911 = 000


Storage? I am Storage!
Jan 15, 2002
Ballarat, Oz
Things are different in Australia. For one thing, in an emergency we dial 000. If you ask the average Ozzie what "911" is they won't know whether it's a brand of perfume or a sort of sports car.

And we don't drink Coors or Budweiser, let alone that Fosters stuff. (Well, granted, Fosters is better than Bud. But so is dishwater.) In Australia, men (well, real men, possibly not these strange ambi-sexual creatures born after about 1990 who spend all day looking at their telephones hoping to discover the missing brain cell) ... As I was saying, in Australia, men drink real beer. In New South Wales, that means Tooheys, Victoria it's VB, and in Queensland where they can't spell "beer" they like XXXX (which is pronounced "four ex" and has nothing whatsoever to do with currency markets). Across in South Australia where people are a bit strange they favour Coopers Pale Ale, and in WA it's Swan Lager. Beer comes in bottles, unless they are small ones, which are called "stubbies". In Victoria a glass of beer is seven oz (200ml), a pot is 10, and a schooner 14. In NSW, glasses are called "butchers", pots are called "glasses", and schooners are called "pots". Don't even ask about South Australia, it makes my head hurt.

But speaking of dialing 000, did I ever tell you about the time I visited my old mate Dave? Dave and Maureen are on a farm out Gunnedah way. I found the place easily enough but when I got to the gate there was a large, three-legged pig there. Now I'm a touch wary of pigs, they can be a bit scary now and then, but this chap seemed friendly enough. And blow me down if he didn't flip up the catch on the gate with his snout and push it open for me with his shoulder. How good was that? Anyway, as I drove on, the pig sat up on his hind legs, bowed, and waved me through with his one front trotter. I motored on slowly, watching in the mirror as he closed the gate, and then put on a bit of a sprint to catch me up and lead the way to Dave and Maureen's homestead.

I hadn't seen Dave for years but he hadn't changed much - still the same laconic old coot he'd been for the last 30 years. He'd looked about 60 when I met him, and he still looked about 60 now. We said g'day and he introduced me to Maureen and a couple of random kids.

"So listen Dave", I said, "what's the story with that pig of yours? He's pretty smart."

"Oh, you don't know the half of it", Dave drawled, "Charlie is the best pig I ever saw. Hell, when young Jennifer here was little, Maureen and me had to go into town for a footy club do. We reckoned she's be allright on her own for an hour or two, which we probly shouldna, but you live and learn. Anyway, she fell in the fire dam and she woulda drowned if it wasn't for Charlie. Bloody good pig. He jumped into the water and towed her out, an' he brought her round with a bit of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and then he dialed 000. Damn smart pig. Ambulance came and she was right as rain. Look at her now, near as tall as I am. Good thing the local copper is a mate of mine though, I might have been done for neglect or something. Anyroad, it all worked out allright in the end."

"Dave, that's the most amazing thing I've seen in quite a while. But he didn't really dial 000 did he?"

"Course he did. Here, watch this - Charlie? Beer!"

Charlie cantered smartly up the verandah steps, flipped the fridge open with his one front trotter, and came back with a stubbie of Tooheys for Dave. Back up the steps he went, and then stopped, looking at me.

"Well, tell him what you want mate", said Dave, "Tooheys or VB?"

"Got any XXXX?"

"No worries."

Sure enough, Charlie trotted back with a stubbie of XXXX for me. I'd worked up a bit of a thirst and took a long pull on it. "So tell me Dave", I said, "how come he's only got three legs?"

"Mate", he said, "when you got an animal as good as that one ... well ... you don't want to eat him all at once."