It’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend: Winner winner chicken dinner I say. To celebrate an extra day off work, for this weekend only, I adopt a temporary pro-monarchist stance. It’s also the opening of the ski season. Brrr. And it is the weekend that the celebrated Queen’s Birthday honours list is released.
These quaint awards were instituted by Her Maj in 1975 in recognition of high achievement and service. They superseded the British honours system. In 1976 knights and dames came galloping into the mix. In 1986 the knights and dames went galloping out again as Australia embraced modernity. Then in 2014 Tony Abbott, in a fit of medieval nostalgia re-ig-knighted the knights and redeemed the dames, famously awarding Prince Phillip – yes that’s Prince Phillip, Queen Lizzie’s other half, a knighthood. Say what? This quixotic spectacle rattled even The Australian so much that when Prime Minister Mal arrived on the scene, he swiftly sent the knights and dames cantering into the sunset, again.
As I peruse the list of the lucky ducks who have made a hit with Queeny, I say to Jack, “it makes me ponder the use of such awards.” Jack doesn’t reply. He is course very egalitarian in his views, so I know that his response will be along the lines of – for dogs; goodness has its own reward in the shape of a pig’s ear. It keeps all dogs on a level.
But you can’t hand out pig’s ears to people of high honour can you? Some say yes, if it’s art. But you can’t make this ilk purse art of a sow’s ear.
People who do good things need to be appreciated and rewarded, even if it’s in the name of some ageing monarch who lives seventeen thousand kilometres away in renovator’s delight with seven hundred and seventy five rooms. (Airbnb where are you?)
I am all in favour of recognising doctors and scientists like Ross Garnaut who snared a sneaky gong. Such people have used their brains and skills to alert society to the perils of climate change or advance medicine or have researched for years to find cures for humanities ills. They have sought to improve our world in general. Big tick to you. You certainly deserve more than a pig’s ear. We should have images of you flashing on billboards or at the very least feature on sequined tee-shirts.
To the anonymous souls who take on foster kids, those who dedicate their time to feeding the poor, helping refugees, those attending to the elderly, sick and mentally ill – you are the glittering gems in the crown of goodness. Go to the top of the list.
Actors and entertainers. Yeah well. Nice movie an’ songs and all that. I’m glad that you’ve done well for yourselves earning gazillions and getting your faces recognised in one hundred and ninety five countries.
Promoters, sports folk, business people – um. And politicians. I’m thinking barrel – deep.
There are many in our communities who struggle, sacrifice and contribute to the smooth running of our society. You see every day – fellow travellers breathing in and shuffling up for extra passengers, frustrated drivers being remarkably courteous by allowing bozos into your lane, shop assistants giving an extra smile and a friendly word, doctors, nurses, teachers and parents all bearing up, fronting up, manning up, womaning up, coughing up, firing up, keeping up, making up, propping up and stepping up. These people need recognition too; the good, long-suffering citizens of our communities, in other words, us.
So Jack and I propose an award for the ordinary folk; the eponymous King Jack of Pak honours list. It will be given to those who face the daily grind while smiling through gritted teeth. And please note there will be no upgrade to knight or dame unless you are six hundred sixty years old.
Search the list to establish whether you qualify for an award, and if you do, cut out the certificate, shove your name on it and you can chuck a sickie to go with it:
List of qualifications for the inaugural Companion of the Order of King Jack of Pak (or Jack’s mate award):
For any member of the public who serve the public with a wink and smile (and a secret gin) when said public are chucking a ‘tanti.’
For any member of the public who has stood on a platform at 6.45am in four degrees, and not taken out a pistol when the 6.50am to Flinders Street has been cancelled.
For any member of the public who doesn’t broadcast their mobile phone conversations while on public transport.
For any member of the public who has travelled along the Monash Freeway in the last six months and not ended up in a mental asylum.
For any member of the public who has had to keep a young child quiet anywhere on earth.
For any member of the public who has supported a friend who has over imbibed and feels the need to expel the contents of their stomach into the gutter.
For any member of the public who has had to listen to a Hawthorn supporter complain about how badly they are going.
For any member of the public who has been a friend, or been kind, who has been supportive, or has donated, who has volunteered or has cared for someone who was sick, sad or lonely.
For any member of the public who has been kind to your pet.*
For any member of the public who has cried while watching Red Dog.*
For any member of the public who thinks Red Dog should have been given an Oscar.*
For any member of the public who thinks Red Dog is the best movie of all time.*
*Jack forwarded these suggestions.