Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

The Melbourne Cup is an iconic Australian day. Many years ago I worked for a large firm that divided the workers into sections. The section I was in had four people, three of them compiled reports, and I phoned companies to collect the data. In the eyes of the other three people I was less than. They were rude and unfriendly. Because of the sectioning of work, I was isolated from the other workers and even in the lunch room, I was out of place.

The three other workers never came to the lunch room, and I presumed that they ate lunch in a cafe in town. I had been there for several months when one of the other workers told me in the lunch room that there was a party for a departing staff member “around the back”. I told her I didn’t know where it was and she led me through the alley at the side of the building and around the back where there was a staff recreation room complete with pool table. The three from my section were there with indignant looks for being found out. I don’t waste my time with people who don’t like me so I noted their extreme rudeness, enjoyed the party but never bothered to go there again, leaving them to their precious clique.

On Melbourne Cup day, the rudest of the three others was going around the office asking if anyone wanted to place a bet. It was my practice to bet on the favourite horse and then a rank outsider which I picked for their imaginative name and their long odd. In that year the one hundred to one horse I picked was named Hyperno. It reminded me of my hypochondriac sister-in-law. Well, Mr Rude took my two fifty cent bets, then as he travelled around the office picking up bets for others, I could hear him tell everyone in the office what an idiot he thought I was for wasting money on a one hundred to one horse.

I have rarely won anything in my life, mainly because I don’t enter competitions or buy lottery tickets, but that week would turn out to be my shining glory. History will tell you the Hyperno came in second in his first Melbourne Cup. For a fifty cents each way bet, I won twenty two dollars and fifty cents. I was obnoxious. I went to the TAB and picked up my winnings (twenty dollars was a lot of money then) and came back to the office triumphant. I spent the first fifteen minutes after lunch going around the entire office with my twenty two dollars and fifty cents, waving it in everyones face, and telling them with sheer joy that I had won it on the cup for a fifty cent bet, and wasn’t that wonderful because I had never won anything before. The people in the other sections must have been made uncomfortable when Mr Rude had done the rounds that morning, because everyone in the office joined in my joy, rubbing salt in Mr Rude’s rudeness.

On the next Friday, I entered the office lottery. Someone would go around the office and most people would put fifty cents into the envelope. The names of the participants would be put into a tub and the State Manager would pick the winning name, the winner taking all the proceeds. To my sheer delight I won that office lottery on that Friday, another twenty dollars and another gleeful round through the office rubbing salt in Mr Rude’s rudeness.

Everything that goes around, comes around.

By CJ

Who am I? I am different things to different people. I am a poet, a visual artist, a sculptor of found objects, and a writer. I am a bookkeeper, an office manager, an administrator and software support consultant, even a short-order cook and barista. I am a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a cousin and a friend. I am a traveller, a technophile, a philosopher and a student of all things.

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