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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Round the Twist

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Jaimini hut

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Some kind of bird

Well, it looks like the writing is on the wall for me when it comes to dementia. A British study has revealed the link between having a twisted sense of humour and the onset of one of our most feared diseases of cognitive decline: Alzheimer’s. Turns out Oscar Wilde wasn’t a genius after all – the poor bugger was dementing! I’ve had a twisted sense of humour for years. In fact, it’s how I pay my mortgage, support the kids, put food on the table. I see twisted shit everywhere. Without a twisted sense of humour you’d never be able to live in Mullumbimby. Should we be gating ourselves in as Australia’s first dedicated dementia community? I wonder about the satire-impaired scientists who conducted the study using their comedic blandness as a benchmark for normalcy. How does a person live in a twisted world without a twisted perspective? The world is a very, very, very twisted place – have a good look around at the dark ironies that pepper our planet: The very people who were entrusted to educate and care for our children turned out to be paedophiles; America’s public enemy number one, Osama Bin Laden, was originally trained by them; and no-one on Dancing with the Stars is actually a star. Last week I encountered some very well-meaning ladies selling stuffed toys to raise money for children with cancer. Ironically the stuffed toys were made in Indonesia, probably by children. But we weren’t raising money for the Third World exploited kiddies, just our nice white sick kids. I know it’s a bit wrong. But that makes me laugh. Not because I’m sick, or find children with cancer or children who are victims of exploitation remotely titillating, but because the world is a sick fuck and I figure you have to laugh at our stupid hypocrisies. Anne Frank famously said in her adolescent diary, ‘In spite of everything I still believe people are good at heart?’ How can Anne be so full of forgiveness for her captors? I guess Anne was only 14 and she didn’t know how her story was going to end. I think, despite everything, people may occasionally be good at heart, like their intentions are good, except when it comes to self-interest or rampant opportunism, and then goodness is auctioned off to the highest bidder. We like to think we’re good, but generally we’re only good when we think people are watching. Nothing has made me laugh more than the infamous ‘tap’ of Mullumbimby. Mel’s Well was a fuzzy feelgood attempt to give our local community somewhere to fill up on filtered water. It’s a lovely idea, and would work if humans weren’t capable of such unchecked opportunism. In the two years that tap has been operational, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single person fill up a water bottle. I have, however, seen people front up with water coolers. Buckets. Forty-four-gallon Drums. And on one occasion a small truck with a hose that fed into a tank. What makes me laugh hardest is that the business that was supplying the ‘filtered’ water is now gone. As I imagine is the filter. It’s basically just a tap. Someone, and I have no idea who, is now paying for half of Mullumbimby and Main Arm’s water supply. I find that hysterical. I don’t think Mel’s Well anymore. I think Mel’s very very disappointed. I thought that was funny. Now I discover it’s not because it’s actually amusing; it’s because I’m a slowly dementing twisted bitch. The other day when I was reading Trivia questions I had to ask, ‘What is a BUSTARD?’ I immediately thought an adult over 30 who has lost their licence and has to get a school bus into Byron. It’s happened to me. I know what it felt like. I have been a BUS–TARD. Apparently it’s some sort of bird. Ho-hum. I thought my answer was much better. I love people with twisted humour. It’s a glorious human trait. Who doesn’t piss themselves laughing when a politician falls over? After some contemplation I have reached the conclusion I would rather dement and and live life with the twisted then spend a single hour with the humourless.

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Resilience through biodiversity and awareness

The Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow will be in Brunswick Heads this Saturday, as part of a series of events across the region tackling the question: ‘How do we create more resilient communities in 2021?’

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