In an eerie coincidence on the very day last week that news broke of exasperated cricketer Mitch Marsh damaging his hand (thus making him unfit for Test selection) by punching a wall I was reading a stimulating new piece about how differently men and women express their anger.
In a further coincidence I had that day been racked by my own spasm of anger. Too old and puny now to punch walls (and anyway, timid now, afraid the walls will punch me back) I gave my rage expression in other ways, for example by petulantly kicking a garden gnome (apologising to him almost at once).
I had become agitated by those (including shock jocks and septuagenarian fossils who write letters to newspapers) who pipe up that the Extinction Rebellion protesters are doing dastardly things when they disrupt traffic and so (horror!) disrupt the routines of a few smug lives. The young protesters are looking at a Big Picture (the plight of our planet and of our species). Meanwhile those fogeys who think running a little late for their appointment at the Denture Clinic is a bigger catastrophe than the plight of the planet have small, wriggly, niggardly minds.
But back to the finding that women are very likely to give the fullest expression of their anger by crying (one survey found 51 per cent of women reporting their resort to "angry tears"). By contrast only two per cent of the polled men said they had cried angry tears. Men readily cry other sorts of tears (of sadness, say, or of joy) but are most unlikely to cry tears of anger. Instead men mostly choose to outwardly express their wrath (when they express it at all, for mine can be an emotionally corked-up sex) in shows of physical aggression.
But those shows are not necessarily shows of aggression towards living things. Anything, including walls, garden gnomes and of course (in the cases of famous tennis players like Nick Kyrgios and obscure tennis players like your columnist) tennis racquets will do. And so in a sense Mitch Marsh's wall-punching was the manly thing to do. Had he known how to cry instead it would never have happened; but alas the ability to cry angry tears is a therapeutic talent denied to most members of my flawed, wall-punching, racquet-splintering, garden-gnome-abusing sex.
And gentlemen it is true, isn't it, the finding that few if any of us weep tears of anger? It is not the manly way. I do cry, and as it happens in recent days I have a cried a private Murrumbidgee of tears (in my garden, alone, save for a watching lizard I know won't tell anyone) over the death of the wonderful soprano and wonderful human being Jessye Norman. Yet in my long life time I doubt that I've cried so much as a middy of angry tears. Even on election night, furious with the Australian people for their cowardly, greedy choice of government, my anger was a dry, tearless anger. But I did shake my clenched fists at election night's obscenely enormous and beaming full moon. You could tell that the moon, so influential in Earth's affairs, was somehow complicit in the catastrophe.
But back to the celebrity lizard tantalisingly mentioned a few sentences ago.
In his famous song If I Could Talk To The Animals the eccentric Dr Dolittle mentions a whole menagerie of species he hankers to natter with. And yet somehow, inexplicably, he doesn't give a guernsey to the Eastern blue-tongued lizard (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides).
The warm weather usually ushers one or more blue tongues out into my Canberra garden and as I write there is a splendid one, so prehistorically beautiful-ugly and supple and chunky, serially basking in the wilderness of my back yard.
I itch to be able to have a conversation with him and it sometimes seems to me that, when we are looking at one another, he is on the very verge of speaking to me.
When and if he does overcome his shyness and a kind of Dolittle magic enables us to have a chinwag I will want to talk to him about is climate change.
He belongs to such an unimaginably ancient order of creatures (skink-like lizards first appear in the fossil record about 140 million years ago, and today's Canberra lizards, decorating this new city, seem as old as the ACT's rocks) that members of his species are bound to have access to long, long memory systems and so should have a climate perspective (knowledge of thousands of previous planetary and local heatings and chillings) vastly superior to ours.
Some indigenous peoples are said to show, through their songlines, thousands of years of collated information about everything (including climate and weather). It wouldn't surprise if the skink-like lizards have a similar but even vastly larger library of intellectual property.
"Where do you stand on the Extinction Rebellion protests?" I asked my enigmatic lizard, trying to tap his store of meteorological and worldy wisdom.
His Lizardness licked his lips with his sky-blue tongue, as if getting ready to speak. But then instead he ambled away with a Jurrasic swagger, his body language somehow reinforcing the point that while my suburb's first sod had been turned only the day before yesterday (1966) he and his species had been in this neighbourhood for aeons and so found day-to-day current affairs too trivial to bother with.