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erin and the idealogy of hate

Nobody ever tried to figure out Erin, ever.

He used to walk the Bondi Promenade from one end to the other every day and we would wait for him like jackals down by the wild south, and as he passed by we would savage him without mercy, everytime.

Erin was just a little slope shouldered guy with a pre-occupied air and who wore doublethick glasses and who had a kind of limp and whose purposeful gait and thoughtful demeanor were the antitheses to the order of things. He always had something on his mind, and we wanted it to be us. The young totalitariniasts of thought.

He was a Woody Allen kind of man.

Down there where the carpark rose above the walkway (by the skate rink now) we would look down on this peaceful little man who often times wore the beard of our spittle down the back of his shirt, and we would croon soft and intimate abuse as he raged back at us for our illegitimate insults; the founding Bondi Fascista.

And always the one of him, and always the ten of us.

He was just a little man, and how he dared fight back.

Erin would rage at our intrusion upon his freedom, this abuse of his right to walk in peace, this cowardly victimization of a man otherwise at peace, this daily terrorisation of his life, that he, without fail, had the courage to confront day after day, in the hope that one day we would go far away or be killed in a road accident, or die of alcoholism or choke in our own drug induced vomit, or be beaten to death by the Vice Squad, or at least be removed from his path by whatever dangers our arrogance exposed us.

And here, by God, spoke his prophesy of the end of more than a few of us old boys.

How their voices would be faint today, muffled by the earth.

How he shivered with indignation as he looked up at our grinning apelike faces, how he learnedly and indignantly exposed our intellectual shortcomings before he stomped away in a Holy Order of Anger and Righteous Might.

This angry little man. This righteous fellow.

Years later I learnt that he was the son of one of the two women who used to run a small delicatessen across the road from the old gym in Bondi Road, the one where we held the inaugural meeting of the South Bondi Boardriders Club. Our Alma Mater.

My wife would shop there from time to time when she needed a little European touch to a special meal, and once she mentioned over dinner that both the women who worked the counters had numbers tattooed on their arms.

Faded though in 1962, and half hidden by their long sleeved working blouses.

I went to the shop a week or two later, purely to see the faces of women who had survived the death camps, and impurely to purge myself of the sins of abusing their son Erin.


They were too busy, and all I could do was buy some fresh Parmesan and a bag of  olives.

So this will have to do.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh Pete – if only we had the wisdom of age when we were young.
    I too have parts of my youthful days that make me cringe with the thoughtlessness of them…
    Just as I have parts where the thoughtlessness of others towards me should make them cringe…
    And around and around we go.

    September 27, 2011
  2. Ina #

    Never understood bullies but it makes a very nice write. 🙂 I don’t think it is enough btw.
    I hope Erin became a very famous author, writing about bullies in a very degrading way!

    September 27, 2011
  3. Shane Fisher #

    Pete, I think you have a little bit of realisation here. This is me telling me, I may have told you before. You may have told me before, I may have told you before, I am hungry and am going to watch a film.

    Pretty predictable at this stage. Motorcycle Diaries

    July 6, 2016
  4. Lorraine Lambert #

    I have never forgotten the treatment of Erin. I was also one of his abusers, laughing and teasing, trying to get him to chase us. I was ashamed at the cruelty of the boys, but laughed along with everyone else. We were so very cruel to anyone different. Avoided the spastic kids at school, laughed at the kids in the Spastic Centre bus, called all migrants refos,wogs and dagoes,gave the Jews heaps, having no understanding or interest about the holocaust. I secretly adored some of my Jewish neighbors in our beach road flats, and was envious of a beautiful Russian girl called Nina, we genuinely liked the Greeks, Con and Marie at the Curlewis St fruit shop, but they were always working with their dad and never once socialized with them or even considered it. We played with Chinese neighbors in Beach road, Lyn Hing, but she wasn’t one of the beach crowd. Jenny Kee was at school with us, dad said he took her mum out once, she was Italian, he was taken aback that she married a Chinese guy. When I look back on growing up in Bondi and how great it was, I think of all those who were different from us also growing up there and trying to make a life and think what arseholes the Bondi Bigots were and I haven’t even started on the boys outside Billy the Pigs at the Junction.

    October 12, 2018
  5. There was a girl stranded between two trams going opposite ways on Campbell Parade, they took her down and mangled both her legs, when she came back to Bondi, badly incapacitated for life with a gaudy limp we laughed at her. Made it worse for her.
    Cowards we were.

    October 12, 2018
  6. Lorraine Lambert #

    Robyn de Router and Judy Bingham were run over by the Bondi Tram, we thought it so funny that anyone could be run over by the tram, we never even considered their pain and suffering, yes we all were cowards, so afraid of anything different we reacted cruelly to mask our fear, as kids do.

    October 13, 2018
  7. I got lucky, got my head knocked about a few times and ended up at Avalon, snaked everybody … especially the blokes who needed it.

    October 14, 2018

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