in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Year, New Regime (January Jihad)

Any new years’ resolutions? For formerly buff ex-extremist misadventurer David Hicks, it’s a fairly safe bet to assume that ‘Renounce Jihad (ASAP)’ is fairly high on the list, especially in light of the fact that the poor bastard is going to be under surveillance (ASIO) for the next umpteen years. I wonder what John Howard’s might be? ‘Learn to say sorry’? Fat chance.

Come to think of it, now that they’ve both got considerably more freedom (well, free time at least) than they’ve had in recent years, maybe they should rendezvous, mend some fences, play bridge. Johnny can explain what it’s like to be in the stressful position of being PM for over eleven years; David can explain what it’s like to be in a stress position being beaten for eleven hours. But I digress – that’s all in the past. John Howard, David Hicks?! How very ‘07, Kevin. Now here we are in ‘08, and oh how I ate. Oh yes, it’s the January Jah Wobble, and oh my jah, it wobbles.

When I misplaced my exercise regime in late November, and I had this crazy notion that if I just kept on eating that somehow I wouldn’t put on weight, and that the endless stream of booze, snags and turkey would just pass through me, without leaving a remnant of their sweet succulence as a reminder of their rich flavours and ample portions. Well, I was wrong about that, too. Not as wrong as David was when he saw the bombs falling in early ‘02 and thought, ‘you know what, I’ll stay in Afghanistan, that’s the safe option.’ And certainly not as wrong as Howard was when he chose his parasilk tracksuits of a morning in preparation for his daily stroll.

Okay, at this point, you’re probably thinking how disgusting it is that I’m comparing bald men in parasilks and putting on weight (thee symbol of a peaceful life lived in the rolly-polly lap of luxury) to five years of indefinite detention and torture by one person allowed by another who had the power to call the whole thing off at any minute. And you’d be right. This isn’t Maggie Alderson, motherfucker. If you’re reading this and you relate to the bit about the flab and the turkey but not about Hicks-y, check your head. So you put on a few kilos, so what? Go outside into the ample sunshine and start walking – at least you can (without being tailed by men in white vans). Fight that daily battle, get out of bed and stride forth like little Johnny with your chins up high – this will also make you look proud. As you pound that pavement, you might even want to close your eyes and imagine the sound of Alexander Downer’s voice saying, emphatically, ‘He’s just got so much energy, Kerry.’ Feel the power. And keep on walking, like you're on a big, fat mission from God.

‘Cos this is the thing – fitness, weight control, it’s just another kind of jihad. And like all ‘wars without end', once you start waging it, it’s very hard to renounce. Your ‘hardcore’ friends will say you’ve gone soft, for one thing. Maybe Howard saw ‘Beazley 08’(and 8 and 8 and 8), was terrified, and resolved to make himself a regime. Get some control, get some purpose. Stride forth. ‘Cos Jihads, more than anything else, are about (re)gaining some control over your existence, giving yourself a purpose, a mission. Renounce the jihad, and sag back into mediocrity. Loosen the belt, lose the never-ending battle of the bulge. Remember how strapping Hicks-y looked in the singlet with his arms crossed, or with his shaved head and the bazooka? Say what you will about training to be a terrorist, but at least it gives you chiselled abs, wiggleable pecks and prominent cheek bones. Your old regime may have been brutal, but life without any regime at all is depressing and chaotic enough to make you crave a new one that’s even more punishing than the one before – just ask the citizens of Iraq, five years in.

So here’s to resolutions, roadmaps and vain hopes; here’s to a new year and a new regime, with no cellulite and no quagmire. Let’s hope it’s better than the old one. And when it fails in December? Well, that’s where January jihad comes in.

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PC is an animal of the antipodes believed to be related to a gibbon.