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www.jimaubrey.com.au  Jim Aubrey 2002-2014
JIM AUBREY - CUT SNAKE This alter ego rant is not a suitable bedtime story for children or sane people. Note that the song “Unchain My Heart” was written by American songwriter Bobby Sharp and first recorded by Ray Charles in 1961. The classic cover version by Joe Cocker, recorded in 1987 for his album of the same name, is the version readers should have in mind for the little scene below, starting from the up-tempo first verse.
Excellentiousness ex•cel•lent•ious•ness noun a virulent disease of sycophancy amongst retail assistants I jumped out of bed at my normal rising time of 4 a.m. and stepped into the kitchen to brew the only liquid that should first touch awakened lips. EEEAAARRRGGGGHHH! I was out of coffee! For some inexplicable reason I had been negligent with the weekly domestic chores. It could have had something to do with the alignment of the planets or sheer pathetic mid-life- crisis laziness. However, it’s damn right to look at the full laundry basket and say No! Not until the planets are perfectly aligned. The same can’t be said for coffee, and the half-a-dozen organic beans lying at the bottom of my clear glass jar were simply not enough. In desperation I could have made a paste for a tantalizing spoon-feeding sensation, but the momentary delight would have been as frustrating as finding the infamous school bully monitoring the Pearly Gates—just him, me and my trusty fence paling. Hell would never look so good! So I arrived at the all-night supermarket, which is just the place you would never find organic coffee beans. You know what it’s like! As soon as you pass through the turnstile entrance—that poor imitation sheep dip—you become hypnotized by the mind-numbing elevator muzak and mesmerized by the bright in-your- face colours of a gazillion products. Before you can sing Oh Lord, don’t let there be no rent in Heaven, you’re pushing a trolley filled with all sorts of useless shit that you suddenly can’t live without. Ten new toilet-cleaning brushes that you’ll also use for the muck covering the pots and dishes and swatting the current infestation of muscular cockroaches. What a bargain! Twenty kilos of Brussels sprouts because you hate them and they sound great bouncing off the neighbours’ tin rooves on those nights you can’t sleep. More toothpaste than the local army barracks has because you’ve heard a rumour that wrapping up feet in it overnight will cure skin fungus, as well as foot and mouth disease. Finally, as many boxes of tampons as it would take to plug a humpback whale because they melt better than marshmallows at the local surf lifesaving club’s weekend barbie. And the boys can’t tell the difference. It was still that magic hour before cockcrow and I was well equipped with airport tarmac earmuffs and the blackest of celebrity shades to circumvent the supermarket’s best efforts to turn me into a brain-dead consumer with the singular intention of exceeding my credit card limit. And it was working: I could still focus on the mission—get in and out with just enough coffee beans to do me for the morning. Later on, I’d get my organic supply from my local co-op —God bless dreadlocks and the highlands of New Guinea! But I couldn’t get by without a caffeine hit to kick-start the day. How else am I supposed to have the necessary energy to distil and digest the daily news—handwringing shock- horror stories of crime and corruption and repetitive doom-and-gloom opinion pieces from Judgment Day celebrity journalists—I fixatedly peruse under the cloak of astronomical dawn? That first blush of each day’s insanity. Everything proceeded to plan. I found my way through a maze of aisles filled with a mind-boggling array of you’re-gonna-die-if-you-don’t-take-me products…painfully-and-slowly. Temptation…ha! I could have walked past the Angel of Sin and her stairway to Heaven. Focus on the mission…focus on the mission…in and out…soul food…what the frock! Suddenly, a Diversionary Confusion Analyst appeared in the coffee aisle! You know what a Diversionary Confusion Analyst is, don’t you? That’s the zit-riddled never had sex shelf-filler who always answers product inquiries by sending you in the wrong direction with the obvious intention of keeping you at the mercy of your zombie-compulsion to buy everything you never needed. It was a strange conversation and one I wish never to repeat ever again. It went something like this… ‘Can I help you, Sir?’ ‘No.’ ‘Excellent!’ ‘Really?’ ‘Not a problem!’ ‘I’m an extraterrestrial?’ ‘Too easy!’ ‘Take me to your leader.’ ‘Not a drama!’ And that’s when I lost the plot. I call it the excellentiousness disease. Go into any retail outlet anywhere in the world and the greetings and sales talk are uniformly nauseating and peppered with several standard vocal high-five’s. It doesn’t matter what you say. ‘I’ve got your hospital results and you have one week to live.’ ‘Excellent!’ ‘I’m a psychopathic serial killer and looking for love.’ ‘Not a problem!’ ‘I’m Father Finnegan and I’m here to perform your exorcism.’ ‘Too easy!’ ‘Your whole family was just destroyed by an exploding mobile telephone.’ ‘Not a drama!’ The excellentiousness disease—repetitive, sycophantic claptrap designed to turn every sales assistant into your instant, fashionable best friend. ‘You’ve got genital herpes.’ ‘Excellent!’ ‘If you say not-a-problem I’m going to beat you with my fence paling.’ ‘Not a problem!’ ‘I’ve just hacked into your bank account.’ ‘Too easy!’ ‘You’re going to work here for the rest of your pathetic life.’ ‘Not a drama!’ There I was, only steps away from the coffee section and this Diversionary Confusion Analyst was in sonic overdrive. Excellent-not a problem-too easy-not a drama! Excellent-not a problem-too easy-not a drama! Excellent-not a problem-too easy-not a drama! I did what any rational, super-intelligent Homo sapien would in these difficult circumstances. I undid my fly, gripped my Zorbra—#@zit!!!—and started singing Unchain My Heart. Unceremoniously ejected from the supermarket, and being under the influence of caffeine cold turkey, I drove straight to my local co-op. In the soft glow of the reassuring dawn, I adopted a therapeutic cross-legged pose outside the closed front door. Then I ranted on my knees! Extreme torment! I was so pleased at the sound of the door’s lock being released and the near completion of my beleaguered mission that I hardly heard the reply to my effusive gratitude. ‘Excellent!’