It all happened in a nano-second, as these things often do. One minute I was lost in the cosmic calm of a mystic Eastern healing ritual and then: Crash! My office door burst savagely open.
"Cindy Kiro is a b@*&@y idiot!"
"Uncle Norm!" I gasped, torn rudely from my therapeutic reverie. "You can't come barging in here like this. Not when I'm getting my chakras balanced!"
"Stuff your effing chakboots," roared Norm, whose hearing has been getting quite bad lately.
"Don't worry about balancing them, Sonny Jim. Start balancing your effing airlines!"
"Now, look here, Uncle Norm," I replied, quickly dismissing my balancer before she became unbalanced. "For a start, they're not my ... umm, what you said airlines, and, secondly, we do have a no-swearing policy here at the Victims' Enhancement and Restorative Equity Centre - alongside our no-smoking, no-drinking, no-bullying, no-sexism, no-racism and and no-mentioning-anybody's-testicles-under-any-circumstances-whatsoever policies too, of course."
I was quite proud I could remember them all, particularly since I was still reeling from the shock of this unexpected workplace invasion.
As you're aware, it's usually me who visits Norm. But not on this intemperate occasion.
Well, it turned out that Norm had been listening to talkback - which I've told him not to do because it's full of people who haven't been properly re-educated - and, as a result, he had, "blown a b@*&@y gasket when I heard about this man ban on the planes!"
"You'll have to help me here, Uncle," I replied calmly. "See, I've been at a compulsory non-compulsory Treaty Studies course for the past two days so I'm not totally au fait with the issues, but I presume you're talking about this entirely appropriate move to move all male passengers away from unaccompanied minors."
"You bet I b@*& ..."
"Sorry. You bet I am, son. And not only the ban but also this Children's Commissioner trout sayin' she supports it!"
"And rightly so," I responded, finally realising why my aged relative had so colourfully denounced the tireless Ms Kiro. "She's absolutely obliged to support this enlightened and precautionary policy. If you'd been to university, Norm, and had the opportunity to do Colonialism and Feminist Studies - as I have - you'd realise that men are, unfortunately, the root of all evil."
"Like when they win the Grand Slam, you mean?" snarled Norm. "Or stick it to the Aussies at league?"
"Of course not," I smiled indulgently, "but putting aside such ephemeral examples of brute force and aggression, it's well known that men are responsible for all the crime in society ... that isn't committed by women. I think that pretty much sums it up, don't you?"
"No, I don't!" the old codger bellowed. "What about those sheila school teachers who seduced their pupils? I seen one on TV the other night! Doesn't that mean all women teachers should be banned too?"
"Certainly not!" I snapped. "That would be a retrograde and discriminatory step which no compassionate person could sanction."
"Okay," sighed Norm, obviously bamboozled by my argument, "but we can't have CYF's workers sitting beside unaccompanied minors, can we? It said in the paper that nine kids died in their care last year. On that basis, the airlines should be making them fly with the luggage!"
"Don't be ridiculous," I shouted. "You can't condemn an entire group of dedicated and overworked professionals because of a few unfortunate incidents. And besides, the Employment Court would never sanction such a humiliating and stressful practice. There're laws against that sort of thing. The point is, Norm, whatever this situation, child safety must always be paramount."
"Is that why we've got abortions?" he asked.
"Oh, for heaven's sake," I fumed. "That's a separate issue. Abortions don't involve children, they involve foetuses ... "
"Who never get the chance to be children, accompanied or unaccompanied," he interrupted rudely. There was a pause, then he continued.
"I think I get it now," Norm said quietly. "This 'child safety' business only applies after they're born. Before that, they're disposable. But after that, half the human race can't be allowed to sit beside them on an aeroplane in case something traumatic occurs?"
"Exactly," I beamed, thrilled that the reactionary old curmudgeon had finally grasped the essence of our rational and consistent policy settings. "I couldn't put it better myself."
"Tell you what," said Norm, with a sly grin, "I reckon the airlines should go further. I reckon they should have a special section for men at the back of the plane - you know, to keep them away from all the other passengers."
"Brilliant, Norm!" I replied, astonished by the transformation in his thinking.
"Yeah, but the trouble is," Norm pondered, "If we did that, then these bloomin' uppity blokes would start having civil rights marches and everything, wouldn't they?"
"Not at all," I countered, anxious that he didn't stray from the path of true enlightenment. "Such actions can only be undertaken by real victims, like women and indigenous people and similar oppressed minorities. Men simply don't qualify!"
"You're right, boy," he said happily and left, a changed man.
I wouldn't be surprised next time I see him, if he doesn't tell me that he's gone and had his chakras balanced!