Can the rain reign for too long?

“God,” he said. “I’m sick of rain.”

He’d have lived longer if he’d been smiling; they might have known he was joking. As it was the family was looking for something to bury.

This was last night, in the pub.

I don’t approve of lynch mobs. They could just have had him arrested. Offensive language would be the charge. But it wouldn’t have made any difference. I’m sure complaining about the rain is a hanging offence in any Australian court of law.

I’ll tell you a secret… I agree with him. I’m glad you don’t know where I live.

Why is this? Why are we tolerated if we think Shane Warne is a tosser (you might have a heated debate about it, but you’re not going to kill anyone); or that Lindy Chamberlin had something to do with Azaria’s disappearance; or that Steve Irwin had it coming (well, maybe not that); but if you’re tired of rain it’s a death sentence.

T’was ever thus. Original thinkers have always been put to death for original thoughts.

“The earth’s not flat.” Burn him at the stake.

“The world goes round the sun.” Rip out his entrails.

“There’s no god.” Hang him, but only after causing him a great deal of pain.

I have a theory about this bloke in the pub – I think everyone was jealous. I think they all agreed with him, but none of them had the bottle to stand out from crowd. Basically, none of them were prepared to be lynched for their beliefs.

But what did they think would happen? If one person happens to mumble in a small and little-known bar in a pub in a small and (sorry, but while we’re being honest here, let’s go the whole barrelful) in a small but little-known city on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, that he’s sick of the rain – that the gods will turn the taps off?

I mean, even if the whole pub had yelled it, I can’t imagine these blokes would have had any influence on the gods. I’m not sure they allow singlets and thongs in heaven.

How could you not be sick of rain? It turns everything mouldy, it makes the ground soggy, it even brings on deadly diseases that creep in through the soles of your feet!

And yes, I can understand it’s different if you’re a farmer. I’m very happy for them to have rain. But I live here; and here, I’m sick of the rain.

Farmers don’t have to be and that’s fine. I lived near one once. We’d been in drought for months and the day it started raining in earnest I asked him: “How do you feel about the rain?”

“S’okay,” he said, “As long as it knows when to stop.”

That’s the problem. We grow uneasy when we lose control. And yet the reality is: we don’t have control – ever.

Oh, we pretend. We throw salt over our shoulder and we touch wood, and when someone says they’re sick of the rain we kill them, but that doesn’t really give us any more control than if we touched the salt and threw the wood over our shoulder.

Amazing really… we live in an age in which we can clone people (as if you’d want to!) but we still believe it’s bad luck to look at the new moon through glass, and that the rain might sulk if we criticise it.

I remember a few years ago, down south, they prayed for rain – and it started raining! A mere coincidence of events; but no doubt there were people who believed they’d really achieved it, by closing their eyes and muttering words.

They’re the ones I’d be lynching.