Yeah, but now I can hear ‘em.
Yeah, it’s the same at my work.
That right, mate? Many critics down at the local council? Tell me, honestly, are there many critics where you work? Many people come up to you and tell you how short to cut the grass, which direction to dig, or when you can take your fifteenth smoko of the day, ay?
For years after his fame Trevor Hobart sought work in entertainment, he tried acting and failed, he tried touring and failed again. He receded from the limelight, found himself everyday employment, retreated to routine, and went to work like everyone else. At first, he found it hard to reintegrate to normality, and even harder to find a job. He had no practical talents, no useful skills, or effective interests beyond the artistic realms and his former celebrity was a constant encumbrance. When he finally found work it was digging ditches for the local council’s dollar. He spent his days cutting grass, sowing seeds, and drilling holes. The job afforded him a helmet or hat, a set of goggles or glasses, and in the colder months, a long scarf that covered his neck and mouth, that kept him warm and far from damning eyes of disgrace, far from the public’s nagging expectations – exactly how he wanted it.
Yet when he’d go out, he’d play on his former fame. He’d remind people of his old glory, he’d keep trade on his name and was never above a boast. His face was still recognisable, and he still knew the better side of beauty, but to most who saw him his waning celebrity estranged him, those who did remember him tended to avoid, too awkward and uncomfortable to approach, like an forgotten friend from school, too much time had passed, too much had changed. He found as every old icon finds: the limelight is fickle, and casts only a narrow beam, and with every passing year in the darkness, the light seems slimmer than the last.
Sometimes Trevor Hobart’s newfound mediocrity was difficult to bare, and Sandy sensed the open wound, but still joked about it in the way only an old friend could.