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Gooleys Menswear in Ballina has an array of T shirts offered for sale in a bin by the entrance. It, the stock, is reasonably priced at $9.99 per ea. compared to about $30 for about the same down the road at the local surf shop. The one where you have to bow your head upon entrance to an overblown image of Mick Fanning placed in the shop window.

I mean, I was ok with that bullshit when Tom Curren ruled the world, but a Queenslander?

Anyway ..

You know how it is when you suggest to the little woman that some of the bargains seen racked up outside the dress shop in the tire-grit, exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke and sour oil from the Thai hamburger palace next door might be a bargain? Yeah? Well, no.

They know better.

So, here’s a bloke fondling two of Gooley’s subtly coloured pure cotton T shirts made in Bangladesh at $9.99 ea when a gentleman steps up face up and says without preamble, ‘Old lad, how are the devil are you going?’

This bloke I do not know, but no matter, he has a military moustache, his head is crowned with a prickled gossamer of spiked silver hair and his eyes are all asparkle with the pleasure of meeting a man who doesn’t know him. Me. Plus he’s wearing carefully ironed shorts and a checked shirt. I don’t need to check the footwear to know whatever it is, is polished.

‘Going well, are you?’ He half chortles, as if I wasn’t once but now am.

‘Well,’ sez I, deciding not to go with the flow, ‘if it wasn’t for fine upstanding men of our experience moral appropriations and subtle wit the world may not be a better place for our absence.’

That crinkled his forehead and after some hesitation he walked away.

Ballina, they say, is a place of the walking dead, most of us being past the age of anybody bothering .. but every now and then you meet someone who’s slipped your memory.

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