SLUGGED

by Ross Sharp

5am. I turn on the television. Channel 9’s early news.

A very basic animated graphic shows a few planets in what appears to be a solar system, and there’s a large, peppery black hole in the middle, into which text reading “$12 billion” disappears, and out from which, like an inflating balloon, comes a large question mark.

I slink into a corner of the room and whimper like a whipped dog until I realise I’m down to my last clean pair of socks and should do a load of washing after work tonight.

Embrace the pain.

A little while later there’s a story about Michael Jackson’s doctor, and another one about a US cheerleader ripping another US cheerleader for being fat.

The morning breakfast program begins.

“Today”.

With your hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson.

I’m not sure if this is an adult program for children, or a children’s program for adults, but “your hosts” squirm, shift, smirk and smarm their way through a minute or two of mindless banter like two school students in the front row of a theatre production who think they’re the reason everyone came, and then proceed to ruin everyone else’s entertainment by being insufferably smug, attention-seeking smartarses for the duration.

A headline roars at me, “The average worker may be slugged up to 300 bucks a year!”, and I think, “How much is that?”

Six bucks a week.

I’m an average worker.

I’ll be ruined.

Disability spending? Education?

We can’t afford that.

6am. I could go to work early.

I could watch this shit some more. “Today”.

With your hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson …

… some orange guy with a voice like a cross ‘tween Mickey Mouse and Harvey Fierstein on helium is shrieking at me about a pop star …

… my brain cells rear up like small grey slugs being poked at with twigs, twisting, gasping, shrieking silently from within; some shudder, shrivel and die, others seek shelter under the cover of subconsciousness, others crawl toward the comforting warmth of memory.

6.05 am. I could go to work early.

I could watch this shit some more.

I go to work early.

“Fat” cheerleaders.

Fancy that.

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