An Open Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

I noticed this week Taylor Swift celebrated your performance in her personal life. The girl gives you a simple shout-out and the whole internet responds like Kim Jong-un simultaneously finding out that this week's doughnuts have run-out and that flat-tops haven't been cool since '91.

Granted, on a global level, this hasn't been the greatest year for humanity. Trump took office, global terror events become a monthly occurrence, news continually broke of abuse and inequality, North Korea hit puberty and Tom Cruise continued to release films.

That is just a year, is it not? Which recent year hasn't had its share of scandal, despair, fear and horrible computer music released to help humans dance like monkeys for imaginary ego-bananas? I am sure that even during the war and depression years at least a handful of people were sitting down with a whisky or cup of tea on December 31st and looking back thinking "Yeah. Not bad!" 

So once again Tay-Tay proves that the haters are going to hate, hate, hate as the rest of us look towards 2018 and shake off the year that has been.

I am at peace with you 2017.

We didn't quite scale the heights that the list in my notes app on my phone had hoped for. But we didn't do too bad either. Sure - I didn't finish the feature script, enter Tropfest, commit to fortnightly date nights or start the cold brew business, but you know...kids and work and life admin. 

I will always remember you for our ten year wedding anniversary trip to the Four H's (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An and Hong Kong). I will also remember you as the year I got adult about our financial situation dotting the I's of investments and crossing the T for total and permanent disability insurance (among others). You were the year a reputable University let me teach and decent web publication found my written words coherent and interesting enough to publish them a bunch of times. I managed to ride a Gran Fondo and I even tried stand up paddleboarding. Sure I didn't quite nail the weekly new recipe but I did start reading 'Infinite Jest'. If I have finished it by 2027 I will be doing well.

You have been an OK year but I acknowledge that many others elsewhere haven't seen you that way. Theirs isn't the middle class, western white world that I inhabit. I don't know why I get to live this reality and others don't. I don't know why something like a Taylor Swift has to exist in the world either. I don't know if 2017 will end up being a relatively quiet, peaceful and prosperous year compared to the ones ahead. I do know that tomorrow we say our goodbyes. Your cousin will be along to take over and all I can do is make the best of what they have to offer. Anything else would be a rude waste.

Farewell 2017. Maybe in some distant future, a primary school will dig you up in the form of a time capsule and I'll be there looking over your corpse with nostalgia.

Until then,

Lach

 

An Open Letter to Gary Ablett Jnr

Dear AFL star Gary Ablett,

I write to you regarding your remuneration for the 2018 AFL season, in which you intend to play with the Geelong Football Club.

It’s an exciting and romantic prospect. A bit like your Mum and Dad getting back together after a divorce. One day you realise that the tanned Argentinian Tennis coach (Gold Coast in this analogy, and yes, you are Mum) wasn't the love, set, match you’d thought it’d be, compared to the strong, familiar arms of Dad (Geelong).

Please understand I am in no one way affiliated with the club, I’m not even a paid member. I am just a keen supporter who drives past Kardinia Park each day, dreaming dreams and pontificating schemes.

My biggest concern is this thing may not happen for financial reasons. So I propose to outline a case on why you should play for free. If you agree, this will allow Dad to pay out the Tennis Coach your share of the house you built together…confused? 

What I’m suggesting is Geelong pays out your 2018 Gold Coast contract in cash, fruit from Frank Costa or the tears of Joel Selwood (which are so rare they are worth more than BitCoin) or a combination of all three, and you come play with us for free. Good idea right?

Here are some compelling reasons why playing for Geelong is worth doing for nothing.

Geelong is cool now. Our coffee is off the hook, our restaurants are now on lists and we even have a brewery now so people with beards to work. My mate Mike opened a barbers shop and he’s got tattoos! Not that you’d need his services, but he has assured me if you come back, Get Shorty’s will start offering head polishes. 

I know you are a man of God, so we have you covered there. My church will put you up and even offer you the comfort of an upgraded massage physiotherapy chair to aid recovery. Should you have a Sunday game, we’ll be happy to move a service to match your schedule.

Your friend Zac Smith is down at the club. Who wouldn’t want to work with their good mate? Personally, I wouldn't - my mate Mick is the only person I know who is taller than me so if he were around my office, I wouldn't have that strange tallest-person-in-the-room-power I’ve become so used to.

In regards to your number, we have a few options. Cam Guthrie feels he has made the number 29 his own and won't give it up. He feels the same way about his hair though. Nakia Cockatoo could move down a step to Andrew Mackie’s vacated number 4 giving you access to Senior’s number. But if you're like me, you don't want to dress too much like your Dad so can I suggest we give 00. It’s unique. Plus if you get mud flecks in the middle of each zero it would look like intimidating eyes.

Post footy, your employment prospects are looking better down here than when your old man and Billy Brownless were kicking around. Our major employers are now the likes of Cotton On Group. I know Joel has a sweet gig out there as an ‘Ambassador’ so I’m sure they could hook you up as Visual Merchandiser and throw you a few free pairs of carrot jeans.

Housing is much more affordable down here compared to the major cities, but a man of your means could afford anything along the Great Ocean Road. You could afford to buy the entire great ocean and its associated road if you wanted! Living down there seems to have worked for Danger. He may not like someone getting in on that football-recluse-from-the-sand-dunes vibe that he has going on though.

Ford will hook you up with a car too. They still sponsor the Cats. I was thinking something low profile and unsuspecting, so you can get to and from the Aldi carpark without getting noticed. Maybe a Fiesta? Or even better still a Transit, so that you can be designated driver on Taco Tuesdays.

The best reason why you should choose to play for free? Because it would be revolutionary for a player to play AFL in 2018 purely for the love of the game and club. But then maybe that’s the romantic in me. I’m hoping there’s one in you too.

An Open Letter to Book Week

Dear Book Week,

This is to let you know that you and I, as Taylor would say, have now got bad blood.

As celebration weeks go, you are not the worst of them. You are much sexier than the likes of Global Soil Week, World Breastfeeding Week or National Skills Week. Imagine dress-up or parade-based celebrations of those themes!

But, I've noticed my social media feed this week is filled with trophy shots from my peers trying to reconcile some small victory from the farce that your festival creates.

I have seen tiny people take the form of Hungry Caterpillars, grumpy Gruffalos (and what appeared to be a tiny Mark Ruffalo  - not sure if he's released an autobiography or if it would be suitable for kids), some Spots, a hoard of Harry Potters and even a junior Jesus  (I think that kid was home schooled).

This week I have learnt who you truly are. Not a celebration of children and literature, but a cruel challenge placed upon already time-poor, working parents.

As I sit here writing, I have a tension in my stomach that feels like three cats practicing MMA in a pillow slip. It's because I know tomorrow I need to deal with another bout of dress-ups that you ordained.

Let me tell you what life looks like for us this week - three seperate outfits for the daycare kid and one epic book parade costume for the school-aged kid that would make a Mardi Gras participant question a certain mother's over enthusiasm. 

Monday morning was grappling with a Spidergirl (is that even a thing outside of fanboy dreams?) costume, a three-year old and the stress of running late for work without caffeine in my system.

Tuesday was supposed to be a simple. A Miffy the Rabbit getup consisting of a rabbit ears headband and fluffy bunny tail sewn onto a dress and paired with Miffy brand pyjama pants. It all became an issue when I was required to get out the make-up kit for the face painting. Except for that brief stint as a goth at uni (read a Thursday night trip to the supermarket wearing Revlon Colour Stay) I had never used the stuff. I am not sure if the whiskers I drew looked like a bunny or a Cirque Du Soleil version of a zebra.

On Wednesday Wifey was doing the school run for the much-anticipated Book Week parade. The school-aged one had decided to go dressed as an obscure Centaur character from the Beast Quest series. For those that don't know, Beast Quest is a series of about 12,068 books written for young boys about quests, swords, strange beasts and weird older men who have an thing for spell casting and/or breaking. It's very popular with the kids. I am just happy my six year old is reading and not taking GBH at some rave.

Herein lies the true essence of Book Week. Making already over-worked, guilt-ridden and time-poor parents feel even more inadequate because they can't hand stitch an owl mask from Labradoodle hair and apply textured torso body paint at 7am in the morning, just to subtlety state to judgemental parental peers that your child's literary exposure extends beyond Marvel colouring books and Where's Wally? If only I had a Bitcoin for every Wally I have spotted across this Book Week, I'd be as wealthy as J.K. Rowling.

So tomorrow we face off for the final time, Book Week! The three year old wants to go as Wonder Women. I took her to the library last weekend and borrowed a visual anthology of Wonder Women so that her choice had some depth and authenticity to it. I hadn't been to the library since the late 90s when it was one of the first places to get 'the Google'. I note that you've even managed to infiltrate there. We came across a geriatric children's entertainer wandering between the book shelves singing homespun songs about you on a ukulele. This week makes a people do strange things.

So be warned Book Week... I am onto you. I am all for kids reading more and celebrating books. That cant be a bad thing. I also love the creativity and imagination that is encouraged from dressing up. But do we have to combine them in a way that makes parents sleep deprived and late for work? A new season of Game of Thrones is bad enough. I guess we are just lucky the kids aren't old enough to read George R.R. Martin and asking to go as White Walkers.

Yours,

Lach