Any Australian who worked overseas, realised that some of the words we once bandied about in our offices, such as bludger, smoko, yakka, sickie, wowser, and whinger, required a translation.
This was also true for phrases such as ‘running around like a blue arsed fly’ or ‘you’ve got Buckley’s,’ as in, you’ve got no chance. You also learned quickly that it’s not a good idea to ring in sick and say you are home in bed with a wog.
I once told a group that was dragging its heels, ‘come on guys, rattle your dags.’ I then had to explain to the confused throng, the literal meaning of the word ‘dag’ and the rural setting in which we might see them rattling.
A UK boss of mine believed that Aussies had some unusually creative insults. He’d asked an Australian for their views on another team member, and was told; Mate, I wouldn’t give him the steam off my p*ss.
I do recall when such direct (and sometimes cruel) ‘appraisals’ flowed freely. A bit too freely. I wouldn’t argue for a wholesale return. In any case, these days I see my colleagues holding back on saying anything remotely funny. They glance about anxiously, as if the po-faced and sanctimonious are hiding behind potted plants, ready and willing to be outraged.
However, I wondered lately if anyone else recalled this dying language. I sent out an appeal and the following are a sample of contributions. Please look away now if you are easily offended. And I admit I’m being horribly sexist and attributing these insults to men.
He’s so stupid, he wouldn’t know sh*t from clay.
He’s so mean, the only presents he gives are boomerangs and homing pigeons.
He’s so mean, he wouldn’t shout if a shark bit him.
(And just staying with sharks) He’s lower than shark sh*t.
He’s so garrulous, he could talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles.
He’s as mad as a cut snake.
He’s been flat out, like a lizard drinking.
He couldn’t train a pig to be dirty.
He’s as cunning as a sh*t-house rat or he’s slicker than cat sh*t on a lino floor.
He’s a bit odd, he’s got a few roos loose in the top paddock.
He’s as boring as bat poo.
He’s as ugly as a hatful of ar*eholes or he’s so ugly, when he was born, the doctor smacked his mother.
He’s so hopeless, he couldn’t organise a p*ss up in a brewery or he’s as useful as an ar*e pocket on a singlet, or as useless as tits on a bull,
He’s so confused, he’d lose his balls if they weren’t in a sack, or he couldn’t find his ar*e with both hands.
You can probably see why this kind of feedback caused Tippex bottles to empty when it showed up on office paperwork. These days, such comments would keep the Fair Work Commission busy, but I have held back some of the more profane sayings. Yes, I have a list that is even worse, but if anyone has more examples, I’d love to hear them. Just between us. They’re going straight to the pool room.
And for those who were offended, though I warned you to look away, I realise this has probably gone down like a brick and tile glider, but please, keep your hair on. I’ll conclude this now and be off like a dirty shirt.
Merry Christmas everyone and see you round like a rissole.