JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Two bad decisions

One of Chocko's spiritual brothers.

One of Chocko's spiritual brothers.

A good mate of mine - let's call him, Chocko - told me recently how his brother-in-law had phoned him a few months ago and dressed him down for his behaviour and, bizarrely for my friend, it actually made him pause, consider the criticism and then pull his head in.

Chocko is a solid bloke - good job, reasonably successful, attentive father - but certainly no world beater. He's a thoughtful fella too, not prone to many of the common idiocies of Aussie men, but, then, he does like a drink.

And this seems to be the problem.

Chocko went through a nasty divorce a few years ago - and, finding himself single once again, he's taken to the booze with renewed vigour.

"I wasn't crashing cars or waking up in jail, but I was hitting it pretty hard some nights, when I didn't have my son the next day," he told me.

Chocko and his brother-in-law work in the skateboard industry and went to a sales conference in Victoria in May. Refreshments were served and Chocko indulged significantly.

"I was staying in a room with two other reps and they had the key. When I got back to the hotel, the front desk was closed for the night and these two clowns were passed out, not answering their phones."

So Chocko was locked out at 3am, in the cold, and when he rang the security company listed on the front door of the boutique hotel, they told him he'd have to wait until 6am.

He was ... frustrated and ended up ripping the intercom off the front door and giving it a bit of a talking to in the street.

"All on surveillance camera, of course," said Chocko.

Now you might think Chocko is just a yob, nong or dick, but he's actually a very sweet guy, interested in other people, super polite and respectful, funny, he recycles, uses condoms and sponsors a Third World child ... he just goes a little crazy when he's ... refreshed.

Of course, his boss and his brother-in-law soon heard about the intercom incident and Chocko was very lucky not to be sacked. He paid for the damage to the hotel but the next weekend, he was back on the drink, pretty harmlessly, yet still massively hammered.

"Then I got a call from my brother-in-law on the Sunday," said Chocko.

"He'd said nothing to me about the intercom, but he knew I'd been back out on the sauce because I'd texted him some gibber the night before.

"He just opened up on me, both barrels, not shouting or anything, just telling me how it was. He said I had a great job, and even bigger opportunities ahead of me, but I was just gonna piss 'em away.

"He said my drinking was going to screw me up, and that in turn would affect my relationship with my son and that now ... right now ... was the time to make a decision about what sort of person I wanted to be for my kid," said Chocko.

"It's weird, but I really needed to hear it. It just clarified so many things for me," he said, and has since been walking the straight and narrow.

"I want my son to have opportunities, and he's not gonna get 'em with a pisshead for a father," said Chocko.

While Chocko was telling me this story, I couldn't help recalling a conversation I'd had with a young social worker a few weeks back who told me "a lot of people are just two bad decisions away from homelessness".

When I said this to Chocko, he just nodded his head and said: "F---en oath."

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here. His email address is here.

59 comments so far

  • Well done to Chockos' brother-in-law. It's pretty hard to strike the right note in that kind of talk, hard not to come across hypocritical, or like a sanctimonious prick. So hard, most of us would rather give it a miss and tell ourselves 'it's not my problem'.

    Well done to Chocko, too, for being big enough to listen and learn. It's what we should all do when we hear criticism from people we respect. It's sometimes so hard to hear, so humiliating, that we feel obliged to strike back defensively.

    I have a partner who is pretty free with the crticism. Quite often she's right, often enough to make me listen. Sometimes she can take it as well as she can give it. Not often, though.

    Commenter
    rudy
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 8:59PM
    • Well his name is Chocko, he likes to drink and works in the 'skateboard industry.' I have to say he already sounds homeless. I also had to re-read a paragraph as I thought you wrote 'he recycles used condoms.' Ok phew I just misread that.

      I just hope you didn't name him Chocko because it is a derogatory term for black people. Yes yes without the 'K' in it, but seeing as you like to be controversial and push people's buttons I really hope that was not deliberate and he is not black.

      Commenter
      Camryn
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 10, 2012, 5:58AM
      • I find it quite funny how, in this post, you spew out an informed opinion based on lazy stereotyping then 10 minutes later see fit to try and blast Sam based on what you project to be his lazy stereotyping.

        "oh, lazy drunk skateboarder, he probably is homeless haha! oh wait, is the post racist? high horse time!"

        Commenter
        hired goon
        Date and time
        August 11, 2012, 3:47PM
    • Never underestimate Sam the King of Controversary. Back to his best offending everyone - this time it's Indigenous people with racist slurs and a nice picture of an Aboriginal man being arrested with the caption 'spiritual brother.' I think you are two bad decisions away from losing your blog to be honest.

      How ridiculous. Chocko is just a name I pulled out of the blue. If it refers to any racial grouping - it's southern Europeans, but again that wasn't my intention. The dude in the picture is from Florida. He's just drunk, nude and wearing goggles - thus, my friend "who does silly things drunk" spiritual brother. Your insinuation is wildly off base. I have mentored more than two dozen Indigenous school kids - take your reprehensible paranoia elsewhere. - Sam

      Commenter
      Camryn
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 10, 2012, 6:09AM
      • Ha ha Camryn. If you think the guy in the picture is Aboriginal, that says more about your ignorance than anything else. Try a little positive discrimination, ie being vaguely aware of the difference between an African-American and an Indigenous Australian.

        Commenter
        Tim McIntyre
        Date and time
        August 10, 2012, 11:35AM
      • As if you didn't know if was a racist term. In a past blog you mentioned that you found the phrase 'drunk as two Abos' pretty amusing and are annoyed you are deemed politically incorrect for saying that. You are intelligent and know exactly what you are insinuating. It's my choice to take my 'reprehensible paranoia' elsewhere and stop reading your blog I guess.

        It's a pretty obsolete term for "wog" - rhyming slang for "chocolate frog". Being a wog, I should know. It's got nothing to do with Indigenous Australians, unless you count Anthony "Choc" Mundine, who seems to have no problem with it. Either way - I just picked a nickname. You're jumping at shadows. - Sam

        Commenter
        Camryn
        Date and time
        August 10, 2012, 12:53PM
      • Starting to question whether you and i read the same post?

        Commenter
        tom
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        August 10, 2012, 12:59PM
      • Wow, talk about PC sensitivity. Maybe next time you should just refer to your friends as "person A" or "person B" although I've no doubt someone somewhere would even find offense in that.

        Commenter
        Kev
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 10, 2012, 1:37PM
      • Isn't there a white footy of ill-repute playing for Manly with the same nickname?

        Commenter
        HIM
        Date and time
        August 10, 2012, 1:49PM
      • @Camryn - Wow. Idiot much? I think you should go and take your reprehensible paranioa elsewhere. Making judgement calls about people who drink and dont hold a corporate office job like you so clearly do? Not being able to tell the difference between an African-American or an Aboriginal? Insinuating that Sam is "back to his best" offending everyone? If you think he has returned to offending people then why the f*ck were reading his post after the hiatus of offending people??
        I dont think there should be much of choice about you and your reprehensible paranioa and whether or not you continue to read this blog. Mabye you should fill your spare time not reading this blog by studying the differences between Australian Aboriginals and African-Americans and meeting people who hold similar "skateboard industry" jobs...

        @Sam - I love you mate. I've been reading your blog since 2007 (?) and it has been awesome to share your life, and it's ups and downs, with you. You've made me think and made me laugh and maybe once or twice made me cry. Keep up the f*cking awesome work!! xx

        Commenter
        Of the girl
        Date and time
        August 14, 2012, 5:35PM

    More comments

    Make a comment

    You are logged in as [Logout]

    All information entered below may be published.

    Error: Please enter your screen name.

    Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Please enter your comment.

    Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

    Post to

    You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

    Thank you

    Your comment has been submitted for approval.

    Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

    Executive Style newsletter signup

    Executive Style newsletter signup The latest news delivered to your inbox twice-weekly.

    Sign up now