Dad brandished the newspaper like it was a weapon.
“They’re bloody doing it” he said, pointing the newspaper out towards the ocean. “They’re putting in a new sewerage pipe. And they’re putting it out right here at Racey”.
They already discharged the sewage at Racecourse Beach. And the town’s current system couldn’t handle the sewage that was already getting pushed through.
In summertime, when our town would swell to five times its normal size and the caravan parks would be chock-a-block, well this meant that the sewerage system would be chock-a-block too.
On the light westerly summer days a stench would hover in the air. When northerly swell would push into the beach, it would bring in the sewage that’d been pumped out and the water would turn brown and turbid.
We weren’t allowed to surf on those days cos Dad reckoned we could get sick and the one time Genji went out he got an ear infection for 12 days straight.
Dad started rapping on the glass windows with his newspaper.
“Those bloody politicians. Those imbecile councillors. Those stupid bloody pencil pushers”.
“Why are they doing it, Dad?”
“Well Googs, that’s the thing about those blokes at the council. They’re fools, absolute bloody fools.”
An idea slowly crept over me.
If we blocked the drain, then the sewage wouldn’t be able to get out, and THEN something would happen. Maybe the council would backflip on their idea. Or make the sewage go back the other way! Inland! Yeah, who wants to live there!
(My thinking didn’t really add up, but I was a 10 year old kid so cut me some slack, will ya?).
I told Dad my idea and he nodded, considering the idea gravely.
Dad: Yep Googs, I reckon that might work. But I also reckon you need to tell the local paper about it.
Dad: Cos bloody journos are good at telling a story, and the more people who know this story, the better.
Me: But won’t I get in trouble for knowingly vandalising council property?
Dad: Course ya bloody will! But that’s how you make change! It’s putting your life on the line for the bigger cause! Think of Tiananmen square! People were willing to DIE for freedom and for what they believed in!
This is when I started to zone out. Dad had drunk a few glasses of red wine by this stage and was throwing out random bits of political activism in the hope of galvanising me.
Instead, I decided to write the local paper an email from a made up email address.
To: The Milton Ulladulla Times
Subject: SEWERAGE IS YUK
We are going to conduct a piece of political activism.
We are blocking the sewerage pipe going out of Racecourse Beach.
You should move it cos it stinks.
Don’t try and contact us, because this is a made up email address.
The email had been sent, and so I had to follow through.
So at 10pm that night, my brother and I, dressed all in black, ran down to the beach, through the gates, under the hedges, around the concrete hump.
We were carrying backpacks full of rocks that we had collected from the beach.
The next morning, I lay in bed, eyes bright with possibility.
Ears straining for the sound of the telephone ringing.
In my head, newspapers spun around in dizzying circles until they came to an abrupt stop. The headlines screaming “ANONYMOUS ACTIVIST SAVES THE DAY”, “ACTIVIST SAYS POO POO TO COUNCIL’S SEWERAGE SOLUTION”.
But no call came.
At school, no one was whispering about the political activism that had taken place overnight.
By the end of the week, no newspapers had mentioned it either.
Now, looking back, I can clearly see the trap Young Turia walked into.
She tried to be anonymous.
But if I’d signed that email as a 10 year old girl, I’m almost positive it would have piqued some interest. Who wouldn’t love the tale of a plucky young activist trying to better her town?! It would have made for an excellent cover story.
So, what is the lesson in all of this?
Don’t take marketing advice from 10 year old Turia.
If you have a message you want to get out there, or a business you want to grow, listen to an actual, proven expert. Like Marie Forleo.
She’s the genius behind B-School – the marketing and business course I did in 2015, and have raved about ever since.
Marie has just released an excellent free training video covering the 6 essential steps you need to take to create a thriving, profitable business.
It’s full of really actionable advice, and I highly recommend it if you have a business you want to grow this year, or have an idea for a side hustle or business you want to start.
It will be especially helpful if you feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting your business online or like you’re being pulled into a thousand different directions when it comes to marketing (Do you need a podcast? A blog? Instagram? TikTok?!).
I’ve already watched it twice (and taken multiple pages of notes).
PS – Marie only releases this training once a year, so if you do want to grow a profitable, meaningful business, I recommend jumping on this now. Here’s the link again.
PPS – If you do watch it, can you let me know? Email me back and let me know what you took away from it (I’m dying to talk about the “Three C’s of website building” she shares! So good!!!).
PPPS – Yes, one more thing. If you know someone who would love this training, fwd this email to them! I love finding new business buds!