Mick stared into his schooner and shook his head numerous times. The television blasted continued highlights of the Matildas in full flight.
*This article was highly commended in the IA Writing Competition Most Compelling Article category.
Mick raised both eyebrows, as Bazza pulled up a bar stool and took a sip of the offered schooner:
“Thanks, Mick. By gee, you look a bit down. I didn’t think you would take the Matildas’ loss to England so seriously.”
Mick bit his bottom lip:
“It’s not that, Bazza. In fact, I am hoping things get back to normal in this country.”
Bazza’s eyes widened as Mick took a measured sip:
“Well, Bazza, I reckon it all started to go wrong a month or so ago with the media obsession with securing tickets to Taylor Swift concerts.”
“All a bit of good fun, Mick. I even tried to buy tickets to go with my daughter.”
Mick ran the palm of his hand across his forehead:
“Yeah, well that figures. Anyhow, no sooner had that died down and the Matildas hog the limelight — record television audiences and packed out stadiums. It was over the top. And if that is not enough, the Diamonds Women’s Netball Team won the World Cup... for the 12th time! Are you picking up a trend here, Bazza?”
Bazza screwed his eyes:
“That’s all good news, Mick. I am not following you.”
Mick tightened his mouth:
Stay with me on this one, Bazza. It all came home to me when you tricked me into seeing the Barbie movie the other day, when I thought we were seeing Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. I thought the treatment of Ken in Barbie was appalling. He is just an accessory to Barbie throughout the movie — no hero status.
Now, the movie could have been saved if Barbie falls in love with Ken and they live happily ever after, but no — Ken finishes the movie the same way he began it, as an accessory and, unbelievably, Barbie lives happily ever after by herself.
Mick paused for a decent drink, leaned in and lowered his voice:
“I am feeling under threat these days, Bazza. But, it gets worse. I reckon your mate, Albo, is too soft. He needs to muscle up a bit. You might not have liked Tony Abbott as prime minister, Bazza, but it felt good to be a bloke when he was in power. I mean, he did bloke things. I just cannot imagine Albo eating a raw onion or completing a triathlon before Question Time in Parliament.”
Mick cradled his forehead:
“If things do not get back to normal, Bazza, we are going to end up with a nation full of Kens.”
John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.
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