The first time my wife traveled to Australia she was a bit surprised by some of the normal Australian stuff going on around her… and completely dumbfounded by the rest. One thing she found strange was the TV news. She told me that the news is a considerably bleaker affair back in Serbia, generally consisting of violence, corruption, updates on a war still going on somewhere nearby, some very bad economic data… then sport and weather.
I told her the Australian news is much the same.
She frowned. “Why is a dog riding a surfboard? And why is this on the fucking news?!”
“Ok, so the Australian format is a touch different. It starts with violence, corruption, variable economic data, fires, floods, boat people, maybe a shark attack, a war going on somewhere else, then sport and weather… and then a dog riding a surfboard (or something of equivalent cuteness) just to make everybody feel better”.
She didn’t seem convinced that Australia, on the whole, ranks highly on the list of nations in need of cheering up.
Anyway, the other night I was online checking the Australian news. Apparently one of the more important happenings Down Under this week (anything that goes viral is obviously important) involved the theft of a piece of fruit. While the articles failed to take the opportunity to mention that it was heinous crimes such as this that got quite a few economically non-viable white people sent to Australia in the first place, this was some marvelously Aussie reporting, on a very Aussie crime. I thought of my wife frowning at the TV.
The mango in question was stolen from the mango producing Queensland town of Bowen (pop.10,260). Generally the good people of Bowen wouldn’t notice or care if one went missing, but this particular mango weighs 10 tonnes (22,000 pounds), is three stories high and made of fiberglass (I guess).
An investigative task force suggested the culprit may have been some bloke with mobile crane, a theory soon strengthened by CCTV footage of some bloke driving a crane at 2am near the crime scene.
News articles did point out that a 10-tonne inedible mango is not unusual in Australia, which is a big country with big fiberglass things scattered about all over the place. Various big things include a banana, lobster, cow, guitar and a box of wine. Nobody really seems to know why.
What really made me nostalgic for my bogan homeland was a quote by the Bowen Tourism Group chairman. Speaking to the Brisbane Times, Paul McLaughlin said, “At the end of the day it’s a bloody big mango and I’m sure someone will see it and we’ll find it anyway”.
Perhaps that quote is best responded to with another, by the great Australian thinker, William “Billy” Burmingham (channeling great Australian cricketing legend Bill Lawry), who said, “That’s Australian Gold my friend and don’t you fuckin’ forget it!”
What makes this all the better is the fact that the next day, reports confirmed the whole thing was indeed a well-orchestrated publicity stunt. Overnight this bright, ballsy band of bogan Bowenites managed to put the little fruit growing town on the global radar… for a couple of days. Good on ’em!
Internet wags immediately jumped on of course, pointing out that this story was ripe for puns… some suggesting obvious failings wherever mangoes, whereas more optimistic types reminded us that the police, as always, will leave no stone unturned.
Update: It now appears that Nando’s, the South African grilled chicken joint, was responsible for the heist… for reasons as yet unknown. And to think! …it was just a multinational fast food corporation that pulled this little caper, instead of a plucky, quirky small-town committee. Fuck. I’m off to bed.