Incognito in the zeitgeist

According to Lionel Latoszek of Long Jetty, nothing comes close to having to explain Column 8 in another language. “My 18-year-old niece with rudimentary English was flicking through the pages of the Herald I had bought when leaving Sydney Airport for Poland in 2019, when she read in Column 8 about ‘spotting a pair of budgie smuggler swimmers at the beach on the weekend’. Can you imagine my already difficult task of explaining this with my limited Polish language skills? I tried to keep a straight face while her parents and her friends listened with mouths agape.” In case your interest is piqued, the column in question was from January 29, 2019.

Hearing himself described by Kerrie Wehbe as one of the “quirky nerds who need to get out more, only without the faces” (C8), George Manojlovic of Mangerton offers the following correction. “Kerrie, I take my face wherever I go, unattractive as it may be.”

Rhoda Silber of Manly shares the description her brother Gus in Johannesburg uses to explain Column 8 (C8) to the uninitiated. “The side-bar where all the cool, interesting and curious people hang out.” Gus is clearly angling for inclusion as one of the “quirky nerds”.

Column 8 can now add gift guide to its growing list of attributes. Among the birthday gifts recently received by Don Bain of Port Macquarie was “a king-size magnifying glass, requiring some strength to heft but more than capable of dealing with microscopic packet instructions. An appreciative shoutout to Richard Stewart, who was credited with the thought behind it, and who has spared me many a surly squint”.

Reading of the renamed street in Latvia (C8) brought to mind images of Cold War spies for Randi Svensen of Wyong, and of a certain Nordic creativity. “In Oslo, the street where many embassies are located is called Inkognito Street.”

Writing to Granny as one grandparent to another, Jim Pollitt of Wahroonga heard the following word salad on his favourite radio station: “The new vibe in the zeitgeist could be a blend of nihilism and opulence” and wondered: “Is it time for us to stand aside?”

Betty Radcliffe of West Ryde recalls that a friend who was an academic at a shall remain nameless university, told her that, a few decades ago, “scribbled above the toilet paper dispenser in a cubicle (C8) of the senior faculty loo was ‘BAs, please take one’. ”

Column8@smh.com.au

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