An anonymous idiot started it all for Damian Bathersby.
An anonymous idiot started it all for Damian Bathersby. Sunshine Coast Daily

I can't take all the blame for this rubbish

IN February 2006, I wrote a column about a chance encounter with rugby union legend John Eales.

In it, I suggested he was suffering from early dementia because of his failure to remember me almost 30 years after we attended the same school, albeit many grades apart.

The only response I received was from some idiot who sent an anonymous letter that said "who would read this rubbish?".

To annoy that individual - and for absolutely no other reason at all - I wrote another column the following week.

And the next and the next.

I never heard from him again but roughly 630 columns later, every time I sit in front of the computer, I find inspiration in my deep desire to ensure he's still gnashing his teeth.

I've covered a pretty broad range of topics since that day.

My driving habits have featured more than a few times and so has my fear of heights, my love of bourbon and my lack of handyman skills.

I did one about streaking at the cricket that sent a shiver up the spines of a few people and who could forget about our day at the Nude Olympics?

People tell me they're still scarred by the mental image of me playing tunnel ball with an over-sized beach ball, wearing nothing but a big smile (oh, how I wished I'd also been wearing sunscreen).

My dream of winning the lottery, growing old disgracefully, telemarketers, beautiful people, ugly people, even whale migration ... they've all scored a mention. But the topic featured most often has been my long-suffering wife.

I've shared her drinking problems, her habit of stealing cats from the neighbours and her fixation on John Butler and Justin Bieber.

You were there when she wore a chicken costume to surprise our daughter in London and shared her disgust as I spent an hour with my head between my knees in a gondola in the Swiss Alps.

I think she secretly likes it.

"You can't write that!" she will cry after reading a column, then shrug and walk away shaking her head.

There is nothing funnier than watching her meet someone for the first time and having them say "do you still have the neighbour's cat?" or "you seem surprisingly sober".

But she'll have to put up with being anonymous now because this is the last time she will be mentioned.

In fact, it's the last time anyone will be mentioned because this is my last column.

After almost 15 years I'm leaving the Daily for a job in Brisbane and my days of writing a column come to an end.

It's been an absolute blast and I know there are one or two people out there who have a bit of a chuckle with me.

And if all I've managed to achieve is to bring a smile to peoples' faces occasionally - and make my wife uncomfortable in social situations - then my work here is done.

Good bye, good luck and remember to smile in the face of adversity because things are probably far worse than you think they are.

And if none of that works, have a bourbon.

It works for us.