“It’s dinner Keithie! These guys are Sydneysiders not country bumpkins like you!”
“So it’s tea at 6 then?”
I relayed the conversation to Anne and John when they arrived for a belated chrissie catch up at 5.30 last night and it got us talking about how hard it must for foreigners arriving on Australia’s golden soil having learnt passable English only to find that Aussies combine the Queen’s English with dinkum English, leaving newcomers feeling like a shag on a rock – so to speak!
Keithie arrived as Anne and John were telling me about their new neighbour, a fellow from Iraq, who turned up on their doorstep the day after a cocktail party at their apartment, waving the Macquarie Dictionary and wanting to know what ‘useless as a spare prick at a wedding’ meant.
To its credit the Macquarie had gone out of its way to acknowledge and provide a context for the many Aussie uses of ‘prick’, for example: ‘the penis’ or ‘a despicable person’, in addition to some standard definitions: ‘a puncture made by a needle, thorn or the like’ or ‘any pointed instrument or weapon’.
Wesam, the neighbour, had tried to figure it out by looking up all the words independently and putting them together in a sensible, logical fashion and he’d decided that Brian, the subject of conversation at the cocktail party, possessed an additional penis which served no particular purpose to his bride. What he didn’t understand was why this was funny.
“It did his head in!” John said.
“You did his head in when you said it was the same as saying Brian was as useless as a glass door on a dunny or as useless as screen doors on a submarine or like a one-legged man at an arse-kicker’s party!” said Anne.
Keithie asked if he, Wesam, chucked a wobbly.
“Or a spaz,” said Anne.
“Has he chucked a U-ie or a lefty in his car yet?” I asked.
“Maybe he’ll just chuck a mental and chuck off!” said John.
We were on a roll so, like all good Aussie sheilas, I topped up our glasses.
“I was in a meeting recently waiting for a colleague to show up when his assistant popped her head in the door to say that wouldn’t be coming because he’d done his hammie,” said Anne.
“Another colleague said: ‘that’d be right he’s off with the fairies as usual’. And then one of the contractors, a girl from New York, accused us [the Australians] of ruining Xmas for her calling it ‘Chrissie’, and she declared that never attending another ‘brekkie meeting’ couldn’t come soon enough!
“I think other cultures think we’re vulgar,” I said.
“Well, that doesn’t change the fact that at some point you still have to point percy at the porcelain,” said John.
“And if it’s ‘off’, there’s no disputing that it’s off like a bride’s nightie!” I said.
“Or a Jew’s foreskin!” Said Anne.
“Or a bucket of prawns!” Said Keithie.
“And no matter where you are in the world, given the right circumstances, you can feel like a pick pocket in a nudist camp!” Said John.
“Or be well stacked!” Said Keithie.
“Or be as game as a piss-ant.”
“Or be a gadabout.”
“Or be dead and won’t lie down.”
“Dead from neck up, more like it.”
“Don’t come the raw prawn with me!”
“No really…I’m dead set!”
And with that we kicked the bucket on the conversation and descended on the kitchen table to chow down!