Ten things that genuinely confuse me
The first time I remember being confused was Christmas morning 1980, inspecting the wake of Santa’s latest handiwork. Casting a keen eye over a freshly unwrapped model of an X-Wing Fighter, I spied the words DOES NOT CONTAIN GLUE on the box’s spine, and quizzed my pops about this glaring oversight.
In his unimpeachable wisdom, Dad told me not to worry, as he’d already chucked in the glue for me. Hang about. Did you say YOU put the glue in? YOU? I was girt by confusion.
Was my father some sort of wizard who could teleport a tube of glue into an already-wrapped present?
Or was this whole thing a sham and I’d stumbled upon inarguable evidence that Santa Claus did not actually exist? Questions were asked, the old man crumbled, my innocence lost - and my confusion over.
Now thirty odd years later, life keeps serving up brain bakers and confusion still abounds. So with that, I call upon you my loyal Mythbusting™ public, to assist in enlightening me on ten head-scratchers of the highest order, that make The Da Vinci Code look like the instructions on a packet of two-minute noodles.
Photographs on canvas
A well taken, lovingly printed, immaculately framed photograph can be a thing of wonder. Nothing illustrates the beauty of modernity more than the evolution of fine art from brush to celluloid.
And nothing cries cheap tat more than a dull digital happy snap blown up far beyond its worth onto grubby stretched canvas.
As the saying goes, you can’t polish a turd, so why anyone thinks smearing one all over the National Portrait Gallery will hide its faecal foundations is completely beyond me.
Thai pun mastery
Though it could be skewed as a form of racism, there’s few things funnier than distorted English translations of Asian signage. The oddity though, is how Thai restaurants not only seem to nail the spelling, but also mash in a slightly amusing pun for a moniker.
Thaitanic, Thairiffic, Thaifoon, Thai Me Up, The King & Thai – while corkers like these might not go down in the pun hall of fame, when you’re struggling to order a Tom Yang Goong and a Diet Pepsi because you and the owner can barely say g’day to each other, the skilful wordplay on the marquee is not only awe inspiring, but entirely perplexing.
Grown-up use of the word “yummy”
If the foodie explosion has proven anything, it’s that the manner in which we stuff our gobs is now an integral part of human evolution. But for me, nothing undermines the elegance of haute cuisine more than a fully-grown adult critiquing a meal by using the same word a five-year-old would belch after smearing their entire face with a banana Paddle Pop.
Lady Ga Ga
I know what you’re thinking – am I confused about whether she’s a man, or am I confused about whether she’s a woman? That’s not it at all. Mostly, I’m confused as to why we’re all talking about her at all. She’s rubbish.
The directions to the Love Shack
Nothing quite rivals Love Shack as the most overplayed pop ditty in existence. And while The B-52s never claim to be a replacement for the trusty street directory, their tuneful directions seem somewhat misguided.
Singing: “If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says fifteen miles to the loooooove shack! Love shack baby…” Ok… then what? That’s not a finished sentence. If it was “If you see a faded sign that means it’s fifteen miles to the love shack, turn left at the next junction”, then I wouldn’t still be trucking down the Atlanta highway desperately looking for said love getaway.
Furthermore, even if you did manage to eagle-eye this elusive sign, it clearly says “STAY AWAY FOOLS!”, which is neither inviting nor polite, and certainly not loving in the slightest.
The Athlete’s Foot
Who names their business after a disgusting fungal disease? Can’t wait to start up my new kids’ clothing store, Smallpox.
Credit card pin numbers
For years I’ve been heading a vocal yet ineffectual whine campaign over the lunacy of credit cards without pin numbers. Pimply store clerks are hardly sticklers for security measures, so for me it was a red-letter day when pins were finally doled out among the nation’s cardholders.
Problem is, it’s optional - you can choose to sign, or choose the pin. If I were in the business of pinching plastic, I’d sure as hell take the Mr Squiggle option every single time.
It’s almost like airport security saying, “Would you like us to scan your bomb-shaped bag today sir, or do you just want to go on through?”
Houses with names
On a neighbourhood walk the other day I strolled past a non-descript townhouse whose owners had decided to adorn with a metal plate that said “Dunraven”. And I have no idea why.
Being outrageously camp
All the gay guys who I consider good friends seem to just be blokes first, and gay second. Much the same way all my straight friends are just guys first and heterosexual second.
Which is why the trend to be 110% OTT camp all the time like life is one big Broadway number completely baffles me.
It’s cool that you’re gay, but really, it’s not that big a deal. We don’t care that you’re gay, any more than we don’t care you’re a dick-swinging, six-pack-brandishing, new-girl-every-night meathead.
Shop assistants who live the brand
In the sport of people watching, there’s nothing more satisfying that feasting on the smorgasbord of sub-cultures served up in Australia’s shopping malls. But what really screws my noodle is when you meet a clerk who is so in his or her element, you could walk in sporting two heads and scaly green Martian skin, and barely an eyelid would bat.
Every time I’m in a General Pants store I will invariably be called “bra”, or be assured that “those jeans look heaps sick eh”, or asked if I’m “going to Good Vibes ‘cause me and the crew went last year and The Presets were mad eh like totes stoked to be there”.
Look, I do not know you. I just need something to cover my legs.
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