Pubs, the world over, are full of blokes who know stuff. Or, more to the point, think they know stuff.
My local pub, The Albion Hotel, situated in the bucolic village of Swifts Creek Australia, is no different in this respect.
Our local resident expert diddy is a fella known as Wombat, not because he eats roots and leaves (no matter where you place the commas) but for a much more obvious and fundamental reason: he has a huge arse.
Another genesis of the moniker might be the fact that, like the marsupial, Wombat lives in a hole. Not an actual hole in the ground you understand, but a veritable eyesore, with a seriously ill-kempt yard adorned with disused machinery, defective electrical appliances and conked-out car carcasses.
You know the well-known expression ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?’
Wombat lives by a slightly different aphorism – 'If it is broke don’t fix it.'
He is however, one of those blokes. You know what I’m saying? The kind of character you only really come across in pubs since anywhere else you wouldn’t give them the time of day on account of the fact that they could bore for their respective country – in this case, Australia. And that’s saying something.
Wombat is a conspiracy theories guy. He has a million of them. And not only the standard ones either. Oh, he has all of those too but he also has some of his own most of which feature, believe it or not, The Jesuits.
How about this for starters: Evidently, The Jesuits sunk the Titanic. I’m not altogether au fait with the ins and outs of this one because I drifted off whilst Wombat was in the process of expounding on it, but it has something do with world domination and The Titanic being full of influential members of the Illiminati whilst on its maiden journey. Something like that anyway.
In addition to conspiring to float an iceberg into the perfect position, The Jesuits also invented Islam, had a hand in the assassination of JFK, the (staged) moon landing, 9/11 and more locally but equally bonkers, the demise of the Tasmanian Tiger.
Wombat’s obsession with The Jesuits leads me to make 2 firm conclusions. Number One: He was educated at a Jesuit School.
Number Two: He takes drugs.
Of course, the good thing about Pub Bores is the fact that they pretty much expect to be derided and scoffed at – they never really take offence and subsequently take it on the chin. (Actually The Albion once had a resident parrot which the then landlord taught to utter a few choice phrases. One of them, you might not be surprised to hear, was the delightfully terse and to-the-point, ‘F**k off Wombat’. I’m told the delivery and articulation was near perfect.)
Personally, I’ve never been one for conspiracy theories. If you ask me – and even if you don’t – I’d say that the world is divided into people who believe in conspiracies and those who don’t – who reason that certain events occurred, not due to any Grand Plan, but as a result, pure and simple, of a cock-up.
I’m a cock up man. Always have been. Man and boy. Because people are just not that clever.
Take 9/11 for example and the preposterous assertion that it was an inside job, designed to justify large scale military action against perceived enemies of the US.
What the conspiracists seem to disregard is that George W. Bush was a bloke who struggled to string two sentences together never mind be responsible for such an evil atrocity and its subsequent cover-up.
Quite frankly, Georgie Boy couldn’t find his bum with both hands and a GPS so I think you can safely deduce that world domination wouldn’t exactly be his strong suit.
Stuff happens. It always has and it always will. Bad stuff, good stuff and in-betweeny boring stuff, people blunder through it, no one has a clue what’s going and the people who think they do know what’s going on – or even worse – think they know who’s behind the goings on – are usually the most clueless of all.
It’s a bit like crime. TV shows and crime novels would have you believe that most crooks are criminal masterminds planning heists, murders and various other nefarious activities with pinpoint precision and in meticulous detail.
Bollocks. Most crimes are committed with no planning whatsoever and an attention to detail that is best accompanied by Benny Hill’s Yackety Sax soundtrack. Frankly, calling your average crim a halfwit would be seen as a lavish compliment.
Cock-up. All the way.
Similarly, popular fiction suggests that every police force is filled with cunning, logical thinkers who deduce wicked wrong-doing using a combination of intellectual reasoning, painstaking detection and inspired calculation. That’s rubbish too, as anyone who’s ever been the victim of crime will readily attest.
Most felonies are solved, not through wily detection but due to the fact that a) the perpetrator gets dobbed in b) he dobs himself in or c) he gets caught in the act. Everything else is a fabrication, a manipulation of the truth.
As a matter of fact, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think the way crime is portrayed, being so far from actual reality, is a bit of a conspiracy designed to make poor suckers like me and you more fearful, less likely to sleep soundly in our beds of a night and more inclined to spend our hard earned on insurance, security and assorted personal protection.
That’s what Wombat thinks anyway. Maybe he knows more than his prayers. Nah, he doesn’t.