Having been too pissed-off for words by the woeful state of the world over the past week to decide on a topic for a post, let alone write one, I’ve realised that a possible remedy for my literary block is to balance my tendency to take a bleak view of life by counting some of its blessings.
Starting with perceiving my most personally pressing concern, the strong suspicion that I might have lung cancer, in as positive a light as possible.
Thus far this is proving a simple matter of consoling myself that, despite lots of scans and a biopsy, medical science is still undecided on whether my pneumonic lobar anomaly is a malignant and thus potentially terminal neoplasm, or simply a false alarm in the form of some mysterious but harmlessly benign lesion.
And in the spirit of positivism I’m determined to demonstrate here, I’m happily taking the optimistic view that it’s probably nothing to get hot and bothered about, but if not it’s been spotted early enough to be successfully treated, and in any case I can’t complain, as I’ve already had a long and lucky life.
Lucky most obviously, of course, in my son and daughter, my grand-children, good friends, and 25 years of charmed life with my wife.
And lucky in lots of other ways too, the first of which was, by happy coincidence of genetic, geographic and and sundry other species of accident to have been born in what was famously if ironically described by the illustrious Australian journalist, editor and author Donald Horne as ‘The Lucky Country’.
Certainly, though at first in my infantile innocence and for some time later my blissful ignorance, Australia was a lucky country for me, as it was almost totally isolated, spatially if not militarily, from the second world war that was raging around most of the rest of the planet in and for long after my birth year of 1942.
I was also lucky, as I gradually came to realise, to have been born both male-sexed and pale-skinned, as Australia back in those days was even more repressive of the female and other sexes that in many ways it remains today, as dismally demonstrated by stubbornly-persistent income disparities between the genders, and the still-scandalous rates of both domestic violence against women and the bullying of minorities.
The most disadvantaged if not outright abused minority of all being the original and most genuine Australians, the aboriginal people, who were outrageously even denied citizenship of the nation until the 1960s.
And as if that wasn’t enough to demonstrate that Australia was as yucky a country for many others as it was lucky for me with my European genes and skin and hair-colour, back in those days for most foreigners it was what could be justly decried as the ‘locky’ country, as those that were disgracefully deemed to be unacceptably black, brown or otherwise ‘coloured’ were locked-out by the woeful outright wicked so called ‘White Australia Policy.’
Which, thank goodness, has by now been long abandoned in richly-deserved disgrace, though come to think of it, some of the mind-set that made Australia such a vilely locky country are still evident in the current government’s stubborn determination to lock seaborne asylum-seekers out of the country by locking them up for years and apparently if necessary for life in offshore ‘detention centres’.
As lamentably locky as many Australian governments have been for so many others in the course of my lifetime, however, and as yucky and outright sucky for others and even for us all in so many apparently incurable ways, I have to honestly admit that on balance they have been lucky for me.
While many, and most especially the current one, have in practice proven to be more plutocratic than democratic, preferring and privileging the rich over the rest, the prosperous over the peasants, or, as I’ve expressed this previously, the affluent over what they clearly perceive as the effluent, none have descended into outright dictatorship.
And some, notably the Labor governments led by Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke, have been so far from lackeys of the rich as to be lucky for me and my fellow ordinary, everyday Australians, especially in the areas of accessible and affordable education and high-quality health care, as well as progress toward social justice for all.
I also count myself lucky that Australia perceives itself as the plucky country, due to its valued tradition of sending volunteer ‘diggers’ and other servicemen and women to help fight for what it rightly or sometimes admittedly wrongly perceives to be ‘just’ causes, and of depending on volunteers to come to the rescue in times of emergency, as in the recent bushfires.
And my fond hope in this regard is that I and enough of my fellow Australians can soon get up enough pluck to buck the lurkey, murkey, coal-loving, secrecy-seeking, climate-change-denying, wealthfare-before-welfare preferring and above all pathologically-lying Morrison government with which we’re currently stuck before it costs us every shred of our former good luck.