The Day of the Jackhole

The Day of the Jackhole

Celebrating 40 years on this earth

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What’s the Day of the Jackhole?

The Day of the Jackhole is a day that is 100% about me. Me. ME!

It is the one day in my life where I am permitted to be both a Jackass and and Asshole and get away with it.

Why? Because it’s my birthday and on November 15th, 2011, I will have been alive for 14,610 days. That’s 40 years.

This is my Jackhole Memoir. (more…)

1971. Commence jackholery.

November 5, 2011

I am born. There is no memory of this in my brain. Here is a photograph. Scrawny and whiney. A shock of hair and scrunched up face. My brother is (more…)

1972. Mostly pointless.

November 4, 2011

I exist. I’m pointless, as many babies are. About the only good thing you can do with me is prop me up and take a photo. My hair is dumb. Barely there. It’s astro-boy curled. My face is fat and docile. I look exactly like my Kewpie doll. This Kewpie doll. Look at it. For many years, I will play with this doll by pushing my fist into the soft side of its inviting head (more…)

1973. Floaties for the soul.

November 3, 2011

I have a sense of my arms around Dad’s shoulders. We’re in the Ilfracombe pool instead of the round, above-ground, do-it-yourself pool at home (above) where I spend  a lot of toddler walking time. The Ilfracombe pool is bore-fed and (more…)

1974. I hate dolls. (Not really, shhhh!)

November 2, 2011

Christmas, 1974. I’m a total tomboy. Disappointing for my mother, I’m sure, but she does her best with the dresses and frilly socks. But my truth is Matchbox Cars. Cops and robbers. Riding a 44-gallon drum and pretending it’s a horse. I live in isolation on a farm and I have a brother who lives for playing a game called ‘fights’ (more…)

1975. Highly flammable.

November 1, 2011

It’s night time. I’m sitting in Dad’s ute or truck with my hands on the dash and looking at the scene. The Ilfracombe pub is burning down. (more…)

1976. Moonie is an astronaut.

October 31, 2011

We are moving. We are getting in the mini and moving. To NSW. We are bundled in to vehicles and trek our way south. It is a journey of 1,000 miles. We stop at a hotel. More than one, I guess. Moonie the cat is with us. I love Moonie. The cat tail in the picture above? That’s Moonie. We stop (more…)

1977. Dy-no-mite snowman!

October 30, 2011

I am living in the shearers quarters with my family on my grandparents farm. Outside my window is a Apple Box tree that has a large knot in it. It looks like a monster, and at night I lie in my bed with my rippled bedspread pulled up to my chin and think about that monster and how it wants to come in and eat me. Out of the blue, it snows. It’s unusual and a first time for me. Snow. I am excited, though none (more…)

1978. Toothless. This is how I roll.

October 29, 2011

I am powerless. And missing a front tooth. It’s the day of school photos and for some reason, my Nan is doing my hair and my Mum is not there. Where is she? I am wriggling and squirming and generally being a grumpy jackhole because my Nan is trying to put hot rollers in my hair. And I don’t want them. (more…)

1979. Nettle thieves.

October 28, 2011

We’re visiting our neighbor, Jimmy Tanner. He lives up the road. We have pulled up to his shearing shed so my Dad can go talk to him about something. Sheep related, probably. In the sheep yards, we have to scale a fence (more…)

1980. Children find human skull.

October 27, 2011

“It was me who picked it up”.

I am a notorious liar at this age. My face is uncrackable. Unbreakable. Untruth-telly. I’m not proud, but I can’t seem to stop myself.

I find a human skull. A whole skeleton, as it turns out. In the weeds. Near a small creek. More like a soak actually—these are drought times. My brother and his friend, Rodney, are about to set up camp there. For a weekend of being boys, giving each other chinese burns and farting into their sleeping bags. It’s what I imagine boys do for hilarious fun boy times. (more…)

1980. Reprise: Love at first rogue.

October 26, 2011

I am with my Dad and Michael. We’re at the Tamworth Drive-In in Dad’s work ute, which is yellow with a McCollouch Chainsaw decal along the side. There are speakers hanging on the windows and it is endlessly fascinating. The weird ripples (more…)

1981. Little boy lost.

October 25, 2011

We are in the back paddock. Mustering sheep. The back paddock is thick with trees (more…)

1982. Be verwy quiet.

October 24, 2011

In the rolling heat of a late afternoon, my school uniform clingy and damp, I wander down the right side edge of the big oat paddock out the front of our house. It’s called the oat paddock because it once had oats in it, I guess, but it doesn’t now. Now it is fallow. I am with my brother, carrying an empty Milo tin with holes punched (more…)

1983. Lock and key.

October 23, 2011

The school bus is small and runs a route that picks up farm kids. About eight kids, I guess. It’s white. With blue seats. I stand by the side of the road, under a (more…)

1984. In high school, no one hears you scream.

October 22, 2011

High School. In town. On the big bus, with the big kids. I’m going to the same school my brother goes to. Oxley High. The agricultural high school. I find out that most kids in my class live in town and have never planted a radish, let alone stuck a cow in its ribs with a cattle prod or had a grumpy sheep snot a dirt-filled mucous ball on their jeans. (more…)

I am sewing in Home Ecomonics class. I am making what we call a ‘dag bag’ (more…)

1985. Wake me up.

October 21, 2011

1986. KFC is not good for you.

September 28, 2011

Fast food is as exotic to me as foie grais. It is as mysterious and magical as a unicorn prancing through a meadow of rainbow lollipops as it farts butterfly fertilizer. Fast food. Its odors are bewitching, its textures cat-nippish. (more…)

1987. Fast and furious.

September 27, 2011

Tom Cruise. Bruce Willis. Johnny Depp. I plaster their pictures over everything (though I still have a thing for Michael J. Fox.) Slight crushes on pretty people. Long hot summers in cotton school uniforms. Year 10. I’m a grown up now. Behavior suggests otherwise.

I am at the (more…)

1989. Run towards the FAIL.

September 25, 2011

It’s the final year of high school. I am locked in a desperate battle with Glendyn to be the best at art. He is blissfully unaware of this. Blissfully! (This might be the first he has ever heard of it, actually.) I want to be an artist. Or a graphic designer. Secretly. But something within me says: “Be practical, farm girl. There are so many people out there who are better than you.” So. I am going to be a nurse. (more…)

1990. Fat becomes me.

September 24, 2011

I’m at away at university, living in a bedsit under someone’s house. It’s the first time I’ve not lived with my family. I ride my bicycle to class, sometimes I drive. Look at the rube. She’s never lived in a town before. Never had access to shops. To convenience. She lets it consume her like a horrible no-restraint rash. (more…)

1991. Maturity is elusive.

September 23, 2011

Confrontation is on my shortlist of ‘things I don’t like’. Right behind talking on telephones and unwieldy beards. As I leave money on the kitchen bench (more…)

1992. Resurrection.

September 23, 2011

“I’ve got some bad news,” she says, in a tone low and apologetic.

I’m standing in the stairwell between the two dorms of Arscott House and playing with the metal cord of the pay phone. (more…)

1993. Off the dole(drums)

September 22, 2011 — 14 Comments

“The Prime Minister will be there. Spit in it! ahhhahahaha!”

– Junior chef, Parliament House, Canberra.

(more…)

1994. In which the kid bolts.

September 21, 2011

Daydreaming. Again. Standing in a fish and chip shop in Kingston, Canberra, waiting for an order. It’s what copy kids do. Wait. And drive. And wait. And deliver. This order, two bits of fish and some chips, is the last (more…)

1995. Decomposition. The final frontier.

September 20, 2011

I am working in a library. It’s a high stress job, fraught with sharp danger. No, really. (more…)

1996. Honk if you’re stupid.

September 19, 2011

As I approach my trusty Subaru, I can tell something’s wrong. The door is wide open. I didn’t leave it open last night when I got home from work. And yet, there it is. Open. (more…)

1997. Hit by blind man.

September 18, 2011

I pull out of the Canberra Times parking lot on my bike. Turn right. There’s a small bit of sidewalk that I ride on for half a block before heading out onto the road to tussle with traffic. Down the road I go. And now I am flying. Literally. Through the air. Without my bike. (more…)

1998. I’m on a boat.

September 17, 2011

I am on a ferry. I am on a boat. I am on the sea. I am going to Tasmania. (more…)

1999. To discover, divine.

September 16, 2011 — 5 Comments

I’m at an art gallery in Melbourne. It’s the first time I’ve been to an art gallery that didn’t have the word ‘National’ in front of it. (more…)

2000. Rack Space Encounters

September 15, 2011

I’m standing in line on stage. I glance around. Not many women up here with me. All lads, actually, clutching their copies of “The Right Stuff” or Chuck’s autobiography to sign. I am woefully unprepared for (more…)

2001. One way ticket to ride.

September 14, 2011

“Hey, I have something to tell you.”

It’s a Friday and I’m calling my Dad to tell him something that he won’t be expecting. (more…)

2002. The camel whisperer.

September 13, 2011

Camels smell much worse than I have ever imagined, probably because I have never imagined what camels smell like. It’s a shock from all directions. (more…)

2003. Alien.

September 12, 2011

I arrive in NYC during a blizzard. I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. This is not Singapore weather, and I’m guessing by the kerfuffle that it’s not really April in New York weather either. (more…)

2004. Homesick.

September 11, 2011

[Reprinted with my own permission from Subteranean Homesick Noos]

Dear Oz,

Long has it been since I saw your chiseled face and ochre teeth. (more…)

2005. Saffron splashy.

September 10, 2011

People arc up against it. It will be terrible. It will ruin the park. But as I stroll through, (more…)

2006. Orion is a hipster.

I’m in Australia. It’s New Year’s Eve. My parents have gone to a party, and I’m sitting in the back yard on a plastic chair drinking an old woman’s drink of Baileys and ice. All the lights are off and it’s blacker than black out here. Except for the sky.

Looking up, the sky is alive with pin pricks of light and satellites moving and activity and twinkling. So many stars. The Milky Way. The Southern Cross. Orion’s wearing his belt low and hippy tonight.

I lean back in my chair, headphones in and count down to midnight. Swatting mosquitoes and sipping my irish drink.

I love this sky. I play Led Zeppelin I until the clock strikes oh six.

September 6, 2011

2007. The lies we tell ourselves.

September 5, 2011

Running. It’s what I do. I lose no weight doing it, and the only (more…)

I’m on my way to San Francisco getting ready to catch the California Zephyr. Without looking at a map, I book a hotel. It turns out to be smack bang–smack being the operative word–in the Tenderloin. (more…)

2008. Take the tender out of Tenderloin.

September 4, 2011

The best ideas are half baked. Not well thought out. They exist to be seasoned, mixed, eaten and partially digested. (more…)

2009. Half-baked idea. Table for one.

September 3, 2011

2010. TransAmerican Jackhole

September 2, 2011


I did it. I rode my asshole bicycle with a brain across America. Yes, I had a setback. Bad accidents suck. (more…)

2011. My ride. My rules.

September 1, 2011 — 2 Comments

1. Run towards the FAIL.

Be afraid to fail. Be very afraid. Then do it anyway. The only way I learn stuff is to truly screw it up. And I screw A LOT of things up. (more…)