22 April, 2008

Five Weird or Random Things About Me Meme

I’ve been tagged for this meme by the delightful Blakkat, whose gem of a response can be read here.

1. When I was 16, I somehow managed to get a school holiday job working for a toy company. The job involved making personal appearances at K-Mart stores in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. As Spiderman. These stores were selling a new range of Spiderman toys to coincide with an upsurge in interest in the web-slinger.

I’d like to think I brought a certain dark, brooding, teenage angst-ridden presence to the role. I’d like to think that, but the facts don’t quite accord with that alternate reality. For starters, I was painfully self-conscious: not a terribly helpful trait for one embarking on acting. And the costume was made of some kind of pre-lycra type stretch fabric that itched like buggery and threw my puny physique into fairly sharp relief, adding to my discomfort. 13 Ribs! Count ‘Em, 13!

What a trouper I was. Anyway, three times a day the company car would pull up at a K-Mart entrance and I would sit and wait while my boss got the shop PA system working and could announce my presence and the location of my show.

“Ladies and gentlemen, give Peter Parker, Spiderman in person, a big welcome as he makes his way to Aisle 5. You can have a Polaroid photo taken with your friendly neighbourhood Marvel superhero and he will also be demonstrating the new range of brilliant Spiderman toys and merchandise.”

I lapped up the applause and cringed at the odd giggle and guffaw that greeted my awkward entrance. I did it because it paid a princely (at 1976 value) $20 a day and I was keen to use the money to buy ugh boots and a lumberjacket.

The worst day was a one-off at Myer in the city, where for some reason that now escapes me my boss couldn’t drop me right out the front so I had to walk half a city block in costume. To make it fun, I walked in character too. But even a superhero has to obey traffic signals and I had to stand and wait at the crossings with all of the lunchtime shoppers, some of whom thought I was some kind of pervert, and said so.

But I still have my pride. If one of my mates mentions that I was once Spiderman I strike a pose, hopefully a relevant one, and tell them, “That’s The AMAZING Spiderman, thank you.”

2. I was on Sale of the Century in 1990. I went in to Channel 9 in Richmond as a standby contestant and squeezed in to the Friday episode where I finished ahead of a very popular, attractive, long-running female champ. So I imagine for that weekend, in many households I was that-bastard-who beat-that-lovely-what-was-her-name-again-oh-and-she’d-just-had-a-baby.
Anyway, I managed to convince myself that I couldn’t give a fuck whether I was popular or not. And the plan was to buy at any cost so I could at least maybe come away with something half way decent. I bought everything, but then kept winning anyway. One more show and I’d have the prize showcase. Two more shows and I could add the $234,000 cash jackpot. The show for the prizes was the last of the day, the one to be screened on a Friday night.

After being 30 down, going into the last sweaty commercial break, scores were tied at the end of the final round. Oh, and thanks to the Dixons, our next door neighbours growing up, who gave the nine year old Lad a book about pirates for Christmas. I managed to nail the final answer, Captain Kidd, right on the buzzer. So there was a tie-breaker question. After Tony Barber read just the one clue, the other contestant buzzed in and got it wrong.

So one more episode for $234,000. During the ten seconds of background muzak, all I could hear was, “You’ gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…..”

I took the prizes and ran for the hills!

3. The Monday after my son Larry’s team won last season’s U12 footy premiership was Mad Monday. Not for the boys. Don’t be stupid. They had school. For the dads. The boys had a brilliant season, going through undefeated, although they only won the last home and away game by one point and were behind at half time in one match and behind at quarter-time in the 2nd Semi-Final. Every other game was a massacre.

In the Grand Final, Larry was selected at full-back for the first time that season and kept the competition’s leading goal-kicker to just the one touch, and that from a dubious free kick. So Mad Monday was a fitting way to celebrate a sensational season.

We kicked off triumphantly at 11am at Ascot Vale’s Prince of Wales Hotel and then walked up Mt Alexander Rd (Mt Rd in our local dialect) to the now-defunct Chung On Chinese restaurant for a long lunch. There was only heavy beer at the restaurant for some reason so ol’ Lad Litter shrugged and joined in the serious drinking with predictable results. Stinko. But leavened somewhat by the three or four joints I’d brought along.

Back at the pub, wives and even whole families started arriving at about 10pm and quite a few tired and emotional dads were embraced and then bundled into waiting family vehicles. “Are you coming back a bit later?” I called to one staggering escapee whose charming wife giggled and shook her head resignedly.

Resisting exhortations to kick on elsewhere, the walk home was like live action pinball as I staggered and bounced off trees, fences and then eventually the interior of our house. I might have binged, but I’d binged responsibly, I maintain.

4. I have never had sex. I’ll just let that sink in first before I qualify it. In a dream I mean, silly. I don’t think there’ve been all that many erotic dreams for me, but I always seem to wake up just before actually consummating. Does it mean that my life is destined to always fall short of true fulfillment? Am I unable to meaningfully follow through on commitments? Or does it mean that someday I am destined to lead the Jews out of Egypt? I don’t know.

However, in a similar way, I always regain consciousness during particularly frightening nightmares when I am just about to be killed.

5. Barracking for Essendon means I have reason to be antipathetic towards Carlton. And just so you don’t think I’m understating the case here, I don’t hate them. Not at all. I despise them. So many of their supporters are loud-mouthed, boastful, bragging, solipsistic, gloating, skiting baboons who insist on deliberately arguing from an extremely illogical position What lovable larrikins they are. Larrikin is actually Australian for fuckwit, but there are enormous sections of the media industry devoted to convincing Australians that it isn't.

So you can imagine what sort of revelation it was when some family history research turned up that my great-great uncle had been Carlton’s captain back in the 1870s and was even club President from 1914-1921. And that a grandstand at Carlton’s home ground Princes Park is named after him. And that his two sons had also played quite a bit of footy at Carlton, one even going so far as to play 150 games, kick 330 goals, lead their goal-kicking in several seasons and feature in two Carlton Premierships.

Our second son Larry, just by coincidence, shares Mr President’s name and probably also coincidentally, some measure of football prowess.

Of course none of this makes me go around with a paper bag over my head. I am, actually, a little bit proud of my antecedents having been such high-achievers. And the many ex-Carlton players I have spoken to and corresponded with during further research have all been wonderful, charming, generous people. And it is a club with a rich, grand history. Quelle contradiction? Hypocrisy anyone? I beg to differ.

It’s the narrative I’m into and I rationalize it thus: you don’t have to agree with the policies of Nazi Germany in order to be fascinated by its history.

Carlton supporters I know have derided me for the forsaking of my family tradition. But I believe my relatives’ stewardship of Carlton was a lost Golden Age, before they let all the spivs take over.

So there it is and I’m tagging Ann O’Dyne; Lord Sedgewick; Jahteh; Edward Yates; and Geoff Dening. If they haven't been tagged already, that is. Should be some good reading with that lot.

21 comments:

Andrew said...

Why some guys I know who occasionally dress in drag, their personalities change and they become very outgoing and outrageous. I would have thought it would be the same in the Spiderman costume. No one knows who you are.

phishez_rule said...

I thought Essendon supporters absolutely hated the pies?

I always supported Essendon. And that meant not only tipping hte gloroius bombers, but also whoever was playing against the pies. For the ENTIRE season.

dysthymiac said...

Spiderman! - fabulous.

Carlton - my nickname at work in 1965 was Jezza, does that count for something?
and re comment at Cast Iron Balcony:
"re "Picture this scene:
4yo (now 14) doing
domestic role playing with two little plastic Muppet characters.
One says to the other: “Eat your dinner. Eat your dinner. EAT YOUR BLOODY DINNER!

Must have picked it up from that old Married With Chidren TV show."

Nope Lad Litter, not MWC or MNMWY either - only beer ever came out of poor Judi Farr's frig. What a great show it was. Actor's actors."

Bwca said...

re Sale:
one more for $234K ? 2 cars?
Wha-a-a-t?

Ann O'Dyne said...

nothing 'weird' about me mate, so I'll have to go with 'random'

Once I swung from one terrace house balcony to the nextdoor one.

I cannot bear to even glance at the meats section at the supermarket.

I have never ever smoked a cigarette. not once, ever.

... everything else I can think of souinds like bragging so I can't put it in.

Lad Litter said...

Andrew:
I couldn't agree more. I would be outgoing in costume now. At age 16 I just wasn't comfortable with who I was. But I bet your mate is a hoot!

Phish:
Great to hear from you, you enigma you. Correct, we should hate Collingwood but it's almost a generic hatred of the opposition. With Carlton it's deep, personal and unrelenting. They had it coming. Go Bombers!

Dysthymiac:
In 1965 Jezza would be short for Jezebel, I'm assuming, as Alex Jesaulenko didn't play until '67. And you're right, in MNMWY that was a fantastic ensemble cast.

BWCA:
It's something to do with the cars being the birds in the hand. They might have put gebiuses up against me when the big cash jackpot was on the line.

Ann O'Dyne:
This is me pandering to your MPD (no, not Mike Brady's old band but wasn't their version of Little Boy Sad sensational?) Please, brag away!

The Blakkat said...

Spiderman - awesome. I know at least one mate who would be insanely jealous of your time in the suit. Everyone should be a superhero at some point in their life. Did you get to keep the suit?

Aren't you the quiz master? I was impressed with the Nuremburg (sp?)Trials on Einstein, but Sale as well? So did you win the cars? or lose everything? I was little confused on that point.

I'm still taking in that picture of the naked women & the dude reading a magazine. Perhaps guilt stops you from having sex in your sleep? Can't explain why you don't get killed in you sleep though ;-)

Good response to meme!

Lad Litter said...

Blakkat:
Thanks. No Spidey suit, alas. It probably spent its declining years lining the bottom of some labrador's kennel;

Sorry about the oblique Sale description. I'd had a heap of luck so far so I took the prizes and ran.

I might be better off not knowing why my dreams work the way they do! The picture of the nude women is a recreation of the cover of Jimi Hendrix's 1968 Electric Ladyland double-album.

Edward Yates said...

Wow. Simply wow. Great read. My response is terrible short I'm afraid. I'll put it down to the slightly more stressful state that I've been in since packing boxes etc to move house.

A couple of things. I almost always die in dreams and wake up at the point of death/impact/stabbing. Likewise sex dreams are always consummated, which was unfortunate for me as a fourteen year old boy.

I always though Ugg boots were spelt Ugg not Ugh...

Hope you are well.

Cheers,
Ed

Lad Litter said...

Edward:
Good luck with the move and its aftermath. Done it many times myself to and from share houses but never with family. Succinctness in posts is an aim of mine. Thus far, not realized.

And you die in your dreams! Quick, Edward! Run towards the light!

Ugg is the name. Ugh is probably the description. Last 70's Night I went to, I eschewed the uggs for elastic-sided desert boots. Built for comfort, you see.

Ann O'Dyne said...

re Hendrix: did anybody notice that
some Somebodies named their child Hendrix about a week ago? It was in the papers. Good to see.

scuse me while I kiss the sky


re Jesaulenko: 65-68 was when I worked in the Commonwealth Bank and I wore long navy blue socks (it was a Mod thing). You young 'uns wouldn't believe how easy it was then to outrage Old People.
People not as old as I am now.
anyhow the bank dimwits called me Jezza.

Lad Litter said...

Kiss the sky? All these years I thought it was kiss this guy...

So you were a mod chick. Great look. The navy blue socks explains Jezza.

miss diarist said...

Spiderman, eh? Sounds hot!

Lad Litter said...

Miss D:
You're right it does sound a bit hot. Still, it was more your Mr Puniverse Spidey than the pumped Tobey McGuire version.

Ann O'Dyne said...

thanks for horse-trough comment at my place - now I have to investigate possible web-presence of Annis & George Bill who had them built all over Melbourne.

The Exception said...

I never get to finish the act in dreams either... and here I thought it was just me! But the foreplay... oh man... the foreplay...

Lad Litter said...

AOD:
The horse troughs are dim memories, at best. They were like a 44 gallon drum cut in half longtitudinally with a metal frame around them. Painted tram green, I think.

TE:
So, it's not just me after all. Dreams lose nothing for not being linear. Pulp fiction's elliptical plot-line is dream like.

eleanor bloom said...

Wow. That's bizarre to think I might have hated you back in 1990.
And Spiderman too eh?

PS. Impressive!

Lad Litter said...

EB:
SOTC is a fairly temporary form of fame-notoriety. Thank heavens.

Edward Yates said...

You've obviously not have much time to blog because this post has been up for a while...almost a month!

Hope you are good!

Cheers,
Ed

Lad Litter said...

Yeah, fine thanks Edward. I have about twenty posts in various stages of completion. Expect a deluge soon.