Monday, August 09, 2010

Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!

Mrs Donkey's currently on the Indian subcontinent enjoying her fill of the leering eye and twitching moustache – ah yes, the South Asian male; small in stature, but large in virility!

Meanwhile, I'm holding the fort and attending to the (occasionally, unreasonably high) demands of Little Hambones. He's got this new, incredibly hilarious breakfast, lunch and dinner schtick goin'-on which sees projectile mush, toast, fruit and milk bouncing off the walls, table and floor to the soundtrack of hysterical infantile belly-laughs.

More and more, with each passing day, the house's interior resembles the blood-stained hands of Lady Macbeth; it seems no matter how well I scrub at the soiled surfaces, when I turn my back they are immediately smeared with a replacement coat of partly masticated foodstuffs.

So after a week of this, I figure the only way to manage the edible air traffic control in the dining area is to brave the chill and get the hell out.

Fortunately, the sanitary, public thoroughfares of the developed world are conducive to the recreational and safety requirements of young families, and there is a myriad of parks and public spaces to shoot for within a ten minute walk from Donkey HQ.

This was not the case for us a couple of months ago, when we were living in Samoa. There, the competing demands of poverty reduction, health care and a selective, user-pays education system selfishly consume government attention and public spending to the detriment of safe, public play equipment, leaving Hambones with little more to enjoy in his recreation time than a plastic bottle full of rice to shake, shake, shake.

But here in the land of milk and honey, where there is just too much money floating around to know what to do with (Heaven forbid that we'd ever put it towards a public health system!), one not only has a myriad of play options to choose from, but you can be sure that each one has a range of equipment that meets as many safety standards as it has won international industrial design awards. Hang the expense! - it's the safety ratings that are all important, especially given that the equipment is provided by local governments hell-bent on re-election and the avoidance of childhood injury compensation payouts. These multi-coloured, plastic pleasure palaces are so safe that you won't find a right-angle within 50 metres of them!

What you will find, however, are truly unique constructions erected on small green patches dotted across the urban landscape, and these are great for kids in most respects, except that they are all so incredibly Freudian; each piece of equipment resembles some kind of body part or function. Take that long, purple slide over there [womb], or those pendulous swings [breasts], or that weird, red plastic ring on rusting rollers that squeals when rotated [a giant sphincter after last night's dodgy curry] or that massive, purple and blue rocket [penis] or that dark, red, ominous-looking tunnel...

This is all well and good – I mean, no small child's ever going to notice, right? But it's not so much what the equipment resembles, but what they make some people do that's the problem. Take yesterday morning, for example. Hambones was driving me crazy with the Great Breakfast Tornado, so off we went into the bitter morning in search of a playground on which he could run it all out of his system. As we approached one of our favourite little haunts, the extra litter strewn around the place didn't register with me, as it's not uncommon for a few empty cans of rocket fuel to be discarded by the regular midnight teenage bingers.

So over to the playground we went, and I am just about to put Hambones into his favourite, yellow-swirly-cup-thing which, now that I think about it, looks suspiciously like a toilet bowl. I reached in to remove some paper from its innards when I noticed that the aforementioned litter all over the ground was white ... and brown. Bog roll! ... and ... urgh, Maaaaaaan!

That's right. Someone had taken a massive dump in the yellow-swirly-cup-thing-which-looks-suspiciously-like-a-toilet-bowl. One might immediately suspect the midnight teenage bingers, except that the evidence of toilet paper everywhere suggested that this had been no accident - no unfortunate octogenarian with irritable bowel syndrome accosted by urgent pains while taking a nocturnal constitutional around the park - but rather a pre-meditated act of defecation!

And I'll tell you something else for nothing. It is not easy to stop a curious Little Hambones when he's set his mind to picking-up an unusual-looking piece of litter!

My sharing this little story with you has been inspired by a similar one I read over at Burb Central. Clearly this is not an isolated incident, and yet, there is hardly a peek from the media concerning this most concerning issue. While travelling recently, I was accosted by a hotel cook demanding to know why Melbournians hate Indians enough to want to injure and maim them (he'd been reading all about it in the Indian press) and I have heard that news of late night, alcohol-fuelled violence outside Melbourne's nightclubs has reached the genteel folk of Sacramento, California.

So how is it that the international media can be all over these minority stories and painting them as typically Melbourne, while not one media commentator has even touched-on the out-of-control public pooing escapades occurring en masse during the dark hours across suburban Melbourne? Looking for an election issue to get people interested in State politics? There it is right there - certainly puts a new slant on the term, 'smear campaign'.

Did I not mention that the yellow-swirly-cup-thing looks suspiciously like a toilet bowl? Pic: Hagas

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