Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I think the people who come up with the Census every five years miss some serious golden opportunities. I mean, this is a stocktake of our nation's collective conscience for crying out loud and still, no questions on 'who would win out of Batman and Wolverine in a death cage fight to the death with lots of dying'.
Poor form. Form pun intended. Kapow.
This is a missed opportunity because there will be no news reports that go like this: "In five years, Australians have switched allegiances from cute ducks to llamas with emotive combovers when polled in the Census about their favourite animals."
There could be fascinating vox pops with demographers about what sparked the sudden switch (an increase of llamas in the media after one accidentally stopped a Middle Eastern conflict by slipping on a stone and winning a Nobel Peace prize) and lots of collective pontificating about the whys and wherefores of our animal votes.
For every 10 'boring' questions there could be a bonus question.
Q 23: What's your income?
Q 24: How many people in your home?
Q 25: Cake or death?
And so on.
But we're a nation who, despite our rough hewn exteriors and crocodile love bites, just loves to fill in a form. We'll pretend to hiss and huff about it but deep down in our British-stock cores we'll be thrilling at the sheer sense of order of it all.
What is it that is so therapeutic about ticking a box? It's roughly equivalent in its calming effect to laying down in a field of daffodils and reading poetry. Personally, I love lining the letters up in the little boxes with swift strokes from an inky pen.
Oh course, if the ink dribbles outside one of those lines I suffer a rage stroke and lament the crumbling fabric of society itself.
We settle many of our national disputes with the cunning use of forms. And the statistics they create.
I don't watch the cricket for the game, necessarily. But give me a run-rate required any day of the week and touching myself slowly to the tune of a slow clap will seem like a distinctly charming idea.
Percentages? Take me now against the wall!
Now, where's my Census?