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.