“Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.” ― said President Herbert Hoover nearly a century ago. It was if he was addressing his present day successor Donald Trump’s inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Category archive: Humour
Before television, families gathered each night around the essential piece of lounge furniture – a stylish floor level radio console (perhaps branded Atwater Kent or Gulbransen) – or faced the ornate mantle model (Philco), waiting with expectation for the crackling radio valves to warm up.
At first they nodded and smiled as usual on our daily walks. Nothing unusual there, it’s our neighbourhood.
But then the pandemic arrived and didn’t leave. For a few days we were confused and offered the same greetings, though we all knew nothing would ever be the same.
Bushfires still burn in Oz; Brexit vexited the Brits, and in America a new King was crowned by Republican Senators. You could sense an uprising to the elevation of President Donald to King Donald. Tears flowed and jeers echoed on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of television. These were passionate issues and sometimes you had to pause to wonder who, or what, lay behind them.
But no worries, because Down Under the Aussies showed that their sense of humour couldn’t be extinguished….
He boarded the outbound 737 from Auckland looking out of place and time.
He was a Buddhist monk, replete with flowing brown robes, practical sandals and on his left wrist, corded bangles. Not a sober sort, he joked with other passengers as he settled into his seat. One asked him what religion he belonged to. A pause.
Like many other New Zealanders of my age, I was weaned on innumerable cinema and television versions of American high school experiences; films such as Grease, Fame, Mean Girls, Donnie Darko, and TV programmes such as Freaks and Geeks, Happy Days, Beverly Hills 90210 and Room 222. There is also a long-established sub-genre in the school reunion movie, with films like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Peggy Sue Got Married, Grosse Point Blank and Class Reunion spinning tales of rekindled lusts, long delayed revenge enacted, and various levels of disappointment.
‘Have a beer’, said a friend recently. ‘No thanks, juice will be fine’, I replied. Remembering me as a keen beer drinker, he looked bemused. ‘I’ve become a bit of a wowser, these days. Grandma would be proud of me.’
On another recent occasion, I was offered a glass of wine by one of my quiz night teammates. All the other members were imbibing. ‘No thanks. lemon, lime and bitters, will be fine. I don’t touch the stuff these days. Grandma would be proud of me.’
‘What you mean – your grandma would be proud of you?’ one asked. And so began my tale.