Brisbane, Australia Goddam Hippy Tree-Huggers

I am not a hypochondriac.

But when you’re going away for a long time to places where the word ‘doctor’ means about as much as plumbing, you start making appointments. And when you’ve got fancy health coverage that runs out in a few weeks, you make them fast.

Yesterday I turned up at the Pharmacy (ahem – Chemist), fresh from two doctor’s appointments, with a stack of four different prescriptions. I’ve got another appointment on Thursday to get a bunch of test results to find out if there’s anything chemical behind my wacky sleep patterns. I’ve got another appointment next week for more shots (damn that Hepatitis A). I’m supposed to see an eye doctor about my frequent eye infections. And I’ve gotta call the physio lady to see about my wrist pain.

Yes, sir. I’m taking care of business.

I had a big thrill today when I turned up at the Medibank office with a bag full of receipts and walked out with a fat stack of $50 bills. They give you cash on the spot. That’s so cool!

I don’t know anything about health care. I don’t know how it is in the states. I don’t know how it is in Australia. And I don’t know how it’s supposed to be. All I know is that a lot of people say it’s screwed up. So when I get 100% coverage on doctor’s visits and 85% on prescriptions, I’m gonna go ahead and assume that’s a pretty good deal.

Thanks Pandemic!

I did something really stupid after I walked out of there. I said, “Geez, I’ve got a whole lot of money that I didn’t count on getting. I should go blow it at a casino.” And I did just that. I walked over to the treasury casino and plowed through $100 in about 5 minutes. You don’t need to say it. I know. I’m a colossal idiot. I have no excuse other than that I was feeling lucky.

I need to learn to associate FEELING lucky with BEING a chump.

Here’s how I’m going to rationalize my bi-annual gambling losses: I’m paying for lessons on why I shouldn’t gamble.

Anyway, so far I’m really enjoying this not-going-to-work thing. I spent yesterday afternoon under a tree in the botanical gardens with Leanne. It was one of those things where you realize that’s what you’re supposed to be doing with your days and all that other stuff is a waste of time.

I went to the goddam hippy tree hugger rally on Sunday. As best as I could figure, it had something to do with war and not wanting to have it.

I’ll be non-sarcastic and say that there were some things said during the rally that I agreed with. I think Howard (Prime Minister of Australia) is being obsequious. It’s obvious that the majority of Australians don’t want to have anything to do with Iraq, and well they shouldn’t. I think Bush is a jingoistic halfwit jackass. And it’s pretty clear that he wants to invade for all the wrong reasons.

But I differ on the “War = Bad” thing. I mean, yeah. It is. There are worse statements you could make, and as a general policy it’ll tend to keep you out of trouble. But this is a large and complex issue. There is a lot of history to the situation between the U.S. and Iraq, and drowning out the debate with simplistic, extremist viewpoints is silly and annoying.

I’m sure what everyone who’s still reading this wants to hear is my drawn out opinions on global politics, but despite that, I’m going to try to keep this brief. I think the main thing we should all be concerned about is the people of Iraq (aww, what a sweety). I mean, they’re people, right? Everything else is money or governments or terrorist connections or vague orange-level threats to our national security. But they’re actual people who are suffering right now. And it seems like they’re exactly the thing that no one is concerned about. Not the US, not the UK, not Hussein, not France, not Germany. The UN? I don’t know. Maybe. Probably not.

So in trying to form an opinion, I ask myself, “well matt, what’s best for the people of Iraq?” Is it doing nothing? Well, no. That’ll mean who-knows-how-much longer of Hussein’s rule, and it’s pretty well documented that he’s a murderous and tyrannical psychopath. Is it invading? No. The invasion plan is understandably designed for minimal U.S. casualties, and that means lots of bombs dropped from way up high, which means lots of civilian casualties. Could we just go in and assassinate him? Seems perfectly reasonable to me. It’d save us all a lot of trouble, and I’m sure there’s plenty of cranked-up junky lunatics with buzz cuts who’d cut off their arms with steak knives for the privilege of trying. But apparently governments aren’t supposed to send people to kill the leaders of other governments. And also, he’s apparently a really hard guy to pin down. So I guess that’s out.

When I think about it, instituting a trade embargo against Iraq, which is what we’ve been doing for the last 12 years, seems like the best option. But that gets heavily criticized for causing millions of Iraqi casualties and doing very little to diminish Hussein’s wealth or his stranglehold on the people. So they tried that and it didn’t work.

And here I am. Stuck with no strong opinion. I don’t know that it’s wrong to be invading Iraq. I’m pretty sure it’s wrong for the reasons that are being stated, but if the end result is that the people who survive are allowed to live in a pluralist society with a higher quality of life – hrm…I guess that’s pretty unlikely.

Whatever. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not informed enough.

…I’d be a pretty bad speaker at a peace rally, huh?