Australia: Earth’s Florida

It’s been a rocky month for the world’s charming, hillbilly basement neighbors. Things were previously looking up; shark attacks were down to a mere weekly occurrence. Spider-related hospitalizations were on the downslope. And a stillborn baby hadn’t been accidentally burned to ashes in MONTHS! Then February reared its ugly fucking head.

Beaches Closed Due to Brown Sharks
This week, a man was nearly bite-murdered by a bull or tiger shark off the Reef. Last week one of these demon fish just up and ate a dog. So sharks a problem, not news. But here’s another thing about Australia’s majestic oceans; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tends to shut them down due to the unsafe amount of human fecal matter that happens to saturate the beaches. Not sharks. Fecal matter. Some amount of fecal matter is safe. But sometimes, there’s just so much shit in the water… in the OCEAN, that the EPA recommends a holiday inland. February was certainly not the first time Australia’s beaches have been inundated with human poo. In fact, January was a brown month, too. Swimming in shitwaters can lead to infections, stomach flu, and becoming a host to one of my personal, all-time favorite parasites, cryptosporidium. But surfing is SUPER FUN.

Take Him Out For Funnel Cake
If you live in Australia, it’s commonly recommended that you avoid shadows due to the poisonous creatures lurking there within. Matthew Mitchell, 10, only scanned the memo. As he was helping his father clear out his shed, a funnel-web spider scurried into his shoe. Mitchell was putting his shoe on or taking it off, when the grouchy critter latched onto his finger and just started pumping him full of poison. Mom and Dad twisted a shirt around his wrist to slow the circulation of the poison, which causes convulsions, and frothing at the mouth. Mitchell was hospitalized and given a record-12 doses of anti-venom. He eventually pulled through. Yay! So what justice befell the assailant? Well, you see, when Australians find a death-inducing nightmare crawler, they are discouraged from killing it. Rather, they are urged with the responsibility of capturing it and delivering it to a zoo, where it can be milked for venom. The venom is used to make antidotes that can and have saved the lives of those like Matthew Mitchell.

Tell Me What You Wanted Me to Do, Then I’ll Tell You What I Did: An Accidental Cremation Story
Anthony Meyers and Stella Pirko lost their daughter, Krystal Rose, during her birth. The birth had to be induced due to an enlarged bladder. The condition was a mysterious one, one that should definitely be researched, so that answers could be found- what caused it, how to prevent it in future cases- and just to give Pirko and Meyers a morsel of peace of mind. However, the Liverpool Hospital in New South Wales is a bit of a mess. They are understaffed and underfunded, which makes organization just really impossible. The paperwork was lost. Krystal’s body was left in the morgue for nine days, and none of the staff, all part-time, knew what to do with her. So what do you do with a baby in a morgue? Send it to a funeral home. After their doctor approved of Krystal Rose’s cremation without touching base with her parents, the deed was done. Although this whole atrocity occurred in October of last year, the story has just recently surfaced.

So, the beaches? Would not recommend. The wildlife? You are required to catch it, though it will bite you and fill your veins with liquid hate. The hospital? Seems like that can go either way. It’s just like the locals say, “Sure, you’re surfing in shit, but you’re SURFING!”

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