Questionable Sanity of Harold Hungovsky - Chapter 1

Book : The Questionable Sanity of Harold Hungovsky

Date : 2018-11-18

Editor :

Participants : FSB Team

As the title suggests, dear reader, I wish to relate a tale about the tenuous connection to reality of an acquaintance of mine, or rather, a good friend of mine by the name of Harold J. Hungovsky. Of course, one means no insult to suggest that he is queer and eccentric to say the least, as it is unseemly to insult a friend, but it is nonetheless fact. But before we proceed with example, it serves to give a more fulsome (?) description of the fellow in question, and of how we met.

Harold is a raggedy gentleman - perhaps one might title him The Great Unshaven - but with a sharp wit and a fondness for beer. And by fondness, it is generous to suggest that he drinks constantly. However, he can tell a good yarn* from time to time, at times laced with a little casual racism though Hungovsky isn't racist in the slightest. Casual racism is just an Australian pasttime, even among immigrants. Especially among immigrants, for it's how they come to be culturally accepted, in what is one of the more delicious ironies of Australians. In any case, such a tale was related upon this wonderful Thursday afternoon in the hot, hot summertime.

As to how we met, it was at a local drinking establishment, whereupon Hungovsky meets most of his friends, bums most of his cigarettes, and reads his broadsheet from cover to cover with the cheapest brew on hand, ostensibly to obtain insight into world affairs, but more probably because he's pretentious and likes to be seen as such.
It may seem to the reader as if I have characterised Hungovsky poorly in the & paragraphs, but in my defence, it is quite how he would like it, for along with his outward pomposity he is no stranger to truth-seeking. Quite assuredly, had I written of him in a sychophantic manner, or even more generously, he would bring Shakespeare into matters and accuse me of gilding the lily. Then quote the entire passage by heart. Then relate the history of vowel pronounciation in the English of the sixteenth century. get the drift.

And so, now that Harold J. Hungovsky's paradoxical nature is at least described roughly, it serves to continue the tale at this point to the day in question, which as I have mentioned was hot, in the way in which only Australia can be. It was hot and a mirage wafted from the melting bitumen as I pulled into the pub. It was hot and dry, the wind no comfort. It was hot and there was a barbeque (as there always is on this continent, no matter the weather).

"G'day, mate!" I said, exhaling once loudly in relief at reaching the laquered bartop. "Fancy a beer?"

With barely an upward glance from the page, on which various stocks and commodity prices were listed, he replied, "Sure, so long as it's warm, flat and served out of a dirty's all they got here anyhow." Rather dour, I mused, and the barmaid was singularly unimpressed with the sarcastic attitude. Nevertheless, refreshments were served reasonably promptly, and consumed in the same manner.

*For those unfamiliar with Australian colloquialism, a 'yarn' isn't merely what one's grandmother might use to knit; a yarn is also 'an irreverent and embellished story'. Interestingly, a 'yarn' is also an Australian Indigenous word for a particularly rare ground-dwelling fruit bat endemic to West Stradbroke Island in the country's north-east and regarded a a delicacy by the Krakatinni tribe. It is perhaps not to common taste, but it must be admitted that we would all swallow a yarn if we really had to.