The Day of the Jackhole

The Day of the Jackhole

Celebrating 40 years on this earth

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1989. Run towards the FAIL.

September 25, 2011

It’s the final year of high school. I am locked in a desperate battle with Glendyn to be the best at art. He is blissfully unaware of this. Blissfully! (This might be the first he has ever heard of it, actually.) I want to be an artist. Or a graphic designer. Secretly. But something within me says: “Be practical, farm girl. There are so many people out there who are better than you.” So. I am going to be a nurse.

Where did this devotion to bed pans and comfortable footwear come from? No idea. It feels safe. People always need nurses, right? I like people. I like security. I like not having to decide what to wear every day because this has been decided by a committee and there’s a dress code.

Yes. Nurse Janeen. Just like Nurse Ratched, but without the weird nurses hat. Thank goodness they’ve gone out of style.

The family seems happy. Good choice. But now I’m in the senior’s room at lunch. Flipping through the university guides, trying to choose which ones I’m going to apply to, and the order of preference. It’s the last day to put your choices in. Armidale. Lismore? I read about the Campus, look at the dinky little black and white photographs and happy students getting the learnin’ from books and such. Lismore is near the beach. That might be nice. Armidale is an hour from home, that would be easy.

The guide opens randomly on a page. Something catches my eye and I feel a tingle in some area of me that could probably be described as the guilty desires organ.

Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing. Screenwriting, fiction, feature writing. Final year students produce either a script or a novel. I could major in Literary Studies. I could… I could be a writer. Could I? Why not? I could WRITE about emptying bed pans rather than actually doing it. That sounds much better. But this is dangerous.

I am trembling as I write the code into my first choice slot. As soon as it’s in, I am filled with remorse. But it is done. It is in.

I don’t tell my parents what I’ve done. If we had conversations about it – about the rashness of this choice – I don’t remember them.

There goes my safe check-your-temperature career. The University of Canberra is a 7.5 hour drive from the farm. I know no-one there. Wtf have I done? It seems failure is on the horizon and I’m running right at it with my pants down.

Years later, Glendyn wins the short film Palm d’Or at Cannes. You win, G, this time. Well played, Sir!


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