The Vegan Cucumber Salad

It’s not easy being a vegan in a society that is besotted with meat eating. I know, because I  have been a vegan all afternoon.

You may laugh at this…and now would be a good time to start…but serious lifestyle choices can come upon us in a flash. Of course the flash may involve a couple of decades, but it pays to be patient. I didn’t like whiskey when I was five years old either, but that was a long while ago…

Being vegan can be a moral choice, a technical one, or a dietary one…or a combination of all three. In some cultures it is a religious practice. One should always respect the religions of others, even if one has no such feelings about one’s own. Indeed, it can be a lot easier to put up with strange foreign rituals than to put up with your own relatives.

As a new vegan I will concentrate on the business of minding what I eat. From what I read, this should take some little time every day. It seems that you need to hoover in a lot of stuff to get the same amount of internal energy that you used to get from a hamburger. And it may be gritty or slimy…but come to think of it, the burgers down at our local grease pit are pretty much that way any way. I have purchased a box of what very well may be muesli and will open it once I have the face mask and epipen. If I can master a Swiss breakfast I should be able to advance to salads.

The change in diet will not be without penalty. I have been reading about what fibre does to the body and have extrapolated that information to imagine what it will do to the plumbing. Fortunately we have a bucket, the neighbour has a fence, and it gets dark earlier in the evening. I knew he had a pool for some good reason.

The Handshake

I went to the barber this week and sat waiting for a free chair. It was a busy day and that meant about 15 minutes cooling my heels on the bench. The shop is one of a small chain throughout the city and the local branch is in my closest shopping centre. As I had nothing else pressing me more than the mop of unruly hair, I was quite happy to sit there.

I should have been happier had the barber shop kept better magazines to read. They had a rack full, but they were all publications about the hairdressing and barbering business. Very well produced, glossy and colourful, but totally uninteresting to anyone outside the trade. They were in a rack under the eye of the principal of the shop, but I guarantee none of them will ever be stolen…

But all was not gloom. When I went to the chair the barber introduced himself to me and offered his hand for a shake. This has never happened to me before in 71 years of having hair. We proceeded to the more mundane aspects of the business – what form of haircut, what number clippers, etc. I ordered one that left the ears intact but more or less razed the forest around them, and I am pleased to say that I got what I wanted.

When you are ” of an age ” your hair may not be what it once was. Unless you are Paderewsky or Einstein and sport a wild mane of distinguished white hair, the few tufts that push out amongst the increasingly bare patches start to look like rank growth, and the lower ranks at that. The comb-over is universally decried but equally almost universally tried. Each haircut is an agony of choice followed by the sort of expression that you get after a sheep is shorn. In some cases that tar is very hot…

I opted for a N0.2 all over followed by a N0. 1 at the sides. it is a Air Force haircut and would be equally at home on John Glenn or Mickey Spillane. I was frightened to look into the mirror but I’m actually quite pleased. And I shall remember the formula for the future – it was quick, simple, and done for $ 6 under the standard price. The wife has not collapsed into paroxysms of laughter so all is well.

Wearing Your ” Special ” Suspender Belt…

The one you only wear when you go out to ” special ” places. And do ” special ” things…

Generally you do these things in the dark with a few flickering lights. And a pulsating musical beat in the background. If you’re lucky you get to have a few drinks first, though you don’t want too many because that would affect your judgement and dull your senses. If you are going to wear your ” special ” suspender belt, you want to feel everything.

Of course there are people who tell you that this is all wrong. That you are doing something immoral. But they would tell you that if you weren’t wearing your ” special ” belt, so you might as well get used to it. Some people take entirely too much interest in the affairs of others.

Not me. I do not judge. I can see the sort of pleasure that this behaviour brings you, and as long as no-one is permanently injured I say go to it.

After all – where would the motion picture industry be if we did not all go to our local cinema and suspend our disbelief…?

Care for some popcorn?


A Designer Smarm Bracelet

Well, I got what I asked for this Christmas. A designer smarm bracelet.

It’s made of 100% recycled memes from the internet – political propaganda, passive-aggressive sneers and disguised bigotry. It’s got an adjustable catch and one size fits all.

Now I no longer need to be afraid that I won’t be able to sit with the cool kids at lunch. The smarm bracelet has something for every situation and all I need to do is turn it around on my wrist until the best snappy retort is uppermost and then wave it in front of my frenemies. If the brilliance of the charm doesn’t blind them, the jangling sound will deafen them. Either way I look like the winner.

And best of all, each meme is fastened with a clip that lets it come off. If it turns out that the fashionable opinion changes I can just get a new handful of buzz phrases and attach them. You can get the memes by subscribing to CNN and the ABC talk shows.

The Dating Site

I do not concern myself with dating sites. I am married and have been for 47 years. And 47 years’ll date you, I can tell you now…

But I am acquainted with people who have participated in this sort of electronic crown and anchor wheel. They are the equivalent of optimistic gamblers, right up to the point when they get thrown out into the car park. They bring much the same attitude to the dating site.

Of course this sort of thing is not new – mail order brides and husbands have existed ever since people learned to write lying letters. And in the old days, the process was dead serious. Both parties knew that the business of acquaintance, courtship, love, and marriage was likely to be written in a Sears catalogue – not a romantic novel. They both invested everything they had in whatever they got.

Now it seems a lot lighter in tone – and a lot more automated. I am told there are dating apps for your mobile phone and you peruse a menu or a womenu and take your pick. At the same time, the pick is looking at your picture and trying to see around the Instagram filter to find out if you have both ears on one side of your head. You are allowed to swipe right or left. Presumably the thing is not so advanced that you put coins in and the loved one drops out of a slot on the phone, but designers are always at work…

Is it romantic? In a way, yes…because the amount of footling and distortion that goes on with internet images means that anything you see is about 146% fantasy. You are mooning over pixels.

Is it practical? Possibly…if you advertise the desire for a stinker of a mate, I’ll bet you’ll get one. Can’t complain about the service there.

Is it safe? No. If you wanted safety you could sit at home and read a book about it.

Is it fun? I don’t know. Fun may have changed somewhat in 47 years and I might be using a very old operating system. Don’t ask me to update it.

Is the Washing Done?

I’m pleased to be able to say that my wife and I do not stink. It’s safe to stand next to us in lifts and bus shelters. Sometimes we are even fragrant, in a good sense – if the bath soap is fresh or if we have been dusting with Mr. Sheen. In any case we could be retailed in the flowers section of the nursery, rather than with the fertiliser.

Such doesn’t seem to be the case with some I meet. I’m not sure if my own olfactory senses are highly tuned or just adjusted to our house…but there are folks in shops and on public transport that would set gas gongs ringing in the trenches. And not all are knights of the road, either.

I’ll forgive the harried mum with the incontinent toddler – we’ve all been there when someone’s done that and we’ve been unable to escape. The only thing to be grateful for, besides an open window, is that the infant is not a small elephant.

I’ll forgive the down and out bum – the street hobo who can barely survive, let alone keep clean. There, but for the grace of God, go any of us…

But I’m red-hot incensed at the twenty or thirty-something who just doesn’t bother to wash, shave, or change clothing before they come out. Their choice if they want to be passed by, but if they want to do it as a stink, they can stay home and stew there.



Hide Your Tattoo

I have a tattoo. Which is a no-no for people of my ethnicity. If we follow the bronze-age rulings ( or is it just one of those things that came up in the commentaries…? ) we are not allowed them.

Of course, some have had them forced upon them…a sad and terrible time, and one upon which I will not comment.

I hope to escape criticism; my tattoo was inadvertent. I stuck my hand into a cupboard in the art room at school and connected with a steel-nib pen that was charged with india ink. After howling and picking it out of my hand, I found I was left with a permanent reminder of the incident. No picture, just a 3mm dot on one finger. As well, for years I had some black powder fragments driven under the skin when a loaded frizzen went off close to my elbow – but these have been gradually rejected by the body and do not show any more.

I’m drawn to these thoughts upon reading an article by someone who has deliberate patterns of tattoo on their various portions – and who seems to draw the ire of the righteous over it. Whether the critics are offended by the patterns or the parts where they are imprinted is uncertain – but the tattoo wearer has been ordered to cover them up. I think this is a load of hooey.

You don’t draw any picture – in any medium – to hide it. You draw it to be seen. However it comes out, if you have been diligent and artistic enough to do it, you should be given the respect to let it be seen. The viewer may like it or not, but it is ultimately no more of their concern than if it were on a canvas stretched on a frame and hung in a gallery. You don’t like it? Walk on in silence. Go see a picture you do like.

If you are angry and offended that pictures exist for others to like, then there is something  very wrong with you.

Perhaps you should be covered up…?