Temptation Island: Bali Ha’i

A funny thing happened after the film and before the match on Saturday night.

This is the story of how one man (we’ll call him Neil) was tempted to switch from footy culture to Arts culture…while the footy season was still underway!  

The back story is about the psychological games that long-time married couples play over the journey. Not in a nasty way, but more in a one-up-manship way. Or more accurately, in a one-up-womanship way which better reflects the winner in these psychological jousts.

So to set the scene, we have the wife who is interested most of the Arts, especially music, literature and live theatre. Her husband-opponent is also interested in the Arts but the Aussie-male footy gene becomes dominant during the footy season and the wife sees it as her duty to correct this imbalance.

One of the psycho games over the years involved the wife suddenly declaring from the kitchen that she would really like to see a play coming up in a few weeks time. From the loungeroom the husband quickly checks the fixture to make sure the Bulldogs aren’t playing on that particular date before he answers. If he finds there’s a ‘non-footy window’ he then agrees to go in the nicest possible way. ” Sounds good to me Darl”.

If the wife detects slight hesitation with his answer, she will counter-attack and really mess with his mind by saying, ” I tell you what, it’s such a good play, I might even try for tickets on opening night this Saturday. Sound OK?” Of course the hapless huband already knows the Bulldogs are playing that night to see if they can get in the finals. (Yes, I’m talking about past history here)

So back to last Saturday. I had obligingly gone to see a film called ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen’. With a name like that I could feel just a hint of being tested when I agreed to go, but I ended up really enjoying the movie. It might have been because I compared it with the last movie I saw which was ‘Total Recall’. Yet another film where the computer geeks will win the awards rather than the actors.

I was well and truly ready to catch up with the footy which happened to be West Coast Eagles v Maggies. Although I was only half-interested in the outcome of this match while still being in a depressive state about the Bulldogs year. Maybe the footy-gene wasn’t fully operational when I think about what happened next.

Just before she became ensconced on the phone talking to our daughter, my temptress wife had carefully placed a DVD of South Pacific right on top of the footy-liftout pages just before I sat down. To be fair, she had borrowed the DVD of the musical so we could watch it prior to seeing the stage show in October. Note how I agreed to see the stage show quite readily because it was in the non-footy sesaon, and I was pretty sure none of the ‘boys’ would ever find out.

And then the strangest thing happened. It was probably thinking of the catchy songs from South Pacific, particularly Bali Ha’i with it’s siren-like melody, but I actually got up trance-like and inserted the DVD ready to play. All before I’d even checked the scores! I did feel a bit like Ulysses tied to the mast as the sirens seduced me with refrains of Bali Ha’i…Bali Ha’i…

Fortunately the 1958 film was agonizingly slow and I quickly reached for the eject button. Fifty years ago the guy playing the American Lieutenant didn’t seem so wimpy, but it was the sight of the big beefy marines dancing together on the beach was probably what made me snap out of it.

It was good to be back after a brief relapse and I had the whole of the last quarter of the Eagles V Maggies to watch. And did I enjoy it! Talk about absence makes the heart grow fonder!

I had been tested as I strayed over to the dark side but I had emerged all the stronger for it.  As I even started contemplating an unlikely win against Geelong on Sunday, I could hear my wife talking to my opera-singing daughter on the phone.  Between sniggers, she was saying something about it being worth a try and anyway tomorrow afternoon I’ll remind him about that picnic I’ve got lined up.


About Neil Anderson

Enjoys reading and writing about the Western Bulldogs. Instead of wondering if the second premiership will ever happen, he can now bask in the glory of the 2016 win.

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