Bloody hell, what time is it? Ten o’clock, way too early to be awake quite frankly. I feel around in the bed and realise that Tutu, my loving wife who works as a nurse, has already gone to work and yep you guessed it, I went back to sleep and have missed my shift at S.H.I.T. Yeah, I know, fancy working for shit but it actually stands for South Harbor Institute of Technology where I do a bit of casual work. I betta ring in.
Ring, ring, “Good morning, South Harbor Institute of Technology, this is Cheryl” comes the reply. Now Cheryl is one of those people that are always chirpy and happy, don’t ya just hate them.
“Hey Cheryl, it’s Hung, I’m sick, can I speak to the day supervisors please” I request knowing that this will cause some folk some form of discomfort.
“You, sick Hung, amazing” says Cheryl “but did you know Hung that today is Friday and you only get sick on Mondays”. Good point, for 10 am in the morning this girl is sharp, “Putting you through, bye Hungsie”
“Day supervisor, John speaking” Oh my God, of all people to be on duty it just happens to be the supervisor from hell, John. You know the type, know everything, never has a day off, gets there early and leaves late, don’t you just hate them types.
“Hey John, it’s Hung and I’m sick” Gales of laughter roar down the phone line and I can hear John talking to someone in the background. “Hey Tony, guess who’s sick, Hung” I hear him say as more gales of laughter erupt.
“Hung it’s Friday, you only get sick on Mondays. What’s wrong today?” John mocks.
Oh shit, um, er, crikey that one came out of left field. “Ah, um, headache” I lie.
“Wouldn’t be because it’s Us verses Them down at the G, would it?” snarls John.
That’s right, the cricket game is on later and I’m a little upset with John’s attitude. “Well if you really wanna know I slept in, er, um, with a headache.”
Again John talks to his fellow supervisor “Hey Tony, Hung slept in and wait for it, with a headache” much more laughter erupts but the mirth and merriment of the supervision team is a bit overwhelming so I sign off “See ya Monday”. John is sobbing now from all the laughter and I can just imagine Tony rolling on the floor.
“See you Monday, Hung, not very likely, Bhawwahahahahahahaha.” Click.
Whew, tough one, now to get a doctors appointment. My GP is Dr Carl Tondraught, we all call him Dr Carl for short. See the docs dad was a brewer, Carl hates beer and went and did medicine and then one day his dad sold everything off and gave Carl a swag of money, so Carl just works a few mornings a week around the corner from me.
Ring, ring “Hello, Dr Tondraughts rooms, Nancy speaking.” Now Nancy is an enigma, mid sixties, beautiful and very smart. Nancy didn’t tolerate fools and has a rapier wit. At first Nancy would cut me down with some classic words like “Gee Hung, you found us, did Tutu hold your hand” etc., etc but after awhile she gave up when she realised that most of it went over my head.
“Hey Nancy it’s Hung, I’m sick” I say rather insipidly.
“But Hung, it’s Friday and you only get sick on Mondays” informs Nancy. Gee, sleeping in has become a headache, oh, yeah, that’s right I have a headache.
“I have a headache Nancy, can I see Dr Carl?” I plead.
“Well, at 10:15 he can see you” I look at the clock and it’s 10:14, boy this is the last time I get sick on a Friday.
“Come in Hung” says Dr Carl “How can I help you?”
“I’m sick Dr Carl…”
“On Friday!! But shush Hung. Now with changes to Medicare I have to spend 10 minutes with you so don’t rush it” informs Dr Carl.
Wow, 10 minutes with Dr Carl, how am I going to do that I wonder.
Dr Carl keeps looking at his watch “1 down 9 to go” he states.
“We could talk about sport” I suggest.
“Football, union, league, rules, basketball, golf oh yeah” smiles Dr Carl.
“What about cricket?” I prompt.
“Cricket” shrieks Dr Carl “Nobody in their right mind likes cricket. Totally boring, nothing ever happens and if it does it simply wakes the audience out of their slumber. The blokes go to drink beer and the girls go to get ogled, no thanks.”
Dr Carl starts pacing around the room, hands behind his back, his white coat flapping in the breeze of his rapid movements. “Well done Hung, 4 minutes to go, now symptom list please” says Dr Carl.
“Um, headache, red eyes, sore throat, persistent cough, runny nose, blurred vision, central chest pain, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, difficulty in passing urine, bilateral knee pain and swollen feet” I reply rather slowly.
“Good boy Hung, that leaves 2 minutes to go. Now let me think” Dr Carl types all this into the computer then suddenly cries out “I’ve got it Hung, you’re suffering from Medical Condition, here’s your sick note”
“But Dr Carl, is Medical Condition fatal?” I plead.
“Oh, most certainly, when are you going to die, who knows” says Dr Carl.
I limp home, my ego damaged, I going to die sometime, woe is me but look I want to get down the pub and watch the game on the big screen with the boys and have a few beers. So on the way home I buy some flowers, chocolate and the ingredients for Tutu’s favorite meal, Chicken Casserole.
I prepare the casserole and put it in the oven with the automatic timer on, arrange the flowers and leave the chocolate where it can be easily noticed. I vacuum the house, fold and put away the washing, clean the bathroom and water the garden. Gee, what a boy has to do.
Tutu comes in through the door, I greet her with a big hug and many kisses. “How come you’re not at work?” Tutu interrogates.
“I’m sick with Medical Condition and Dr Carl says I’m going to die” I whimper trying to look forlorn.
“BS Hung, all doctors write that on certificates to protect your privacy anyway you only get sick on Mondays” replies Tutu. Bloody women, how did she know that. I thought I might have been able to milk the Medical Condition at least until Tuesday.
Tutu notices the flowers and chocolate. She looks in the oven and sees the casserole and walks around the house to see everything is neat and tidy. “There’s a game on isn’t there Hung” she says. Bloody women, how did she know that. “And you want to go down the pub and watch it on the big screen with the boys and sink a few beers, oh Hung, you are incorrigible.”
“I love you Tutu”
“Be off” she says with a big grin.
For the record we won. And to all those guys out there, the way to a woman’s heart is flowers, chocolate and Chicken Casserole. Sadly, on Monday my Medical Condition returned and had to sleep all day, oh well, someone’s gotta do it.
Once upon a time to be a nurse all you needed to do was look good in a veil. Well, no more. Along came us purse carrying nancy boys that didn’t wear veils and changed everything.
Below is the test that modern day nurses must pass to enter the honorable profession.
Aptitude Test for Admission to Nursing
This test has been complied to assess candidates.
Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all questions, omitting none. Time limit is 4 hours. Begin immediately.
History: Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially but not exclusively on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific. Minimum 1400 words.
Medicine: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture your work till it has been inspected. Maximum time 15 minutes.
Public Speaking: 2,500 riot crazed unionists are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any language except Latin or Greek. Time limit 5 minutes.
Biology: Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier with special attention to its probable effect on the Westminster parliamentary system. Prove your thesis. Minimum 10,000 words.
Music: Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat. Time limit 12 minutes.
Psychology: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and repressed frustrations of each of the following, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ramsey II, Gregory of Nicea, Hammurabi. Support your evaluation with quotations from each man’s work making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate. Minimum 1200 words.
Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory. Minimum 500 words, experiment time 10 minutes.
Engineering: The disassembled parts of a high powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will find an instruction manual printed in Swahili. In ten minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision. Time limit 9 minutes.
Economics: Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas, cubism, Donast controversy and the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticise this method from your point of view as demonstrated in your answer to the last question. Minimum 900 words.
Political Science: There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its sociopolitical effects if any. Time limit 2 minutes, minimum 25 words.
Epistemology: Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position. Minimum 500 words.
Physics: Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science. Minimum 7500 words.
Philosophy: Sketch the development of human thought, estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other thought. Minimum 300 words.
General knowledge: Describe in detail. Be objective and specific. Minimum 600 words.
Phew, no smoko or cigarette break. Are we nurses tough or what?
As a young woman, the realization that in order to prosper in the workforce I needed to be able to talk about cricket came as a huge relief.
If you knew the extent of my lack of interest in the sport of cricket spectating, you might find this puzzling. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of this militant lack of interest. It might be a female thing; it might be a reaction to my father’s seasonal lack of availability, or to his one-eyed barracking. My father was your archetypal one-sided sports fanatic. It was quite late in my childhood that I fully understood the role of the other team on the ground. Until then, listening to my father’s exclamations during the endless TV broadcasts, I thought the members of his team were the only actual players, battling blind umpires, unfavourable weather, or worse, the occasional unforced error, in an effort to claim their rightful title of match winner.
In any case, this early disaffection with the game of cricket was only reinforced as a University student, where endless discussion of cricket scores was lumped together in my mind with endless discussions about cars as uncouth “engineer’s talk”.
Fast forward a few years, and the burning ambition to be able to pay for food and rent found me working for a manufacturing company in a largely engineer dominated IT department. As the cricket season commenced I reflexively turned off whenever the inevitable discussions started. But I couldn’t help noticing that I was spending a lot of time talking to myself, and this was highlighted during a period of relative inactivity for my group, when half the day was spent arguing about cricket (and the other half perfecting the giant paper ball). It became painfully obvious at a farewell for one of our group, where the others bonded with management over a cricket discussion while I found myself a lonely outsider, that something needed to be done.
So I decided to bite the bullet and follow the cricket. I shamelessly enlisted the aid of a co-worker who had both demonstrated some knowledge of cricket and shown some interest in my company (no doubt confirming in the mind of many engineers reading this piece the dastardly use of feminine wiles by their female colleagues.) Over a coffee break I confessed the reluctance of my resignation to spending endless weekend hours watching cricket on the tele, half-expecting him to recoil in horror. It took me a while to realize the significance of his counter-confession that some weekends he himself had to miss the cricket and that on those occasions he just checked the score intermittently, but was still able to hold his own at work on Monday. Imagine my relief and delight when I realized it wasn’t strictly necessary to know about the cricket. All I needed to be able to do was to talk about it.
Riffing together we came up with the phrase “at one stage there…” as in “at one stage there Australia was 3 for 103” or “at one stage there Warne was 54 not out”. All that was needed was to check the scoreboard once during the cricket broadcast!
The day before the next lunchtime gathering I searched the newspaper for the cricket news. I arrived at work the next day with a few facts printed on the palm of my hand. After everybody had eaten enough to satisfy hunger, and the conversation turned to cricket, I surreptitiously glanced at my hand and announced “At one stage there Australia was 2 for 75.” This was greeted by a number of wise comments, and I was part of the group. Emboldened by this success, I further announced “At one stage there Steve Waugh was 75 not out.” This was met by a puzzled silence and I found myself on the outside once again. Later my ally explained to me that the correct pronunciation of Waugh is “Waw”. Never having really listened to a cricket broadcast, I had somehow come up with the idea that it was pronounced “woe”. Since at that time Steve (or Mark?) Waugh was captain of the Australian cricket team, this was a major blunder.
My second big effort was Christmas drinks at the pub, where I arrived unprepared but was thrilled to hear the cricket news being announced on TV, and immediately memorized the first piece of information. Later I proudly announced my hastily memorized factoid, and once again it was well received. Then somebody asked me “Who won?” Unfortunately I had been so engrossed in memorizing that I had omitted to note this apparently important detail, and my face fell. An employee with all the social grace of, well, a young engineer working in IT, piped up “You can’t be very interested in the cricket if you don’t know who won.” The members of my immediate group, who by this time were in on the joke, were in stitches. I decided to own up rather than look a total moron, and by that time everybody had drunk enough to take it well.
Boxing Day 2008, and a couple I haven’t met yet are the hosts for the post-Christmas neighbours gathering. The husband greets us at the door with “I was just watching the cricket”. I have a moment’s panic; since I’ve been working at a small non-cricket oriented company the start of the cricket season has passed unnoticed. But through those earlier years of intensive training in cricket conversation I manage to avoid the crimes of appearing uninterested or asking who’s winning. I settle on asking the score, and the moment passes safely.
Thankful for this reminder, and with job interviews pending, I search the web and find the ABC.Net cricket page. There I discover an invaluable innovation, the Live Game Log. The first log entry is a summary of the state of play at the commencement of the day, and the follow-up entries are brief over by over summaries logged in real time. All the information needed to contribute to a cricket conversation available at your fingertips. At one stage there Kallis was not out for 26.