Saturday, April 24, 2010

Christina's 60th Birthday Party

On Saturday, 17th April 2010, my wife and best friend turned 60. It's just a number, but it is linked to a lot of other numbers like our meeting on 1 January 1972 at Hobart, Tasmania; our marriage on 17th February 1973, the birthdays of our children Dale and Meredith in 1975 and 1977 respectively, and finally, the 37 years we've spent together.

Cause and effect.

When I look back, the evening we met at a friend's party seems quite clear as does the chemistry. But since then, much has happened and somehow we've both reached the latter years of our lives.

Where did the time go? Why did it go so fast while we were focusing on the minutia of life?

As I searched for some photos of Christina for a PowerPoint display, I found numerous photos taken in the first years of our lives together. I was taken back by how very attractive my wife is and hoped that over the ensuing years I had taken time to tell her that ... as I'm sure I must have on numerous occasions.

Getting older isn't all that bad. A day or two after her birthday, I reminded Chris to complete the application forms for her Seniors Card and Seniors Concession Card, both of which are available from the Northern Territory Government on production of various documentary evidence. The Seniors Card is available to anyone over 60 and enables one to get discounts when purchasing from businesses or government agencies that subscribe to the scheme of giving discounts to senior citizens. The card we all really want is the Seniors Concession Card (not available to men until 65 which I feel stinks).

When Christina gets her concession card, part of the cost of our utilities, car registration and insurance, house rates and a few other things will be discounted. That's good, because it frees up money we can now spend on prescription medicines that we will inevitably need as our bodies continue to age. Life has a way of looking after us with its checks and balances.

The next major event in our lives will hopefully be when we sell our house at Alice Springs, buy a new four wheel drive and a caravan and head off to travel all over this lovely country.

That sounds like the Great Australian Dream.


Friday, April 02, 2010

The Reason for Angry Old Men

With the rigours of work, a minimal social life, looking after house, car and body, I haven't posted here since Australia Day. For a person who loves English language, writing, and who is garrulous, it's totally out of character. So, here I am for an April ramble.

Now that I'm an old man (I prefer older) I know why people refer to "angry old men". Or more to the point, I know why older men get angry. It's because we've been around long enough to see the decay in society, the incompetence of governments, the disorder of organisations, and the absolute stupidity of our fellow human beings. Let me explain.

When one is 20 something our minds are filled with establishing our educational qualifications and careers; we hope that romance is in the air and everything around us is interesting, fresh and new.

Advance by 40 years and you've been there, done that. You know that:

  1. despite what anyone says, there is no such thing as a perfectly functional organisation. No matter what spin anyone tries to put on it, Board members, the press, the Chief Executive Officer, you know that every organisation you have experienced has a shit load of dead wood; managers that couldn't organise sex in a brothel, and only performing at a part of its capacity. Yes, some are better than others, but at a fundamental level, most organisations stumble along
  2. personal relationships, especially those of a romantic/intimate nature, are doomed to be difficult, heart-breaking and disappointing for you or others you know; there's no such thing as a perfect relationship. All you need do is look at domestic violence figures, divorce stats, and read the news
  3. otherwise smart people get knocked over by substance abuse. You wonder why increasing numbers of supposedly sensible, intelligent people sniff cocaine, stick needles full of junk in their arms, or smoke cannabis
  4. billions mindlessly allow religions to control their dress, reproduction, suppress half of their population because they aren't male, and brainwash their faithful followers with guilt and the fear of eternal damnation without a shred of evidence
  5. having a non-discriminatory immigration policy sounds very up-market and "nice", but is totally disasterous for a Western, liberal society being threatened with muslim immigrants who won't integrate and who agitate to impose their way of life on the rest of us
  6. governments never tackle the difficult issues, only those where they can score points and get re-elected into office
  7. the Keynesian system of economics doesn't work and is partially responsible for the irresponsible use of our natural resources and damage to our environment
In the end you get angry and decide that you will never vote again because when you do, you always get a politician; you decide that you will never again tick a box that asks if you are "Aboriginal or Non Aboriginal" because you don't feel like being classified by race; you begin agitating to governments to ban muslim immigration, solve aboriginal alcohol abuse by banning them from drinking, and you try to show people how religion is the most divisive force on the planet responsible for most of humanity's misery.

Although the change in attitude from subservient compliance to stubborn resistance looks like "angry", it's really that we have matured and see the world in a different light.

In the end, every day is a beautiful day. We can hopefully, live our lives with a sense of achievement and fulfillment. Occasionally we should reflect on how extremely rare was the probability of our birth and be thankful that our spermatozoon led the pack.

Now that was a different post.