Saturday, April 6, 2013

Canberra Turns 100

Canberra turns 100
There is a little known geographical anomaly about Canberra. By some quirk, cartographers, when constructing the boundaries of Canberra, made a mistake marking the map. Classically, it is placed within the confines of the Australian Capital Territory. But there is mounting evidence to suggest that Canberra is not part of the ACT at all. In actuality, it is one of the outer dimensions of Hell.
I had been warned. When floating the idea of relocating to Canberra, the good people of Melbourne suggested otherwise. Often times their sentences incorporated strong adjectives, appropriate only for adults. Common sense suggested I only cautiously pass through this vacuous wasteland. But to consider a move there? I must be on the spectrum.
Yet when common sense says no, I say, “Maybe. “
And then I say, “Yes!” This is followed by, “I’m sorry,” and pleading, “ I should have known better.” Given enough time to simmer in Canberra, it turns into, “Please, dear God, help me.”
But God does not come to Canberra. No. Politicians, bureaucrats, public servants, and prostitutes come to Canberra.
Canberra is an adult themed AntiDisneyland, the unhappiest place on Earth. Sure, there are queues and ropes guiding you through the place, but instead of a ride at the end of a line, you find accountants. And, while I can not quantify this with any scientific studies, in my opinion, they were particularly ugly accountants.
To describe the quality of life in this town, people move here because of work. Or, reframed, the best and most alluring thing about Canberra is work.
I uncovered this fact during conversation with the locals. When meeting people, I often times ran this experiment.
“What’s your favourite thing about Canberra?”
“Well, I love my job. And the location is great! Two hours from the beach, two hours from the mountains, three hours from Sydney!”
“So, your favourite part about Canberra is work, and leaving Canberra?”
The experiment often ended badly.
Canberra’s people are mighty defensive about their little slice of Hades. A common phrase uttered is, “I’m from Canberra, born and bred.”
Why anyone would ever be proud of this sad fact boggles my mind. I heard the phrase so often that at times I would prod them.
“You’re probably going to stay here, huh?”
“So, when you die, you’ll be Canberra: Born and bred and dead.”
On the subject of death, this year, Canberra is 100 years old and is undoubtedly suffering from cognitive decline. In the preceding months up to her centenary, people around the geriatric patient wavered back and forth as to whether or not she were up to a celebration. One idea had been to outsource all celebrations to an actual city, like Sydney. There were pros and cons, however, in the end it was decided to give it a go internally. Canberra gathered all of its 100-year-old, dementia bound resources, and presented its embarrassingly simple party to the world. Like a country town talent show, every sub mediocre performer dusted off their fiddle or put on their Irish dancing shoes and was given stage time. There was even a pathetic little comedy festival memorable for…well, not such great quality, but certainly an impressive quantity of dick and fart jokes. The more bold performers added sound effects into the microphone, incorporating the armpit. And another misguided “comedian” was arrested after assuming a visual display would be a necessary addition to his reinterpretation of a classic, albeit tired, dick joke. These simple performers are now local heroes.
Like a geriatric vegetable, dripping and drooling from the mouth, Canberra is yet another example as to why euthanasia might be a viable and more humane solution than natural causes of death. In any case, we can only pray that it is soon put to rest, put out of its misery and dead before losing all dignity and shamefully embarrassing Australia.
Matthew Bulman
PS. Move the Capitol to a real city, Australia. Otherwise, History will mock you.

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