An Annus Horribilis by another name

By Mike Welshurine

I’m uncomfortable labelling a crap year as an “Annus Horribilis”. It has a pompous and dramatic ring to it which seems more at home in the house of Windsor.

My 2014 was more annoying than horrible.  But as mother was wont to say “mustn’t complain” so I am reflecting on the past 52 weeks  as a “Hairy Arse-Hat Year”.

My HAHY began late (Jan 26) when my subtle and repeatedly dropped hints for a 60th birthday gift of a pet monkey, which I could train to rip the faces off people who insisted “Sixty is the new Fifty”, failed to materialise. Did I mention the broken watch band, which required more money than I’d paid for the watch to replace and the paucity of watchband retailers in my village?

Don’t get me started on watchbands.

But as we used to say in Tasmania “It doesn’t rain it just pisses down”, and failure was seemingly piled upon failure for the first half of my HAHY, due to my freshly minted status as a card carrying traveller on the “employment pathway”.

Don’t get me started on Employment Pathways.

As I rake over the coals of 2014 I recall a vague, warm sensation of buoyancy, in the early months. Somebody had suggested we should postpone retirement and work through to our 70s, due to a desperate short supply of our “unique life skills”.

Be ironic if the anticipated shortage included the god given gifts of the highly sought after wordsmith whose job it is to knock out the “Unfortunately your application was not successful at this particular juncture. Your time and interest in the role, however, is greatly appreciated and we would like to assure you that full consideration was given to all applications received”  type letters.  But I’m too old to be ironic. Thankfully sarcasm has no such demographic.

grumpy old man # 1

It’d be refreshing to receive a brutal but balanced rejection letter.

Don’t get me started on rejection letters.

Dear Aged Person/Old Man/Senior Person/Has-Been

What in god’s name were you thinking by making an application for the above position? We would love to say we were impressed with your vast years of experience in this field but, it doesn’t count for a stack of goat droppings here in the real world, where   12 year olds are coming out of university at the rate of knots, all with nice shiny degrees, but with nothing to do. It’s much safer for you to be pointlessly roaming the streets than the future leaders of our great nation.  So you see, digger, you’re wasting your time and ours by thoughtlessly putting yourself forward for jobs you for which you’ve a green frog’s hope in hell of even getting an interview. Not wishing to put too finer point on it..you’re washed up, finished,  aint  gonna happen pop. Why don’t you retreat to the bottom of your garden where tales abound of people working into their seventies and, other fairytales about the world needing your rare and valuable gifts? But we wish you every success in the future you don’t have. You’re gonna need luck by the bucket full..(sorry ‘bout the bucket reference) but while we’re being candid …even your application letter smells of urine.

 mark zuckerberg #3

That pet monkey would have been handy later in my HAHY when, bitter and beaten down, I had a strong urge to rip the face off Facebook. Don’t get me started on Facebook. “I EAT DICK” was the ingenious zinger posted on my account by a hacker who, when caught will have 750 mils of snot slapped out of them.  Because the hacker changed my password and I could no  longer access the original email address, I was  forced into a frustrating and one sided battle of wits with FB for the return of the account which I’d had since 2007 when it wasn’t cool to be on FB. Anyone remember Myspace? As I head full steam into another year, with renewed anticipation and a brand spanking new watch band I have one problem already. Annus  Mirabilis (a wonderful year)  is the opposite of Annus  Horribilis (a horrible year) but what is the contradictory phrase for Hairy Arse Hat Year?

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