Armadillo’s Revenge

Living adjacent to a beautiful waterfront park is a mixed blessing. On Cracker Night (1 July) it’s like being in the middle of the shock and awe bombing of Baghdad. It’s made even worse by a mob of casino workers who rent the big house opposite and regularly have parties starting at 4 am when they get home from work. Last Sunday they even had a heavily amplified, tone-deaf rock band rehearsing in the backyard all afternoon. They had a girl lead singer with a tuneless voice like ground glass, who sang “Wild Thing” for all the world like Mrs Mills on speed.

Tonight is the armadillo’s revenge. Rebecca’s 15th birthday party is in full swing at Casa Armadillo, combined with a delayed 16th birthday bash for Nick from across the road.

Nick is lead singer in a local heart-throb teenage rock band himself. I’m not sure whether he can sing, but he’s a dead ringer for Daniel Johns from silverchair before he went anorexic. Nick’s contribution to the party was to hook up large banks of amplified sub-woofers to our hi fi system. It took him half the afternoon, I’m told, and he certainly did an effective job. Every window in the front half of the house shakes violently with the bass beat, as Eminem at ear-splitting volume fills the night air.

Huge crowds of teenagers are milling around outside and spilling into the park opposite. I suspect I might be to blame for that bit. When Rebecca first asked me whether she could have a party, she said “Dad, you know there’ll be lots of them drinking and pulling cones, don’t you?” Fleetingly I hoped she meant she had friends who were overly fond of Streets Cornettos. Not wanting to disappoint Rebecca’s expectations of stereotyped parental behaviour, I said “Well, I don’t want drugs or alcohol consumed on the premises, you know.” Hence the milling crowds across in the park; a pragmatic response to silly old fart parents.

Actually, we even seem to have failed to project a consistent stereotype. Jenny and I went to pick up a carload of pizzas and other teenage food half an hour or so ago, leaving Jenny’s best friend Sue and her partner Paul in nominal charge of the party. Sue discovered a big mob of girls in Rebecca’s bedroom surreptitiously chugging a cache of hidden mini-bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream. “Wake up to yourselves,” Sue said. “It’s a disgraceful waste of perfectly good liquor to drink Bailey’s warm. Go and put it in an esky, you silly girls.” Apparently they looked shocked, but quickly obeyed.

One hundred minutes until midnight when the music goes off. Christ I’m glad I’m not a teenager again. Fortunately Rebecca seems too busy being the perfect hostess to 100 or so teenagers to get time to play up herself. I don’t want to think what happens at other people’s parties, though. I can still remember what I was like at that age. No wonder my beard’s gone completely grey.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I feel we may need a post-operational debrief Ken.

Gianna
2021 years ago

ah, feels like just yesterday…

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Geoff,

It all went surprisingly well, really. There were certainly large numbers of gatecrashers milling in the park and on the roadside(Rebecca and Nick had invited no more than 60-70 people, but I reckon there were several hundred around at one stage). And they certainly drank big mobs of alcohol (not supplied by us, I should stress), because it took us nearly an hour or so to clean up the mess of discarded assorted bottles and cans in the neighbourhood. And there were a couple of young hoon gatecrashers who took the opportunity to display their fragile, inadequate masculinity by doing burnouts up the road outside our place (to cheers from some of their moromic mates). But otherwise it was very peaceful, and all Rebecca’s teenage friends were amazingly polite and friendly. They’re rather more civilised and mature than I remember my generation of peers being at the same age, I think (although maybe thats not saying very much).

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

The SMH is currently running a ‘Your Say’ Forum on this very topic. I see one poster identified the poor example set by Howard in gatecrashing Indonesia and Iraq as central to the issue. Did you get a chance to canvass geopolitical influences in burnout technique, Ken?

Gummo Trotsky
2021 years ago

Why can’t people just live together in peace and harmony?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I’m led to believe that the answer is blowing in the wind, Gummo.

bailz
bailz
2021 years ago

“pulling cones” ?? Dude, she didn’t really say that did she? hahaha, if she did, that’s gold.

Also, warm Baileys is a sin.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Bailz,

It was something very close to that. I was so taken aback at the time that I didn’t take precise note of the exact words. Maybe you could enlighten us about the appropriate kewl crowd mode of expression.

bailz
bailz
2021 years ago

i wouldn’t know mate, I just found it hilarious that a teenager would actually say something like that to their father before a party, their 15th birthday party at that. and when did kiddies start doing that shit so young? I’m not that much older, but I didn’t go to my first party like that until I was nearly 17, not for someone’s 15th. That’s crazytown.

Just be thankful anyway. My sister had a similar party for her 16th that ended up with police cars, a lot of them actually, a large mob in my street, and me cleaning glass out of my pool for the next week.