Saturday, November 23, 2002

Thank a Farmer Day

Sunday, 24 November 2002

One of life's little displeasures, if you keep your clock-radio tuned to ABC Local Radio, is waking up to Ian MacNamara on a Sunday morning. For those who are fortunate enough never to have heard this radio show, Ian celebrates our wide brown land (almost as big as his wide brown ego), by reading out the many letters he receives from his hordes of adoring fans out there in the bush, congratulating Ian on his wonderful show and giving us inspiring little tales of the countless adversities of bush life that Macca helps them to endure. In between these inspirational readings, MacNamara plays music of some indeterminable genre which is not quite Country and Western nor quite traditional Australian Bush music but nonetheless manages to combine the worst features of both.

One song which occasionally gets an airing is called "Thank a Farmer". I can't quite remember the lyrics of this lugubrious little ditty (a small mercy for which I am truly thankful), but the general theme is that if you are a city dweller who likes a drop of milk or a teaspoon of sugar in the morning coffee that you drink with your breakfast of corn flakes or bacon and eggs, you should really thank those hard-working salt-of-the-earth* bush types for whom considerations of personal gain are quite secondary to carrying out their altruistic duty of providing for the comfort of their city cousins.

In lieu of anything better to write, I am quite happy to make today "Thank a Farmer Day" on the Potemkin and here are three things that I'd like to thank our nation's farmers for:

Adelaide town water;

Algal blooms caused by fertiliser run-off;

Antibiotic resistant coliform bacteria.

And while we're all thanking each other, perhaps the farmers of our nation might like to thank those selfless city manufacturers who, also without too much consideration for personal gain, provide them with their utes, the barbed wire that fences in their stock and of course their Masseys. And no vote of thanks to the people who support our profligate city lifestyles would be complete without at least a nod in the direction of the third-world peasants who provide us with the tea and coffee into which we pour the dairy farmer's milk and spoon the cane farmer's sugar. I think that covers everybody, but if you feel left out no doubt you'll let me know.

* - Personally, I'm not sure that "salt-of-the-earth" is entirely complimentary in an Australian context.

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