Monday, June 27, 2011

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 21/6/2011

In my time on this planet I’ve made a few friends and I can’t think of one of them who agrees with me on everything, but that’s one of the reasons I’ve kept going, just to annoy the buggers and to have a go at them when they make comments that hurt my ears.

Last week I got into a slanging match with a young farmer mate from Manjimup. Now, for most of its life Manjimup, or as I prefer to call it, the Warren District, has had plenty of rain.

Not anymore and pressure is mounting. By now in a normal year the dams would be full, the creeks running, the Warren busting its banks. My friend Jamie told me the only thing busting was his dad’s nervous system.

“What the hell are they doing to us, Jon?” yelled Jamie.

I knew who he meant, of course, but here was a bloke wanting to open his spleen and he needed an enemy. I was up for it. I asked who and got five ears full.

“The bloody politicians,” he yelled. “Are you paying attention? Are they trying to kill off farming? They want to tax water and we’re in a drought. Do they understand bio-security? Do they eat meat? Have they heard of the verroa virus, fire ants, fire blight, apple canker, cane toads, paterson’s curse, arum lilies, or watsonia? You there, Jon?

“What was that in the US constitution about giving up all your poor and bedraggled? Well we might as well hang a sign that says: Send us all your rotting fruit and veg and fill the boxes full of viruses, toads and diseases ‘cause we eat that stuff for breakfast.”

By now I was onto my sixth ear because the other five were numb and every time I tried to get a word in he snatched it and used it.

“I think Indonesia has about 60 percent of our live cattle trade,” I ventured.

“Did you say Indonesia? What the hell are those poor sods going to eat? I go to Bali every three years but I won’t be going this year even though it’s my turn and not because I can’t afford it because I can but because my head will hang in shame that we would cut exports without any talk, or warning, or without taking Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) by the scruff of the neck and strangling it within an inch of its lazy pathetic life.”

Trying to introduce a little humour I asked if he would use a stun gun before the strangling?

“Stun gun? The beef boys are making money out of this trade, they’re not doing it for nothing, so why the hell didn’t the MLA pack up 500 stun guns and get them on the next plane? How hard would that be?”

My mouth was still. I was stunned.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 7/6/2011

In a couple of weeks an old mate of mine will visit the Great Southern and talk about the risky behaviour of men.

He is a big man with a short name, Julian Krieg, and he drives a ute. I won’t name the brand because if I do at least half the ute owning population will scream “useless!”

Julian is employed by Wheatbelt Men’s Health as a community educator and, let me make it quite clear, the bloke is no slouch. Before he took up this post he was once Director of Agricultural Education.

Julian once had the misfortune to use this writer on road trips around the wheatbelt. We would hum into a town, park easily, and climb out to much amusement.

Why? Well, when sitting down in the cabin of the ute we may well have looked roughly the same size, but when out, he was a mountain and I was molehill.

Both of us know something about the risky behaviour of men and why we hand in our mortal coil long before our opposites in the gender business.

Just for example, take me. All right, I can hear you “Yes, please, take him!”

Recently I bought myself a sea-going kayak, one not built for the surf, but, of course, I had to give it a try and after the 25th dumping, crunching and smashing, I decided it might be a good idea to respect the boat’s design flaws.

All this after last year’s incident with the neck.

My partner has been telling for years not to body surf because more than once I have speared my neck into solid sand due to my summersault exit technique and last year I did it again. The radiographer took one look at the pictures and said “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”

Of course I had and I hadn’t stopped the risky behaviour because that’s not what men do and it’s why I have a shattered shin, a stuffed shoulder, a broken foot and a hammered hand.

When he’s not talking to, or about men, Julian lives a sedate life on an acre of land out of York. He shares it with his life-long partner but, if you drive out that way, you may well hear her yelling: “Put that potato cannon down, Julian, and come inside and act your age.”

Keep an eye out for Julian’s visit. The big man also has a big heart and he knows how hard it is to be a man in an ever changing world.