Theresa the Psychic Tapeworm

As I’ve mentioned previously, I usually participate on a Friday morning panel show on ABC Local Radio here in Darwin.  It’s called 3 Big Questions but it really includes 2 serious ones and a rather silly one to keep things entertaining.  Today’s silly question was a compound one:

Paul the psychic octopus has died in Germany, aged 2.

Do you believe animals can be psychic?

Skippy was deeply empathetic – but was he psychic?

Who is the most psychic animal you have ever known or heard of?

Should psychic animals be more involved in policy proscription – eg: (question addressed to a [psychic] kookaburra through a choice of three  pieces of meat on a plate) which of these three proposals for tax reform should we go with?

I responded by launching into a monologue about my great aunt Joy Cavill whose claims to fame included being the producer of the 1960s TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo; a psychic animal if ever there was one.  I’ll do a post about her one day soon (Joy not Skippy) because she’s much more interesting than I had previously realised.

However I also prepared some unused notes for an even sillier and fairly scatological rant about a psychic tapeworm.  It’s pretty juvenile but it seems a shame to waste it so I’ve expanded my notes into a semi-intelligible script.

Leon, I’ve never told anyone about this before. … I once had a psychic tapeworm.

I called her Theresa

I’d tell you all about it but some of it’s a bit gross. It all happened in 1990.  Whenever someone famous was about to die my stomach would start to rumble and before I knew it Theresa would have me passing wind to the tune of Chopin’s Funeral March.

There were quite a few luminaries who passed on in 1990, Patrick White and Roald Dahl just to name a couple.  Usually the tapeworm would stop at the Funeral March and, although I’d know someone famous was about to cash in their chips, I would have no idea who until hours later when it came on the TV news.  But there were a couple of notable exceptions.  Leonard Bernstein died that year and Theresa had me segue from the Funeral March to farting a medley from West Side Story, so I knew Lennie was on his way to the concert hall in the sky before anyone else in the world.  It was the same with Rex Harrison, where the bloody tapeworm had me doing a flatulent version of Just You Wait Henry Higgins.

But Theresa’s psychic gifts extended well beyond predicting celebrity deaths.  I well remember during the1990 federal election campaign when I was watching Bob Hawke interviewed on the 7:30 Report.  It was an incredibly close election where Labor ended up winning with just 49.9% of the two party preferred vote to the Coalition’s 50.1, after a marginal seat strategy universally acknowledged as truly masterful.  When my guts started rumbling and a basso version of the theme from Happy Days began booming out in the lounge room I knew Bob and Paul would get over the line.  If only I’d put money on it with Centrebet.

As you can imagine, the social cost of being an unwitting instrument of creaturely cosmic clairvoyance was very high indeed.  I was banished to the spare room by my first wife, then outdoors with the dog, and I began noticing that I was no longer invited to lawyers’ traditional boozy Friday lunches.  Eventually I decided to terminate Theresa with a massive lethal dose of Combantrin.  But I still have ambivalent feelings … not unlike my thoughts about legalizing ganja … I sometimes wonder whether it would have been better to remain a lonely seer, cloistered in a malodorous cave somewhere and consulted occasionally (from a safe distance) by citizens and journalists wanting to tap into the wisdom of the ages about great world events.  But then that actually happens to me now, almost every Friday in your studio Leon … but thankfully without the smell.

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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Nicholas Gruen
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Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
11 years ago

Dedicated to the end.