As I sat watching my flock like a good chap the other night, ever vigilant against foxes, footrot and romanitcally inclined New Zealanders willing to pander to stereotypes, the skies burst open in not unimpressive fashion and an angel of the Lord appeared before me. This is not a thing that should happen to a lad of nervous disposition, especially one who has to do his washing by hand.
"Yea!" it boomed, in that pompously archaic manner angels habitually use to look smart, "Yea, and also verily, I bring you tidings of Great Joy! Be not afeared; please attempt to regain control of your sphinctral muscles and also move slightly down wind."
Wondering if there was time to pop back inside for a fresh pair of pants, I asked the six-winged apparition what exactly I could do for it, and if it would involve too much effort.
"Rejoice!" intoned the seraph, unneccessarily loudly, "for a Saviour has come among you!"
"Christ!" I exclaimed.
"Oh, nothing so mundane," the angel casually thundered.
"What...Mohammed? Buddha? Surely not L. Ron - Our Tom is insufferable enough as it is."
"Do not be foolish, pimply mortal," replied the angel, idly cleaning it's fingernails with it's burning sword. "I am come to tell you of one who has come to put the nation to rights, one who will lead you back to the back of security nad stability. I am here to spread the good news of the coming of David Koch."
"What... are we talking about the same guy? That dude with the, you know, the face and the head and stuff?"
The angel arched a delicately plucked eyebrow. "Simpleton! Fugly heretic!" the bright messenger sneered. "Know you not that since Holy Eddie ascended unto the right hand of Packer to rule from on high, a vacuum has existed in Australian popular culture. Without a shining and thoroughly ubiquitous beacon of folksey charm and homespun wisdom preaching the neccessity of banality and the irrelevance of talent, wit and ability, Australian TV has been in danger of having to seek out personalities with flair and charisma, or worse yet, come up with new and potentially disturbing ideas. What would become of the Australian plebs if they were robbed of the prosaic familiarity that's been their meat and three veg for the last several decades and presented with original thought and content? They might start exercising their brains, and we can't have that."
"And so thank God that he has sent us Kochie - with us at dawn to tell us that It's All Not That Bad Provided You Don't Look Too Closely; with us at dusk of the sabbath, to remind us that The 50's Were Pretty Great (and that Maryanne from Gilligan's Island is doing ok and says hi); and to provide us with bromidic banter, rabid patriotism and the occasional excitement of ambulance chases between times. And Lo! Our new saviour has given unto you his holy writings - see here, two books of apocrypa and a sacred gospel to guide you through life."
And I looked, and saw that the angel held out three shining tomes, the first: Smart Couples Start With Nothing And Create Real Wealth ("Seven out of ten couples argue about money...as a couple you can either let money problems destroy your relationship or tackle it head on and harness the power of being a couple. Money can't buy happiness... but it sure can help your relationship"); the second, confusingly thick book: Kochie's Best Jokes ("A seriously good laugh is seriously contagious! Jokes for everyone, from blondes to brunettes"); and the third and greatest of the volumes: Kochie's Guide to Keeping It Real.
"But hang on," I said. "This Koch, is he not just an up-jumped fiancial journalist with an over-used line in inoffensively blokey repartee? I can appreciate his potential usefulness in advising me on my pecuniary well-being, but what right has this bald streak of insipidness, this vanilla flavoured footnote in Australian culture to tell me how to live my life, raise my children, treat my partner, behave towards my fellow man, regard contemporary society, think, vote, be - let alone comment on the nature of reality?"
"Dim-witted fleshling!" the angel cried, "Can you not see that Kochie 'draws on his sense of community, his financial acumen, and feedback from his Sunrise audience in this guide for modern families. He blends anecdotes and comprehensive information in an engaging and easy to understand way. There is advice and guidance for readers at many levels, from big questions about how to build and manage wealth, to how to organise a teenager's birthday party. Kochie's Guide to Keeping It Real is relevant for families of all shapes and sizes'!"
"Well" I said, "feedback from his Sunrise audience? How could I have been so blind, such a naysayer? Pass those holy texts here!"
And I read all night and into the next day. And I learned much. Immediately, I told my partner that it was perfectly normal for a woman in todays society to earn more than me, but we needed to combine our money in a sensible investment like the Telstra float. I stopped donating to Greenpeace, because they are extremists, and the environment is served well enough by my using a cloth bag at the supermarket and taking five minute showers. I make a socially acceptable jokes, but I'm careful to avoid Political Correctness Gone Mad, and therefore know several about the Irish and Mexicans and blonde secretaries, which I will happily tell after ascertaining that none are around. I now wear sensible slacks. I don't give money to homeless people in the street because they'll just buy smack. I salute the flag and sing the national anthem at every opportunity. I think the PM sometimes stuffs up, but he's got the right idea about a lot of things. Come the next federal election I'll be voting Liberal in the house of reps, because we need to keep the economy stable, but I'll donkey vote the senate - too many boxes to tick. I enjoy a drink with the boys, but never to excess. I like to read the occasional Bryce Courtenay. I don't like show-offs. I don't offend. I don't question. I don't resist.
For the first time, I'm acting like an Ordinary Australian. At last, I am Keeping It Real.