In danger of losing his marbles since March 1996, Harold Hark retired from the worldwide descent into moral hebetude in early 2005. Notwithstanding a growing repertoire of facial tics and the paranoid certainty that everyone he met was a John Howard supporter, Hark enjoyed his solitude among the lilies that were not in the field that wasn't there.
And then one fateful day he entered the only shop in Australia whose regulation Teac mini sound system in the back corner was set to the ABC. (He actually heard some news instead of the medicated hilarity of Kyle and Jackie-O clones offered in every other shop in the land.) There he listened to Treasurer Peter Costello's confident assumption that workers would be more than happy to cash in their meal breaks to earn a few extra roubles, zlotys or rials, whichever currency was weakest on any given payday. At which time they would queue at the privatised foreign currency kiosks located at the exits of their workplaces where their third world pay could be exchanged for Australian dollars (conditions and fees applying). In this way would Australia's new breed of Enterprise Workers boost productivity and contribute to the booming sales of the nation's newest number one product: Victory Gin.
Hark's marbles clinked and clanked and clunked.
When Costello's suggestion was met with a nationwide chorus of Heil Howard's from the conservative commentariat, the Howard Jugend and all right-wing-thinking Australians, Hark's marbles went berserk.
The jig was definitely up. There was no longer a shred of doubt that the nation was being ruled by the clinically insane and supported by the stark raving mad.
Hark panicked. Fearing his immanent capture and personal vernichtung at the hands of one of Philip Ruddock's Einsatzgruppen, to wit, the surgical removal of his marbles by one of the many devotees of Beppo Mengele then flocking to John Howard's privatised health industry in hopes of experimenting on untermenschen such as himself, Hark boarded a Qantas flight to an unnamed destination in Europe.
He has promised to send periodic updates of his odyssean peregrinations to this blog. Stay tuned.