The first time Kevin called after I moved to Australia, I had to explain how to use the World Clock feature on his phone. “I understand it’s the middle of the day there,” I said before throwing my phone on the floor, “But, it’s the next morning here. I’m still in bed.”

Uncharacteristically, Kevin learned from that mistake and has called at more appropriate times ever since. Until this week.

“Stop whining and make some coffee,” he said airily. “We’re on my turf now. Celebrities have never interested you, and I’ve done my research. I know more useless knowledge about Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman than someone with a full-time job should. I know all about Greg Norman and Elle Macpherson and Rupert Murdoch. Let’s go. Test me.”

“All right,” I said, switching on the kettle. “I’ll start off slow. Mel Gibson. Is he Australian?”

“Born in New York. Moved to Australia when he was twelve. Don’t waste my time.”

“Russell Crowe.”

“Born in New Zealand. Lives in Australia. Owns a rugby team.” Kevin was on his game.

“Except with Russell Crowe, there’s a catch,” I explained. “When he wins an Oscar, the Aussies claim him. When he throws a phone at someone, he’s a Kiwi.”

“Come on,” Kevin goaded. “Give me something. Challenge me.”

“Alright,” I poured steaming water into my glass. “Sam Neill.”

“Good one! Jurassic Park guy, right?”

“He also had a bad Russian accent in The Hunt for Red October.”

“I’m going to say no. He feels English to me.”

“Irish, actually. Lives in New Zealand now.”

“Three for three.” I can hear him preening over the phone. “You’re not going to lay a glove on me today.”

“Eric Bana.”


“He was in Black Hawk Down. Played the lead in Munich. Ringing any bells?”

“Munich was that Spielberg movie about the terrorist attack at the Olympics, right?”

“Exactly. His co-star was pre-Bond Daniel Craig.”

“Alright,” Kevin sounds hesitant. “I’ll say no. I think you’re trying to trick me with this one.”

“Wrong. He was born in Melbourne and still lives there. Interestingly –”

“Nothing you say after that word is ever interesting.”

“Eric Bana is known for being a comedian in Australia. He’s in one of the most iconic Australian comedies ever made, a movie called The Castle. It’s the Australian Ghostbusters. Everyone quotes it.”

“I’ll add it to my Netflix queue. Who’s next? I’m not going to miss another one.”


“Wait,” Kevin was not happy. “That’s not…you said the game was celebrities.”

“AC/DC isn’t famous?”

“Fine. This is like the Sam Neill thing though, isn’t it? Just famous enough to know who they are but not famous enough to know where they’re from.”

“Do you have a guess?” I sipped my coffee, smiling.

“Besides Men at Work, has any good music ever come from Australia? I’m going to say no.”

“They’re from Sydney. Last one, The Wiggles.”

“Oh, come on!”

“I’ve been to your house,” I laughed. “I’ve seen your Wiggles collection. Your kids love them.”

“Loved. Past tense. I can’t believe you brought them up. They are, without a doubt, the most annoying four people on the planet.”

“The question is, are they Australian or not?”

“I hope, for your sake, they’re not.”

“They are, in fact, from Sydney.”

“So what, you win?”

“With the Wiggles, nobody wins.”

Next Up: That Time I Almost Met Hugh Jackman


Part 1: I Would Like to Acknowledge…

Part 2: Educating Kevin About Australia

Part 3: Which Way Do Australian Toilets Flush?

Part 4: What is Macca’s and Why Does Everyone Go There?

Part 5: Where Is Australia on the Map?

Part 6: What is a Democracy Sausage?

Part 7: What’s it Like to Drive on the Other Side of the Road?

Part 8: Let’s Talk About What Can Kill You in Australia

Part 9: Where Does Matt Damon Live?


Photo by RubyGoes