Andy the Great and the Incident of the Storm and the Chainsaw
Australian’s love their nicknames and it is rare to stumble upon a person without one – Shorty, Bluey, Twig, Chocko, Gazza, Chuck Chunder, Chucky, Wayney Poo, Crooky Monster (that would be me) are a few of my friends.
My better half has a few nicknames and one that we joke around with is Andy the Great. His other nickname is Shirl, and in fact that is what I call him all the time. I didn’t know his name was Andrew until about 10 years after I first met him. I didn’t have a clue what his last name was – he was just Shirl! Shirl the Curl or Shirl the Dirl or Twirley.
He refuses to explain with any degree of clarity where the nickname came from. We have our suspicions that it had something to do with his Alice Cooper hair or that he once worked as a check-out ‘chick’ in Woolworths.
The nickname Andy the Great is easier to explain and involves Andy’s love of power tools and his ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, fix anything that needs fixing and help anyone that needs helping.
Years ago before we were married we were driving through Kenmore in Brisbane (where I lived) after a huge storm. Streets were covered with debris and trees were stripped of branches and leaves. Drains resembled playgrounds for white water rafting devotees.
Andy the Great was driving his white Holden work van (he worked as a beer plumber) which he got to use 24/7 and I was the passenger. Suddenly we came upon an uprooted tree that had fallen from someone’s yard and across a footpath and part of the road. Before I could say ‘holey dooley, what the #%$#!’ Andy the Great screeched to a halt, jumping out of the Holden and opened the rear van door. He stretched past his reticulation python and grabbed his beloved chainsaw, grunting in delight (well, that’s what I thought I heard).
Next minute he powered his diesel-guzzling friend into glorious vvvroooooomming (where’s a beat boxer when you need one!) and proceeded to chainsaw large sections of horizontal tree into chunks of manageable lifting-sized bits. This continued until the whole tree had been neatly returned to the footpath – a pile of assorted logs waiting for council removal. At this point a resident of the house (where the tree’s roots remained under soil) came out with mouth open, jaw dropped and expression perplexed.
‘That was quick,’ she gasped, ‘I only rang the council half an hour ago!’
‘No worries’, replied Andy the Great ‘we were just passing and I had my chainsaw in the boot – tell that to the Council workers when they finally arrive’.
With that, he waved goodbye, jumped in the van and we drove off into the sunset.