We’d been driving for days and were now about 1,500 km out of Brisbane. The heat was oppressive, the landscape bleak and unforgiving. We had no real destination in mind, just driving through outback Queensland. Carnavon Gorge was on fire, an eagle had just bounced off our windscreen becoming the roadkill it was trying to feast on and we’d just visited the surreal alien landscape of Bladensburg National Park where Guy Pearce’s The Proposition was filmed. Of course it was 4o degrees in the shade and a few refreshing XXXX’s with the locals in the North Gregory Pub in Winton, the place where Waltzing Matilda was first performed live soon turned into a pub crawl and the next thing you know it’s morning, everything hurts and it’s going to be a scorcher again.
It was under these conditions that we met George.
For some reason my traveling companion was curious about the dinosaurs, he figured that since we’d come out all this way we might as well see what all the fuss was about. About 10 years ago a Western QLD farmer noticed some fossils on his land. He arranged a dig, invited the Museum out and discovered an endless stream of Dino bones, even some new species that they’ve imaginatively dubbed Clancy, Banjo and Matilda. In order to finance the process they’ve since established the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum. Nursing our hangovers we drove out to what was ostensibly a large shed perched on top of a hill. Whilst dino bones don’t necessarily give me the Triceratops horn, the place was air conditioned, and in my condition it’s all it took.
I met George when I went up to pay for the tour. He was a beaming guy in his early 20’s wearing a wide brimmed Akubra. He was just your regular slightly nerdy Dino obsessed country boy, with nothing altogether peculiar aside from the wispy glue on joke shop moustache he was sporting. That was until he spoke. “Here’s your change matey, we’ll be ready in a tic” he bellowed and I almost shat myself. I didn’t know whether to run or collapse in hysterics. I completed a mixture of all three and unconvicinglyy slunked jerkily away to compose myself. Was he serious? His voice came from a much older man, possibly an AM radio host from 30 years ago, deep, broad, folksy, but slightly hysterical, like a family of aliens had burrowed into his voice-box and were using his vocal chords as a trampoline. He was born with his voice broken, then when puberty struck it attacked.
It was at this point that I realised that the tour was going to be difficult. We were joined by a nervous very effeminate indigenous guy from the centre, stuttering through his first tour, as well as a rabid multiple syndrome afflicted Dino fanatic who peppered the poor guide with an avalanche of inane questions. “I was just wondering if they’re the same species of dinosaur as any Saurapod from America?” He inquired at one point. Our exhausted guide deferred nervously to George.
That’s a good question,” offers George.
“They’re an offshoot from the same family but they adapted and evolved to their environment.”
“So they didn’t bloody swim from America then?” Inquires the syndrome.
“Nah,” says George before pausing for a few beats, “but if they did it was quite a swim.” he laughs heartily. We all join him. Dinosaur humour is fun.
We left George and the dinosaurs and slowly headed back towards the coast. But George wasn’t ready to leave us. He fueled the remainder of the trip. We wondered about his life away from dinosaurs, whether he was a Tyrannosaurs Rex with the ladies. By day he dusts dinosaur bones, but by night we wondered what darker bones he was dusting. We reasoned that that his voice wasn’t previously so deep, that after years of suffering debilitating bouts of tourettes yodeling he overcome it via, well, it’s too silly to print. But rest assured George was never far from our minds. He seemed like a great movie character, but we reasoned that he was so strange that the suspension of disbelief required was too much for mortal man. In a place where millions of fossils lay underneath the ground and billions of flies swarm above it, perhaps it is only natural that a George springs forth.
So it came as quite a shock when last week when my outback travelling companion sent me a frantic text telling me to immediately tune into Channel 7. I turned it on and there you have it, George in a swimming pool with hot young twins. George it seems has gone from amateur paleontologist, and Warhammer 40,000 fanatic to the set of Beauty and the Geek. And let me be honest, it’s highly likely that George breeding with a ‘beauty’ could perhaps result in the next phase of our species, proving the absolute justification of reality tv programming as our evolutionary future. Sometimes you wonder if the people on reality TV are actually real people with real lives, real feelings and emotions. Well having encountered George in the outback in his element, I for one can say, NO FUCKING WAY!!!!!!. George is so far beyond real it’s scary.