Like many countries, Australia does a nation wide census every 5 years. It's compulsory to participate and although I've never heard of anyone being clapped in jail for not filling it out - the census workers just keep visiting you until you cave in and hand them a completed form. I hear that the third time they have to come knocking they bring a baseball bat as encouragement for you to find a pen and start ticking.
I'm a brown noser from way back. I like to follow the rules. I live to do the right thing. I was always the first to finish my school work in class, the first to hand my homework in and the kid most likely to volunteer to stay behind to clap the chalk dust out of the blackboard erasers after school. I rarely lied to Mother of Pyjamas as a kid (she had a spidey sense about that stuff anyway), I didn't do drugs and I was scared and wanted to please any one in a position of authority including the police and the dude who drove the school bus and threatened kids with being chucked off if they got too loud. Back in my day it was still permissible for a teacher to give you a pancake (a whack on the arse with a ping pong bat ) or if you were really bad, to whale the stuffing out of you with the cane or a yard stick.
Where was I? ....oh yes- I'm a good two shoes ...
My point is - as an adult I haven't changed much. I want to be a good citizen and I want to return my census form for the greater good of the country. For an Australian that's about as patriotic as we get. If the people of this country had their way "Waltzing Matilda" would be our national anthem because we know how to poke fun at ourselves. We're all about beer and sheep and public holidays mate. It's not that we don't love our country - we do - we just don't talk about it much and rarely in terms of patriotism.
Where was I ....oh yes ...brown noser.
I still had those "wanna get this census finished first" feelings - so much so that I had to refrain from filling all 18 pages of that baby out when it arrived in my door step 10 days ago. I was hoping to get a "first place" ribbon for census completion but apparently there is no prize for filling in your form before the due date and in fact that might even nullify your results. Bummer. I was seriously crestfallen. How was the government going to know how seriously I was taking the census if I couldn't shine above every one else. And no prizes for finishing first? What the hell is up with that? If there aren't prizes half the people in this country aren't going to do it.
Yessiree Bob - I really wanna do my part to help shape social thingys and infastructure whatsits and blah blah blahs and be counted as part of this great nation of ours. I'll even write Jedi Knight on my return if it will help get Star Wars recognised as a formal religion. I'd love to pay higher taxes and for the government to use this information to work out how they can squeeze the remaining 20 dollars I have left after I pay for everything each week out of me. Bring it on. Let's fill in that census.
I must confess I felt relief after looking at the questions. I know all the answers. I know where my parents and grandparents were born, how much I earn, my marital status and my own address. Too bad this isn't being graded because I'm finally going to ace a test.
I worry momentarily about whether they can trace the fact my great grandfather jumped ship in 1896 and swum ashore entering Australia to start a new life without asking for proper permission to emigrate. Surely they wont deport me back to Finland after 110 years? Fortunately they have Maccas in Finland so I'll probably be OK aside from the minor detail of not being able to speak Finnish or Swedish.
So if Blogland is a bit quiet on the Aussie front tonight it's because we're all off dutifully filling in our census forms. I'd like to thank the Australian Bureau of statistics for giving me something to do to fill up an otherwise boring Tuesday night. You have my address to send me my gold star.
P.S. The "how many cars were garaged at your house on census night?" question became easier to count as of this morning when our little red rocket was written off in an accident by someone who wasn't watching where they were going. Please spare a thought for the little red rocket tonight lonely and cold in a car graveyard. It looks like we're going car shopping.