The Natural asked me what it meant ‘to have your head up your arse’. He said he never used that kind of language except to batsmen. Big Merv Hughes said it was fair to intimidate batsmen this way but never explained what it meant. I asked The Prof who looked at me coldly, handed me some scrappy notes he had taken over the last few days and asked me to write it up. It starts with a conversation between Swanny and Minnie.
“What? I can’t hear you Minnie”, Graeme said to his grandmother. “What did you say to the nice girl who had the big camera and the hairy arms?”
“Nothing. I swear, not a thing. I said I only heard you say someone had her head stuck where the sun don’t shine once after you lost the public speaking award to the tall girl in 4F at school just before Christmas.”
“I never said anything, truly.”
Minnie continued. “But it was definitely what you said to Jimmy when that pretty new teacher you had in the sixth grade sat on poor Billy’s pet tree frog and suffocated it.”
“That wasn’t me. The frog was just faking it. And she kept quizzing me on calculus for the next week. She persecuted me.”
“Do you feel persecuted today Graeme?”
Swanny said nothing. He didn’t really know.
“And what about the time you were tipsy and told that kind policeman you were on your way to purchase screwdrivers to rescue your cat from under the floorboards. That was code for the same thing.”
“Maybe. Anyway, I wasn’t driving. The dog was. They lost the blood sample anyway. The Chief Constable told me later they booked 50 Christmas party-goers entering the Australian embassy instead.”
“My point Graeme is that this comment is not a one-off. It is one of your standard Christmas lines.”
Graeme tweeted to his followers that his comment didn’t refer to anyone he knew, and that cross-dressing journalists from The Daily Mirror should stop accosting his grandmother especially at Christmas.
Graeme called KP. He was friendly and knew Swanny had been talking about Stokes and Bairstow. KP just wanted his Bob the Builder set returned and passed on requests to return Chef’s voodoo doll set, Jimmy’s book of cricket sledges, and Bell’s book ‘Batting with Redheads’.
Monty told anyone who would listen that he wasn’t sure which player Swanny was referring to but he thought it was Kevin and all of Manchester United but he didn’t really know. He still doesn’t get the sprinkler head thing; maybe it was some sort of CS Lewis satire like piddling off a Brighton balcony?
Eventually Catherine, the Saatchi & Saatchi professional on tour, released the official explanation of what it means ‘to have your head up your arse’:
“Graeme loves to use idiom to express himself. Idiomatic is a recognised disease. He also has a localised foot ‘n mouth infection. Both can be found in the 2013 urban DSM as involuntary reactions to long term stress.
The accepted meaning of the phrase ‘head stuck up your arse or ‘pull your head out of your arse’, implying that it is up your arse already or someone jammed it up there, is very contextual. It includes general ignorance, inattention as in ‘we can’t trust our best batsman to watch the line because he’s always got his head up his arse’, or insensitivity as in ‘you didn’t know the Pope died. You have your head up your ass, mate’. Anything that fits the formula ‘Stop ….ing about, start ….ing hitting it’.
No one knows what Swanny meant. Lord knows I don’t. He is not talking to us or you. Maybe Monty was right, although no one here thinks so.
It is hard to imagine what it is like to have your head up your arse. I mean if you did, it would be up there all the time. You wouldn’t know what it is like not to have your head in that smoky polluted environment. Maybe it’s like being an investment banker or a Captain of a local croquet team.
You in the press would know how hard it is to pull your head out of your arse to admit you have been stupid and overstepped the mark, like invading Swanny’s privacy or deciding to face an over of pace from Brett Lee just for the publicity value.
Take Piers Morgan for example. Some say he is paid to have his head well up his arse all the time; others say the type of person who would accept payment to have his head up his arse, if you please, was probably born that way so there is no inconvenience in being seen to have your head up your arse. Perhaps Sir Richard Hadlee is an exception*. Context and timing is everything. It’s just like knowing when to close out a press release with a colon :)”
The Captain read this statement and wondered whether one could score a century if one’s head was always in a dark place. He decided it was not possible. He was confused. His wife said no, he had been breathing fresh air for as long as she had known him. He felt much better. He called The Prof, who asked him what his wife had said in three different ways. The Prof told The Captain he agreed with everything his wife had said, even if it appeared to be contradictory. The Prof told me later this was a non-profit no-win situation. It was Christmas. He didn’t want indigestion.
The Freak read Catherine’s press release and decided she was an Anglophile with an English sounding name: C not K apparently makes all the difference. But he said it was hard to tell which members of the English ‘losing’ XI still had their heads up their arses this late in the test series. He thought there must be a few batsmen – they still struggle to reach 250 in an innings.
I consulted Puff who has a special hole in his memory for all things English. He said bulldogs are always up each others arses; the difficulty is finding the lead dog in a circle of arse sniffers.
I looked around the dressing room after tea on Day 3. The Prof and I had our heads on our shoulders. Sarah (The Head of Marketing) was bending over to clean the dot balls off UnLucky’s pads. She had a quiet giggle. Coach2.0 was absent. The Prof said he couldn’t see any dogs apart from the English lower order. An imperious KP was at the other end, brooding. Our blokes on the field were unsighted. The Army from Bay 13 had floated off 90,809 condom balloons that had begun to congregate near the strikers end.
*Sir Richard said, writing in the Fairfax NZ News “I only hope that Brett takes a few minutes to reflect on his stupidity – this was a brain explosion of the highest order – it was a deliberate attempt to hit, injure, hurt and maim his opponent that I viewed as a form of grievous bodily harm or a human assault that could have proved fatal..” [Ed. It was so bad Sir Richard tuned out after the second ball]. Binga assures me his new Red Balloon experience (‘Face Six Bruising Balls from Binga’) for people who have everything is a corker, second only to the ABC’s favourite retirement gift ‘Chuteless Sky Diving with Skull’.