"There are great societies that did not have the
wheel, but there are no societies that
did not tell stories."

---Ursula K. LeGuin

Aussie August: The TRUTH About Koalas....

Continuing with Aussie August and guest blogger, Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

The Koala

Koalas are cute, cuddly, bears – an endangered species. Well, one out of four ain’t bad, I suppose. Maybe koala stuffed toys, the sort that are sold to tourists and almost always made in China.

Yes, koalas are endangered, destruction of habitat and all that, but they’re not bears, they’re marsupials, and up close and personal they are, as the Americans like to say, “ornery critters”. When they’re not asleep that is.

Or stoned.

Yes, koalas like to get their forty, fifty, one hundred winks in, but, when they’re not asleep, it’s the look in their eyes that gives them away. Imagine Jerry Garcia circa 1967.
Koalas only eat a certain types of eucalyptus leaves. And they can basically get by just like that, almost all of the time they don’t drink. They pee though. Back to that in a moment. But first, it is a little known fact that certain eucalyptus leaves can, when eaten, have an effect similar to that obtained when dropping acid.
Man, those koalas, they get it, man. There are recorded instances of koalas being so stoned they have fallen out of their trees, hence the expression “off your tree.”
But cute? Cuddly? Ask the former Australian Government Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism John Brown. He notoriously described them as “flea-ridden, piddling, stinking, scratching, rotten little things.”

Here’s why. Like any politician the world over, he wanted a photo opportunity. One that would promote Australia as a tourist destination, (and, of course, not least, get his smiling face all over the media). Where better place to go than a koala sanctuary, and cuddle a koala?
Dear John. He got his face all over the media, all right. A koala handler gave him a koala to cuddle, as he had insisted upon, but this particular koala was, evidently, on a bad trip.
Instead of docilely allowing itself to be cuddled, the koala, doubtless with strains of Jefferson Airplane in its ears, squirmed, and scratched, and bit, and unleashed a stream of foul smelling pee all over Minister Brown’s expensive suit.

John Brown was a bad apple anyway. He left the Government in disgrace, after revelations that he and his then wife public relations consultant Jan Murray had celebrated a victory – what sort is anyone’s guess – one night by having sex on his desk in his office at Parliament House. They might have got away with it, but, as Murray later told the TV program “60 Minutes” she “left her knickers in the ashtray.”
But Australian politics is another, sordid, unholy story. Let us leave this post back with the koalas, mulling on the fact that, yes, it is near-impossible for dry cleaning fluid to get rid of the smell of koala pee...


Dawn said...

My favorite line of the whole thing "the koala,doubtless with strains of Jefferson Airplane in its ears...."
Michael, I really hope you'll consider publishing a collection of these. There's even more posts coming,folks!

Jack Colton said...

Hey Dawn,Getting identified by "knickers in the ashtray" does it for me-that's just too darn funny.
Really enjoying this.
I may just go to Outback for supper...

Leonard Dillingham said...

I just may go with ya Jack!

Leonard Dillingham said...

Very impressive stuff! Michael you are a most talented individual and Dawn,you are the bomb.

Michael said...

Thanks all! I've been in bed with a heavy "cold/fever/bug/whatever these things are called" since Wednesday -- yes, we get ill even in the tropical paradise that is Townsville -- and I'm by no means well yet, but all by way of saying it is Dawn's inspiration that is driving this, and though I don't know what it means -- here, a "bomb" is a car that's falling to bits -- I'm sure Dawn knows what "you are the bomb" means, and without knowing, I wholeheartedly agree!

Dawn said...

@ Leonard, I owe you some shrimp on the barby from Outback.
@ Jack -- I owe you one large emerald and a treasure map :)

@ Michael-- I LOVE the differences in slang! Over here if something is "the bomb" or "da bomb" it means it is fantastic. i.e. "Have you seen the new iPad? It is da bomb!"

You hear this a lot in our part of the States.

And knickers in the ashtray, that's hysterical. Question: are knickers pants or are they underwear (here called "panties" for women and "briefs" or "boxers" or even "tighty whities" for men)

Joan Wilder said...

Hey Jack, I have a cold beer and a romance novel for you....

Jack Colton said...

Well hello Joan wilder! I just can't wait to see you again,we really should do a sequel soon ;) and Michael hope you get well soon dude and I have a question,you ever see any of those deadly snakes there where you live?

Nevyn said...

Bit late getting to this 'cos I lost the URL but...better late than never they say.

As a long time friend of Michael's I am very glad to see other appreciate his sense of humour. I still remember a poem of his from the early 90s about rice pudding and underpants...it was hilarious!

Dawn...Knickers are very definitely female panties...and it is a true story! And...um...you might find it hard to find shrimp in the outback as the story of an inland sea in Oz is a myth. Although, with Lake Eyre full of water for two years in a row, you never know... :)

Anonymous said...

DEar Old Mate, re John Brown, he is awesome, so is Jan Murray but you are a sad pinhead.

Anonymous said...

Any one that thinks Jan Murray is 'Awesome' is a fool. She remains corrupt and self serving, to her core.