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Under interrogation

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I don’t normally get involved in blogging quizzes, but Elise  who operates a very professional and entertaining blog has fed me to the lions  nominated me to answer the following questions.

As I enjoy reading the replies of other respondents, I am happy to comply on this occasion.

What are eleven facts that we may not know about you?

Long-time readers probably know almost everything. They’ve read more indiscriminate trivia here than they ever deserved.

1.  When using sporting equipment or work tools that require just one hand I am right-handed, but left-handed when they require both hands.

2.  I’ve only been admitted to hospital once in my adult life.  For seven days.  An ingrown big toenail. Yep. One whole week.
Various tropical bacteria, fungi and worms were calling my foot ‘home’. Perhaps I should have sought earlier medical intervention.

3. At age 49, after stupidly spending the day lifting objects that would have challenged Tarzan, I collapsed in the main street of Port Douglas with breathlessness and severe chest pains.  Just before I lost consciousness I told Mrs GOF to ‘call 911′.
Fortunately she didn’t listen to me and dialled the correct emergency number for Australia….. triple zero.
Bloody Americans nearly killed me.

After some oxygen and a couple of hours of being poked and prodded by medics I staged a miracle recovery and wandered off into the night a little sore but happy to be alive.  

4.  I am the 1974 Finschhafen Golf Club (PNG) champion.
There were only two of us playing the ‘airstrip course’, and Patrick was handicapped to a greater extent than I in terms of blood alcohol level. I still have the trophy. A $2 South Pacific Lager mug.

5.  I was so terrified of 10 y.o. Fay Conn throwing rocks at me as I pedaled past her house every day on my bike in 1958, that I always rode the long way home after school to avoid her. An extra 3 miles.  Someone told me years later that her behaviour was a sign that she had the hots for me.  My understanding of women has not improved during the 55 years since.

6.  I didn’t taste beer until I was 19. I can still take it or leave it.

7.  When I was 17 my nickname was ‘Twiggy’ because the only discernible difference between her physique and mine was that I had slightly larger tits.  If it wasn’t for that sexist chiffon ceiling which existed during the 1960’s I could have been a supermodel.
Shit happens.

8.  Once upon a time I smoked a pipe to look ‘cool’. I never inhaled the smoke because it seemed an unnatural and stupid thing to do, and I’ve never regretted making that choice.

9.  Thirty years ago I tried working for someone else… a milk factory coldroom. I sacked myself after just 2 days to save management the trouble,  and I’ve been self-employed ever since. This present employer is not perfect, but he is for the most part, tolerant of my many peculiarities.

10.  In primary school I was the last kid in my class to gain a Herald Learn To Swim Certificate. (30 feet across the shallow end of the Castlemaine Municipal pool). This only occurred after my arms grew long enough to touch the bottom as I went.  
Swimming remains for me “staying alive in water”.

11.  I have extraordinarily long toes. All the better with which to grip the planet and avoid being flung off into space. I passed this genetic gift onto my kids who are eternally grateful, because not one of them has vanished through the troposphere, even though the planet is moving through space at 45,000 mph.

*       *      *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Now Elyse wants to know even more.  Blame her.  

Q. Were you closer to your Mum or Dad?
A. Mum. Dad was always unwell or in hospital.

Q. First moment in history that you remember.
A.  Baby Jesus being born. No, sorry…Cuban missile crisis.

Q. What is your favourite pet ever.
A.  I have a policy of not becoming too emotionally attached to pets or people ‘cos eventually they get sick and die and that makes me sad.  My policy could be flawed, ‘cos sometimes it doesn’t work.


Q. Funniest event in your life.
A. Disembarking a tractor when the long hand-throttle lever went up my trouser-leg leaving me dangling off to the side, suspended in mid air like a puppet with a stick up it’s arse, while the tractor was screaming it’s guts out.  Well Mrs GOF thought it was funny.
I failed to find amusement.

Q. First insult you delivered and why the recipient deserved it.
A. “Shutup, bugger, bum”  in Grade 1 to the world in general, because they were the first naughty words I learned and the universe deserved to be a witness to my evolving command of language.

Q. What is your first memory.
A. At age four I had an imaginary friend who lived in a real abandoned miner’s cottage beside the road near Daylesford.
His name was Ik.   

Q. What do you dislike most about blogging.
A. ‘Friend collectors’ who feign interest but never actually read anything I write.  Apart from that, blogging is a wonderful privilege of living in the 21st century, and it’s all free. Thank you WordPress.

Q. Do your family and friends read this blog.
A. The Bucket is available to my immediate family and just a few trusted friends, but for the most part they get bored with all the crap that I write and sensibly find more productive ways to spend their time.

Q. How would you be using your time right now if you were not answering my stupid questions.
A. I’d be having my essential and restorative midday nanna nap. Elyse, you are a health hazard.

Q. What is your dream job.
A. I have been doing it for the last 30 years.
But then again, is it too late for me to try my hand at being a professional bra-fitter at Myers?

Q. What do you expect to be reincarnated as in the next life.
A. Sorry, I can find no evidence of any ‘next life’. This present one is all that I expect, and dammit, it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable and wonderful ride.

*       *      *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Any of my blog friends up for the challenge of answering the same questions?

*       *      *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *


About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

51 responses »

  1. Oh, what a hoot! You had me howling with your swimming experience. And baby Jesus….
    How cool that you have been doing your dream job for 30 years!

    I might answer these, but knowing me….I probably won’t. Yours are much more fun anyway! 🙂

    • Thanks Lauri. I don’t mind doing these quizzes occasionally because they make you think about life events that might otherwise be forgotten. I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to follow my dream vocation in life.

  2. Apparently I was sunshine-y enough to get you through this torture, GOF. Well done.

    And I learned how to swim exactly the same way — I grew up on the beach and am possibly the worst swimmer next to you!

    Thanks for playing along.

    • No torture Elyse, and I thank you for inspiring me to do this. The exercise made me give a lot of thought to various events which have occurred during my life.

  3. Long toes are essential down there on the bottom of the planet. If nothing else, we thank you for passing the trait along to Inga.

  4. Regarding #5, just think of all the exercise you got. It probably extended your life. You should look up Fay and thank her.

    • Thank you for visiting….I appreciate your company. If Fay was throwing rocks at me at age 10 then God knows what she would heave at me now if she discovered all my bad habits.
      Actually I went back there and looked her up when I was 20. She was very attractive and working in a supermarket but I was so socially inept that I didn’t even ask her out to discuss old times…..and the meaning of the stone-throwing.

      Another lost opportunity.

  5. LOL @ 10. At the end of a “Ten Day Intensive Swimming Program” I was presented with a little card that read “Congratulations! Emjay can swim 1 yard” . I absolutely hated being in the water, thought I’d die if I put my head under it and probably only got that “1 yard” because my parents had paid money for the program! In my 40’s I paid for “Adult” swimming lessons and discovered that I still hated it but because they were my dollars this time I persevered until I could do an entire length of the pool. Once that was achieved I gave it up.

    • Thanks for your story Emjay. I was beginning to think that I was the only adult in the world who hated swimming…..I eventually learned how to flap limbs around sufficiently to save my life, a skill which I needed on a few occasions in PNG, but to this day I will not voluntarily put my head under water. It just seems an unnatural act.

  6. Thanks for the deep insights into your soul, GOF. Or should that be “sole”? Whatever, you sound like a man who’s happy with your lot in life, and that’s no mean achievement in this crazy old world. Like you, I can take beer or leave it. Usually I take it…

    • Thanks Snowy. You’re right, I am really happy with my world and suspect you’ve reached a similar place in your life. I’ll have a beer for you after I buy the next lot at Christmas…….visitors, including a daughter, have already been and cleaned out the carton I bought last Xmas.

  7. “Castlemaine Municipal pool.”

    Interesting. I suppose that’s why you couldn’t give a XXXX for swimming, then? Is that one pool where you don’t mind drinking the water? Oh, hang on – scratch that!

    As to the invitation to answer the same questions; You. Don’t. Want. To. Know. 😀

    • I really don’t have any pleasant memories about swimming pools I was forced to attend when I was a kid.

      “As to the invitation to answer the same questions; You. Don’t. Want. To. Know”

      Oh. Yes. I. Do.

      • Oh. No. You. Don’t!! 😀

        • 🙂

          I can see an excellent opportunity here Simon for us to set a world record for the number of comments ever posted on a blog, but let me defer to your better judgement and suggest that I don’t want to know.

          But I really do. 🙂

          • You shouldn’t believe the hype! It’s really not that interesting. My earliest memory of big news is the Falklands War so, unlike your good self, I’m somewhat lacking in the rich store of fascinating anecdotes department as the ’80s were otherwise a bit bland at my end apart from the miner’s strike and rampant Thatcherism! Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, given the firm grip that needed taking at the time.

            • Yes, we’ve all witnessed great changes in our world during the last 30 years, and we all have stories to tell…..and the stories of the man in the street (or servicing drilling rigs) are just as important as those of Prime Ministers and Presidents.

              • And even the stories of surveyors, too, eh…?!!! 😉 Mind you, yours seem far more interesting than mine. The view from the porthole can get a bit monotonous, after all! And my only experience of jungle is flying over it. Your account of building micro hydroelectric plants far from the beaten track let alone a road accessible to a wholesalers delivery truck, for example, was a fascinating insight into ingenuity, practicality and determination.

                • Flying over jungle has many similarities to flying over the ocean. There is another world lying beneath both. I’m happy exploring the jungle world, you…the underwater world. Sure beats being cooped up in an office in smog every day.

      • Swimming’s a bit of a given in my line of work. Every four years I am obliged to attend a training centre strap into and practice swimming out of a sinking upside-down helicopter.

        I also have to swim the length of the pool to reach then right and climb into a 15-man inflatable liferaft. Which is not easy in a survival suit and lifejacket! With a beer-gut beneath it…

        Then there’s this sort of thing:-


        • “Swimming’s a bit of a given in my line of work. ”
          Understatement of the year Simon. 🙂

          Those videos scare the hell outta me. My head always remains ABOVE water, but I absolutely admire your skills and courage.

          • All good fun in training. I wouldn’t fancy the heli escape for real – although I was riding a Super Puma when one of it’s engines gave an, er, cough and the pilot dumped the heli on a passing oil platform whilst it got sorted out. Even though he could have carried on quite happily on one. Luckily, my two abandonments were relatively easy – nice sunny day with another ship to get ferried over to for one and was in port for the other one that was in a hurricane-force gale. Dunno about brave – I’m under no illusions whatsoever about my ability to run away very quickly, screaming like a girl! You’d be surprised just how quickly this bulk can move given proper motivation! 😀

            • Yep, there will be an interesting autobiography to be written by you one day. Choppers are fascinating pieces of equipment….just a pity that someone expected them to fly in the air, an occupation for which they are so obviously unsuited. 😉

              • Officially the world’s most dangerous form of mechanical transportation. Which is a slight duality, since in my line we’re trained what to do when it all goes Pete Tong, all the windows come out, everyone has a bright yellow survival suit, a lifejacket, a locator beacon and an Air Pocket. Unlike the average commercial airliner. Heli’s glide better, too. And have flotation bags. I still prefer to walk on and walk off, though, before being taxi’d to an airport! Mind you, can’t but not admire the guy that put his widebody down in the river in New York and got everyone out. Now THAT’S an anecdote!!

                • Yep Captain Sully’s river landing was the most incredible axample of airmanship. I’ve also just read the book by the captain of the Qantas airbus whose engine exploded after departure from Singapore a couple of years ago. Getting that injured bird back onto terra firma without loss of life was another extraordinarily example of airmanship.

                  • Yeah – those guys and gals are a breed apart; some really sound, skilled, ice-water-for-blood types. One of ’em dumped a 777 on the runway at Heathrow a couple of years ago – no fire, no cartwheels, one or two minor cuts and bruises and a big insurance claim and that was it. It could have been any other landing with one ever so minor difference; the wheels were still inside the fuselage.

                    That Qantas guy must have had a fun day out. I mean, it’s not every day that a passenger says, “Excuse me, miss – the wing appears to be on fire in some small way,” thus prompting a dash for the interphone. That was the A380, wasn’t it? There’s been all sorts of problems with them going bang, mainly it seems to do with a poorly-designed electrical component or two. Last bulletin I half-heard was talking about some battery or other being a bit iffy. Just goes to show that even with all this CAD, paperless design and virtual prototyping there’s still margin for error.

                    • It was the A380. You would love reading the book by Capt Richard de Crespigny about the 4 hours the crew spent addressing the catastrophic failure of so many onboard systems after the engine explosion, before safely returning to earth.

                      Had he not been so well trained and instead become overwhelmed by the problems instead of concentrating on ‘flying the aeroplane’ the outcome would have been very different. Despite questions raised over his handling of the event I think he is just as much a hero as Capt ‘Sully’.

                    • [In reply to GOF below – assuming it posts the reply to his reply by using my reply below my reply and not his]. P.S I have been awake for 37 hours and have also been to the pub since getting home from the boat so bear with me… 😉

                      I shall have to look that up and find a copy. My recollection comes from the radio bulletins, whereby they talked to a Brit who claimed to be the one to raise the alarm (I imagine there were plenty of those going off in the cockpit already) when he collared a “trolley dolly” and asked if there should be flames and smoke visible through the window. Whatever the eye-witness accounts, it goes without saying that these men – and women! – who can keep it together when there’s all sorts of lights and noise and chaos going on and bring home, if not the bacon, then certainly the meat with a taciturn coolness and professionalism when the likes of thee and me would be flapping big style and doing the Team America secret signal deserve every plaudit, even though most of them would say, “Just doin’ my job; thanks but go away.” What annoys me is when some board of inquiry pillories a guy on a technicality having lost sight of the bigger picture in pursuit of a) someone to blame and/or b) some minor technical regulatory point when, whilst there may be a few fatalities in the ground, the majority of those involved can thank whomever that they are still breathing because of the decisions he made for the greater good of the greater number. When did we go from patting people on the back for doing their best in very bad circumstances to suing/prosecuting someone – anyone – for what boils down to a genuine misfortune; an accident? And how do we stop it? I can remember what seems a golden age when lawyers were people you paid to help you buy a house or because you’d been arrested and nothing more so I’m sure you can (not to put too finer point on it!)?!?

                      Urm, maybe I should get my own blog to rant on…?!! 😀 That said, since stumbling upon your goldmine of witty insight and historical reference I find our exchanges most stimulating, informative and entertaining.

  8. Interesting, I didn’t know 90% of this. Shows how much attention I’ve been paying.

    • I had to dredge deep into the memory banks for some of this stuff Inga…..and with apologies for the repetitious stuff and for plagiarising your previous ‘long toes’ composition……but I couldn’t improve upon literary perfection. 🙂

    • Sounds like me at my Dad’s funeral. Mum refused to turn up but a whole bunch of other folk did and I learned a whole heap more about him.

  9. Unfortunately the sexist chiffon ceiling didn’t end in the 60s mate. It’s still very much alive and kicing. In fact, it’s that very abomination that has held me back from my dream career as a model, style guru and general all-round fashionista. My ‘friends’ like to pretend that my complete lack of style, sophistication and possession of a face like a pneumatic drill’s gone postal on a pigs arse are what’s holding me back. But I think they’re just making excuses. It’s that sexist chiffon ceiling.

    • Yes, the bloody chiffon ceiling. I’m glad someone else appreciates the utter misery and frustration this obstacle caused to men like you and me Lance who obviously had all the necessary attributes to succeed in fields such as catwalk and lingerie modelling, and operating deportment and finishing schools for rich young women.
      Despite all the years, nothing much has changed. I’ll bet if I tried again tomorrow, the fashion world would once again reject me like it did in the 1960’s.

      Bloody chiffon ceiling! 😦

  10. Damn it, GOF. I’m truly sorry you’ve sussed that I’ve been feigning interest all these years for comments on my blog…

    In other news, (wot?) I’ve finally discovered why I NEVER passed swimming lessons in the community pool (25 mi from our home, it no longer exists — all the better for me).

    My arms were and still are too short.

    • I think you probably know the sort of “feigning interest” people I refer to Lily. I should diplomatically say no more.

      Maybe you could have passed swimming lessons on a hot summer day when the water level in the pool was lower because of evaporation? 🙂

      I just hated enforced swimming lessons….so much so that when Inga drove me back to my old home town 2 years ago I asked her to take me to have a look at the pool where all the misery occurred.

      • I had no idea the pool had closed on my end til maybe 2 years ago? Brother and I were tooling around the old neighborhood (meaning within an hour drive) and decided to go see what state it was in: it had been FILLED IN!

        • Good. One less pool means less terror for me. 🙂
          Only jokin’….I think it’s an essential survival skill for kids to be taught to swim at the earliest possible age.

          • I believe strongly in it. The Ozarks are FULL of rivers, creeks, springs, ponds (we had 3 at one time, filled one in and only have 2 now — barely since the past 10 years of drought has them down 10 feet!).

            • Australia too….fortunately we’ve had an active learn-to-swim campaign for infants/kids operating for the last 30 years driven by an ex-Olympic swimming coach which has reduced the number of drowning deaths.

  11. Very interesting!
    I am primarily right-handed, but I am quite ambidextrous. I used to figure-skate left-handed because that just felt so much more natural to me.

    • Being truly ambidextrous is a gift. I follow cricket and Aussie rules football and it is inspiring to see cricketers throwing the ball with equal competence using either hand or footballers kicking with either foot. Perfectly efficient use of the body.

  12. Pingback: meme slut: GOF made me do it « We All Shine On

  13. You’re a fascinating guy, GOF. I loved those stories. For some reason the one that stuck out for me was the swearing. I remember the first time I was caught doing so, my mom underreacted fortunately, so I practiced often.

    I have to tell you though, I would pay good money for a complete story about your friend Ik in the miner’s cottage. How imaginative.

    • Thank you Amelie. Anyone who has lived for this length of time would have interesting stories to tell. I got the ‘washing out mouth with soap’ treatment from Mum the first time I tried swearing at home.

      My older cousin keeps reminding me of my imaginary friends story. There was another friend too but I’ve forgotten his name…….Inga drove me past Ik’s little house a couple of years ago….still there after all these years. Great memories.

  14. Most insightful GOF. Many times you have sent me down memory lane and inspired me to blog about a memory.

    I thank you for that and the laughs too of course.

    • Thanks Peter. I quite enjoy the exercise of delving into the past to find answers to these quizzes. Look forward to you doing the same….it makes for interesting reading.


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