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Becoming A Bludger
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Becoming A Bludger
In twenty-two years, Ian Kidd has written over 130 short stories and novellas, including the sci-fi comedy series "Doctor Trek", his autobiographical comedy 'Bludger' series, the spoof soap opera 'Wickersley Comprehensive School' series, as well as several standalones, and, of course, his magnum opus, the epic "Ian's Gang" sci-fi adventure series which has been running for eighteen years and has now surpassed 100 stories.
After all that, you'd think someone, somewhere, would give him both some money and some lovin'.
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (21)
Amelia Frid - Interview With Neighbours Actress (Non-Fiction) In 2004 I had the pleasure of interviewing former "Neighbours" actress Amelia Frid. [1,244 words]
Back On The Bludge (Short Stories) More fun dolebludging adventures! [4,169 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Cracked (Short Stories) When Ian Kidd and Ace are attacked by Ogrons, and Ramsay Street is nuked, Captain Who fears someone or something is out to destroy the entire Fiction Universe. [10,028 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Crossbreed (Short Stories) The Captain and his companions are plunged into a parallel universe where fiction is real. [11,902 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Happy Endings (Short Stories) A pissed off expat falls in love with a mystery woman known only as Ms Wok. [6,810 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Meeting The Grade (Short Stories) Captain Who and his companions try to stop a band of crazed, time-travelling "Doctor Who" fans from changing history. [8,936 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Parallel Universes (Short Stories) Captain Who, Mr Wok and Frobisher find themselves plunged into a series of bizarre parallel universes as their old nemeses Jip and Pane make a decidedly unwelcome comeback. [6,425 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Sammy's War (Short Stories) When Cody vanishes, Sammy Davis Jnr (no relation) finds himself on the run in a universe where reality and fiction are becoming interchangeable. [12,485 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Short Stories) Captain Who, Fred and Frobisher arrive in West Hampshire, a small North American town on December 24, 1955. But this year no one's going to be having a very Merry Christmas, as a murderous Santa Claus... [7,279 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Story Guide (Non-Fiction) A guide to the order of stories in the"DT" series. [55 words]
Doctor Trek - The Green Green Glow Of Death (Parts 1, 2 And 3) (Short Stories) A mission for the Captains goes badly wrong, leaving Who, Frobisher, Sammy, Cody and Ace trapped in various time zones - where a deadly menace lurks. [21,869 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - The Tried And Tested Plot Device (Short Stories) Captain Who becomes possessed by a Star Trek Cliche that has somehow escaped from a supposedly secure Script Containment Facility. [6,911 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - Timetripe (Short Stories) Captain Who, Frobisher and new companion Fred try to stop the evil Jip's latest and greatest scheme - to gain mastery over Time itself. [5,010 words] [Humor]
Doctor Trek - What A Load Of Crap (Short Stories) Captain Who sets out on his 25 year mission with the crew of the Starship TARDISPRISE and soon becomes involved in a decidedly unusual murder case on a space station. [7,936 words] [Humor]
How To Succeed At Failure Without Even Trying (Short Stories) For an increasingly frustrated dole bludger, the prospect of a six-month business course ABSOLUTELY FREE OF CHARGE seems too good to be true. Guess what? It is. [8,808 words] [Humor]
Ian's Gang - An Announcement (Non-Fiction) Ian's Gang has entered a new dimension. Find out where! [210 words] [Science Fiction]
It Shouldn't Happen To A Bludger (Short Stories) Just when you think life can't get any worse... [5,303 words] [Humor]
My Life As A Dole Bludger (Short Stories) Once signed up, your life on the dole begins in earnest. [3,559 words] [Humor]
Par For The Course (Short Stories) Oh no, not ANOTHER bloody clerical course! [7,770 words] [Humor]
The Course (Short Stories) A 4-week "Employment Connections" course promises much, but will it deliver? [4,347 words] [Humor]
'bludger' Story Guide (Non-Fiction) Story order guide to the 'Bludger'series. [36 words]
Becoming A Bludger
BECOMING A BLUDGER
The certificate said: Score 69
SCORE NECESSARY FOR UNIVERSITY COMPLETION: 69
I looked down the sheet.
Final Score 52.........?
"Well," I said, looking up at my parents' expectant faces. "There's some good news, and
some bad news..."
My parents' reaction to the news that I would not be attending University was actually rather
good, I thought. For the next three weeks or so, they passed through three separate stages
1) The "You've Been Screwed" option. A personal favourite of mine, this consists of calling
the teachers, the examiners, the Australian Government and the lollipop man on our street
a series of unflattering obscenities, blaming them 100% for my failure to attend University,
the state of the education system as a whole, and always stopping our car just to let bloody
kids cross the road,
2) The "It's All Your Own Fault" option. Not my idea of helpfulness, this consists of
comments such as "You should have worked harder, shouldn't you?", "too much tv,
not enough work" and "You can't be on the Dole for the rest of your life, young man!"
3) The "Oh well" solution. Not as much fun as 1) but certainly better than 2 (for me anyway),
this is mainly the oh-well-it's-happened-there's-no-point-crying-over-spilled-milk-even-if-it-
is-the-rest-of-your-life-we're-talking-about-here response. A long-lasting and effective
option but it should be noted that 3) will be achieved finally only after options 1) and 2)
have been repeated ad nauseum.
After the screaming had stopped, we then had to decide what I was actually going to do,
since not getting into University had not been a big part of my plans. We went to see a
very nice man at the Youth Access Centre, for two reasons - 1) to find out how my score
had had sixteen points knocked off, and 2) to see what my options were.
He explained I had lost the sixteen points under very fair and well-reasoned conditions.
It seemed that as several of the subjects I took were SAS (School Assessed Subjects)
and not PES (Public Examined Subjects) that, because, SAS subjects were a lot harder
and involved more work than the PES subjects, I lost points from all my SAS subjects.
Neglecting to realise what as ASS he was coming across as, he further said that because
in Media Studies I got an A but my classmates considerably lower, the "class average" had
to be modified to achieve the results they wanted - so my classmates had their grades
raised and my grades had, logically, to be lowered.
The man at the Youth Access Centre didn't seem to understand my parents' observations
that these were the most insane and ludicrous reasons they'd ever heard, and kindly
offered me the advice of repeating Year 12.
"I see," I said, seriously considering the offer. "You want me to spend twelve months doing
something that I have not only already done but had already passed until the point
choppers got to work?"
The man nodded. Perhaps noticing my less than enthusiastic response to this idea (the
phrase "F**k that for a lark" may have been uttered at some point) he then tried to
explain that it wasn't the point choppers who'd made me fail, it was my own fault for
leaving an education system as good as England's and coming to Australia in the first
place. At any rate, he smiled, repeating Year 12 was probably my best option.
I was on the verge of telling him where he could stick his options when my parents did
so instead - albeit in a more polite manner than I had been about to demonstrate, and we
We then, over the course of the next few days, went to visit a "Career Guidance
Counselor", whose receptionist said would "look objectively at my situation and outline
the best response to it".
Her advice: "Repeat Year 12".
Perhaps such constant drumming in works on some youngsters, but I was made of
sterner stuff. More importantly, I had just worked bloody hard on no pay for twelve months,
only to be utterly screwed on all counts. The idea of returning to a place where the value of
your work diminishes because it's so much better than your peers was not terribly
appealing, and when my parents began to take up the chant - "Maybe you should think of
repeating Year 12, you know...You didn't work that hard, did you? I mean, you weren't
studying when you were sleeping, were you?" - I made that clear. School was out.
Repeating Year 12 was out. And, clearly, University was out.
My parents finally acceded. Now, they reasoned, we would look for other options.
Namely: Non-University Courses.
We spent the next few days running around Adelaide, for pretty much no reason at all. We
went to various TAFE's (technical colleges) and other places with colleges. As at this time
I was still vainly clinging to the idea of someday ending up in the Media, there were very
few courses that I was in any way interested in. None of these were full-time, and all of
them had at least one big problem attached to them: Money.
Call us tight, but $2000 for a three week course was not entirely what we had in mind.
One of the places we visited was called "Charklu", an "acting place". The moment we got
there we knew it was not what I wanted. It was populated by an assortment of freaks and
weirdos and children, and the woman who talked to me like she came from "The Addams
Family". We made our excuses and left.
We were at home about two hours later when the doorbell rang. As Morticia had
commented that someone from Charklu might pop around to talk to me (oh goody!), I
hid in the bathroom. When I heard the someone ask for Ian, I cringed.
However, it was not who I thought it was.
It was Michael Harrison, a friend I had made at Mawson High School the year before. We
had become friends almost by default, for the simple overriding reason that we couldn't
stand anyone else in the school. We didn't really have anything in common, but our
mutual contempt for everyone else drew us together. I had last seen him back in
December on the last day of school, and had not really been expecting to see him again.
But here he was.
We went for a walk on the beach, talking, discussing Mawson and our exam results and
"I got my exam results," Michael was saying, "with two points more than I should have
for Media Studies." This in effect changed his grade in that subject from a B to an A
(which I got). "But then I got a letter saying that was wrong, and I got my replacement copy
with the grade changed back to a B, and they wanted the original (wrong) copy returned."
This he did, but before he did so he took over fifty photocopies of the original copy, so
every one he sent out to employers had the higher - false - grade on, making him as good
as me in that subject. I was ill amused. However, despite that, I told him to drop by again
His parting words were succint: "Get yourself registered at the CES (Commonwealth
Employment Service) and on the Dole. I am - and it's great!"
As it was, Michael's advice was hardly a deciding factor. By this time, it was becoming
clear that I was not getting on a course or getting a job for some considerable time.
That night, my parents and I agreed.
It was time to go on the dole.
The rigmarole entailed in this, of course, turned out to be enormous.
I interviewed with a sour-faced woman at the CES.
"What career would you like to get into?" she asked.
My mother, with me at the interview, took over the conversation as she always did,
apparently believing me incapable of speech, despite much evidence at home to the
contrary. "Video production."
The CES woman gave me a look which can only be described as a mixture of scorn and
I soon discovered why. I had not come to Australia to be an actor, a writer, or a video
Or even a salesman.
I had come to Austalia to be buried.
Buried in paperwork, hopelessness and bitterness.
And the shovel was being wielded by God.
I signed up. I was, officially and irrefutably, a dole bludger. Then I had to get my own bank
account for the first time in my life, so they could deposit my money there.
Well alright, I hadn't earned it or anything, and it was essentially pity cash, but it still had a
nice ring to it. Not that I hadn't had money before, of course. I'd just never had it long enough
to require a bank account.
Before I got my first "pay cheque" (ho ho!) I had to meet my new CES "Youth Case
Manager", a very nice man who told me to consider voluntary work.
I told him I'd certainly consider it.
The days went by, I got my cheque. And then it began. After all the bustle and activity of
the first few weeks, now it all ceased. I was signed up. I had Dole. I was registered at the
CES, looking for work, with my own Case Manager.
I was screwed.
|READER'S REVIEWS (2)
DISCLAIMER: STORYMANIA DOES NOT PROVIDE AND IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR REVIEWS. ALL REVIEWS ARE PROVIDED BY NON-ASSOCIATED VISITORS, REGARDLESS OF THE WAY THEY CALL THEMSELVES.
"Hello Mr. Kidd - 1) This story was very entertaining, I must say. This was some of the best humor I have read on this site. 2) I'm interested in reading your "Ian's Gang" series, but am unsure as to which story comes 1st. I hope you will help me with this. Thank you very much for your story." -- A.P. Williams.
"Thanks for the review, Mr Williams! As for 'Ian's Gang', I've been thinking of putting a 'story guide' up for it, but was unsure whether it would be of any interest. Watch out for it in the next few days. The very first story is "The Bad Ian". Hope you enjoy it, and thanks again for the review!" -- Ian Kidd, Adelaide , SA, Australia.
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© 1996 Ian Kidd
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