The Day of the Jackhole

The Day of the Jackhole

Celebrating 40 years on this earth

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1980. Children find human skull.

October 27, 2011

“It was me who picked it up”.

I am a notorious liar at this age. My face is uncrackable. Unbreakable. Untruth-telly. I’m not proud, but I can’t seem to stop myself.

I find a human skull. A whole skeleton, as it turns out. In the weeds. Near a small creek. More like a soak actually—these are drought times. My brother and his friend, Rodney, are about to set up camp there. For a weekend of being boys, giving each other chinese burns and farting into their sleeping bags. It’s what I imagine boys do for hilarious fun boy times.


I don’t want to help them set up the tent, so wander off to look in the creek. But I don’t make it there. Something catches my eye, and I step into the reeds to reach for it. Picking up the skull with two hands, I turn towards my mother back at the campsite and hold it aloft like an excitable idiot.

I do not make the connection between death and a person. It’s just bones. I am a farm girl.

“Look mum!”

Yes, mum. Look at this human skull I am holding high to show you.

Her face is ashen. Her voice very calm and firm.

“Put. That. Down.”

In the playground the next day I see my teacher, Mrs. Fishenden, reading the local paper. There is a small story with a headline:  “Children find human skull.”

“That was me!” I tell her. I am boastful. I am barely able to contain my jumpy-up and downy-ness.

“Stop your lying, Janeen,” she says. She doesn’t even look up from the paper when she says it.

Everyone is on to this lying thing. I just don’t know it yet.

A few days later, there is a front page story with a photo. My brother and I and the dog, Jill, walking down a hill ‘near where the body was found.’ Though the photo was actually taken right next to our house. It’s my first lesson in how journalism is totally bogus.

In the interview, I’m all braggy and brat swagger, and my phrasing and posturing is disgraceful. Even for a nine-year-old. Michael and I jostle for credit (though, seriously Michael, I FOUND IT!)

“Janeen wanted to help the police look for more bones but was disappointed to learn she would have to stay in the car.”

I WAS disappointed. I wanted to help the policemen. I did not seem to realize that that skull, that white bleached head of a man was the father of Toby.

I catch the school bus with Toby.

I am a total jackhole.

More importantly, Beer supplies are running low, people!


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