4. And the bucket makes three

 

The twins Chris and Doug and I were creating a road safety quiz for driving-school.com.au. (Link via index page). We brainstormed ideas and converted them into teaching material in an instant. We surprised ourselves with the fun concepts we came up with. In the quiz everyone wins a car, a photo of a car that is. The lowest score out of four categories wins a “rust bucket”. In Australia this is what we call an old car that should be wrecked instead of driven.  

 

Early one morning I saw that the word rust spells trust without the first T. The idea emerged to create a little “in God we trust – bucket”. And what better place to send it to, than Mr. T. the politician of the Upper House of Parliament? He already had two of my brainwave fun-creations in his possession. Here was another hat-trick to complete.    

 

A full size bucket would be too big, so I asked my darling Isobel, if she had a small type container in her cupboards I could use. Rather than explaining myself I rummaged through the cupboards under the sink. It took me only a minute to find the perfect article: a little round tub, larger than a big mug, labeled “Honey”. To my surprise, as if to confirm my action, I read on the other side the word “Improver” written in handwriting.

 

I asked Isobel what “Improver” meant. She said the now empty container had held “improver”, which you can buy in supermarkets to add to dough. I had never heard of it, but certainly would agree with anybody calling Mr. T. an “improver”.

 

I did not want to leave the bucket empty. Only days before Mr. T. was pictured on the front page of The Advertiser newspaper, driving (or rather riding) a toy car, the size of a lawnmower, outside parliament house. In the article it stated Mr. T’s disapproval of Members of Parliament receiving cars as a perk. Inside my little bucket I placed a toy car.

 

When I first saw it at the K-Mart I was going to include a yellow Ferrari, the car pictured on the road safety quiz for the highest scorer. Next door at the Coles Supermarket I spotted the perfect gift: a Model 135 Panoz LMP 1 - 35th Anniversary Edtion Serial No. 57 110 (guaranteed for life) sports car. My numbers did the trick again.   

 

The “In God we trust-bucket” completed the hat-trick. It was number 3 in whatever you can call a symbolic gift sent as a practical joke; except all of mine had a deep spiritual meaning. The following letter accompanied my little parcel, wrapped in “golf-theme” (it pictured a few T’s) gift paper. I personally delivered the neat little gift to Parliament House (foyer) on Friday July 25th 03. 

 

The Hon.

 ……………….. MLP-C

 

In God we trust - hat trick

 

Dear Mr. T.

 

Seeing your totally inadequate mode of transport in the Advertiser recently, I felt sorry for you and did something about it. Enclosed is a new Model 135 Panoz - LMP 1 which is (unfortunately) unsuitable for Adelaide conditions, because it can’t operate at speeds below 50 km/h.

 

However, the good news is that it is guaranteed for life, which it ought to be, if it’s never driven. I am hoping to stir your imagination into dreaming (for a new car, new life, new anything). The little container, my wife kindly donated from her kitchen, will do the trick. It was right next to the place vacated by the “Prophet’s mug. How’s the “Nothing is too hard for God basket” going? Dusting away?

 

I doubt if Isobel ever wants the bucket back, unless to store more “Improver”. In intimate matters such as kitchen utensils we don’t always see eye to eye. Should the need ever arise, after Isobel finally sees the light and wants her sweet container back, I shall let you know, unless you read it in the press first.

 

The wrapping paper, also kindly donated by my queen bee, is dedicated to golf; more specifically to T’s. Please unwrap the package cautiously as T’s have become something of a “holy commodity” lately. A bit like Black T, especially if drunk with milk. As the wrappers on candy bars suggest - please dispose of the warpping thoughtfully. I suggest you invite your colleague Mr. E. to stand beside you in quiet meditation as you lay it to rest.

 

He bought me a milkshake recently (on 14/7). He has an aura of strength about him, seldom seen on North Tce. outside the Casino. I happened to see you on that Monday walking south on the eastern footpath of King William Road, approx. 150 meters from the North Terrace corner. (But I can’t be sure of the exact location now). One sees so many people every day, one can’t stop and say O’hell (sorry Hello) to every Tom, Nick and Harry.

 

I also saw you pass by on Sunday Feb. 16th. on North Terrace with your family. Lucky you were going in the right direction (east). One hundred thousand others marched in the opposite direction. I’m glad you weren’t part of that bunch, because many of them are sufferers of a mental condition called s.i.n. It’s a terminal illness and very contagious. Mr. E. knows a lot about it. He used to specialize in the treatment of patients carrying this virus. His success rate was phenomenal. The worse the case, the more success he had. 

 

Since you were reported to be short of office space in parliament house, I think today’s momento will be the last for a time, it does get costly too. As I said to someone recently: in the area of finance, money is not my strongest point.

 

Kind regards

 

PS  I didn’t know that there is such a thing as an improver, despite having considered myself to be one.

(In school, I always won the “most improved” trophy, because I was so bad to start with).

 

 

The joke about the 50 kilometer speed was in response to my concerns I expressed to Mr. T. regarding the introduction of 50 km/h speed limits on our roads. (Because of lack of signposting there was much confusion after the new restrictions, implemented on March 1st 03). The recipient of my little artifacts was an ardent campaigner against gambling, hence my casino reference. The reference to black tea is also meant as a joke. A tea company launched a new product calling it black tea, even when drunk with milk.    

 

I had never met Mr. T. in the flesh, only seen him a few times, when I watched Parliament from the public gallery. On Feb. 16th I had been watching Iraq Anti-War demonstrators march along Adelaide’s North Terrace. I spotted Mr. T. and his family entering a store. Neither we nor he was part of the march. To this day I have not exchanged any words with him.

 

A few weeks after completing my parliamentary hat trick I heard Mr. T. give a comment on the ABC news. He urged his colleagues to support a certain move (the details escaped me), otherwise they would all be “demoted to feather dusters”. (Or words to that effect).

 

Unless it was my imagination running amok again, after hearing the comment I really felt that in a small way I contributed to the political process in our state.

 

I may suggest to Isobel to go into politics. With a resourceful husband like me to support her, she may do well. The first thing I’d ask her to introduce would be the introduction of an independent driving test for all learner drivers. 

 

Chapter 5

 

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