It’s the first Tuesday of November, so it’s time to buy a new frock, donk some feathers in your head and donate $20 to the nearest bookie, all in the name of celebrating the “Race that Stops the Nation,” the Melbourne Cup.
This day fucking astounds me, honestly. For those not in the know, the Melbourne Cup involves a bunch of horses who run a lap of a racing track, you know, kind of like every other fucking horse race in history. The winning jockey is named a national treasure and Australia’s greatest athlete, the horse is given the good bits of hay and immortalised on a Carlton Draught stubbie lid trivia question, and the cashed-up alcoholic dickwhacker owner is declared a saint who can speak to animals, when all they really did was buy a fucking horse who happened to run slightly faster than all the other horses in the race.
The day itself used to hold some kind of prestige; now it’s an excuse for drunk sluts to be drunk sluts from 8am, and if you haven’t spewed on yourself, lost a shoe and hooked up with eight pissed fuckmuppets who are at the races for the sole reason to hook up with drunk sluts, then you’ve failed, and you might as well just stick to drinking the dregs of champagne from bottles that you “found” outside corporate tents. Nothing warms my cold, dead heart more than seeing drunk bogans at the races leering at a television camera during the evening news.
The only reason the race actually stops the nation is due to the fact that a lot of people around Australia are quite literally forced to have a punt on the outcome of the race, so there’s at least $2 of vested interest there. I also remember during each year of school, students had to sit down and observe the yearly custom of watching a bunch of horses run around a field. It may not have left a glowing reminder of a “great Australian tradition” in my memory (other than seeing my primary school teachers crying because they bet their yearly salary on a horse that probably still hasn’t finished), but it did inspire me to think that a more interesting way to run the race would be if half the horses went in the opposite direction to the others, and the jockeys carried morning stars and cricket bats.
I’m not saying the day is a complete waste of everyone’s time though, far from it. If you enjoy the Cup, good on you. If you’re one of those dickheads that makes the news because they slapped $250,000 on a trifecta, only to have one stupid fuckbag horse come in fourth and so you lost it all, good on you. If you have a punt and win, good on you. If you enjoy shrieking at brightly coloured midgets sitting on thoroughbred nags, good on you. Just leave me out of it while my I am forced to drink beer, eat chicken sandwiches and ignore my phone calls at work.
I went for a job as a blacksmith the other day and the guy asked me if I had any experience shoeing horses.
“No”, I replied, “but I once told a donkey to fuck off”.