Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day and also my 450th birthday. In order for my day to have meaning, I’m harnessing the power of celebrity (raising teenagers and eating their two-minute noodles will do that to your brain). Growing up near Crows Nest I was obviously born to plunder. Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, hoist the mizzen.
I share a birthday with Twiggy, Mama Cass and my spiritual guru, chocolate maker and philanthropist George Cadbury. I work for a charity that was sponsored for years by Cadbury chocolate. As Oprah would say, I found my destiny; I was born to consume chocolate, preferably the expensive stuff.
“I’m no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates. Because I want to live forever in wonder. The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream. I do not see, for there is no I to see. That is what the pirates know. There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.” Kathy Acker
Call me a bloody hippy, but much good will come out of this time of corona madness. A whole new world is waiting to be born
We have stopped buying plastic crap we don’t need that is shipped here from overseas
All children may get access to good schooling and new technology
We will stop working in jobs we hate to buy crap we think we want
People have stopped injecting their bodies with botulism toxin
Maybe we will finally close the gap and have good health outcomes for our first nations people
Kids who aren’t neurotypical and don’t fit into our one size fits all school system will have other options for learning
Neighbours are looking after lonely, elderly folk because they’re not at work all the time
Billionaires and foreign companies who make massive profits may actually have to pay some tax to put money back into society.
People have stopped adding plastic to their fingers and breathing in solvents painted on their toes
Foxtel may go bust with no live sport being played; good riddance Rupert
People will wake up and realise that housing is a human right, not an investment opportunity. We may get rid of over blown rents, negative gearing and have housing that is fair for all
Families will spend quality time together; eating, arguing and singing
The planet will breathe while we’re not stampeding through every river and canal throwing plastic bottles into the sea
We finally appreciate and give thanks to doctors, ambos, nurses, teachers, garbos, shelf stackers, child care workers, aged care lovelies, check out chicks and roosters and start to honour how they keep our society going with their hard work
We will stop buying too many clothes, and not prop up an industry that exploits too many underpaid workers in countries that have no labour laws.
We will grow our own food, share with our neighbours, distribute goods according to need
We will live according to the seasons and honour the ebb and flow of mother nature
We may start to fund our scientists and actually listen when they impart their knowledge
We will swap clothes with our friends, mend and repair broken bits and bobs and remember that compulsive shopping doesn’t fill our hearts
We will crave our connection to nature and appreciate every blade of grass once it is safe to be back in the world
Without organised religious gatherings, people will start to question their beliefs and maybe not hide the paedophiles
We may realise that we don’t need the latest technology to be happy
200,000 poker machines are now sitting idle
We will discover we don’t need to pollute the planet with balloons at gender reveal parties, we can actually live with surprises
We will wake up and stop listening to and voting for greedy mad men who can barely turn up to do their job and finally decide to elect visionary leaders
We can no longer queue and panic buy phones and shoes and other stuff that we really can live without
Huge floating Petri dishes have been stopped from polluting precious cities and oceans across the world
We will have time to dance and sing together (online) and tell our stories and have time with our babies without having to rush off to feed the planet destroying capitalist beast
People will find out the real value of a dollar or a euro and realise that the share market is a house of cards, favouring only the fortunate
And the dolphins and the fish and the worms and the birds will come out of hiding and say ‘what took you so long silly humans?’
This revolution will be televised
Dear corona peppers, welcome to the world of living on a very tight budget AKA single motherhood.
Even though I’m busy preparing burnt offerings and microwave friendly salads, I’m offering you my FREE tips on feeding your family on a VERY limited budget.
1. Take it or leave it
2. ‘Imaginative’ recipes from ‘ cook book
3. Repetition is king; 16 year olds love the same boring dishes; I’m a monster of the mash, a shaman of the sauce bottle, a magician with mince.
4. Tell your kids your family has been invited onto a reality TV cooking show, then vote yourself out of the kitchen. Hide.
5. Now is a good time for your kids to learn to cook
7. Like it or lump it
9. Remember the child standing in front of the microwave gets the most.
10. It is not a crime to send your 16 year old to the local RSL with a fake ID to win the meat tray because the slab of dead animal will feed your family for a week. Do it tonight before the government closes all clubs.
Vive le revolution
The Pollard definitive guide to enjoying 2020:
Pat puppies and kiss kittens
Don’t vote for morons
Eat, drink and be merry
Don’t buy ‘beauty’ products
Stay off the internet
Help a refugee family
Stop buying plastic crap
Thank firies, ambos and nurses
Check your emotional baggage
Get fresh on the dance floor
Support the Uluru Statement
Be kind, even to dickheads
Don’t use the words onboarding, textural or disruptor
Buy the Big Issue
Sing every day
Bring home the facon (don’t harm piggies)
Love your friends
Swim in the ocean
When I tell people my mum has dementia they invariably say,
“Does she still know who you are?”
She does when I hug her and hold her close and tell her I love her. Her brain may not remember my name but her body can feel that she loves me. I know it.
The gift of dementia is that I have had four years to say goodbye to my beautiful mama. Four years to create new memories and remember some of her old ones. To hear the same stories again and again so the family history is firmly locked in my brain until it is my turn to fade away.
Four years to hold her hands and tell her that she is still a devoted mother. Four years of visits to calm the madness rush of single mother life in my head while I put her hand in mine. Four years of quiet afternoons to sit with her in silence while I rub hand cream into her old dry hands. Four years of cups of tea and bickies. Four years of running away from the nursing home in tears with a broken heart while remembering all the small ways she loved me. Four years to be reminded how she cared for our dogs, yelled at me over homework, washed our clothes, fed us endless dinners and sang in the kitchen.
Mumma loved her career before kids but she loved us more. Her four kids and seven grandchildren were her life’s work. Having our family was the greatest joy of her life.
Four years of stories shared with whoever else came to visit. Four years being able to take in her I am your mother and I’m not going anywhere fierceness, and four years to realise that I don’t care any more about our differences, fights over my clothing and hairdos and politics, I feel grateful that she cared enough to argue with me.
Four years to look at old photos and realise what she built for us. Four years to be reminded that she introduced me to Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and taught me how to sing.
My mum interviewed Squizzy Taylor and met Frank Sinatra and talked to colourful Sydney racing identities and was invited to all the best parties when she wrote the social pages. And still my dad, my brothers and sister and I and our kids were the best part of her life. Not all kids get to have a mumma like mine.
Some families have their loved ones snatched away in an instant, but I’ve had time to be with her and hug her tight and tell her how much she means to me.
In the past year she has wet her pants and worn her clothes backwards and spilt dinners and tea all over herself. She has let her hair go and not worried about matching her top with her skirt. All the petty little problems of life have slipped away and all that remains is that my mum’s face lights up when my kids and I walk in the room. That is love.
I know my dad is coming to get her soon, they will get to be together again and I have to remember that on the days that I’m missing her so much that I can’t breathe.
My mum was from a family of godbotherers, devout Anglicans who often quoted the bible. This is the only verse I remember from years of reluctant Sunday school attendance (Corinthians)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Laugh with best girlfriends
Verify your identity
Embrace single motherhood
Pay all the bills
Find all the thrills
Bring home the bacon
Find app to block people in real life not just social media
Eat fruity wine and fruity fruits
Rage against the pale stale males in government
Stand up for girls
Find someone to collect my emotional baggage
Dance like instagram is watching
Drink tap water
Pat the cat
Thank your knees
Eat all the cheese
Hunt and gather
Educate people on the difference between your and you’re and he is and his
Sing like I’ve got 45 million YouTube followers
And all the clubs you used to fund your own ends
You think rugby will be lost without you, oh Iz for goodness sake
You think we’re crying ’cause you stopped playin’ well we ain’t
And Izzy we’ve moved along and I think you should too
Aussies don’t like you and we like everyone
And you for-profit-Christians won’t admit when you are wrong
You get so caught up in your hate, you can’t see what’s going on
But now we know, you’re better playing on your own
Well Izzy you should go and fund yourself
And if you think that we’re still holding on to you