Casino

While at a seminar last year we had to share something about ourselves that no one else knew about. One of my colleagues submitted the fact that he had had twenty-two jobs all up in his life. Everyone laughed. It does seem excessive but then I began to list in my head the jobs I have had from fifteen years of age up until now and they added up to quite a few.

Casual dress shop assistant (15) – I was eventually sacked for ringing in sick four Saturdays in a row.

Squash Court Attendant (15) - given my marching orders for attending my school swimming carnival instead of work.

Carny or Showy (16) - for five days during show week selling show bags.

Casual health food shop assistant (17) - told to finish up because I turned up with a hickey on my neck.

Dental nurse (18) - never sacked but came very close when I posted the banking envelope in the letterbox by mistake.

Rental car hostess (19) - never sacked but should have been for sleeping on the job, see…this post

Radio Station Sales Executive (22) - only lasted three months due to a lack of sales ability.

Corporate Hotel Sales Executive (22) - very cushy job with no verifiable sales necessary but lousy money.

Agency Babysitter (22) to supplement lousy money from job above - only lasted one night because I kept getting better social offers.

Record Company Sales Representative-(24) only lasted three months due to a lack of sales ability.

Real Estate Agent (24) - lasted one week due to a lack of interest in houses and real estate in general.

Waitress in Mexican restaurant (24)- was friends with the boss who let us all drink on the job. Restaurant closed down.

Printing Sales Representative (25) - only lasted three months due to a lack of sales ability.

Casino Hotel Sales Executive (25-28) – very cushy job and not bad money, overseas trips! Yay!

Private DramaTeacher and Childrens' Theatre Director- (28-40) - Loved working for myself but not very lucrative as I hate taking money from people.

Primary School Teacher (44- present day) – the only job I've ever had where I don’t get bored.

Not the best resume in the world.

The worst job of the lot was the babysitting job. 

The agency sent me to a mansion in Double Bay in Sydney with a million dollar view. This suburb is renowned for all the rich folk that live there and the family I was sitting for seemed to fall into that category. 

There were three little kids under the age of eight and at the self-serving age of twenty-two, I had no experience with or interest in children. To me this was just an undemanding method of earning extra cash to pay on my overdrawn credit cards. My plan was to tuck the kids in bed early and watch telly for the evening with my feet up.

The matriarch of the house didn’t even acknowledge me as she wafted past to the door in a cloud of Chanel no 5. The distracted father gave me brief instructions about bed times, left me in the kitchen and rushed after his wife. 

I wandered upstairs to the bedroom where I found all three kids sitting precariously on top of a lofty cupboard.

“Um…don’t you think you’d better come down from there guys?” I cautioned nervously, “You might fall and hurt yourselves.”

“We’re not coming down. Caspian says you’re a witch.” said the little girl.

“Why do you think I’m a witch, Caspian?” I asked the eldest boy.

“Because you look like one!” He screamed at me. “We want our real babysitter back. We want Mrs Cheeseman. I’m calling the police!”

I eventually talked Ritchie Rich and his siblings down and after about six bedtime stories they went to bed.

Only another three hours before their parents were expected home; time for Melrose Place, I thought cheerily.

Wandering through the dark, spacious and opulent bottom level I soon discovered there were no light switches to be found. That’s weird, I thought. The only light seemed to be in the kitchen and even worse, there didn’t seem to be a television anywhere. What is wrong with rich people, I pondered. 

Are they rich because they don’t pay electricity bills? I scanned the downstairs rooms for a bookcase, magazine rack, anything I could use to while away the next three hours. 

Nada, niente, nichts, nani mo, nothing! 

So for the next two hours and fifty-five minutes I sat at the kitchen table staring at the wall. 

When Mr and Mrs Toffee Nose arrived home, Mummsy impolitely bolted upstairs while Daddykins reluctantly handed over the nineteen dollar babysitting fee. 

“I’ve only got a twenty dollar note,” he grumped, “Do you have a dollar coin for change?”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rats know the way of rats. - Chinese proverb

(Or if you don’t like that title)…From a bad crow a bad egg.
- Sophocles
School days


A recent post related the perturbing story of my teenage son Padraic, getting sprung playing a prolific amount of hooky from school and to be fair I should come clean about similar misdemeanours occurring during my high school years. 

The big difference however, was that I was never stupid enough to get caught. 

I had a friend Annie who was a truly undesirable influence and the mastermind behind many of our transgressions.

Every month the senior students would have to walk to the church about two kilometres away to attend Mass. 

“Stuff church!” Annie would say mutinously. “Let’s go and hide in the park instead.”

We would unobtrusively slip out of the line as the hundred or so students walked by the park and scuttle under the cover of trees, like cockroaches escaping the light. The next hour would be spent holed up under thorny bushes, smoking Benson and Hedges and slapping away green ants and mosquitoes. 

When the council workers doing maintenance in the park came near us we’d hastily stub the cigarettes out to avoid detection. It was an extremely uncomfortable experience and I actually would have much preferred to go to church.

By our final year of school we had blossomed into more sophisticated truants. By that stage our friend Pip had her P Plates so Annie, Pip, Jen and I drove to Annie’s empty house. 

‘Annie the Insurgent’s’ taste in music was feral and it wasn’t long before Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were blaring from her Dad’s speakers.

“Ever tasted this?” the wild child demanded holding up a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label. “It’s really smooth!” our worldly friend added.

“Won’t your father notice if any is missing?”

“Nah… I’ll just fill it up with black tea.” She answered with the voice of experience.

We had no mixers so we skulled the expensive liquor straight from the bottle and swallowed it down with lumps of white bread. 

I’m here to tell you there was nothing smooth about it. 

An hour later we had finished the entire bottle between the four of us and proceeded to dance in an unsteady fashion to the heavy metal. 

Half an hour later I was to be found lying on the veranda, vomiting into the flower bed. Pip drove me home and told my mother I had fainted at school. 

“Are you sure you’re just sick?” my mother queried, “I could swear I smelt alcohol on Pip’s breath.” 

If you’ve been reading my blog by now you will have worked out what an accomplished liar I was. 

The gold medal for stories about wagging school has to be awarded to my younger sister Sam. When she was thirteen she and her friend Shazza decided to skip their science lesson and came up with a seemingly flawless scheme. Instead of leaving the school they chose to hole up within the grounds. 

There was a filthy crawl space under the library which could be accessed via a small gate. When no-one was looking Sam and Shazza scurried through the tiny entrance and sat patiently in the dark with the rats and spiders, waiting for the dreary science lesson to finish.

“Pinky! Your sister and her friend are locked under the library!” Someone breathlessly yelled out to me at lunchtime. 

This I had to see. 

When I arrived at the scene of the crime there was a huge, approving crowd gathered around the little gate. Some of the kids were feeding the girls sandwiches through the bars of the gate. 
The grounds man had apparently come along and padlocked the gate while they were hiding in the darkness. 
The girls were eventually released from their hidey hole and inventively fabricated an unlikely excuse about hearing a cat crying under the library, going in to have a look and being accidentally locked in by the janitor. The sceptical teachers dubiously accepted their explanation. 

My sister was a legend at school after that.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pinky calls to bring back the extended family!

We were drawing up family trees at school today and I was astounded that most of my nine year old students didn’t know their aunts and uncles names. Nor did they know if their parents had siblings at all. A lot of the kids didn’t know much about their grandparents either and I must admit it made me feel a bit sad at the seeming loss of extended families in today’s society. 

Loving as they are, my parents live in another town and really don’t have much contact with the kids. I practically lived at my Grandma’s house on weekends and so did my numerous cousins.

Grandad descended from the Tafe family who were famous on the Show Circuit for their show bags containing homemade sweets. In his retirement years, he regularly made and sold these wares to local shops. 

Jar after jar of Honeycomb, Chocolate Fudge, Coconut Ice, Toffees, Toasted Marshmallows, Peanut Brittle and a myriad of other delights adorned the kitchen shelves. 

It was pretty much open slather for the grandkids. 
Lenient, generous Grandma would agree to us doing whatever we wanted and one day my cousin and I requested that we be allowed to boil up a can of condensed milk on the stove. I had heard in an urban legend at school that if you boiled the can for an hour you could create CARAMEL!

“I suppose so,” said Grandma gingerly, “but don’t make any mess please; I just cleaned the house this morning.”

We plonked the can in the saucepan of water, turned on the gas stove and watched it boil for about ten minutes before getting bored and going off to play in the mango tree. Mum arrived half an hour later to take us home.

Apparently the saucepan boiled dry, the can exploded magnificently and Grandma spent a challenging couple of days attempting to clean the caramel from the walls, shelves, floor and ceiling. Nothing was said directly to us mind you. She was a very understanding Nana.

One Father’s Day, when I was about nine years old, my mother presented my Granddad with a gift of socks, shirts and a box of chocolates. He opened the chockies and generously offered them around carefully placing them in the fridge for another day. 

My sister, brother and I were sleeping over at Grandma’s that night and I became fanatically fixated on that box of chocolates. The thought of gobbling all those delicious hard and soft centres consumed me and when the other two were in bed and the grandparents were busy watching ‘Cop Shop’ on the Telly, I pretended to read in the kitchen.

Every now and then I would sneak into the fridge and nick a chocolate, all the while remaining vigilant about not rustling the wrappings. 

He won’t notice, I thought, I’ll only pinch a couple. My gluttony slowly but exponentially spiralled out of control and before I knew it all the tempting bonbons had disappeared leaving a conspicuously empty box. What could I do now? There was only one thing for it; I had to hide the box and deny any knowledge of what may have occurred.

“Do any of you kids know what happened to Granddad’s chocolates?” asked Grandma the next morning, whilst bewildered Granddad muttered in the background as he searched through the rubbish bin.

We all shook our heads. One of us wasn't quite as convincing as the other two in our renunciations though. 

When my Mum came to pick us up later in the day I heard Grandma telling her about the missing chocolates. 

“I’m pretty sure it was little Sam that stole them,” she whispered, “She was complaining about feeling bilious during the night.” 
I never confessed to the crime.

Deceitful, gluttonous child that I was I did regret my impulsive actions that night. Many years later, when I was sixteen and seventeen years of age, after our Grandma suffered a stroke, my sister and I would take turns to look after her. We would stay with her for five hours on a Saturday afternoon while Granddad had a break away from the house. 

This went on for two years before she was eventually placed into professional care. 

There were no mobile phones back then, or IPod s or laptops and no entertainment for those five hours while Grandma slept. 
I sometimes wonder if my teenagers would sacrifice their free Saturdays to look after their Grandma with the same commitment.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The apples didn't fall far from the tree.

Me back in the 80s catching a nap after a big night.

I have a severe case of heartburn. Scotto and I just scoffed Hungry Jacks burgers in order to appease the self- inflicted nausea and dizziness resulting from last night’s revelries. My friend Diana’s talented husband plays in a punk/folk band and we wildly threw caution to the wind and whooped it up until way past Cinderella’s bedtime. 

The fat in fast food is alleged to possess certain properties that speed up the elimination of alcohol from the body by forcing the desiccated liver to work faster. 

Fast food is a bit of a misnomer. We had to sit in the drive-through for twenty minutes whilst bungling teenagers stuffed up our order. My chicken burger came with the very, very well-done chicken oven-pressed to the outside of the burger. 

I ate it anyway.

It’s a bit pitiful that midnight is such an absolute curfew for me nowadays. How did it come to this? Back in the olden days when I was in my twenties I was an unstoppable partay!! animal. Going out partying on a week night; I’d stagger home at five o'clock in the morning, get up at six to get ready for work, snatch a half hour nap after work, then do it all over again. 

Working for a rental car company at Sydney airport meant I was surrounded by co-workers of the same ilk as myself; young, brainless and reckless. 

We would cover for each other whilst the more severely hung-over girl went for a nap in one of the rental cars. 

One day I was in a deep dream when I was startled by my colleague urgently bashing on the window. 

“Pinky! Wake up! You’ve been asleep for three hours and the boss is looking for you.”

One Christmas Eve I went out with my friends to a party and carelessly left my bag somewhere. It was five o’clock in the morning when I finally began staggering around the party looking for it only to discover it had been misappropriated by some auspicious thief.

My flatmates had gone interstate for holidays and I found myself with no house keys and in a bit of a pickle. I was locked out of the third story unit and it was Christmas morning and there was no possibility of getting a locksmith. 

On the balcony of some neighbouring units I espied a benevolent father dressed as Santa Claus enjoying the spoils of Christmas with his young family.

“Excuse me,” I butted in rudely, “I seem to be locked out of my unit. Would you have a ladder?”

He seemed more than a tad peeved at this intrusion but grunted irritably and came to my aid. 

His wife and three little kids watched on uncertainly as their Dad, dressed as St Nicholas, climbed the ladder and obeying my foolish directives smashed my bathroom window. 
You can’t get a glazier in Sydney in the middle of the holiday season. 

When my flatmates returned home late at night after a ten hour drive from Brisbane, the view into our bathroom was still accessible by the two hundred or so people living in the opposite units.

“What the f#%k has been going on here?” screamed my flatmates. “Why is there no window?” 

“The bloody b#$ch hasn’t even left any milk in the fridge for coffee.”

Like cowardly custard I stayed in my room pretending to be asleep until they’d calmed down the next day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Are We Mollycoddling Our Kids?

Walking around my classroom today while my students were writing a story, I noticed one of my brightest boy’s handwriting looked like a chicken had scratched across the page.“That’s terrible handwriting Harley!” I said calmly. “You need to rub it out and start again.”

The next time I looked at him he had his head in his hands,

“What’s the matter Harley, why aren't you doing your work?”

“You said my writing was terrible,” he moaned.

Oh crap, I thought, I’m going to be in trouble now. Teachers aren’t supposed to say things like that to kids any more. It damages self-esteem and can cause long term mental issues… apparently.

One day at Kindergarten when I was four years of age I got into trouble with the teacher for trashing yet another paper lantern with my inept scissor-cutting technique.

“If you ruin this one I’ll cut your fingers off.” She snapped at me. 
When I told my mother she pulled me out of the Kindy immediately. 
Akin to going from the frying pan into the fire my parents enrolled me into an all-girls convent complete with a plethora of horrible, vicious nuns.

Fearsome (and probably overheated) in their voluminous black habits they were an unsettling and intimidating presence in the eyes of a four year old.
One of the old crones swept imposingly into our classroom one day.
“You! Girl in the corner! Were you talking?”

“No sister.” I blinked back tears of terror.

“Liar,” she snarled, “Come here to the front of the class you bad, bad girl.”
She then proceeded to put chalk all over my outstretched tongue as retribution for talking and lying.

I was only four and was convinced the chalk was poisonous. 

By the time my mother picked me up my tongue had dehydrated like a prune from my having had it stuck out of my mouth for the remainder of the day. Soon after that I was relocated to a State school.

For the rest of my primary schooling my parents ignored any complaints I made. 
Short, skinny, sh#t at sport and in possession of an oddly shaped nose I experienced my fair share of bullying. I just did what normal kids did and picked on someone weaker.

If teachers persecuted me for whatever reason, my parents would just say it must have been my own fault. 
If I was in strife at school then I was in trouble at home ten times the magnitude of school. 

Eventually I learnt resilience.

I had a mongrel of a teacher in Year Seven. Getting off on the wrong foot with him in the very first week was my father’s fault.
“Mr. Fitzgibbon, my Dad says your name is Irish.”

He looked pleased.

“My Dad says that ‘Fitz’ means ‘son of’ and that a gibbon is a monkey, so you must be the son of a monkey.”

My father was such a smart arse.

Fitzy was the old-school type of teacher that would hurl a blackboard duster at inattentive students and called everyone either ‘girly’ or ‘boy’.
One day I was reading aloud in class and I pronounced the word France as ‘Fr-ar-nce’ as opposed the colloquial ‘Fr-air-nts’.
“That’s not how you say it!” he mocked loudly. “Who do you think you are Miss Hoity Toity!”

The whole class laughed while he brutally humiliated me for about ten minutes.
Did I go home bleating and sooking to my mother? 

No…what I wanted was vengeance.

Fitzy was in charge of the Sports Room which housed the entire school’s sporting equipment. Useless twit that he was, the key to the Sport’s Room was constantly going AWOL. 

Fitzy was forever standing up week after week at assembly going red in the face about how his beloved key was missing again. 

Eventually the moronic gorilla had the common sense to dictate that he was to be in sole possession of the key. The lock on the sports room door had been replaced for the final time and no one (except for him) was allowed to touch it under any circumstances.

His crucial mistake was to hang his precious key on a hook in our classroom. My friend Lyndell and I furtively hid the key behind some books on a shelf and waited to see what transpired.

Fitzy hit the roof. I swear I have never seen an angrier or more florid face. His blood pressure must have been off the scale and the school was in an uproar.

From memory I think Lyndell and I continued the torture for a few days. Eventually it was we two heroes who ‘discovered’ the key which had somehow fallen behind the books.

Fitzy resigned within a month.