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.

My Head Does Not Hurt

My back, on the other hand, is a bitch this morning. Never pick up artillery shells without bending your knees.

Or, in my case, a cardboard box, a magazine, or a handful of feathers. It could have been any one of these that did the harm…or reaching up for a box of cornflakes on a high shelf. When it comes to backs, nothing is safe.

There are remedies, of course. Braces, Voltaren, hammering carpet tacks down the spine. All equally good. You can often alleviate the symptoms by dousing the affected part with rye whiskey from the inside. The back thing prevents you from changing the oil on your Volvo tractor, gardening, or sitting in hard church pews for 4 hours straight. But then normal good sense does this as well, and you aren’t curled up like a caterpillar for a week.

It is a passing complaint, and I’ll let it pass without afflicting it on too many others. The level of sympathy generally hovers between minuscule and zero and sometimes dips into the negative zone if the family think they can laugh at me unpunished. I don’t get upset at this – I just write it all down on my Revenge List and wait until they bend over and pick up a heavy laundry basket and let out that little yelp…

Fidel Gastro

This is an idea so cool that it needs to go viral. Or at least bacterial. Howzabout a pre-mixed pressure can of germs that can be purchased over the counter in any convenience store or chemist shop? With a fold-out nozzle like you get on a WD-40 can. Then you could spray a room or just one sandwich by merely flipping out the little red plastic tube.

We’re not talking plague here – or anthrax, smallpox, or Canadian politicians. This is just good old-fashioned gastro of the sit-on-the-pot-and-groan variety. Something you could pick up on public transport or at the library. Only instead of being a random occurrence, the BGA Butt Blaster Bug Bomb makes sure that the people who deserve to be ill are the ones who get to be.

Of course you’ll have to be responsible about its use. We make you sign a waiver at the counter stating that the BGA BBBB  will not be used on babies or the elderly. We’re not monsters, you know. But everyone else is fair game, particularly if they have a sense of humour. Or not, as the case may be. You’ll find out pretty soon.

If the product proves popular, we are thinking of introducing a commercial size suitable for fast food restaurants and large private schools.

Stinky Feet

” Stinky Feet! Getcha Stinky Feet Here! Fresh and hot to trot! Stinky Feet! ”

And we got ’em to fit all sizes. Now you can get all the privacy you want in the house by just removing your shoes and putting your feet up. When people begin to leave you’ll know you’re on the right track and when they dive out unopened windows you’ll know you’re really cooking…mostly with gas.

You may wonder why I know this. A pair of sandals gave rise to the speculation. I am not normally interested in my pedal extremities – being content when they both reach the floor at the same time – but recently they called themselves to my attention. Also they caught the attention of others in the room. How embarrass.

I have soaked the offending portions in a bucket of hot Dettol and scrubbed the sandals out with a similar detergent mix. The shoes are now baking in the sun. If the problem returns they will be baking on the tip.

One thing that a good old fashioned bath was useful for was soaking away this sort of noxious effluvia. Now that we stand in a shower it seems that we don’t really get rid of the problem as surely. Time to get out the epsom salts and the foot bath. It has a massage motor in it so that’s a good thing too.

Note: I have no objection to being That Stinky Old Dude, but I prefer to do it with pizza and  beer spilled down my shirt front.

Insomnia Is Nothing To Lose Sleep Over

If you are currently sitting at your screen because you can’t sleep, I have some good news for you: you might not be in such a bad state as you think.

Oh, you’ll be tired and listless, all right. Up too late when you think you should be sleeping soundly and fearful of how bad you’ll feel in the morning. Worried about not sleeping and then worried about the worrying. Not a pleasant prospect.

Note that I separate insomnia – an internal wakefulness – from those nights when you can’t get to sleep because some pest is watching soccer at 2:00AM or the neighbours are hosting a drunk. What you do about the latter two circumstances is between you and the man down at the gun shop. Remember murder is not legal, but rat shot is generally not lethal.

What you do about internal insomnia is…wait for it…nothing. No warm milk, sleeping tablets, meditation tapes, essential oils…nothing. Because all these are just chemical or physical rituals – they don’t cure anything. Possibly because there is nothing to cure.

If you are awake at 1:00AM, you are awake. If it is because you are cold, or sick, or hungry, go get a blanket or an aspirin or a sandwich. Don’t expect this to be an instant cure, but at least it means you are not lying there in the dark being uncomfortable. If you own a Siamese cat don’t expect to lie there comfortably anyway. But if you are lying there, awake, make the most of the physical comfort and then let your mind be free.

It may be free to sleep or it may be free to think. If it is a nasty little mind it can think nasty little thoughts  – otherwise it can have quite a good time remembering, planning, designing, telling stories, or anything else it wishes. It will know when to switch off and sleep, but when it is awake in the dark, the rest of your body gets about 85% of the physical benefit of sleep anyway.

Think of it like your computer when you shut it down – sometimes it runs on for a bit as it finishes off programs. Don’t panic about how you’ll feel in the morning. If you haven’t given yourself a drunken hangover you’ll have at least 85% of the health you need.

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…?