"The Fiona Apple of Comedy"

A land down under (where they have manners)

men at work movie poster

Men at Work were a band from Australia who had a hit in the early 1980s with their song “Down under.”

You probably remember the song, even if you don’t know the exact lyrics, so here is the second verse:

“Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich
And he said:

“I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover.”

First of all, what the hell is a “chunder?” And second of all, the song repeatedly makes reference to an impending thunderstorm, but it is not at all clear if this is an actual storm or a metaphorical one.

But the thing that most pisses me off about this song Is that the man from Brussels never gives the narrator a direct answer to his question. Seconds into his “I come from a land down under” spiel and I would throw that God damn sandwich in his face, punch him in the throat and then grab him by the hair, pull him over the counter and throw him to the floor and while I was repeatedly punching him in the face, I would say, “Yes or no. Answer the fucking question!”

Now I know that I can infer by the fact that he’s speaking English to me that he does indeed speak my language, but I’m not going to let that go. That’s one of my pet peeves. Like when you say, “oh, you speak French?” And instead of saying yes, they say “oui.”

And before you go poking more holes in my story by pointing out that they just said he is 6 foot four and full of muscles, let me remind you that I am 6 foot five and while not full of muscles, I can certainly handle myself with a character like this. These “European tough guy” types are all show. Constantly hitting the gym, marching around with their Neo-Nazi friends and totally lacking in any real street fighting ability whatsoever. Plus, this song is about 30 years old, this dude is probably in a retirement home by now. And finally, lest you think that’s any excuse and that I’m not going to punch out an octogenarian in an old folks home, why don’t you ask my neighbor, Mr. Bronstein about that? O wait, that’s right. You can’t. Because he’s dead. From blunt force trauma to the cranium. Caused by me. After he asked me to get off his lawn.

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