Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Misplaced Optimism

In 1968 or thereabouts I went through a phase where living off the land seemed a cool idea. I'm not talking Montana style survivalist where one makes stashes of weapons and canned food against the inevitability of the US government. It was more a romantic ideal of living rough and dining off the produce of the land. Those who've known me in later years might be surprised but it surely was so.

Of course, a 14 years old teenagers idea of living off the land is somewhat different from the reality!

So one night in 1968 as aforesaid a friend and I 'lived off the land'. Our idea of living off the land was pitching a tent in the wasteland 200 metres to the east of the house where I lived and dining on packaged dinners cooked over a camp fire. Some survivalists huh? Perhaps I shouldn't add that this was all of 10 kilometres from Melbourne CBD .

The next morning was a Sunday as I remember very clearly; we found a car with someone asleep inside. Doubtless he was sleeping off a night on the tiles. My friend suggested that there was a reward for anyone who found a dead body and reported it to the police. From that moment I wanted that dude to be a dead dude!

So off we set. I confess I had visions of maybe a hundred bucks apiece as reward money and I devoutly hoped we'd really found a dead body. The police, as one would expect, were somewhat less convinced and didn't take us seriously. So we set off back to where we'd found the dead body fully prepared to return to the police with stories of a second sighting.

The bastard had in the meantime awoken and driven away! Man I felt cheated. That reward for finding a dead body had been mine and now it was gone!

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