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19 Sep

VOL 1

Jack Evans

21 YRS • Dongara, WA

"If I wasn’t at school, I was at home clocking GTA”

  • Life Story

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A long time ago a man I very much look up too told me ‘ It’s a dog eat dog world out there and the one aim in life is to not be someone’s dinner, stay hungry and never let you’re guard down’.  To a 10- year old boy trying his hardest to bud into manhood, this was somewhat unsettling. My fear of the real world was conceived and I sought out everlasting comfort in the confine, the sacred haven of my bedroom. When I hit 15 years old, not much had changed. If I wasn’t at school, I was at home. Doing my homework, Clocking GTA San Andreas multiple times, trying my best to play online games on our dial-up connection. As hard as I tried to repress it, the concept of one day having to enter ‘the real world’ was making itself more and more present everyday. About midway through that year my father took a work contract overseas. Soon after my mother followed and ‘The real world’ came at me harder and faster than I could ever imagine. I had a relatively easy up bringing in the small coastal town of a few thousand called Dongara. Little happened there but the town managed to stay afloat on its small port and the masses of fisherman that Bring their produce back from large stints at sea. It was a nice enough town to grow up in and once a swell hit there were also plenty of waves with no one on them. Sitting just below the small metropolis of Geraldton, 60 kms north. We never really left unless we needed something that the few shops in Dongara couldn’t supply to us.  

As a boy, Geraldton always seemed a good place to visit. It had the only McDonalds on that stretch of coast and the only cinema and water slide at the local pool among other things. This being said, a day was always made of it. I knew at that age that I couldn’t take this place for granted like I did with Dongara. Mom and dad making my sister and I don shoes every time we got out of the car, even at the beach. The traffic lights, which for a while had me baffled with how they worked. The place seemed to have a lot more unwritten rules and once I was sent there to boarding school when I was 15, this became oh so apparent. I remember the first time walking through the boarding house door. The staff barely greeting me, they just handed me a name-tag, rule book and sending me down to my room. As I walked through the courtyard I couldn’t help feel the eyes all over me, making me feel very intimidated and vulnerable. This was the dog eat dog world that this chubby little white boy feared so much. There were a few familiar faces at the boarding house.  A small group of Dongara lads, all older, but thankfully let me in before the dogs could have their way with me. The school I was enlisted to was not much better. The only public High School in the region.  I’ll let you imagine the kind of crowd that pulled. I copped a stick to my head on my first week that I had to ignore, my idea of life preservation. For a while there I dreaded the bells of recess and lunch and the horror of finding somewhere to sit. I kept myself busy both in and out of school, electing subjects that I knew were going to strain me academically therefore keeping me busy. On the weekends my friends at boarding school all took the bus back to Dongara for the week. I wasn’t so lucky. My weekends that year were a cloud of packet noodles, immense study and minecraft. By the end of that year my spelling and grammar got subsequently better, I developed some street smarts and I managed to escape being eaten, just.

I returned from a stay overseas with my parents to tackle my final year of High School. Although my lifeblood at the boarding house had all graduated the year before, I was on my own now. I had to come out of my shell and start running or face certain death by being eaten. I managed to break into a small group of guys from my Drama and Media classes. There was outside talk getting in that we were all gay, and that I was even seen holding hands with guys at parties, which was very rich due to the fact that I never even partied. I wonder to this day if the talk would have been the same if I were enrolled in the sport and workplace learning classes, who knows? My final year of school flew by and the Sound of the sirens became less of an enemy and more of an event.

Exams were done and I was free to roam the world and dance around with my new found confidence. The free part was short lived as ‘the real world’ cost a lot more money than first expected. I managed to get a job at a limestone block factory where a few friends worked. My job mainly involved mixing limestone and driving forklifts which was pretty good as far as jobs go. I had multiple hundreds flowing into my bank account every week. Pretty measly pay by my standards now but that was the first time I had seen anywhere near that kind of money.  

 

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… To be continued in Article 1 : young Australian men’s stories

 

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