There is a day for almost every cause under the sun. All are worthy. To enumerate them would be to test the readers’ patience and take up too much space. Suffice to say there is no day devoted to shopping trolleys or carts as they are sometimes known. Yet they are abused and neglected as much as other members of society. To claim that they are inanimate misses the mark. Abandoned in paddocks, dumped in creek beds or left sullen-faced on street corners, trolleys are doing it tough. Yet they serve us well, with patience and fortitude. It is with this thought that I propose a National Trolley Day. I hope many of you are of the same mind.
The bus was just pulling away as I reached the bus stop. It was a 100 degree day and there was no bus shelter to wait under till the next bus came in twenty minutes. “Hey!” I yelled to the driver. Failing to get his attention I ran beside the bus and rapped on the driver’s door. “Hey!” I yelled. “Hey!!” He stopped the bus. “What’s wrong with you, man? You wanna smash the window or something? The last guy who did that broke the window and I had to fill out an incident report.” It was an over-reaction. It was a rap. Not a pounding. Nothing to get excited about. He looked daggers at me as I climbed on the bus. Anyhow he got his revenge. The bus wasn’t even air-conditioned!
There were only two left. I should have paid more attention. I should have noticed the fault line running down the centre and done something about it but instead I chose to ignore it. Only when I dunked the biscuit, my special Digestive in the morning, I was forced to pay attention. The result was calamitous. It broke in two and sunk into my coffee, a slushy mess. The day did not augur well.
One of the most consistent pieces of advice you will get regarding writing is to never to show your story to a spouse or close relative. They will either applaud it regardless or give a damning critique in the belief it is better to be cruel than kind.
I show my latest story to Bev via email. Bev is not my spouse but we have been going together for a considerable time.
“It is too macabre for my liking,” she messages me. “I like your sunnier stories better. They’re more fun.”
What can you say to that?
I defend myself, messaging back, “Well, that is how I had to write the story. I do have a macabre side too.”
There is a pause of some ten minutes. Then a message comes through.
“I wasn’t picking holes in it,” she says. “It didn’t suit my mood. That’s all. I’m sure it’s a fine story. Phone if you like.”
We chat amicably not mentioning the elephant in the room.
I have another story in draft form. Should I show Bev?
I check for its ‘fun quotient’.
A colleague of mine recently had two poems published in a Random House anthology of Australian poems. He was chuffed. I noticed him flicking through the book. I gave him some time then asked him what he thought of the poems? This is what he said, in verse of course:
“Oh dear”, the poet said with a grandiose moan.
“I can’t find any poems here half as good as my own.”
James Thurber’s ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ takes less than ten minutes to read. Yet watching it for the first time on cable it took more than 50 minutes for anything interesting to happen — and it’s a 1hr 50 min film! How could the scriptwriters and producers get it so wrong? I’m sorry, I’m not going to watch any more. I feel so disrespected as a viewer that my charity towards the film is zero! And the cheat of it all !! If you’ve watched the trailers of the film, all the action is in the second half of the film. I’m sorry. I’m fed up. How with all the millions of dollars at their disposal could anyone stuff up such a succinct story ???
There ought to be a short story called ‘The Ladder’. People get saved from burning buildings by firemen climbing ladders; cats are rescued from tall trees via ladders; men and a few women climb them to paint and clear out gutters; Jack and the giant climbed a sort of ladder to get to that castle in the sky; men also fall from ladders, sometimes fatally. My friend died last week falling from a ladder. I guess crimes including murder can be carried out by people climbing ladders with ill intent. There ought to be a short story called ‘The Ladder’.