Penny’s New HAT

I was stupid. I was so stupid, I could kick myself, as Sherlock Holmes used to say, from Waterloo to Charing Cross station. How, I ask you, how could an old, hard-bitten, grumpy Jew be so stupid? Now, don’t crowd me, I will fess up, I promise.

You see, I have always thought that all this hot air debate is just that—a hot air debate, that no matter what we do, the sun either heats our planet up or cools it off when the sun moves away or cools off itself. Aber naturlich, you don’t crap where you eat, so you look after your environment and use resources wisely.

When I was listening to those young and not so young mishuga* righteous, burning with enthusiasm to forbid anything that is not natural, I thought to myself, “Thank God it is not 1917 and they are not going to shoot people for flying a plane or driving a car.” Now I am not sure any more. These defenders of whales, pot-bellied parrots and man-eating sharks would not hesitate. Just let them get the power they are after.

When I hear the word natural from a sales lady trying to flog something to me, I usually reply, “Plague is natural, syphilis is natural, and cholera is natural. What’s so great about natural?” When I hear that nuclear power is not good and solar is better, I think, “But solar is nuclear, you idiot!”

God forbid, I don’t say it; I am not so crazy that I want to end up in hospital as a result of the free exchange of ideas. As soon as you disagree with a young leftie, you have become an enemy of the people, a counter-revolutionary. Shooting is too good for you.

Once, many years ago, when I was living (existing) in the USSR, I said something unenthusiastic about the Soviet Melikha in Odessa; something about being happy to be as far away from these gonifs as possible. This komsomolets started to scream so loudly that everyone, including the police, could hear, “He does not love Lenin!” I still remember the feeling of having my heart in my throat—how quickly I ran! I could have been an Olympic champion!

I still do not like Lenin. I still don’t like komsomoltsy, red or green, who peddle ideological crap and expect me to burn with enthusiasm when I hear it.

Once in Melbourne I saw a lot of angry young women protesting about the world not being green enough for their taste. They were marching in step, six in a row, in a long column down Russell Street. It was a sight to behold. All their breasts were jumping up and down as one. Somehow, the breasts looked angry too. All these girls were screaming something angry on a cue given by a leader, a scary-looking woman wearing all black. Her face had so many studs it looked like a mask from The Phantom of the Opera. The studs could be heard when she and her girls were quiet and they touched, making sounds like a Balinese gamelan orchestra. She was holding a bull horn and a baseball bat, which she used as a conductor’s baton. Her motorcycle boots stomped on the road with the decisiveness of a Terminator.

I stopped at the street light, waiting for it to change. My car and the women’s column were facing each other from opposite sides of the road, going in opposite directions. The girls were repeating the screams of the studded gauleiter in front of the column. They looked like a mob of sheep from Animal Farm.

Using a minute pause in the wimmin’s consciousness-raising empowerment, when they stopped chanting, I stuck my head out the window and politically incorrectly screamed:  “Four legs good, two legs bad!”  

And what do you know? These tzedreitern repeated it in one breath! All as one! My jaw dropped to the floor.  But when I saw the black-clad madam, clutching her baseball bat, striding towards me looking as if she intended to do maximal damage, I hit the gas pedal.


Yes, yes, I know: the hot air. You see, I did not realise there was so much hot air in the hot air. It has tremendous lifting power. It lifted Peter Garrett to power. Unfortunately for him, he was not entrusted with it. Now he cannot even be called the Minister with the Responsibility for Hot Air; this title belongs to our Penny. What could Peter claim as a title now? Minister for the Sun and the Moon? It seems a pretty difficult job to me.

I was confused—why did our Peter not get to be the hot air supremo? Why did Penny come and take away Peter’s dream? Then I realised that with so many burning beds on the airways Peter had probably raised the global temperature so much that it would have embarrassing to get him to cool it down. One moment he is burning something, anything, like beds, another he is cooling it down—I get dizzy thinking about it. Poor Peter, the sins of his youth have caught up with him.

So, what has it all got to do with the new hat? Well, you see, nobody is ever in a hurry to fess up that he is not very bright. I am not an exception and so, I am prevaricating. But I make a promise—no more struggles against red-green activism, no more jokes about the Hot Air Tax (HAT), emissions trading, global warming, alternative energies and all that.

I will even (I promise!) not despise the supporters of the PLO and Israeli destruction, because most of them are for the nice fluffy Kyoto Protocol and conservation and green energy, helping Israelis without realising it.

From now on I will scream my head off to stop whaling, support development of hybrid cars with regular something, and walk in protest against anything that moves, farts or uses energy. As a personal contribution to a world of energy conservation, I am ready to order my wife to wash our clothes in the lake and clean the crockery with sand and cold water. (Actually, it might be a bit premature to promise, because I would need to check my medical insurance first. I need to know whether I am covered for grievous bodily harm, including head wounds.)

I will become an eco-komsomolets and will scream about anyone who is not eco-conscious—“He does not like Nature!”—so that politically correct citizens might take appropriate action and burn the slime at the stake.

I have discovered something which I am profoundly ashamed of. I should have thought about it many moons ago.

Let this farshtunken oil remain where it is, we will use the green revolution to regain our freedom from the most loathsome regimes on this Earth, which hold us all by the throat and, probably, other places as well. To get their grubby hands off my beytsim I am even prepared to pay for Penny’s new HAT. We will have to use candles, swim in our own sweat in summer, stink to high heaven with body odour and think of going to another suburb rather than overseas travel. But that’s OK, because sheikhs will have no more money to buy Rolls Royces and have to start riding camels again.

Nu? How could have I been so stupid before?


*Glossary of Yiddish words:


Melikha—Soviet government

komsomolets—member of the Young Communist League, Komsomol (Russian)


tzedreitern—intellectually impaired mob, a can short of a six-pack



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