Monday, August 10, 2009

A meaty issue

There are many areas of life I know I come up a little short, like not being able to hit the sweet spot on the toaster dial, but one thing I pride myself on is not being easily surprised.

There have been plenty of times when I could have sent my eyebrows sky-ward and cried "bejesus!" but instead have chosen to simply share a few quiet moments with a bottle of beer and settle back in my hammock.

Like the time when the manager of the camping ground in Stuttgart told us to put up our tent on a cement slab and I just shrugged my shoulders and grabbed my trusty mallet. Or the time when I fished a trio of giggling two-year-olds out of the bath on the arrival of a mystery poo. Or when Big Brother hit our screens for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh seasons.

But on the weekend I came across this little piece in the SMH's careers section that had me surprised all over the place:

In this photograph, taken on March 22, 1967, a butcher tidies a display cabinet at Super Meats, Wollongong Arcade. Retailers, processors and smallgoods manufacturers are represented by the Australian Meat Industry Council.

So far so good, we've got a date, mention of some ye olde arcade in Wollongong and something about a meaty council. All good. So we move on to:

According to, there are now 24,400 butchers working in Australia, earning an average weekly wage of $877.

All good here too. We've got some numbers, something about an average weekly wage which lends the whole piece a certain amount of economic gravity (or gravy, whichever you find most tasty), and one of those whacky we-are-so-like-a-government-initiative-with-personality,-man websites. Then comes the eyebrow-raiser:

A recent survey has revealed butchers are the happiest employees in the Australian workforce - and they're having the most sex. Forget counselling, the answer for frustrated couples is a certificate III in meat processing.

! and !! In five easy sentences we move from a happy happy joy joy skip down a memory lane inside an arcade in Wollongong to couples counselling through butchering, well, through butchering. And why are they the happiest? Because they get to talk about sausages all day while giggling like school kids?

Mercy. What do you think: would you enrol in a certificate of meat processing if it guaranteed more sex and/or a fulfilled and satisfying relationship or does that just sound like a meat-up to you?


Mad Cat Lady said...

hum ... interesting.

I suppose they are touching flesh all day ...

makes a person worry about the habits of lonely single butchers though - not sure i would want to buy meat from them

Kettle said...

I know, Sam! I only want to buy meat from fine, upstanding butcher-types with trophy wives/husbands and large, bountiful families. And Foxtel.

I'll bet a hair button made by a squirrel (which I have yet to win from a TSFKA competition) that Squib suggests we wouldn't have this problem with creepy butchers types if we were vegetarians. I agree, Squib, good point well made.

Miles McClagan said...

It's all the innunendo laden puns they are all able to use on women folk...

I'll spare you them, for they are obvious, and recounting them makes one sound like John Blackman...

Mad Cat Lady said...

but then we wouldn't have bacon! surely bacon is worth a few "have you considered some sausage lurv"

Kettle said...

Go on, Miles! There are worse people one could sound like than John Blackman (at least three!). Also, if no-one pointed out the obvious we wouldn't have American sitcoms.

God you're right, Sam. Without bacon we'd lose one third of the Saturday Morning Triangle of Happiness, formed between the eggs, bacon and coffee. No-one wants to mess with the Triangle.

Mad Cat Lady said...

oh god yes - you inspire me - i think i will get up early and go have breakfast at a cafe tomorrow morning :) mmmmmmm bacon

Word Verification: jectroad (that sound very technical and hi-tech)

Mad Cat Lady said...

i meant very complicated and hi-tech

Kettle said...

You know, Sam, I found 'jectroad' so delightful a word that I didn't even notice 'technical and hi-tech', and anyway, we're all friends here :)

the projectivist said...

well, well, well!
who knew, huh?
certainly not me.
every time i've ever been in to see the butcher, he seems a miserable sort of chap and who can blame em? the cold, the obligatory handlebar moustache, the blood, the bad uniforms. the blood. did i mention the blood?

squib said...

Thanks Kettle, that is very funny

I wrote a short story about a butcher once and it did have sexual undertones. A fruit shop would have been just too Benny Hill

Those hair buttons could have been yours if you'd googled "Parliament of Western Australia"

Kettle said...

You're right, Ms P, how "ew!" is the blood. I could tell you a not-funny story about walking through a shopping centre and thinking for a split second that the little pale red drops under the trolley were juice from squashed strawberries (oh how much I wanted to believe) then realising what it really was but that would make this whole creepy butcher/blood thing even worse.

On the plus side (?) apparently the mark ups on butcher goods are so high they're meant to be very profitable businesses. Maybe that's why butchers are so happy? Maybe it's not some crazed serial-killer tendencies we all think? Either way, I'm happy for butchery not to be one of my seven career changes.

Hey Squib, I wonder if there's a whole subgenre of stories about butchers with sexual undertones (and moustaches); I will look into it. Perhaps I will find your piece.

I thought googling was cheating! I thought you all answered from the many recesses of your busy minds, no?

Kettle said...

Gah! One hundred words or less, Kettle.

the projectivist said...

are you mad??!
i love long comments!

now this comment is going to be short.

so i will have to compensate by going off on a tangent.

this evening there was a mention of secret shoppers between my co-pilot worker and a customer. the customer (who was with his wife) mentioned that he was a secret shopper. told us how much he earned, said he enjoyed his job blah blah blah...

my co-pilot worker asked him what company he worked for? turns out he's a secret shopper for a high-end strip joint.

he goes in, orders two drinks, buys a lapdance and then goes home and fills in his report.

did you know that such a thing existed? every man's wet dreamjob i should think.
do you suppose he's happier than a butcher? did they mention secret shoppers in that survey?

Kettle said...

Ah Ms P, I love reading your comments first thing in the morning. They make me laugh all day.

Indeed, where's the survey that compares butchers with lapdance mystery shoppers.