When Edward Hargreaves found gold in Bathurst here in Australia on 12 February 1851 he had no idea what was to come. Soon after his pick hit yellow oil the swarms of metal maddened flew like bullets across the sea to the open fields in New South Wales.
They ran across the very ocean to get here in unbroken lines of a greed so unfettered that the hills themselves groaned with their collective weight. Overnight we saw the swing of pick, the swirling pans and the jiggered sluice bays that dug and gouged and hacked away at the land like Mr. Lorax did when spewing his “Thneeds”.
What was once a lush and gorgeous bush with a shimmer of such aching beauty that stole your breath, now became a mud splashed ruin of such filth that even the wombats and water fowls glanced away in shame.
Of course, when the flurry had faded and the tents had collapsed the land eventually healed as before, but now there was something quite different in the wind. The whiff of a “free feed” met every nostril whether it was there on the gold fields or not. The fields had delivered gold and the nation now understood the real face and delights of opportunity itself. The meme broke from dirt as a B grade zombie and it croaked, “Find gold and get it no matter what.”
Now here and today, tucked in safe beds or standing proudly behind orange Laminex kitchen counters or preened as young queens in juice bars, the scintillating tingle of striking gold lives on. You’ll chance upon it in an elevator with a glance at your opal cufflinks and then a cute smile your way. Maybe you’ll see it in the glimmer of a moist eye of the desperate after a twitching display of crafted drama for the audience of just you?
Ok, so you’ve never been mined as it were, and you’re safe. But tell me if you will that the following true stories can never happen to you.
- Mr. B. lost his wife to a degenerative disease, his son froze to death on a bus shelter after being spiked at a party, his other son died from a heart attack from misdiagnosis and his remaining son is ignored by government help with his treatable schizophrenia. That’s astounding in itself with its horror but there is more to come. His daughter moved in with him after the events and will now file him as a sex offender if he does not release her inheritance right now.
- Mr. G. Lost his right to see his son after his ex-wife decreed he is a poor father. Although he is a respected doctor of good repute in the community with no record of any sort, he is hauled before a court to explain himself. His word is heard and there are agreeable nods all around. However, the result is that to prove he is a good father he must increase his support to his ex all the same. If not, then he will be hauled in to another court with more kangaroos.
- Mrs. L. fought tooth and nail to snare a man. He was flattered by her charms and forgot in his haze how his new love ridded her three opponents with social shame through lies and social networking. He was wealthy by his own enterprise, and after the divorce she scooped up forty two percent of his assets. Not bad after only three years of her hard work. She is now in the process of divorcing an even wealthier man as she racks up Mr. Three.
- Mr. K. Loved his wife of thirty one years and most of him died the night he found her on Facebook entwined with another man. He begged her to stay with him all the same, yet she threw him on the street with claims of violence and won his house eighteen months later.
- Mrs. V. Knew her time was up when she was caught fiddling the till in the family business. She pointed to the camera in her workplace and let the judge know she was oppressed and if in the workplace why not her home? She walked free, got the house and the kids and a controlling share in the business.
Five true stories seen firsthand from just one man and the upshot is not looking good.
One man is dead by suicide; one man is frantic on the work-treadmill while his son becomes estranged. One man dies every day when he wakes, and two women are fine, fit and happy in fucks, money and smiles. Not to worry, their new baby girls are safe because they are cut from the same cloth. (With a mother like her those kids don’t have a chance, nor do the men in their futures as they waddle swirly eyed towards them with a shovel in their hand.)
The well off, the disenfranchised or the loving only, it makes no difference because it might be you, it might be that other guy next to you on the tram, the opera seat or dole queue. Diggers for gold know no colour, creed or status as the push of the spade is blind. It just digs for lodes of the stuff small as peas or big as beach balls.
If you are small of gold the spade is large, and if you are big of gold the spade is bigger. The rule is this:
The spade expands in equal proportion to your gold and always remains larger than it.
You’ll need to be your own watcher in the crows-nest of the ship with your name on it, because I can swear it to you that those lovely sirens that surround you are not afraid, they are not sad or lonely or dumb with a spanner or a remote control handbook. When you open your wallet, watch out from all sides for the lipstick boring through the woodwork.
Watch out for the spade and know the face of it’s wielder. They are a sophisticated and upgraded “Smart Phony” who’ll cross the Rubicon to your heart and your mind to get your gold whatever the cost may be.
Edward Hargraves found gold in Bathurst, and you can bet your bippy that others are always looking for more. There’s not much in the ground, but there’s tons of the stuff walking on it.
Anywhere and everywhere, it’s a junket of women perving at the glittery things on King Midas as he blinks in the light while he walks down the catwalk. Is this junket our own doing because we have accommodated it, and for that matter what can we do to stop it?
We all know the dissuasive power of accountability when there is mischief. Register-her. com is a flagship of this truism, and the fools that sail her page are forever bowed in frozen shame. I’m asking you now, should there be a Register-Gold-diggers dot com?
If you pause for an answer, ask yourself in that pause this question if you will: “Could I have swerved a bullet if I knew of such a thing beforehand?”
That’s right. Could you? If not you, then what of the poor bastards yet to come ? Could we have done something to have helped good men already gouged for gold?
My heart hurts for them as they sit about in debtor cells maimed and numbed to a life misspent.
They are the chaps who look achingly in your eye begging for a tip as they deliver your pizza, and they are the blurred souls of men who pass you on the street with a focussed sadness we never know about. We know of these empty walking gold fields but is this you now, has it been you or will it be you or your son ? You are my brother, and this means these questions matter to me, and for all of us who care about the answers.
Political correctness in it’s well pressed coat with two shiny rows of buttons will let you know with a lazy smile that the idea of a data base of known gold diggers is not the thing to do.
Shame on you PC, and I want to know the things you have given us with your handsome face and crisp manners that have brought happiness. Real and simple happiness. What are these things you have given us?
Edward Hargreaves found gold in Bathurst and he buckled at the knees in joy. If he saw us right now with our “hands free” world of wondrous devices, would he gasp at our collective uncertainty and fear?
I think he would. I also think he would be quite knocked over by a wonderful world accommodating one sex swirling the pans of another.