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Counting… Not My Usual Schtick

When I was in Grade 2 – as we called it in those days – I decided to count to a thousand in my head.

It took me from the start of the day until sometime in the middle of Playtime (Recess) because there were all these other tasks that I had to do as well because I didn’t take the teacher into my confidence and explain that I was counting to a thousand for reasons I don’t understand now but I presume that I had some reason… Like all those mundane tasks had some point even though I could do them and count in between the spelling test or the national anthem or whatever.

Anyway, I remember the epiphany when I got there. Now it’s just the same thing again until I get to two thousand and then three thousand and then…

I realised that I could count forever and not stop…

My school career, like the rest of my life, has been punctuated by moments of extreme stupidity and extreme cleverness which sometimes surprised my teachers and those around me because for a large part of it, I cruised. Of course, it was only when I surprised myself that anything meant something to me.

My life since school has had more trouble than I ever would have expected for someone with so much potential. God, I got sent to an elite private school for the latter part of my secondary education because my mother had faith in me – or maybe she just hoped that one of her offspring would be the person she knew she could have been in a different time.

In the midst of my darkest hours, I remember that not only did I develop empathy, but that I understood that I owed it to the whole human race to survive. Not just because I could but because every time that someone gives up, then the bastards get a little closer to winning.

I realised that I counted. And so does every single human who is worn down by the grinding machine that never seems to relent.

I realised that I could count forever and not stop…

We all count. Sometimes one is enough.

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  1. Mark Shields

    None of us really realise how left behind, the Religious Righteous Movement feels and how it has ultimately left us?… My aim is to expose the Far Right-Wing Religious Nutters’ pathos and try to resurrect scientific knowledge for what it is worth in our current global society!

    Why are we Convict based Australians perceived as such dumb and uneducated Fucktards on the global planet?

    Is it because we useless Convicts really don’t care about the environment and prefer to think about our own Homes, when we raelly should be looking elsewhere?

    Probably the fault lies with greedy and apathetic land owners, who don’t want to make any changes! UNFORTUNATELEY, our reluctant farmers are ging to become the targets of international carbon positive changes, and this country will be forced to change, whether they like it or not!

  2. Mark Shields

    Any Community that refuses foreign members is just another useless body of Racial Hatred!!!

  3. Michael Taylor

    That’s fairly deep, Rossleigh, and very meaningful. I enjoyed it immensely (as I do with all your articles).

  4. Keitha Granville

    Agree with Michael, very deep. But good.

    Yes, we all count, every single last one of us, except……. the ones who don’t think someone does, THEY don’t count

  5. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Rossleigh.

    Aww! Delightful!

    As one of my favourite fictional detectives likes to say, ‘Everybody counts, or nobody counts’. (Harry Bosch from the novels by Michael Connelly)

  6. RosemaryJ36

    We all count!

  7. BB

  8. Kate Ahearne

    B B, Thanks for The Count. Love it. ‘When I’m alone, I count myself’!!!!

  9. 2353NM

    And the sooner that politicians and big business realise we all ‘count’, rather than only their acolytes and rent seekers, the better off we’ll all be. Helen Haines, Andrew Wilkie and Zali Steggal are good indications of what is possible when a group of people are determined to demonstrate they do count.

  10. Terence Mills

    Scottie has , we are told, had a come to Jesus moment and running up to the election he is embracing Electric Vehicles : today he will announce through gritted teeth that he has put electric vehicles at the centre of a new “Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy”. The policy puts another A$178 million into the government’s future fuels fund, bringing it to $250 million, for investment to encourage low emission vehicles.

    But this is the same man who in the lead-up to the 2019 election said this :

    “Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend”. Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, he said: “[An electric vehicle] won’t tow your trailer. It’s not going to tow your boat. It’s not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family.”

    Does anybody actually believe this man anymore ?

  11. wam

    Wow rossleigh, to a 1000 a great task for a 7 years old. (Jeremy Harper’s 2007 effort shows him to be the world’s best counter.) I love numbers, but I don’t count and nor do you. Those who count are frightened by those who count and those who don’t count are unable to mitigate their fears to count. Then after an election those that count see if enough of the non-counters are there.
    yes terence once again money is no object, thanks chrissie

  12. Henry Rodrigues

    About counting Insightful and contemplative. Much food for thought.
    Looking at it from another angle, when will we be rid of the cancer ie Coalition, on the Australian soul ? Counting the days, intensely, single mindedly.

    Terence M……….. Scummo has also announced that coal will be part of Australia’s future for a long time to come. Yes all those blackfaced miners in Queensland will be mightily pleased to vote for Scummo again, and again and again………….

  13. Phil Pryor

    Slightly fewer numbers seem to support this P M lately, the Promiscuous Misfit, and his chronic lying and reeking bullshit are both obvious and annoying, for we are made to look fools, submissive subnormals, supine serfs, just from tolerating this stream of repulsive intellectual diarrhoea streaming near you courtesy of a filthy, untrustworthy, yankee media maggot of narcissistic monstrous magnificence. Unfit humans, repulsed by their own antisocial and ugly personas, need to reconstruct a world of reshaped admiration and support, even if only neurotically contrived. Howard, Abbott and Morrison stand out as clear examples of the ugly driven dickhead who insists on making the world lick the todger just to feel superior, when inborn inferiority is the fact or the gross fear. They must “succeed” and be noticed permanently. Similar monsters abound in history’s sad records and millions of humans have suffered death, injury, betrayal, oppression, sacrifice, all for the shrivelled ego of an inferior lying political and personal perverted peanut, if in office and in power. What is worse is that many careerists and ambitious cynics will use and support such defectives as a vehicle for personal aggrandisement.

  14. margcal

    2353NM November 9, 2021 at 7:35 am
    And the sooner that politicians and big business realise we all ‘count’, rather than only their acolytes and rent seekers, the better off we’ll all be…….

    Politicians and big business know who counts and they exploit that every single day with their magical abacus, not available to mere mortals, examples without limit.

    The people who need to be persuaded that they count, one by single one, adding up to many, are those who have given up believing that their vote counts.

    And there are the people who need to learn that they really do not count – the aspirational voters who think that one day they might join the moneyed top 5%. Oh, their money will get there, into that ‘elite’ company, probably in some off-shore tax haven. But they themselves will be left behind, poorer for the experience.

  15. New England Cocky

    Hmmm ….. my Mathematics savant grandson decided at the ripe ole age of five to count to one million every morning. Don’t know how many times he completed the whole task.

    Now his Mathematics Head Teacher (MHT) at the local NSW Opportunity High School reckons that because he is a Year-7 kid then his work completing both the Year-7 & Year-8 Mathematics courses before entering the school doesn’t count, neither does his work this year completing the year-9 course while repeating the Year-7 course ”doing every question in the text book exercise”.

    His parents have reviewed the Gifted & Talented Policy of the school to determine whether this assertion by an allegedly ”professional” teacher is correct. The results of their survey shows that the school gets 2/2 approvals for ”placing students in selective classes based on [test] scores”., then 40/45 ”disapprovals” for failing to apply the school’s own Gifted & Talented Policy.

    Makes you think that too many DoE desk jockeys and classroom teachers believe that kids in schools do not count.

  16. Michael Taylor

    NEC, I have a son like that. Mine is autistic but he has the IQ of a genius and a photographic memory like a steel trap. At 9 he was discussing the theory of time and space with me and the theory of the Big Bang, yet he couldn’t grasp the value of $100.

    Given his grasp of really big numbers I once asked him how many brain cells he thought I had, and his answer proved beyond doubt his true genius. He answered; “Two.” ☹️

  17. New England Cocky

    Michael Taylor: I think everybody can be found a place on the autism spectrum, as my grandson was. Yet with wonderful support from the extended family and his primary school he made it to dancing classes with his sisters. That was a huge break through because he discovered at age about eight (8) that he could control his body and make it do what his mind wanted.
    Be aware the autistic persons especially young kids are hypersensitive to sound (loud noises) and allow for this when attending out of family residence venues.
    Corporations are suddenly discovering the genius of autistic persons, Perhaps your son could do Law where the course work is straight forward and photographic memories can be highly trained to perform ”miracles”.

  18. Michael Taylor

    NEC, I wish it were that easy. Said son, now 34, suffers from an illness and he talks to no one. He listens to no one, either. Though he lives with his mother and stepfather, he spends all day, everyday, alone.

    I haven’t seen him for five years (he lives interstate).

    He emailed me a couple of years ago just to ask if he was Aboriginal, and I was overjoyed that for the first time in his adult life that he communicated with me and I told him so. I never heard back from him.

  19. Kate Ahearne


    That’s so sad. There’s really not much that we can say about what autism is. What applies to one person on the spectrum doesn’t apply to another. I have an autistic brother. He’s 58 now, living in a group home for all of his adult life. He’s the loveliest person, but communication is very limited.

  20. Michael Taylor

    Hi, Kate. It cut me up, so much. I had no choice but to move on.

    On his 19th birthday I flew to Adelaide to surprise him but he refused to see me. It wasn’t in his diary, so it wasn’t allowed to happen. 😢

    When at school apparently he went into a blind panic the day of the school’s swimming carnival… because… it wasn’t in his diary.

    When he and his little brother would stay with me as children he’d write down what the days’s activities would be. Typical were:

    Draw pictures.
    Hit Mark (his little brother).
    Watch TV.
    Play with dog.
    Hit Mark again.
    Sit in garden.
    Go home.

  21. Kate Ahearne


    Sadder and sadder. (You wouldn’t want to be Little Bother Mark, would you?)

    But that panic at any surprise, or break in routine might be quite typical of a lot of people on the spectrum. (Just to contradict what I said earlier,)

    My brother is quite a few years younger than me, and one time when I was just recently married, he came to stay with me to give Mum a bit of a break. While he was with me, I was determined to address one glaring problem, which was the matter of diet. He seemed to be living on bacon, Savoury Shapes and Coca Cola.

    He was fascinated with lifts, so we spent days on end in the city, going up and down in lifts in the tallest buildings we could find, After a few days of this, I put my foot down when it came time for dinner. He wanted to know where his bacon was, and I told him he could have his bacon just a soon as he ate up his veggies. He was absolutely distraught, and began banging his head o the table. He produced a very nasty gash on his forehead, Fortunately, the local medical clinic was just next door, so we rushed him to the doctor who stitched up his forehead. I had to take him home to Mum with his head bristling with stitches!

    He does tolerate a broader diet these days, although he is still a creature of habit… On Wednesdays he has dinner at my sister’s house – sausages, and on Saturdays she takes him to Macca’s for breakfast – hamburgers.

  22. Mark Shields

    It seems as projected, most of you ignorant F-Tards will never, ever make a Vote Count!!! Until you can make a single vote count.

  23. Mark Shields

    Most Coal Based employees want to see a new industry: bUT

  24. Michael Taylor

    Mark, who are the “F-Tards” you are referring to?

  25. Carol Taylor

    Kate, I’m late to the conversation. My youngest never knew whether to laugh or cry so often did both. My middle one couldn’t smile for the camera until he was 22yrs old when a lovely girlfriend taught him how, he arrived home proudly showing his smile. Look Mum, I can smile. But back to the youngest, her diet until age 18 consisted of baked beans, lettuce, raw carrot, yoghurt and jam sandwiches. That was it, nothing else except if you count McDonalds chicken nuggets, but only the round ones not the oval ones. I asked her only a few years ago, why no meat? She had refused all meat from the time she had teeth. She explained, it’s the smell. Hard to argue with that.

    All that if requires is to appreciate that being different is nothing more than that, not that I’m telling you something you don’t already know.

    As an addendum, youngest is now a doctor at a Brisbane public hospital but she is just as quirky as she’s ever been, oh and she doesn’t drive because she doesn’t.

  26. Kate Ahearne


    Thanks for the lovely story about your kids. I particularly love the bit about your youngest, who doesn’t drive because she doesn’t. And the round ones, not the oval ones. Lovely. Yes, we’re all different, and it’s not a problem – It’s a wonder, and a gift to all of us.

  27. leefe

    I must have missed this piece when it was first posted, so – late to the party.


    “I think everybody can be found a place on the autism spectrum … ”

    This really rubs me up the wrong way. Maybe it’s just a bad day for me, but I really hope this isn’t a reworking of the “everyone”s a little bit autistic” line.
    Because. no. Just, no. You’re not autistic unless you”re autistic, and the majority of people aren’t. Too many people use the ‘everyone etc … ” schtick as an excuse for bad behaviour. Our condition is not your excuse for being shitty.

    End of rant (for now).

  28. Michael Taylor

    Hi, Kate.

    Carol told me a funny story of a young lad with Aspergers.

    The school teacher asked the class to write a story. The young lad didn’t know how to write a story so asked the teacher for guidance.

    “Just write it like you were talking to me,” advised the teacher.

    The young bloke, a bit confused, replied with; “But I would never talk to you.” 😂

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