I have had the great opportunity of travelling to some suitably spectacular destinations in places ranging from reasonably to ridiculously remote. No matter how far I seem to fall off the map, the moment I say I am an Australian the responses and questions are remarkably similar, (You have not hung your head any lower than I did upon hearing a Sherpa on the way to Mt Everest chant; “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!”) and in the interest of hopefully elucidating the annoyance caused by them, I will set about myth-busting a few.
“G,Day mate”, Good on ya”, “Avagoodweekend” and “flat out like a lizard drinking!” are all good old fashioned slang generally found in the outback of Australia. In 1915! We do not talk like that except in 3 specific circumstances; (There are of course variations and exceptions but lets cover the basics.)
1. You find a crusty, aged ‘Digger’, still holding to his ‘Ocker’ mannerisms due to the stubborn belief it somehow makes him a true Australian, instead of just intelligible.
2.You get us drunk enough (This will usually take a large amount of beer) that those with a direct link in heritage to the Anzacs fall into a kind of “Genetic Memory” spell and start spouting nonsensical phrases such as “I’m so hungry I’d eat the ass out of a low flying duck!”, and hurling racial epithets at the “Yanks, or, Seppos” (A rhyming slang for septic tanks, sorry guys) or the “Bloody whingeing poms”, bitching about the cricket whilst in fact sharing a glass with them, and fighting over the better Football; Rugby or Australian Rules.(In my opinion neither has any merit, but I am in a staggering minority) Oh and by the way, we call these people Bogans in general. Sort of our down home version of a Yokel/Hick/Redneck/Scrubber/Hoodrat all rolled into one.
At the moment we tend to be trending towards American slang, which may be equally irritating.
3.It helps us to pull women, or men for that matter. (We are somewhat simple and misunderstood creatures, and seem to elicit a cuddle or control response in other cultures)
We do not throw shrimps on the barbie! As a matter of fact we do not even call prawns shrimps, and our national beer is not a Fosters! We have bloody Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan to thank for that, when he cashed in on instilling the majority of our stereotypes. Which brings me to another necessary point about our “Celebrities”. Russell Crowe is a New Zealander, Mel Gibson was not born here, Guy Pearce, Eric Bana and Sam Worthington we will own up to. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. Nuff said we love him too. (Even after the film, Australia) Nicole Kidman is a “ranger” (Hard ‘G’ like ‘wrangle’; meaning red head) who has bleached her freckles, straightened her curls and improved her accent remarkably. We have since forgiven her for Tom Cruise.
We were just as perplexed and both morbidly fascinated and equally mortified by Steve”The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin. Here we do not hit our snakes with sticks unless we are stupid or protecting someone. One more “Crikey” I may have beaten the Stingray to it. (Wrong yes, but it’s my blog)
Which brings us to wildlife.
No we do not have pet Kangaroo’s. They are so dangerous they will disembowel you with their back legs if you attempt to pat them or ‘ride’ in their pouch! Koalas are cute and cuddly! As teddy bears. In reality they have claws that will tear a chunk out of you, growl like pit bulls, and smell like urine. Wombats too! They may seem all ‘chubby bubby’ but those things can survive being driven “over” by a car. Tough little buggers. Do not attempt to hug either one, you have been warned! Crocodiles do not just inhabit every stretch of inland water, they are found in specific areas and we do not wrestle them for kicks and giggles. Australia has the top 3 ranked poisonous snakes , including the most poisonous snake in the world. How poisonous is Belchers Sea Snake? A few milligrams of the venom is strong enough to kill 1000 people! But if that’s scary, remember that the Fierce Snake (Number 2) has a bite that is “the most toxic venom of any land snake in the world. The maximum yield recorded for one bite is 110mg, enough to kill about 100 humans, or 250,000 mice! With an LD/50 of 0.03mg/kg, it is 10 times as venomous as the Mojave Rattlesnake, and 50 times more than the common Cobra.”
So the basic premise is this. Our animals are not squeezable plush pets. In Australia even the cute things will kill you or kick your ass!
So I could probably go on but this would become an epic post, so I will run off a few final salient facts-
We are not down under! On a globe the designation of up or down is strictly cartographic.
We are not all natural swimmers like Ian Thorpe, water birthed and able to outswim a Great White Shark!
The Great White is f$%ing ridiculously scary to us too, but its not at every beach and we have a complete surrounding coastline, so chill, this ain’t Jaws!
We are now the 3rd most obese country in the world, at 25% fat saturation. The bronzed athletic Aussie is now seemingly a true myth.
The Swagman camping by the Billabong waiting for a Jolly Jumbuck (A-la ‘Waltzing Matilda’, our unofficial anthem) sounds stupid and strange to us as well.
We are not all beer drinking morons, a good deal of us prefers spirits, (I admit to Australia having a drinking culture), and a slightly lesser amount of us are quite intelligent.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by the Non Conformist portion of Australian society, me! There is also a warning that is not myth. Drop bears. Always look up when walking under a tree in the forests and National Parks of this land. Those little blighters will drop on ya and eat ya down to the bone! Hehehe