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Spin me right round
  |  First Published: June 2013



Whenever I look upwards I get head spins.

Strangely enough, I have not been and am not at a local watering hole, or any watering hole. Where I am is on Dr Dan’s boat somewhere off Fraser Island, I think. I’d like to know which direction we’ve gone from the bar, but I have no idea. Sometimes I know which is up, which is down and which is level, but the chances of me knowing where magnetic north is are lower than a taipan’s bum.

I like to know where north is when I’m out to sea; just so I know which direction I need to swim if we tip over, or more realistically, someone pushes me overboard. This makes no sense at all, I know, given that I usual collapse doing a lap of your average sized suburban swimming pool (that is across, not along) and we’re usually about 50km out to sea trying to find fish on our average trip. But, like always, I don’t want to know in order to make sense, it’s meant to make me feel better. I can imagine that if I fall overboard I will easily paddle for twelve days and plod ashore like Trevor Hendy in a wading pool. Don’t mess up my dreams.

Anyway, I have no idea where I am in space, and I’m feeling ‘ordinary’. I normally cope well with the sea, but today is different. I had head spins for three days before yesterday and I went to see a doctor. Actually, two doctors. And they both said the same thing amazingly, “You have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. That’ll be $50.”

I paid the cashola, and went home to do some research with Dr Internet. I had no idea what either one had said I had, so I plugged in ‘dizzy’ and came across the name above, which sounded roughly similar to what both doctors had said. I had to copy and paste it into this article because each time I tried to write it down I forgot the end before I finished the first word, and when I tried to write it backward I forgot what I was writing before I got to the start.

But what I had, and still have, is some malfunction of the part of the head that makes you find your balance. Everytime I look upwards or move quickly, it feels like I’ve been knocked on the scone with a bowling pin while spinning on the front lawn after scoffing more vodka than Bonn Scott at a distillery happy hour. It’s not a good feeling.

Unfortunately, days that have been calm to go offshore have been harder to find than a federal surplus so when Dr Dan rang, I was in no position to say no thanks to his offer of a trip. Obviously he was desperate as well, as he rang me at 9pm, and he was leaving his place at 3am the next morning. It struck me that he perhaps remembered the last time I was on his boat. But maybe not.

But anyway, as I said, I wasn’t about to say no or maybe – it was a straight yes. Didn’t need much gear luckily. Dan brings everything; boat, fuel, bait, 1970’s disco soundtrack, the lot. All I needed was my rods and reels, some chook sandwiches and some ginger beer. Also some BBQ Shapes.

So that’s what I unpack at the ramp the next morning at stupid o’clock. Dan asks if I’m looking forward to the trip, I tell him I am. What I don’t tell him is that I feel like I’ve just spent four hours at sideshow alley at the ekka without any wait between rides. I’m flat out looking him in the eye. He’s wandering all over the place, and yet his feet aren’t moving. Weird.

And it gets no better through the day. I catch one or two fish but I’m outfished ten to one by Dan and his mum who hasn’t been on the boat since Dan bought it when Freak Out was top of the hit parade. I can’t seem to jag a scale. The occasional grinner hangs on long enough for me to get it onto the deck, but otherwise, I’m completely useless. I stumble on rods, mutter things to myself, bounce around the deck like a superball in a rubbish truck, and generally fail to carry out any task that the skipper asks of me over the course of the trip.

When we get back to the ramp, I have no idea how we got there. I’m astounded, but also deflated. My lack of skill and loss of coordination doesn’t seem to have puzzled Dr Dan. In fact, he comments that I did less damage than I had last trip. Maybe he’s just pleased I didn’t snap that brand spankin’ new Strudwick rod that I tripped over when I climbed off the boat. Who knows?

But it’s disappointing. At least as a Dudd, I’m not particularly surprised, I’m used to disappointment.

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