ASK PETE: YOUR FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS SOLVED

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All finished, all done, all silent. Except one man…

Hi Pete, the other day I drove all the way to Moonee Ponds Council coz thats the only place you can dump old paint tins. I get there at 3:45pm (they close at 4) and the guy says “no sorry we’re closed” When I tell him I still have 15 minutes he says “no you shouldn’t be here we’re closed because its 33 degrees and it’s an Occupational Health and Safety Issue.” 33 degrees? Occupational Health and Safety Issue for who – him or me? And what country are we in again?

Johnno, West Footscray (via email)

Johnno you probably think I’m going to launch into one of those “well back in my day” rants about how I had to walk home barefoot from school in 45 degree heat, and how we didn’t have A/C in summer we just had to open a window and hope the wind wasn’t blowing a northerly, and how we were all branded for life by a white-hot steel seat belt clip, and how we used baby oil as sunscreen, and how our lawns turned a darker shade of brown, and all meats were charred to a crisp on the barbie, and how wine came in two flavours, Claret and Moselle, and how beer came in one, Fosters!!

Yeah well I’m not.


Pete I’m starting to doubt we live in a caring society anymore. Last week I was stuck in the loo at work without toilet paper, every time I heard someone come into the bathroom I called out and asked them to pass me a roll but on every occasion they bolted. Took me an hour before a good Samaritan would help me out!

Rob, Footscray (via email)

An hour? Rob at any point did it occur to you to suck it up and take one for the team? How bad could it have been? Let’s face it though, if no-one missed you at work at least you were being paid for that hour. Or did they miss you and send out a search party? If I went missing the first places they would look would be the coffee shop, the nearest fish’n’chip shop, and the pub – and not necessarily in that order. But I do share your despair about the decline of western civilisation Rob. Studies have shown that people are actually more likely to share one of those missing person posts on Facebook than hand a stranded punter a much-needed roll of Sorbent. It could be worse though, it’s times like this I’m reminded of the great toilet paper shortage of 1975, oh the humanity…


Pete some galah near me must own a cockatoo. Off it goes, day and night, never stops, it’s worse than a barking dog or rooster. And at least roosters know that sunrise isn’t when it’s pitch black at 3am! Besides I thought it was illegal to own native fauna?

Rick, Seaholme (via Facebook messenger)

Rick you’ve got me in a spin here. Cockies and galahs? You clearly know your Australian native birds, unfortunately you just don’t know your Australian laws. That’s right, I’m afraid under Commonwealth statute 427, 3 ii e) it is lawful to own said birds under certain conditions. Now to be fair, legal documents are quite dull so I didn’t read beyond that, but at a guess I’d say the one proviso is that the animals must be kept under effective control. So I couldn’t own a kangaroo for example if it was going to hurdle everyone’s washing lines. And an emu would definitely be out if I couldn’t stop it snaffling all the avocados off my neighbours tree. Dingos? Well history tells us that ends badly as well. So Rick probably the only avenue open to you is perhaps to sidle up to this cockie and try teaching it a few uncouth words. Start off with some benign stuff like ‘poo’, ‘bum’ and ‘drongo’, but as the nights go on escalate to some really foul language – if our clever little white-winged friend takes the bait, its owner will soon tire of the proliferation of profanity and release it back into the wild! (Just make sure you don’t bond with it, or it will end up at your place!)

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