Some nights ago, I was being a wit-in-residence on my Twitter feed, replying to status updates and generally being a smart alec when I inadvertantly offended journo Mike Carlton. It resulted in Twitter blockage, and although I emailed him an apology, in that apology, I explained I would write about it.
Hard to tell, I know, but what you're looking at is a bug. Frozen in an ice cube. In the bottom of a cup. That I had just drained of Sprite. From a Maccas.
Now here's the thing: it's understandable that a bug might fall into the container full of ice. It happens. And it was tiny. I can understand how it was overlooked. And I'm sure it caused me no real damage - after all, we consume 6 insect legs a day in chocolate or whatever that stupid statistic is (an average of 8 legs per chocolate bar, in fact - apparently) and a bunch of spiders (more than 4 little ones).
In fact, nowadays, we're told we'll soon all be consuming insects for their protein. Although this isn't so new: a buddy told me about a trip to Thailand where a piece of corrugated metal, lit from above, was situated over a bucket of water; insects hit it all night and landed in the water; the following morning somebody sorted them into the different varieties in preparation for frying and vending.
Silkworm pupae. Yes, I have photographed it from various angles, not on the supermarket shelf. That's because it came home with me. I figured, maybe I should drain 'em, deep fry 'em - I once saw locusts cooked that way on a doco. Salted, they end up being ideal savoury snacks.
In my case, not so much.
I didn't drain them properly. I didn't use enough oil or wait until it was hot enough. They didn't taste of crisp, savoury snacks, I told Chris when asked, so much as mouldy old socks.
"I'm sorry," he said, as if he'd somehow coerced or dared me.
Anyway, point is: I wasn't really fazed by the bug on the ice. But I still wanted to kick up a stink. I'm good at that. I figured, maybe I'd get the Kramer's-lifetime-of-coffee soft drink deal out of them:
Again, not so much.
Got my money back. And a voucher for a complimentary EspressoPronto coffe or Sundae "in a size of your choice" when I visit next time. I still say there could have been a plastic card entitling the bearer to a free drink every meal forever after.
But at least the voucher was cool. Not the form letter part apologising for my "experience" not being "all it could have been today", thanking me for letting them know and assuring me they want to get it right.
It has this cool image.
Long after the clown has stopped appearing in person at stores (those ads that used to end, "come to McDonald's, I'll be there/Listen carefully and we'll tell you where" were just too much of a directory for kiddy fiddlers, I'm guessing), this has to be the coolest trademark ever.
I was gonna say 'it pisses all over the Golden Arches'. But think about it: the top of that curvy yellow 'm' could be considered bum cleavage - in which case, these boots kick its arse! Or, if you live near the rural town of Yass, it's ass!
The journalist in happier times: detail, back cover, Mike Carlton's News Review (1982, Hammard)
I'll admit: a horrible summer man flu had hit and I was delirious. I did think I was in fine form, reading status updates on Twitter and Facebook and replying wittily. I stumbled upon some chatter between a Heraldjourno I follow and a journalist, columnist, broadcaster, author I've admired for the better part of thirty yearsâ¦ (apologies for the repetition below - haven't quite got the hang of embedded tweet coding)
What? Because I won't buy SMH I'm clearly one of Murdoch's minions? Not likely. Forget for a moment the entire history of 'knowledge sharing' that went on amongst 'cafe society'; apart from the routine I follow with - that probably made it easier for my services to be dispensed with the first time I freelanced for News Magazines - there are earlier blog posts suggesting I'm no News Corporation stalwart...
A night later, the irony is I still have not seen the front of the Sydney Morning Herald. Was it amazing? Was it so amazing that it was worth the fuss?
Meanwhile, I did send Carlton an apology. Not unreserved. I explained that I would write about this, but being a journo, he'd understand. As Joan Didion once pointed out, a writer is always selling someone out. Given his history of taking the micky, I expected a better sense of humour.
I remain unemployed by News Ltd and Fairfax. Perhaps that's why I never purchase their papers - although I'm less impressed with SMH since it became, literally, a tabloid. (Its engagement in tabloid journalism was inevitable once it ceased to be a newspaper of record.) However, I'm also not employed by Crikey or New Matilda - and I subscribe to those.