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Straight Talk: a funny thing happened at Palmy

9 January 2017


Some funny stuff goes on at hot rod events. Well, I think so. That’s because hot rodders can be colourful characters. I guess they have to be, or they wouldn’t be hot rodders, would they? If they were normal people, they’d be having a normal life; driving a normal Toyota Camry; doing normal-people stuff during the day; and, in the evenings, they’d read a newspaper, watch the news, and have a nice cup of tea.

But hot rodders must think a whole lot differently; otherwise, they’d be happy with normal. Hot rodders build hot rods, they go drag racing, they collect cool shit, they travel all over the country going to interesting places, and they hang out with other car people who are equally colourful. 

I’ve seen a bunch of funny stuff at hot rod events over the years. It’s always late at night, at the kind of event at which the evening party is in a huge marquee and your caravan or campsite is just a few wobbly paces away. You can drink as much as you want, and you can get up as late in the morning as you want, because there’s no point in getting up early — if you did, you’d just be sitting around nursing your sore head like everyone else who went to bed too late and got up too early. Y’know how there are certain things you never forget? Well, I’ll tell you about one of my favourites.

One quick diversion before I do that: my lovely sister Rachael used to be a teacher, and I think that she’s still somewhat bemused that her kid brother — who was, to be honest, a bit of a clown back in the day — can actually read and write, so, every month, she goes into her local Waverley Four Square, picks up the latest NZV8 magazine, and blocks the aisle at the magazine stand — don’t people piss you off when they do that? — while she reads this column. The reason I mention Rachael is because I need to give her a quick warning: Sis, if you’re at the magazine stand at Waverley Four Square, you need to put the magazine down now, and go read Woman’s Day instead. I’m serious! 

Back to the story. Have you ever seen that old ‘condom up your nose and out your mouth’ trick? You probably have, but, if you haven’t, let me tell you, it’s bloody funny. I saw it the first time sometime in the very early ’80s, at the Saturday night do at the Palmerston North Swap Meet weekend. There was this guy; I can’t even remember who it was — he probably belonged to the Wellington Chevrolet Club ’cos they were a bunch of hard-case party-hard good buggers. It was really late at night — probably the early hours of the morning — and everyone who was still there had been drinking for a long time. I heard someone call out behind me, “Hey TJ, come and watch this.” The speaker was pointing at a bloke who was sitting on his chair, leaning over a table, supporting himself with his elbows, and fumbling around with the middle of his face. 

To start with, I thought the bloke was trying to dig something out of his nose, but, once I got a bit closer, I could see he was trying to feed a condom up his left nostril. Definitely the left nostril. Amazing what you can remember when something makes a big impression on you as a teenager. Wow, I thought, this is interesting. By now, there were 50 or 100 rodders crowded around the table, 10 deep, and everyone was pretty excited by what was happening. It wasn’t something you saw every day. The bloke was making disgusting snorting noises, like a dirty old drunk would make when he’s got something stuck in his hooter that he’s trying to clear back down into his throat.

After a bit of simultaneous shoving and snorting, this bloke, while still hanging on to the end of the condom that was hanging out of his left nostril with his left hand, had obviously inhaled the thing well and truly up his snoz so that the other end was dangling down into his throat. Of course, all the lads around him were cheering him on and telling him what a legend he was. At the same time, they were pissing themselves laughing like the drunken bunch of yobbos they were. I watched this little project in awe, and thought it was all pretty interesting and damn funny. Being 19 years old and a bit naive regarding the world of hard-shot hot rodders, the penny still hadn’t dropped as to how the act was to unfold.

Next thing, the bloke starts up with this horrendous hoicking — like when you’ve got a great hunk of phlegm stuck down your throat and you make a gross gagging noise from way down inside the back of your throat. At the same time, the grubby little bastard was poking a couple of his right-hand fingers as far down his mouth he could manage. And then, bugger me, with all these blokes gathered around to watch — the women had all long gone in disgust — with a last thoroughly revolting hoicking, retching, gagging noise, so disgusting that I thought the dude was going to puke, and looking as gleeful and as proud as can be, there he was, with his left hand still holding the condom outside his left nostril but now holding the other end of the condom with his right index finger and thumb as it poked out of his mouth. 

Spurred on no doubt by the rapturous cheers and raucous laughter of everyone around him, our hero of the hour gave the condom a few tugs to stretch it out as far he’d dare, and then started doing the see-saw thing — you know, like two blokes cutting down a tree with a hand saw; in out, in out, in out. As a teenage lad in the ’70s, I thought that was about the funniest damn thing I’d ever seen. 

A while after that, a guy told me that he’d seen another bloke do the same thing, except that he’d somehow got the condom turned around at the back of his nose and managed to suck the other end of it back out again through his other nostril. I reckon he might have been pulling my leg, but, if he wasn’t, that must have looked pretty damn funny, too.
Who wants a normal life?

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of NZV8 (Issue No. 131). You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the mag now: