Here’s some advice, and whatever you do, apologise

Neil Wagner. Photo: Getty Images
Neil Wagner. Photo: Getty Images
My Uncle Norm, the famed Agony Aunt columnist, asks Wit’s End to help bandage troubled minds by running the overflow of anguished letters begging for his advice.

I am glad to assist with this first aid. Uncle Norm’s mind balm is wildly successful because he is a sound thinker. He gives practical advice and is not afraid to call a French cutlet a lamb chop.

A man of unusual intellect, Norman Fossil keeps a fly swat for disciplining urchins, and takes his gumboot tea with three sugars. I hand my sainted uncle the balance of this column.

Dear Uncle Norm,

We want to shorten the old- fashioned cricket test from five days to four. This would give players more time to fold their trousers and catch flights to bigger money spinners like modern twenty20s. Eventually we’ll progress down to seven-a-side tests that are done and dusted in a day.

However the diehards object. These are the same tragics who take a cut lunch to cricket, and live in its past. Unfortunately, misguided test players like Neil Wagner and Nathan Lyon support them. For the sake of modernity in cricket, we must win this argument. Your guidance is appreciated.

Tip Andrun,

Modernity Manager

International Cricket Council

Sorry Tip, but people don’t want shorter tests. It’s quite the opposite — we need six-day events that start a trend back towards the tradition of Timeless Tests. They played 99 of these, and each took just as long as was needed.

Did you know 20,000 Aussies turned out for the EIGHTH day of a 1929 cricket test — just to enjoy the humbling of proud England? In 1939 an England v South Africa match was declared a gentleman’s draw 12 days after the captains tossed the coin. The Poms’ ship home was departing, and its uncultured skipper refused to delay.

My wife is also an advocate of the timeless test. I don’t believe her enthusiasm is connected to my not permitting vacuuming during the cricket.

Dear Uncle Norm,

We write as concerned administrators of the estate of the late Marcus Junius Brutus. This gentleman, who participated in the justified assassination of the tyrant Julius Caesar, finds his name constantly defamed as a ‘‘backstabber.’’

This is demonstrably untrue. Yes, Brutus was a friend of Julius, but he stabbed the aforementioned in his front, not his back. Surely this is a similar frontal approach to that taken by that other patriot Donald Trump, in deleting burdensome Iranians.

Where can we turn to have the good name of the Brutus family restored?


Quinti Associates,


I recommend you direct all further correspondence regarding Mr Brutus to:

William Shakespeare,

Flat 2, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage,

Stratford on Avon.

Lydia Ko. Photo: Getty Images
Lydia Ko. Photo: Getty Images
Dear Mr Fossil,

The 2020 season is kicking off, and I haven’t won on the Ladies Golf Tour since April 2018. I’m feeling the pressure, and people forget it’s less than three years since I was ranked world No1, and that I broke Tiger Woods’s record of youngest ever No1 by four years.

I need to sort out my game. Do you have any swing thoughts for me?

Lydia Ko.

I’m afraid the good will deride this advice, which nonetheless I offer sincerely. First, go check your bank balance. Next, give us that bashful smile. Then — slowly and deliberately, keeping your head still and your left arm straight — show your critics your right hand’s digital.

Dear Uncle Norm,

I’ve been the 35th prime minister of Australia for barely 18 months, yet find I’m the one who is blamed for climate change and bushfires. Astonishingly, God — the obvious culprit — has got off scot free.

I suggested that since Aussies create less than 1% of the world’s carbon emissions, nothing we do will have the slightest impact on whether Sydney rock oysters are eventually harvested parboiled.

Boy, did I get the optics of that one wrong. (‘‘Optics’’ are what you see when you clean your spectacles). Anyone remotely Green has piled into me. I’m portrayed as a monster, and citizens refuse to shake my hand when I go on bushfire walkabouts. How do I fix up this bad PR?

Scott — as a marketing bloke you should know that presently, public apologies are all the go. The outraged classes crave them. You can’t do enough apologising. The more you grovel, the better.

Be creative, think ahead, and become the master apologist. Foil your accusers by apologising for climate change effects you haven’t yet been tagged for. You could start by saying it’s all Scott Morrison’s fault that there are increases in shark attacks, melanoma, and sooty sheets on the Hill’s Hoist.

 - John Lapsley is an Arrowtown writer.


Upon Avon.

Will Shakespeare?

Anne Hathaway is the property owner.






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