Monthly Archives: April 2015

How to pacify the ghost you live with

Let me just start by saying, this isn’t a metaphor.  The ghost I live with isn’t the regrets I have or the things I never accomplished or the fears I’ll never face. It is an angry, door slamming, tapping on the table and calling my name from the kitchen. WHAT IS IT GARY! WHAT DO YOU WANT! I named the ghost Gary.

Rule 1: Don’t name your ghost.

No one wants to be named Gary. Not even people who are actually named Gary want to be named Gary. It may have become easier to reference him in real time, but it wasn’t worth the doors slamming at two in the morning, or the airconditioner breaking in the midst of the hottest week of the summer.

Rule 2: Don’t smoke it out.

I tried a few things to smoke him out and on to the afterlife. Incense, Glen 20, burning chicken chippies so badly they reverted back to their original carbon based form. To be honest, most of those things were to get the smell of no-longer-chicken-chippies out of my house. You could live with the ghost of Jack the Ripper but it really wouldn’t be as bad as having your house smell like wet cigarettes.

Rule 3: Remember that it is human

I made him a Netflix account. Netflix came to Australia last week. It was extremely convenient because the next week the Australian government passed the data retention law. In an effort to ‘catch the terrorists’ they can now track all the things we do online faster than you can say “double plus good”. But obviously I have NOTHING TO FEAR BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE.

Side note: how super hard is it to be sarcastic in 2D?

But I digress.  I found myself with the OPPORTUNITY to download the Australian version (read: subpar) of Netflix. You come to this little section after they lure you in with the free for month trial where you can make four different accounts. “Who will be watching” they ask. And you are encouraged to make four accounts for the four people who live in your house.

“Drat” say I, out loud because no one was home and I was starting to hear the blood rushing in and out of my head in the immense silence.

“What can I call the third account! Guest? Other?”

Then came the breeze on the back of my neck. In a house that was the air version of a swamp. Seriously nothing in and nothing out. There may have only been three people living in the house, but there were four people in the house.

Shani (housemate/sister) didn’t approve. Her coping method for living with a malevolent spirit is to pretend it doesn’t exist. You can imagine how well it went down when she discovered that Gary had become so fully fledged as to have a Netflix account. She’s going to faaaareak when she discovers he has been watching David Attenborough, Clueless, and That 70’s Show for the last week.


How to get things for free

Step 1: Stop trying to get things for free.

There is a certain expectation, a necessity, of getting the most you can for least you can. From a purely selfish point of view, I can understand that. Some of us aren’t made of money, and some people can afford to not have as much money. BUT! No matter how many people do half the amount of work as you and receive twice the amount of money doesn’t mean you are entitled to anyone else’s. They found a way to beat the excessively flawed system. Good on them.

This article isn’t going to be on ways that the world is unfair and how discrimination is still prevalent in our society. You already know that. And we do have human rights activists and feminists and every man and his dog working to smooth out the playing field – but the reality is – in this lifetime, we will not see equality and as bitter as it can make you, you have to find a way to not hate everyone, and continue leaving your house.

Scenario: I work in hospitality and every day I have to combat people trying to get things for free. A few months back a man attempted to get a 100% refund on food and beverage an entire month after the night in question. I can only assume his boss saw the tab and lost his shit. I guess you can see the logical jump that makes this my fault. Oh you can’t? Neither.

Unfortunately for me and most Australian’s in my position, this is the norm. I have one thing to say to you. I hate you all. I know for you this is that one night where your steak wasn’t cooked to your exact specifications, or you felt that your tequila sunrise didn’t have a standard measurement of alcohol, or you felt that it was too windy to put up the decorations you wanted. So you want a refund, and a $500 credit. You want a written apology from upper management. You want to leave a scathing review online because – that will show them.

Certain industries, such as hospitality, are looked down upon by people with ‘real jobs’. Some people believe that because they can do it themselves (by a bottle from the bottle shop and pour it, cook their own damn fettucine) that they are being ripped off by everyone who supplies it. Forgetting of course, that it is a business. A business that has rent and wages and electricity bills to pay for. And some whinging lady that says: “I can buy this for $40 in a bottle shop. Why are you charging me $100!”

Just. Shut up.

In creative writing at the very end of our three or four year degree we are informed that actually no-one will want to pay for your service. <insert clients name here> can write sentences, they are just too busy so they want you to do it. But they don’t want to pay you.

“Do it for experience.”

“At least you’re getting published”

“You have to do it for free while you’re getting started so you can build a reputation.”


Do you think I pay my electricity bills that way? Can you imagine if I wrote to Origin, “thanks for providing me with three months of electricity. I can’t actually afford to pay you now, but if this works out for me, I may consider paying you next month.”

“Hey Coles, this is a great product. I’m going to eat it and tell all my friend about it, and seeing as I’m doing you a favour by marketing your product, I won’t be paying you for it.”

“Thanks for fixing my sink plumber, but I know that you would do it just for the experience.”

It sounds a lot more ridiculous now doesn’t it?

The way to start fixing the system isn’t to try scrounging money out of other businesses and people. It’s to be the fucking change you want to see in the world. Pay for things so that people will pay you for things.