Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Category: Humour (page 2 of 5)

Circus, Animal or Human?

At the time, I was an instructional design analyst.  Most people (apart from my ex workmates and a woman I met at a Christmas party (she was one too)) wouldn’t know what that is. An instructional design analyst writes training materials ( or analyses, designs and develops training).

I’m flying into Wellington International Airport and I have to fill out the slip that states my occupation. Unfortunately Instructional Design Analyst had too many letters. I wrote Trainer. Unfortunately I wasn’t specific enough.

As we walk through customs, the officer looks at my card. He then looks at me. He then motions me aside. Luckily for me this was before the TV series Border Security New Zealand, as I later realised. He says,”I just want to have a wee bit of a word with you.” So I innocently stand next to him and he asks me,”What sort of a trainer are you? Circus or animal?” I reply, “Human.”

Circus, Animal or Human?

At the time, I was an instructional design analyst.  Most people (apart from my ex workmates and a woman I met at a Christmas party (she was one too)) wouldn’t know what that is. An instructional design analyst writes training materials ( or analyses, designs and develops training).

I’m flying into Wellington International Airport and I have to fill out the slip that states my occupation. Unfortunately Instructional Design Analyst had too many letters. I wrote Trainer. Unfortunately I wasn’t specific enough.

As we walk through customs, the officer looks at my card. He then looks at me. He then motions me aside. Luckily for me this was before the TV series Border Security New Zealand, as I later realised. He says,”I just want to have a wee bit of a word with you.” So I innocently stand next to him and he asks me,”What sort of a trainer are you? Circus or animal?” I reply, “Human.”

Welcome Back to Melbourne

Another overheard conversation…
This time I’m on the Port Melbourne tram heading into Melbourne. It’s full of people who have just gotten off the latest cruise ship.
Opposite me is an older couple, bags in tow. The gentleman opposite them strikes up a conversation. My first impression is that he must be trainer. Immediately he has the great ability to put people at ease. As he is about to find out!
So the conversation begins.
“Welcome to Melbourne!”
The lady replies, “It’s great to be back.”
He replies, “You used to live here? And you’ve just returned?”
She returns, “Oh no, we’ve lived here for years. We’re just back for the day.”
Then the quiet male half of the couple chimes in, “We’ve just come back to do our washing!”
Of course!

Once A Writer….

Quite possibly the people in this conversation may recognise themselves so apologies (accolades and gratitude actually!) to all in advance.

I’m in the queue with my two or three bags (by then) of fruit and vegetables. I’m not prone to queue rage as I’m second in the queue.

In front of me is a woman with a large basket on the counter. The cashier unpacks and repacks and enters each purchase. Fruit and veges out, a touch of the button and fruit and veges back in. It wasn’t taking that long. I’m in no hurry anyway as it’s a long walk home.

Behind me is a couple, a man and a woman. The man leans forward, and steps past me. He has recognised the woman being served. She’s a long-lost friend and he greets her as such. I’m happy minding my own business and enjoying one of the better moments life can offer.

Then the introductions begin. The woman at the counter is introduced (to the one behind me) as an artist. Then the counter introduction, the woman behind me is introduced as an ex-writer!

I start laughing. That’s too much for me.I say,”I can’t pay that. There’s no such thing as an ex-writer. They’re always in between books!”

 

You Are Never Ever Wearing That T-Shirt Again!

I didn’t think too much about it.  After all every day is casual day in Far North Queensland. Unless you’re overdressed. And wearing the wrong t-shirt.
Besides I was on holiday. I opened the suitcase. I grabbed the first t-shirt I saw. Board shorts and thongs completed the wardrobe.
Though worn, that t-shirt made me feel good. It didn’t make me look good. But I was on holiday. I’m finally starting to relax. On the t-shirt was a well-known picture. It advertised an annual fund raising event in big blue and white letters. In small letters on the top right hand side was the logo of my then wife’s workplace.
How could this be the wrong t-shirt to wear? The T-Shirt
We did a quick stopover in a Cairns shopping centre. We had just exited the supermarket. All of a sudden a woman looked straight at me. Then she stared at the t-shirt. She approached me and began asking questions.
Where did you get the t-shirt? A second hand gift I said. It was true as the year of the fundraising event was long gone.
She asked a few more questions. I focused on answering the questions exactly. Unusually for me I didn’t add any extra detail or rephrase the question. In short I was friendly and unhelpful.
I had a clear intent. It was not to reveal my wife worked for the organisation whose logo I was wearing. After all we were on holiday. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see that she was becoming annoyed. I just hoped the conversation would end in time.
And it did. The final questions were direct. Did I work for that organisation? No. Do you know how to contact them? Actually no. It was true.  I hadn’t rung my wife at work while she was working at Cairns.  That’s it. I’m done. I started to walk away.
But then my wife spoke. She turned out to be more friendly and helpful than me! She introduced herself. She confirmed that she worked for the organisation advertised on my t shirt. I wanted to interrupt and say that we’re on holiday here. I opted not to. I had already said enough.
She really  listened to this person’s concerns.  They were quite trivial.  She ended up giving details of who to call. After the conversation finished, she called ahead and prepared that person for the call. As I said she was both friendly and helpful.
We began to walk out side. Then my wife turned to me. She said, “You are never ever wearing that t-shirt again.”
I said, “Ok.” I took off the t-shirt, turned it inside out and put it back on again. No one noticed. My wife didn’t say anything either.
After all we were in a shopping centre in far North Queensland. By their standards, I was overdressed! Anyway we were now on holiday. And I wanted it to stay that way!

The Government of Gobbledygook

After the week in politics, I realised how much I miss Yes Minister (and Yes Prime Minister too!). I especially miss Sir Humphrey Appleby.

Ostensibly Appleby often spoke in riddles,paradoxes and contradictions. His self articulation was comprised of and constituted obfuscation and circumlocution both written and verbal.1249432_54026452

Yet given the fullness of time, as he would say, it was possible to make sense of what he said. Certainly he made more sense than at times nearly indecipherable academic writing I encountered as a student and the business speak I encountered as a technical writer and trainer. Again in the extended fullness of time, I managed to make sense of both.

Appleby was a master of rhetoric. He knew his content (too well), his purpose (power) and his audience. As a result he often prevailed over Jim Hacker.

Unlike the Government. Here are only a few examples.

We’ve had Matthias Corman say there will be no cuts to the ABC despite Mark Scott’s view. We’ve had Malcolm Turnbull carefully craft words to defend Tony Abbott’s pre-election promises. Without too much effort I could find many more.

Despite what Andrew Bolt says, the Government lacks purpose, has lost connection with its audience and cannot express even simple let alone complex content. As Michelle Grattan points out in this article and also Katherine Murphy‘s comments regarding the ABC and climate change, the government has become inarticulate and incoherent.

In other words, not to put too fine a point on it, we have a government of gobbledygook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life As A Raindrop (The Friendly Snowflake)

On the coffee table in front of me is The Friendly Snowflake by M. Scott Peck (illustrated by Christopher Scott Peck).

Idly I pick it up and flick it open to a random page.

On that page is a passage linking the idea of reincarnation to the water cycle through a snowflake.

Instantly I’m taken back in time, to a Toastmasters meeting.

“Andrew tell me about your life as a raindrop.”

I have two minutes. At that moment two minutes seemed like forever.

Slowly and haltingly I begin.

I’m water vapour. Then I’m cold. Then I’m really water. Then I’m falling and flowing and turning into water vapour again. I could repeat myself but by then two minutes had gone!

I had spoken of my first-person experience of the water cycle. And unwittingly reincarnation.

When the speech is evaluated, it’s all good news. It’s just that no-one can decide what religion I am!

Sex and Vacuuming : A Game of Mutual Selfishness

Kathy Lette’s If Your Wife Doesn’t Want Sex Then Try Doing the Vacuumming article echoes the Annabel Crabb‘s The Wife Drought re having it all and needing a wife.

Like the old expression, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage“, there isn’t much of that anymore.

Yes, unfortunately, I’ve heard this all before.

In the throes of a disintegrating marriage, I turned to reading books many of which made the same recommendations.

The prescribed panacea was that if a man did more housework or spent less time with his mates, marital bliss awaits.

In truth I did step up and I fervently believe that men should (see Having It All). But there’s no guarantee of reciprocation. Not that reciprocation was my motivation.

Unfortunately, the opposite argument is of course is that the woman should do more. As set out by Laura Doyle in her book the Surrendered Wife where women need to step up so the man can step down. Again there’s the implicit guarantee of reciprocation.

These viewpoints seem to treat marriage as some sort of reality show (Wife Swap perhaps?). Marriage is seen as a game where you amass points for doing the right thing, are penalised for doing the wrong thing and receive or forgo prizes. Marriage in this light seen as territorial and transactional with winners and losers.

My real problem with all of this is that both viewpoints are both motivated by the guarantee or expectation of reciprocation. If I do this, I get that and if you do this, you get that.

What that creates is a relationship based on mutual selfishness. Both partners keep score and amass points and expect to be rewarded. The problems occur over keeping track of the points, rewards, penalties and prizes. From my personal experience after arguing over that there’s little energy left for vacuuming or sex.

Nor does it foster much love. Nor create an environment that fosters compassion and generosity.

So what’s left from this? My dull insight is this. Perhaps we could try an unselfish love for oneself and for others for a change? Perhaps we could create an environment of compassion and generosity?

 

 

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

  1. At gym.
  2. Take padlock out of trousers.
  3. Unlock padlock with keys.
  4. Place keys in trousers.
  5. Place trousers in gym locker.
  6. Place rest of gear into gym locker.
  7. Close latch.
  8. Padlock latch.
What could possibly go wrong? I’ve locked the keys in the gym locker. 
  1. Then thought I’ll do session & get staff to cut lock at end.
  2. Chose to go back & try lock don’t know why.
  3. Door opened as it wasn’t latched.

Don’t make either mistake separately let alone together !!

I think some one is trying to tell me something !!

Buy the StegoSaurus

A few weeks ago I visited the Melbourne Scienceworks and was reminded of the following.

Quite a while ago, I was at Questacon (The National Science and Technology Centre).

They were having a dinosaur exhibition which was fantastic as I remember. For all I know it could have inspired Clive Palmers Dinosaur Park. But I’ve wandered off track.
To leave Questacon, we had to pass by the shop. Out the front was a tray table of plastic dinosaur models.

Jurassic II Dinosaurs by Imperial Toys

Jurassic II Dinosaurs by Imperial Toys (Photo credit: Cryptonaut)

A little girl broke free from her parents and started picking up each model.
She would turn them over and looked underneath and put each one back.
Then she found the one she wanted and held it high. She asked her parents ,”Can I have the stegosaurus please?”
She wasn’t even four years old. Of course it was bought for her!!
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