David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species

 

THE RETIREE

Along the northern shoreline of Australia are found clusters of small nests called units. Inside these units live pairs of retirees.

These quiet fussy creatures can be seen at least once a day when they emerge to indulge in light activities such as sitting on the beach. They can be distinguished from other species on the beach by the amount of clothing and jewellery they wear. Indeed you can tell the age of the females, like trees, by counting the rings.

The males are distinguished by long white socks, sandals and sun glasses firmly clipped in the breast pocket. Being slow and deliberate, they take life at a steady pace, and can often spend the better part of a morning deciding the best place to set up the folding chairs. Once established the female commences a long series of questions to the male as to what he brought and what he didn't bring and whether he rang his sister. The male then comments on what the beach-girls are wearing this year and draws some conclusions from this regarding the future of the country. By this time it's time to pack up the chairs and walk back home for a low fat lunch. All in all they're harmless creatures except, in their voting habits, where they show unparalleled ferocity in supporting any politician who advocates capital punishment for anyone under 60.

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