It was back in 1979, we had only been in Brisbane a couple of years having moved up from Sydney. I might add that back then language was not quite as blunt as it tends to be these days, swearing in general conversation was not usual. Carolyn had a reasonably new job and had to go to Sydney tomorrow for some product training. After dinner we often watched a little TV and quite often my business partner would ring.
Now he was a talkative sort of bloke and was prone to never use two words when ten would fill the void, he also tended to repeat what he had to say several times, more to get it right in his own mind rather than just being mindless, never the less it got boring.
Carolyn and I are both readers and books are seldom far away from where we are, and on this evening her latest paperback novel was on the table next to the phone where I was. Gerry, my partner, was going over stuff we had not been able to sort quietly at work and often in these calls we were able to make decisions that were not possible in the noise and confusion of out factory.
The book was called “The White Paper Fan”, and the cover was a picture of a mostly white hand fan, you know the sort you wave in your face to cool of with. The title was in bold black letters that were made to look like they were constructed with chopsticks, all straight lines with each line being wider at one end than the other. My phone conversation was tending to go on longer than usual and as is my normal practice I grabbed my pen, the one with the black ink I so prefer, and began doodling. When the conversation ended we packed it in and went to bed.
The next morning Carolyn packed and in the process took her half read novel and put it deliberately in her big enough for everything hand bag so she would not forget it. I delivered her to the airport and drove off to work.
Around 2pm I was summoned to the phone, it was the little missus and I was greeted with, “You Bastard”.
“What did I do?” I enquired not having the slightest idea what was wrong.
“Well,” she advised, “at the airport and all the way down on the plane, people were giving me very strange looks, and I was starting to wonder what was wrong. When we landed and were getting off the plane a lady about two rows in front of me turned and said, ‘that’s an unusual title for a book, what does it mean’. I looked at the cover and the title of my book was now The White Paper Fanny”.
I had forgotten all about my doodling’s the night before and burst out laughing, “You could use a little whiteout and cover it up,” I suggested.
“No,” was her reply, “ I’m going to leave it and when anybody asks I’m going to tell them you did it just to embarrass me. You managed to match the printing perfectly, so well in fact that I didn’t even notice what you had done.”
From then I confined my doodling to sheets of paper.