Thank youse all
Recently, I bought a tuna burger from my local cafe and, as I left, I said "thank you" to the barista who'd served me, when the chef who'd cooked it was only three metres away. As I walked up the street I thought: "I said thank you to the wrong person" ...
It strikes me we do this all the time, thanking flight attendants for plane trips when it's the pilots, engineers and ground staff who actually got us there safely.
We thank waiters for meals anonymous chefs and prep-staff created, newsagents for papers that equally faceless printers, subeditors and journalists produced, not to mention the sewage workers who clear our effluent, the council workers who cart away our garbage and the soldiers who defend our shores.
Obviously, we can't ring up the council to say "well done" every morning when we lay some cable and flush the dunny, nor do we often get the chance to thank the ground staff, baggage handlers and engineers who keep planes arriving on time and from falling out of the clouds.
However, it doesn't stop us being a whole helluva lot more grateful just for the simple efficiencies of civilised life.
I mentioned a few months back how my hot water went off for days in winter. I tempered my frustration by noting three-quarters of the world would fall to their knees wailing thanks if they just had cold, clean water piped into their homes.
(And, yeah, I hadn't paid my gas bill.)
We're very good at squealing our distress when stuff goes wrong in life; when our train is late or a blackout makes us miss Packed to the Rafters but how many of us pause to be grateful when we dumbly switch on a light and it just works?
Think about the complex ingenuity of electricity, industry, transport, nutrition, hygiene and economics that allow millions of Aussies to eat fresh bread each morning?
And, yeah, sure we might have to wait five hours at a hospital emergency room to get our hand stitched up on a Saturday night - but how many times have you been sick and been ushered straight into a bed?
We get furious if we're stuck in traffic for half an hour, completely unaware how monstrous the task is of keeping our roads and traffic lights in working order as they're bashed to pieces each day by millions of cars.
We're happy to laughingly label government workers bludgers when we see two or three leaning on shovels at the roadside, but how many of us have wound down a window to say "thank you" when we see the same men and women tarring an intersection at 3am?
We send "herograms" to Olympic athletes every fours years as they sit in air-conditioned athlete villages but have we ever thought to send a note of gratitude to the blokes who mine our coal or grow our wheat?
Probably not - but next time you get the chance, I reckon you might shout a bus driver, policeman or postie a beer and when they ask "what's that for?" you say: "a job well done".
Failing that, just say "thank you".
THROW ME OFF THE AMP BUILDING
Well, you can't throw me off, but I will be abseiling down the AMP Building at Sydney's Circular Quay as part of the 2011 Urban Descent to raise money for the Sir David Martin Foundation to help youth in crisis.
SERIOUSLY - I never ask you people for anything - well, aside from buying my book - and this is a great cause. I would welcome any contribution, great or small, that you could make and it's sooo easy to do. Go here.