Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lies, Lies, Lies

It doesn’t take the team from CSI Miami to work out that things have been a bit quiet of late, not only here on DonkeyBlog, but all over the blogosphere. I’m not gonna be apologising for all you other slackers at this time, but for mine, please understand that I have been suitably engaged in a great maelstrom of untruths which have been draining me of all the late-night energy I require in order to release the Demon Donkey of a night time.

Y’see, my time at Saving the World HQ is fast approaching its end, and so I have been engaged in that great pursuit of lies, yarns, slander and hearsay known as job applications, which takes considerably more effort and angst than the usual collection of lies, yarns, slander and hearsay that one commits to the page when developing posts for the Blog.

So, after spending sordid late nights seducing my new, sultry companions, such as Terms of Reference (or “TOR”, as I affectionately call her), Key Responsibilities, Desirable Attributes and Core Qualifications, there’re really no ‘porkies’ left in the bag with which to lay down an appropriate story about how Donkey’s most recent wander through a Delhi subway resulted in him attending a swanky, high-society party in Delhi’s most exclusive suburb at which he was hit upon by Ashley Judd.

So I’m really sorry about that, but next week I’ll be in Pakistan managing peace talks between the US and the Taliban Secret Command, and in the quiet hours, after negotiating for village workers’ rights with the WTO, I’ll see what I can throw together.

The important thing is that I still want you to drop by; perhaps, for the newcomers, browse around and enjoy a bit of Donkey Gold, and for everyone else, please leave your thoughts, insults or discussion topics in the comments box … or at least just have fun.

What can I say? Pic: Google images.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jungle Fever

DISCLAIMER: The Crack Team over at the Sternberg Think Tank have been hard at it with the graphs, projections and international forecasts, and have come up with yet another writing assignment for Bloggers everywhere. The drill this time is as follows;

RENEWAL..just make an emotional statement. Have something to say. Reach into the creative pool and bring forth something inspired or something to inspire. And do it all with a limit of one thousand words.

So I’ve had a stab, let’s see how we go…


I look in the mirror, and I do not see the man I once was; the man who walked the dusty streets or muddy bush tracks, who waved to his people, and stopped to discuss the heat, the rain or the sinister, nocturnal movements of foreign soldiers as they moved through the jungle each evening, sure in themselves that they went undetected, and completely oblivious that the women’s’ gossip sped hours ahead of them.

In those days, not all that long ago, I was a huge man. My chest was like a gigantic wine barrel, my arms like the knotty bows of the great pulu trees which shaded us from the intense midday heat, and like that bright, white spirit who was worshipped by the jungle folk, back in those days, my smile was intensely radiant. It was not a smile that was only lips and teeth, back in those days, my smile was also bright, sparkling eyes; it was a great, glistening meadow of forehead; a raucous, convivial laugh; a spine shattering slap on the back. Back then, my smile was bigger than the ocean … bigger than love itself. Back then, I was a great man.

What has happened to that great man? When did he die … and why? Who … what killed him? For he is surely dead. In this filthy mirror, inside this cold, impersonal concrete prison, the man before me is not big. He is tiny, stooped … he is disgusting. The skin hangs from his puny limbs like soaking laundry, and his flabby breasts droop from protruding ribs. His eyes are sunken, and his lips have retracted into thin, humourless membranes, stretched tight across a prominent jaw. It couldn’t be the same man, could it? This could not possibly be the same, great man of the jungle. Such a change could not occur in only one short year. It must be another man.

But with the final, angry flicker of flame left in my horrible, hunger-distended belly, I know that it is me. A year of imprisonment has done this … a year of torture, equally successful in its ability to kill, as to keep me alive in order to prolong my suffering. This is what has made me this way … this is what has turned me from the massive, powerful being of a year ago, into this hideous, pitiful creature. I know what has made me like this … and as that internal flame begins to kindle slightly, I have to admit that I know who has done this … it was me.

Yes, I have done this to myself. It was I, with a drive fuelled by na├»ve idealism, and stoked with raw arrogance, who left the jungle for this harsh, inhuman existence. It was I who told my people that I was leaving to contribute to a greater good, and it was I who allowed myself to be captured and imprisoned, not in a cell of stone and steel – these can be breeched. From those cells, a man can escape; can steal back his freedom with brute force and cunning. No, my prison is far more impenetrable, because my prison remains with me, wherever I go. It cannot be left behind or outrun. My prison is a prison constructed of my own lies.

And it has been in this hall of horrors that I have dwelt for this year past; this eternity. With brutal irony, I realise that my captor and torturer is paid and fed by my own self-loathing and disgust, and not surprisingly, the weaker I become, the stronger and keener his lash.

I am what I have become, because I have denied what I once was. I am a scourge; an apostate. I have succeeded in convincing those around me that I am both content with, and proud of my decisions, but I have not been able to hide the truth from myself. With the passing of each day, my lie has eaten me away … my muscles, my smile, my energy, my love. I began to mirror my surroundings; I became a horrid, angry, disgusting thing. I turned against those for whom I was once a champion, and as surely as the deadly poison flowing through me, I began to waste away.

“But it is for the best”, I told myself. “It is temporary, and once my task is complete, I will return to the wonderful place - the wonderful person - I once was.

But as I look in this mirror now, I am starting to forget. Was that great man real? Was he really me? Or am I simply dreaming about someone I once read about? That fire; that agony in my cold heart is scorching me now … it is telling me what I know to be true. I must break free from this prison if I am going to escape this excruciating death.

The lies must stop! I must be true to myself. I must return to myself.

I did it today; a lie was swatted from the sky in full flight like a hapless parasite. Many more will follow. Already I notice some colour in those thin, tight lips, and my chest is filling with deep, oxygen-filled breaths, not the rapid, shallow undulations of yesterday. My skin is ripening and my stoop is reducing.

My captor has not left me. He is a wily old wolf, who, with the scent of blood having been so recently before him, will dog my trail back towards the jungle. He will do all he can to block my way, but as I get closer to that lush homeland, I will grow larger and more robust. Soon I will outrun him, and as I approach that living canopy, my friends will hear my laughter … they will remember and they will come to the rescue.

They will shout, “Big fala man, hem arrive finis!” - The Big Man has returned.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tagged Schmagged!

Okay, Sabrina has tagged me … I’m not really sure how these things are supposed to work, so maybe that’s weird thing number one – I have been blogging for 10 months and I don’t even know what a tag or a meme is! But there’s plenty more weird, so let’s get serious about it … six things about myself that are weird.

1. Scaredy Cat!

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been scared of the dark – now that I’m older, I can tolerate the darkness, but you can bet your life that all cupboards are jammed closed, checked and re-checked before I turn out the light. And Gawd forbid that the shifting house should cause a floorboard or cupboard door to creak open a little during the night. This results in my lying awake in cold dread for hours, lying stock-still so that the attacker can’t see me, and keeping my back to the offending cupboard (because obviously the attacker can’t get me if I can’t see them – got it?). And before you go laughing at me and calling me a sook, I’m here to tell you that Monsters Inc. wasn’t real, people! It was an animated feature for children and families. Closet-dwelling monsters are not fluffy, humorous little tykes – they are vicious, ruthless killers from the demon-depths, who’ll slay you with their blood-stained teeth and dagger-like claws as soon as you look at ‘em!

2. Reds Under the Bed.

I’m a social commie. What that means is that I tend to regularly put myself out, or disadvantage myself, in order to facilitate what I see as the greater good in a social situation. So, for example, I believe in everyone shouting during multiple rounds of drinks - I buy a round for everyone, and in return I expect someone else to buy a round etc etc. I have a firm belief that this is the honourable way to go, and facilitates a pleasant evening or outing. There are two problems with this; a) it’s a very Australian custom, and rarely adhered to by our international brothers and sisters, and b) I only drink beer, while everyone else drinks wine, spirits and/or liqueurs. The result is that I often spend a bomb on any given night out, because I’ve had to shout extra, un-reciprocated rounds and I’ve had to buy all the top-shelf grog. Ofcourse, I could refuse to buy the drinks, or mention to people that it’s their shout, but I live in vain hope that people will perform the greater good by their fellow, thirst man (or Donkey).

Another example of this is my being dragged along, without protest, to the most boring, hard-core dance clubs by my friends, where I know drinking would cost me a fortune (I don’t do ecstasy) and where the style of music doesn’t quite do it for me … but I go … and spend a fortune … for the greater social good. Commie!

3. Repressed, Catholic and Manga.

I love Manga! My parents were pretty strict and didn’t place much stock in spending money on comic books and stuff like that, so I came to learn about Manga quite late in life. I love it so much; the intricate stories, the action, the art, the imaginative ideas. But I am too scared to buy it for fear that Mrs Donkey will see the pictures and think I’m into some quirky form of deviant pornography.

4. Metrosexual Donkey?
I can’t make friends with boys anymore. I have lots of male friends from when I went to school (which is kinda lucky ‘cause I went to an all-boys school – now THAT’S what I call weird!), but as I get older, I seem to only be able to make friends with women. This is fine with me, as I don’t really have much substance to add to a four-hour conversation about football, but it gets a bit touch-and-go when I return home from conferences or field missions, and I relay to Mrs Donkey what I have been up to during the off hours, it’s always, “Mayumi and I went out drinking”, or “Molly and I went out for dinner”, or “Cecilia was great fun” or “Jennifer went off in the sack” … orrr hang on, not that last one. But you can see the difficulty one has when one is unable to create and maintain strong, non-homoerotic, sport- and porn-dominated relationships with blokes.

5. My Own Private Idaho

I’m a friggin’ clean freak! I’m obsessed with it. All week I look forward to the weekend, when I can kick back on the couch to read a book, or sit in the sun to think up stoopid bits of crud to throw onto my Blog, but do you reckon I can when there’s work to be done? If there are breakfast dishes still sitting in the sink, or a rubbish bag to be taken outside, or a dripping tap to be fixed, or a floor to be swept, or plants to be watered … whatever. If there’s anything to be done, I’m all ”scrub my little Dutch boy, scrub!” until it’s all done, and then, at about 6.30pm on Sunday afternoon, I get to relax for ten minutes … just before it’s time to get ready to go out.

6. International Man of Mystery

Hardly international … and let’s face it, barely a man! But I have, for most of my adult life, led very separate identities, depending on what particular activity or with which particular group I was involved. From growing up in a rather privileged home and school, to studying at uni, to working both as a labourer and in a pub, to working with homeless people, indigenous communities and children with disabilities, to saving the world … and now to Blogging. People I know and love rarely know that while I’m doing one, I have another thing going on where I am interacting and relating with completely different people – and doing it more or less with ease (admittedly after a shaky start). Usually someone in this situation would be quite withdrawn, and would try to keep a low profile, but in each of the examples above, I revel in being quite the opposite – I’m loud, fun*, funny*, inclusive, socially coercive, and … loving, I guess.

So there it is. I’m a timid, cowering fool, ludicrously socially unassertive, sexually and literarily repressed, unable to relate to peers of my own sex, and I suffer from both obsessive-compulsive and multiple personality disorders. Bet you never guessed, hey?

I’m supposed to now tag six others to tell us six weird things about themselves, and as Sabrina is one of my only five readers, this could be a bit tough … let’s see.

The Man at the Pub, I know we’re only recently dating, but fancy a go? How ‘bout you, Pomgirl … you Lucy, please? J, you’ll be up for it, No? And The Editor, I’m sure you’ve got a whole plethora of weird stuff to tell us about. Gawd, I don’t know any others, and I reckon at least two of you will refuse … I don’t suppose you’d help me out, Cakey?

* Self assessment only - rarely acknowledged by others.