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The Age

Curse of the yowie

Author: Mark Dapin
Date: 28/07/2007
Words: 643
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Good Weekend
Page: 52
There's a monstrous price to pay when you eat a burger that's bigger than your own head.

The day i came back from yowie hunting in south-east Queensland, I was struck by a great and terrible lethargy, the like of which I had only previously experienced when somebody had suggested it might be a nice idea to decorate a bedroom or go on a camping holiday.

I cancelled my boxing trainer and collapsed on the couch, as vivid memories of the night before flooded my mind. I will not spoil a pulse-pounding tale of heroism and terrorism by revealing whether I actually felt the acrid panting of the Springbrook yowie on my cheeks, or heard the pounding of prehistoric feet around our camp fire at dusk, but I will say this: I have witnessed things that no man should ever see. I have eaten a beefburger bigger than my head.

It was called a "yowie burger" and it was delicious, but the next night, at home, I could not sleep. Fever flooded my mattress - and my girlfriend - with sweat, so I went downstairs to lie on the couch. I felt as though a claw had grabbed my intestines, and twisted them around, like former Liberal Senator Santo Santoro twisting the facts about his share trading.

Next day, I collapsed into unconsciousness, and slept until the pain in my stomach became so bad that I had to eat, but I could not digest anything but crumpets. My urine turned brown, and my breath began to smell like my gym gear.

After seven days and nights, I finally realised I had probably become the first human victim of the disease that had decimated the yowie. It had jumped species - possibly through the medium of the yowie burger - and worked its way into my DNA.

Because I am not (yet) a qualified medical practitioner, I sought a second opinion from a local GP. He took some blood and said he would phone me with the test results.

"I have my own theory," I announced.

He made a polite listening face, because doctors are supposed to take notice of their patients these days.

"I think it may be the curse of the yowie," I said.

He asked me to sign a pathology-consent form and I noticed that, in the little window where he had instructed the laboratory what to test for, he had written all kinds of odd abbreviations but not "curse of the yowie".

"Yes," he said, "I am sceptical of alternative explanations."

The problem was probably in my liver, he said, then recalled another deadly sickness that might be causing my symptoms. He added it to the form, asked me to sign again, then suddenly leaned across his desk and said, "You're not writing down ..."

"... 'curse of the yowie'? No," I said sadly. I had not even thought of it, which shows how sick I am.

Like Sam Cooke, I don't know much biology, therefore I was not certain what the liver was supposed to do. I avoided finding out until five minutes ago, in case it turned out that "drugs, including alcohol, are filtered through the liver and neutralised or converted into other forms by special enzymes", as a Victorian Government website elegantly explains. In other words, one of my most vital organs has betrayed me. If I were US President, I'd declare a War On My Own Offal - but I am not (yet).

I finally managed to eat a pizza. My doctor rang and advised me not to do that again. "Go easy on the fatty food," he said. He thought I had hepatitis, and it was nothing to do with yowies.

Oh well, I could always dull the pain with alcohol.

"And lay off the booze," he said.

At least I still had Panadol.

"And don't take any Panadol," he said.


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