After school, I became part of another school. The English and History departments - with the odd French teacher for cheese eating flavor - would do a round of shouts in the local pub. Schooners of beer. Fifteen ounces. By five or six or seven. And then drive home.
Being a fragile thing, I left these gatherings pissed as a parrot and totally bewildered. It seemed the meaning of life was to hate your job, get as drunk as a skunk, and then kill somebody on the roads.
Ain't it good to know things never change. Come on down dipstick dodo Paul Kent, macho beer guzzler for the Daily Terror, with Wowsers wear the trousers.
The good old Aussie shout must be protected. It is as Australian as dodgy kebabs and rhyming slang.
As Australian as our cricketers, Bradman, Benaud, Dougie Walters and Wally Grout.
Yeah I've stood in public bars listening to hard nosed news men explain how getting paralytic is a sure sign they've caught the best of the news. I've stood with cops as they slid to the floor explaining how one more ale was a sure sign they knew how to match it with the crims. I've even stood with John Meillon as his mind went walkabout in William street.
And then I woke in fright. The main difference between the brain dead macho stupidity of Paul Kent in his column and Chips Rafferty out in the "Yabba" was that Chips was acting.
You know once upon a time we had the drunks whingeing about the six o'clock swill. It's a measure of the man Paul Kent that he's whingeing about the midnight swill.
He even gets anxious about plastic cups. Geez, what's a man to do with a plastic cup when a good glassing is the righteous way to chat up a woman. Never mind that the Daily Terror has waged a campaign about drunken hoons and glassings in classic tabloid fashion. Paul Kent will lead us all into the land of righteous spewing in the streets.
You know Paul there's more to life than schools and shouts as a way for the boys of hiding sublimated fear of homosexuality, in the style of Donald Pleasance in Wake in Fright. It doesn't make you Donald Bradman to get as legless as a chook in a dunny. The Don was in fact a virtual teetotaller, and Wally Grout's weak heart meant he wasn't up for a dose of binge drinking and glassings. (Sure a grout's a shout, but a stout grout didn't flout the tote). By a strange coincidence, Richie Benaud was a gentleman, and good on him.
So that leaves you with Dougie Walters, and you're welcome. Or the late breaking adolescents in the current team - no names no pack drill - who can't handle a radio interview because they're tired and emotional.
There's no way around it Paul. You're a tool. Just like the enforced regime of shouts and schools, where alcoholics made others feel they had to join in grogging on to be companionable, hospitable and Ozzie. Geez they even opened up the public bar to women so they could get a real dose of male culture. Thanks boys.
Meantime Paul, go choke on a dodgy kebab. And remember it was the Cockneys that invented rhyming slang, you tosser. You wouldn't know Aristotle from a bottle, or beer from Christmas Cheer, or a drink from tiddlywink.
And tell me again how safe it is to have a drink in Manly on a Saturday night? And how a woman in company with a rugby league player can take a glassing as a sign of real love?
Oi oi and fucking oi.
Pubs have got rid of tiles, and been forced to get rid of smoking, and thank the lord it seems they might be getting rid of Paul Kent, schools and shouts.
So drink in moderation, except when in the company of Paul Kent. Because when he shouts you, you'll have to shout him, and then he'll shout you, and so on and on, and then you can both slide into the gutter in good Aussie style ... because it's so dinkum to be a drunken loon ... (come to think of it, that way you might get a job as a television personality, just beware the cell phone camera).
Suddenly I feel a deep affection for that desiccated coconut Gerard Henderson.