I have never met a terrorist.
Or, at least, I don't think I have. It's been so long since I've had to be alert but not alarmed.
Terrorism has changed the world and Australia is not immune, but the way of life which we value so highly must go on. We are friendly, decent, democratic people and we are going to stay that way. Our security agencies have been upgraded and are ready to detect, prevent and respond to terrorism. All of us can play a part by keeping an eye out for anything suspicious.
Over the coming weeks the Commonwealth Government will be providing us with more information on how we can work together to protect our way of life.
Be alert but not alarmed. Together, let's look after Australia. Voice or no voice, we can always be brought to the bidding of our leaders. It's easy. All they have to do is tell us we are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country...
Be alert but not alarmed. Seriously. If the world in 2014 starts looking like the world in 2001-2003, be very bloody alert. And don't get distracted. Stay focused.
Love or fear. Love or fear. Love or fear...
Most stories are true. Some are factual. This story is both.
It was the weirdest thing. There was somewhere I had to be. I'd tied my shoes to tired feet, took a left on David Street and drove beneath the brand new leaves up towards the evergreens. I'd had the most ghastly dream the night before, and it was hanging around, just out of my line of sight, like a young child about to interrupt a conversation.
The memory of the moment weighed on my mind and pulled me under, just below the surface. I wasn't there.
Tim Hart's debut, Milling The Wind, was on the car stereo. The volume was at thirty. I know, because it's one of my Things to have the volume set to a round number. Forty is good for listening to new lyrics or singing a third above. Fifty leaves your ears ringing. I've never gone above sixty.
So, I turned up David Street with night visions still cluttering my mind, driving towards the bad news I didn't yet know was coming.
And here's the weirdness. The music started to get louder.
I don't mean the music on the recording got louder, I mean the stereo began to play louder. The CD player turned itself up. It was as if the hand of an invisible passenger was suddenly twisting the dial. The numbers on the face of the stereo whizzed through the background thirties, the singalong forties and the ear-ringing fifties, and stopped at 74 precisely.
It was thunderous. And I heard Tim Hart singing, very loud and very clear: "Every man I know has the will to carry on / To carry on."
I couldn't twist that volume quick enough. My dashboard had shuddered, my chest had hummed and I'd heard those words like they were shouted just for me. At me.
"Every man I know has the will to carry on / To carry on."
And I drove up David Street, towards the news I didn't yet know was coming.
I'm tired of life being a journey-and-not-a-destination. I wanna get there and be there. I'm tired of sunset images with superimposed italicised aphorisms, tired of serene part-time models people doing yoga on piers, tired of photos of brand new universes reminding me I'm small.
I'm tired of being told to stay calm and carry on. This is not England, this is not World War II and the Nazis are not bombing us by night. We are fine. We don't need to calm down, we need to wake up before we really fall asleep.
And I'm tired of Robin Williams' sad eyes staring back at me, always just to the right of the article I'm reading, as if he's waiting for my attention so he can tell me to seize the day and that none of this is my fault.
I'm tired of sticky-carpeted bars with a set list at my feet and I'm tired of shiny-floored talent shows. I'm tired of people asking me when my next gig is, as if they're talking about the weather.
This stuff isn't small talk for me. This is not a hobby, nor is it a career. I don't sing songs for fun. I sing them because I must, because I have to and because I need to or else the little spark of madness sets my chest on fire and fills my head with smoke for days and bloody days and
Use of the word peaked in the middle of the 19th century but it's been on the rise since the 1950s.
We love being outraged. We sometimes even seem to seek out reasons to be outraged.
In my tiny town, the local paper has a weekly religious column. Some people read it simply so they can be outraged by its subject matter. Then we talk and type and tweet about how outrageous it was and how we are nothing like the columnist. Then all our friends all like and agree with us, sharing our outrage.
We love to be outraged by exotic, foreign injustice and by the politics of those on the other side of the fence and find ourselves casting stones all over the place.
This is not to say these things aren't wrong, so don't be chucking rocks at me. I just think the time has come for inrage.
I wouldn't be the first to use the word, but it still sits atop a little squiggly red line on my screen. Why not add that little sucker to your dictionary? Inrage.
If rage means both "a vehement desire or passion" and, at least in the country I'm from, "to go out and enjoy oneself socially", then I'm going to define inrage as "the action of contemplating that the current extent to which one is outraged by the world is a reflection of one's own disappointment at one's incapacity to do what it is one was born to do and most loves doing".
Now is the time.
Inrage. Stop chucking rocks and sort yourself out, then go make a slingshot.
And, if you must, point it at me.