How long is 90 seconds? I’ll tell you.


An Aside from S

In this letter J says that he is typing his 1996 diary and that it is filed in a folder – I have never seen/found this folder which is why there are no diary excerts for 1996. He also writes about protecting and destroying his diary…


Sunday, 17 March 1996

Hey Sis, here’s an overdue letter, eh?  Sorry to have neglected you, it’s rush season at work again.

(Ten minutes later….) Well, now what the hell am I gonna write about?  I just got off the phone from you!  And now I’ve got that Definition of Sound song (Pass the Vibes) buzzing ’round my echo chamber skull. How’s Jack?  That’s the one thing I forgot to ask.  I know how the Bub is coz Mum was cooing and coochying ’round here earlier today to measure up for the leadlight windows ’round the front door, she wants to make for me. But I already told you that.

So now, with my trusty (rusty) typewriter, you’ll get to see my typing skills for what they really are.  Check out all the Liquid Paper.  I do dig having this thing at home though, I keep my diary on it. I’m not sure what I really think I’m doing with it (my diary). I mean, I reread it sometimes and think “My God, what a miserable, nasty bastard” and I know that I’ll destroy (or at least edit it) before letting anybody read it. I sometimes daydream about being falsely accused of some heinous crime, with Perry Mason representing me in black and white, and the prosecuting QC saying gravely, “So you actually have no alibi to explain your whereabouts on the night of this heinous crime, do you Mr J?” and I tilt my head and intone sagely “Why, yes I do my learned man. It’s all in my… diary.”  So they use my diary, all bound up in red leather and gilt embossing and they turn page after page, unmasking my secret double identity as an exotic dancer down at Crystal T’s (don’t even pretend you don’t know Crystal T’s, what was that DJ’s name?)  My stage name is “Captain Cucumber”, but I digress.  And now I digress even further – did you know that Raymond Burr (may he rest in peace) was gay? YEAH – Ironside was playing for the Pink Team.  I love gossip about stars.  And this year’s diary is not some leather bound, embossed opus, it’s a bunch ol’ A4 typed sheets, rustling around in my writing desk with receipts for gas bills and the like.

Hmmm. So, how much water exactly has flowed beneath the bridge since I last wrote?  Well.  I suppose I ought to dig through these much-mentioned sheets of A4 and find out. Let’s see.

The day after Tessa’s wedding Simon picked me up and we go to a party in Clifton Hill.  It’s Paige’s housewarming. Paige is good value.  A straight-down-the-line type.  If she doesn’t like you, she’s likely to tell you. Normally I don’t like this in a person, I think it shows lack of imagination, not being able to lie and deceive people.  But in Paige’s case, I make an exception because we dislike the same people, and I derive vicarious pleasure from watching her belittle my enemies.

So Simon and I get to the party, bit sick of each others company to tell the truth.  All week together, all Saturday together at the wedding – it’s not looking like an ideal party “vibe”.  I put ‘vibe” in quote marks because it’s such an embarrassing DJ-like word to use. So Simon and I arrive, thread our way through a lounge room full of pot-heads watching TV (just what every party needs) and our “work” crowd are out back.  I pull out my “Duff” beer and feel like a prom queen.  Everyone wants to talk to me. “Where’d you get your beer man?”  I hope you realize where Duff beer is from, Sis. Apparently Toohey’s have found some loophole and are selling re-packaged domestic beer as “Duff”.

So I’m chatting away in the backyard, giving everyone the dirt on the wedding.  I’m wearing my Puma top, suede jacket (the one with the zips), army pants and blue Vans trainers.  There was a cute girl there in faded Levi’s, dark blue t-shirt and Converse One-Star trainers.  She had red hair and blue eyes. She didn’t talk to me.  After about two hours (the host of the party, Paige, hardly showing her face at all), Simon and I elected to be chief pikers, and left. Simon had a “sure thing” set up with his pal, Freddy.  What I mean is, Freddy was looking after a sure thing for Simon. Freddy was not the sure thing himself.  Would’ve been more fun if it was that way though.

An uneventful evening really.  I did tell one good anecdote from the wedding though.  I don’t think it was in my other letter.

I was talking to Root Rat (Roberta), when she spat on my face.  It was an accident, just a loose bit of spittle that flew out, but it must have been big.  I really felt it land, that unmistakable liquid contact on my right cheek.  The worst part is that she didn’t give me a decent pause in conversation to get rid of it.  I had to sit for something like a minute and a half before I could discretely wipe it off my dial.  Try sitting and looking at your wristwatch continuously for ninety seconds.  Go on – do it. You’ll see just how long a minute and a half really is.

Did you do it?  See ninety seconds is excruuuuuuuciatingly long huh?

J x


Seven years to the day my brother wrote this letter, he would take his life.

One thought on “How long is 90 seconds? I’ll tell you.

  1. Pingback: 1997

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