Amongst the Angst!
June 24, 2014Posted by on
For though my general knowledge, which is more than rudimentary,
Has been somewhat restricted by the failings of my memory,
I still may have a life that’s existential and ephemeral
I am the very model of a blogger very general.
I think that the world wide web is wonderful and while care is needed amongst the angst of knitting a path through this knowledge Knossian, its cornucopian content more than compensates for this. Nevertheless, any search that I may make on the web is hindered by my propensity to be ‘easily distracted’ which, in turn, is further compounded by failings of my immediate short term memory. The average short term memory, as propounded by George Miller, can hold 7 ± 2 (5 to 9) chunks or bits of information, whereas I now believe that mine is 0 ± 1. This is something my wife has always believed and insists on giving me written lists. Having read the works of Edward De Bono on useful techniques to enhance memory retention, whatever techniques I learned I have now forgotten as my wife always gives me a list.
I was searching the web for a joke concerning boundary riders and a taxidermist that I remember being told by Margaret Powell, either on a TV Chat show or in one of her books. In doing so I came across a reference to a Dorothy Dix, who in modern parlance would be known as an ‘agony aunt’. In 1890 she began writing an advice column for The Daily Picayune. But Dorothy Dix was always more than an ‘agony aunt’, in a famous 1898 column with the title “The Selfishness of Men,” she denounced the actions of the men aboard the sinking French Liner ‘La Bourgogne’, writing that women and children had been prevented from using the lifeboats (only one woman aboard the ship survived). The New York Times reported the sinking in an article with the title ‘Horrors of La Bourgogne’. Eventually Dix’s syndicated column, ‘Dorothy Dix Talks,’ achieved a readership of 60 million. Dorothy Dix often wrote and answered her own questions; so much so that in Australian politics, a Dorothy Dixer is the name given to a ‘planted question’ asked of a government Minister.
Here in a kingdom that may become disunited in September, Dorothy Dix was relatively unknown (certainly to me), the agony aunt for my generation was Marjorie Proops who wrote for the Daily Mirror. An article with the title ‘A brief history of agony aunts‘ published in The Guardian, never mentioned Dorothy Dix. It did however, attribute the origin of ‘agony aunt columns’ to a John Dunton who, in 1691, published The Athenian Gazette: Or Casuistical Mercury, Resolving all the most Nice and Curious Questions proposed by the Ingenious of Either Sex.
So, to the point: I found the joke that I was looking for in The Balgownie Hotel Joke Book. This has a plethora of Aussie jokes, funny, but mostly ones that I would not repeat here. However, rather than post the joke that I was looking for, I thought it worth posting the joke that led me to Dorothy Dix and other distractions,
Letter to Dorothy Dix
I am a sailor in the New Zealand Navy. My parents live in Whangarei and my brother-in-law is living in Melbourne. My father and mother have been busted for drug running and they depend on my two sisters, who are prostitutes, for a living.
My only brother is serving a life sentence in jail on conviction of rape and murder, and my uncle is a High Court Judge who takes bribes. My other uncle is on trial for lighting fires in a National Park which burnt down 93 houses.
I am in love with a Thai prostitute who solicits around the Auckland wharves. She says she loves me, but she knows nothing about my family background. We intend to marry as soon as her illnesses clear up. Me being white does not bother her at all. When I get out of the Navy we will open a brothel in Hamilton and my two sisters will work there to keep the business in the family.
My problem is that I want to marry this girl and have an entirely open and honest relationship with her. The burning question is whether I should tell her that I have a brother-in-law who lives in Melbourne?