I knew this guy once named Greg who said ‘ffff’ when he was supposed to say ‘thhh’. He came from Parkes in New South Wales.

If Not For Me, Do It For Greg.

Our paths crossed in a seedy pub in central Mortlake, Victoria. We hit it off because we shared a passion for hogging the pool table and playing Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ over and over again on the jukebox. We were also both wearing thongs because they were blue and went with our jeans.

We partied hard right through the night until the venue closed its doors at around 10.30pm and then, under the street light just outside the local park, Greg showed me the half finished tattoo on his stomach. I was impressed even though it looked like a jumble of poorly drawn spaghetti.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

‘A pamfa,’ he said.

‘A what? A pamphlet?’

‘No, a pam-FA,’ he said, with careful emphasis.

‘Right,’ I said. ‘So… a pam-PHLET.’

We repeated that conversation, more or less, until we grew weary and it wasn’t until the next morning – when we woke up under the petrol bowsers of the local Shell service station – that I worked it out.

We pooled our finances together and bought breakfast and as we huddled around the warmth of the resultant bag of takeaway food I broached the subject again, knowing that he was a tad pissed off with my inability to understand his Parkes-ian dialect.

‘So,’ I said, looking into his open mouth as he chewed down on a combination of semi-food stuffs commonly referred to as Dim Sims. ‘About your pamphlet tattoo…’

‘Pam-FA,’ he said, lifting his shirt again.

I leaned as closely to his bare stomach as was custom in downtown Mortlake, desperate to work out what it was, and after several moments of sheer desperation I looked up at him, like a dog offering its submission and said, ‘Pamphlet?’

He stood up so abruptly at that stage that the Shell worker, just on shift, looked out from the shop window because he was obviously concerned with the petrol bowsers. And I’ll concede, looking back, that our proximity to them would’ve seemed very dodgy considering we were unburdened by a motor vehicle.

panther‘It’s a fucking pamfa!’ he said, poking his own stomach with a self-harming kind of ferocity.

It was as I glared at him fearfully trying to work out if he meant to say thucking instead of fucking that it hit me.

‘Oh,’ I said, standing up and pushing him joyously in the shoulders. ‘It’s a fucking panther?!’

‘Yes,’ he said, laughing and shaking his head in disbelief. ‘Fank Christ for that!’

~~

You’re most likely feeling privileged right now and wondering why I passed on this formative part of my personal history to you.

Well, the main reason is that I was trying to work out a creative and unique way to invite you to sign up to my newsletter and this was the first memory that came into my head. I don’t really know why my mind made this connection but I’ve learnt to trust myself and just go with it and reading back over this I can only assume that the swirling mechanisms inside my dome considered that a newsletter and a pamphlet were basically the same thing.

If you’re on a PC you’ll see the sign-up box to your right there, just up a little. If you’re on a mobile phone, it’s below this post. I promise the minute it takes you to type in your email and submit will be well worth it.

I am a chronic teller of stories and have been told that the part of my brain that controls censorship is unresponsive; possibly because I shared one too many Dim Sims with the wrong shade of human back in the day.

The Newsletter/Pamfa comes out once a week, is easily deleted if you’re not in the mood for great entertainment, has a simple ‘unsubscribe process’ if you grow tired of it’s consistent brilliance, and can be printed out onto an A4 sheet of paper if you’d like to line your kitter-litter tray with articles that are better at ‘taking the piss’ than your standard Herald-Sun or Age Newspaper.

I don’t know what else to say apart from this – the lyrics to ‘Nothing Compare 2 U’ are very motivational and Greg was a cool dude. If you’re not going to sign up to the newsletter for me, take a moment to listen to the motivational lyrics and sign up for him.