15 August 2009

Last week, I wrote about how I had lost my house keys, a quiz prize and my aunty's gravestone. I'm pleased to report that two out of three have turned up.
The mysterious Ha, who'd phoned the gym to say she'd found my house keys, then left a contact number for a woman who threatened to ring the police if I called again, contacted the gym once more to say my keys were at the local newsagency.
The shop is only two blocks from my house, and I couldn't understand how Ha knew to leave them there for me. But it turns out Ha is actually the woman who works in the newsagency, and I had lost the keys there in the first place. It's just that the guy in the gym had written down the wrong phone number.
Carmel Delprat, the winner of the very small picture of the moustache cup drawn by Nick Cave and signed "BICK", never received her prize, so the location of Platinum Post's CN3586239 remains a mystery, and I won't be calling upon that dubiously useful service again. Unfortunately, I don't have a similar prize to offer Carmel - such as a miniature portrait of hair-clippers, painted by Peter Garrett and signed "BLAD" - so all I can offer is a copy of the novel Disco Boy, written by The Chaser's Dominic Knight and signed "Dominic Knight".
But my biggest problem was my Aunty Gloria's gravestone, which - since Gloria has been dead for more than a year - really should be on her grave by now. My aunty spent the last years of her life afraid she might have an accident, so she went to buy funeral insurance. Incredibly, the insurer - one of Australia's largest - sold her a policy that was only valid in the event of an accident. She died of a brain tumour - which, the insurer clearly felt, she had developed on purpose - so she was paid nothing.
My aunty was a lifelong socialist and atheist, who underwent a deathbed re-conversion to Judaism, the faith of her fathers. She planned to use her $25 million fortune to set up the Betty-Gloria Foundation (named after her and my mum) for social justice, but asked that a portion be set aside for the building of a mikvah, or ritual baths, for the orthodox community. The rabbi said this was a miracle, as he'd been praying for a mikvah only the week before. It would have been a miracle, too, since my aunty had closer to $25,000 in the bank, and even the sale of her weatherboard home wouldn't make up the difference. (Her small house was bought by a mildly famous evangelical Christian couple with 10 children - including IVF sextuplets - presumably to use as an annex to their principal residence.)
Several incidents point to the possibility my aunty wasn't entirely compos mentis when she re-embraced God, including the fact that she had taken to going to the shops wearing her clothes inside out; that she thought her doctors were filming her naked through the smoke alarm and broadcasting the footage on the internet; and that she assured me my son would grow up into a beautiful woman.
However, we had to respect her wishes, which meant she must be buried under a Jewish gravestone, the marble for which needed to be ordered from overseas. My aunty had the misfortune to live in one of those mysterious Australian states that is not served by Good Weekend, and where the only Hebrew-competent stonemason has no email address. I paid the full amount for the stone, but never received a receipt, nor did the stonemason ever return my calls. But it turns out the marble has been here all the time, and the receipt went to the lawyer, and the tradie didn't get back to me because ... well, that's the way they do things in the slow-speaking states.
So, er, all is not lost. As it were.
Sorry.
In one week, I lost my house keys, a paperback book, a very small picture of a moustache cup drawn by Nick Cave and signed "BICK", and my aunty's tombstone. It's a good thing my aunty is dead, otherwise she might've been (a) upset about the loss, or (b) alarmed that I'd ordered a tombstone for her.

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