A word to the wise

The Gympie Times - - YOUR SATURDAY - Bruce Dev­ereaux

“BRUCE!” came the shout across the park here at the Ke­nil­worth Show­grounds where we’ve pulled up for a cou­ple of days. “Bruce!”

I did my best im­per­son­ation of a man run­ning. All of the puff­ing and ex­er­tion with­out any ac­tual per­ceiv­able in­crease in speed.

Judg­ing by the ur­gency of her voice, my con­cern was the hot wa­ter pipe un­der our sink had burst again. That would make three times to­day – the very first day of our big leg down to Vic­to­ria. The bloody thing had ex­ploded all over the inside of our newly in­stalled kitchen twice this morn­ing. Once be­fore I fixed it and, frus­trat­ingly but not en­tirely un­ex­pect­edly, once af­ter­wards.

The first time it hap­pened Tracey screamed so gut-wrench­ingly I thought she’d scorched her­self, but it turned out she was pic­tur­ing all the cab­i­netry warp­ing.

I com­pleted my 50m ‘sprint’ to our bus in record time.

By which I mean you could prob­a­bly have played the bet­ter part of an en­tire 80s LP.

But the prob­lem wasn’t I found a busted pipe so much as I’d seem­ingly been busted. Or so Tracey seemed to think.

“Your daugh­ter,” Tracey said ac­cus­ingly as she pointed be­hind her to a highly amused look­ing Miss10, “was just quot­ing me some­thing she saw on the in­ter­net.”

I breath­lessly swung into ac­tion.

“I don’t know why you’re look­ing so pleased with your­self,” I said to Miss10 be­cause she was a bit smug and Tracey was look­ing a lot cranky. “What were you say­ing?”

If any­thing, my daugh­ter’s grin got wider as she said, bold as brass, “I think the one Mum re­ally didn’t like was f**kwit.”

Only she said it with all the let­ters in­cluded!

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this par­tic­u­lar daugh­ter say that word be­fore. I mean, I’ve caught her lips mov­ing to the cho­rus of CeeLo Green’s F**k You a few times, but she’s had the good sense to mum­ble.

My stunned, wide-eyed ex­pres­sion darted from Miss10 to Tracey and back again.

As I opened my mouth to ad­mon­ish our daugh­ter it oc­curred to me Tracey’s whole de­meanour was one of crank­i­ness with her arms clamped across her chest, but also that she was glar­ing at me rather than Miss10.

I was miss­ing some­thing here.

Noth­ing un­usual in that, so I ploughed on.

“What on Earth are you watch­ing?! You know we’ve got rules about the in­ter­net and if you can’t stick to them then you’ll be banned from us­ing your iPad. We won’t have you par­rot­ing that sort of rot.”

As Miss10 launched into a pre­dictable, “But, Dad…,” I risked a glance back at Tracey just to make sure I was do­ing well.

Her fa­cial ex­pres­sion had soft­ened. Good, I thought. The slightly con­fus­ing bit was she was now giv­ing off a be­mused sort of ‘he’s such an id­iot’ vibe.

“Don’t give me that ‘but, Dad’ non­sense,” I car­ried on. “You are not to hang about trash sites which use that sort of lan­guage. Hey, Mummy,” I added, hop­ing to rope her in with a lit­tle sup­port.

“How about a site which uses the phrase ‘nut chok­ers’?” Tracey asked me.

“Re­ally?” I said, my voice up a pitch and my head shak­ing solemnly.

“Or fruit loops?” went on Tracey.

Ah, now they were start­ing to sound vaguely fa­mil­iar.

Dammit.

“But, Daddy,” re­peated Miss10, mak­ing use of the pause in my tirade, “I asked you this morn­ing if I could read your blog posts and you said I could.”

To make some sort of point, Tracey did a search of my site later in the day. Apart from How Grandma Broke My Chil­dren there are ap­par­ently an­other six sto­ries she’d rather our chil­dren didn’t stum­ble across. Which, as I tried to ex­plain, is pretty good for a site with over 1800 posts.

Well, an­other seven now I’ve writ­ten this up.

But I reckon I might let one of the kids tell her about that.

You know, even­tu­ally.

I did my best im­per­son­ation of a man run­ning

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

STOWED: Every­thing had its place in the Dev­ereaux's new bus set-up ... un­til day two.

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