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.
I sat in my local bus shelter this week, heading for town. I had a book, so I was fine. The bus was due in 10 minutes.
A car went by on the street. A man tooted his horn and waved…so I waved back. Then sat there puzzling about who he could be. Didn’t recognise the car at all… Then I turned to my left and saw the teenager sitting looking at her mobile phone screen.
On a chance, I asked whether the horn tooter was for her. Yes, apparently it was her dad going by. I gave a sigh of relief – I was off the hook. He might now be wondering why I waved but at least I wasn’t ignoring someone I should know. We went back to book and screen.
And the bus went by. Neither of us had thought to watch out for it, get up, or signal it.
There was nothing to do but wait another ten minutes…but put away the book and the phone at the eight-minute mark.
See? Being absent-minded is not just a sin of old age.
And don’t you forget it, Grandad. Don’t try that old business about having seen it all before just because you did actually see it all before. If I didn’t think of it after watching YouTube, it doesn’t count.
And don’t try rolling your eyes at me, old man. None of that senior sarcasm or you’ll be sent to your room with no supper. Wait? What do you mean it’s your food? Just because you’ve paid for it and cooked it and served it at your own table doesn’t mean you have a right to enjoy it if I disapprove. There are principles involved and the main one is I am young and right and you are old and wrong. And I am the judge of it all…I’ve got the internet.
And in a few years I’ll be able to vote and drink beer and smoke cigarettes and get the dole and post angry memes on social media whenever I want to. I got rights.
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?
Are you bored? Is the pace of daily life getting you down? Has all the Zip gone out of your Zipcode? Well do what trend-setting modern royalty do – hyphenate your name!
You don’t even have to actually be connected to a royal family – or a noble one – or any family whatsoever. In fact, if you have barred your door to all your relatives, hyphenating your name can be a fun way of sniping at them from cover.
Heretofore the hyphenated name was used by European nobility to notify their peasants that two groups of overlords were combining by marriage and that revolution was a bad idea because now there were two lots of armed guards on call. It worked well, and social media influencers ( aka priests and scribes ) were paid to insist that this gave greater dignity and legitimacy to the ruling classes.
It became such a sign of status that lower-born types also decided to adopt it. In Great Britain it became somewhat of a rage in the Victorian era as newly-rich landowners and ironmasters lumped together whatever surnames they had been given to make new imperial ones. The advent of Wilhelmine Germany and the realisation by the British ruling monarchy that that was, indeed, their circus and those were, indeed, their monkeys, led to the Anglicisation of Battenburg to Mountbatten and the brigading of the thing to the location of one of the castles – Windsor. Largely a public relations move, it was probably unnecessary as the British could have been counted on to die for the Manchester Board of trade or the London Stock Exchange just as well.
But what of today? If you have a reasonably presentable name like Smith and have contracted marriage or a social disease with a person named Jones you may apply to a magistrate to have it changed to a joint Smith-Jones….though the beak will probably smile at your folly. Don’t smile back. If you have a perfectly reasonable Indian name like Bhattacharyya and fall in love with a Finkleberg you can also brigade up the two but expect a louder guffaw from the magistrate. And from everyone else. Humans can be like that.
So ask yourself….
Will your new surname be a help to you in life? If you expect it will gain you admission to the Old Boy network if you are not one…no. The Old Boys and Old Girls know their own and guard the compound gates zealously.
Will it look well on a book cover? ” Tales Of Death And Bloodletting For The Shut-in ” will sell well in Japan but you need a local author’s name as part of it – consider marrying a Japanese person.
Will you be forever leaning over a clerk’s counter correcting their spelling of it? Wladislxvch Wczyzchchev-Prmzelyic led a life of hell when he moved to the Dutch East Indies…
Finally, think through your amours carefully before the first button is undone. If your surname is Getts and hers is Tuft, you would do well to shake hands now and part before morning.
I have been a pariah on several occasions in my life and look back on them with a certain fondness. Of course that warm glow is tinged with a sense of shame as I brought it on myself each time – but any memory is a good one, when you consider that there are people who are losing theirs day by day.
First incident occurred when I visited our local water treatment plant with an excursion group from dental school. We were shown the fluoridation equipment and harangued about how it would make our jobs redundant. Some forty years later I thought about this when I sold the practice and retired. How prophetic…
Any rate, we had been told to bring our own lunches so I stopped at a supermarket on the way up and bought some bread rolls and fillings. Cheese, salami, and olives from memory. I was rounded on by the classmates and laughed to scorn for eating dago food. The professor who accompanied us on the tour was a Greek gentleman and he sampled the salami and the olives, but said nothing. It rather soured me on eating with my classmates ever after – even to the extent of avoiding their graduation dinner. In the event, I graduated 6 months after the rest so the dinner would have been a pain anyway.
The next time I was asked to dine with the erstwhile classmates was a couple of decades later – after I had established my own marriage, family, and surgery and had moved past the point of being a worried little wart. I’d joined the ranks of the muzzle loading rifle shooters, got into historical re-enacting, and collect a number of uniforms and costumes.
When we were dressing for the 20th year dinner of my university class I remarked to the wife that everything I had to wear was dull and old. She suggested that I wear the latest bright costume that I had – a New York Zouave outfit. Ever the fool, I agreed.
I have never been greeted with more disdain or a colder shoulder than at that restaurant meeting. Old classmates literally turned their backs on me. Their wives flocked to me and we had a great good time discussing the oriental-style costume. The dinner was eaten and I retreated, and from that day to this most of those old classmates – resident in this city – have never spoken to me. I hear news of their madnesses, decrepitude, or business failures through the grapevine, but aside from that have no contact.
And the result? I am free to live my own life as I please – no posing to please and no tiresome social gatherings based on forty years ago. I may have done myself – and other pariahs – some good.
Wa are often besieged by people who would have us be kind to everyone. They smile and simper and pretend that saintly behaviour will be rewarded with universal happiness.
Saints have never been happy and their acolytes were no better off. Martyrdom was the best that any of them could hope for and in a lot of cases they had to work pretty hard to achieve it. Missionaries and prophets and reformers generally had to spend a lot of time making nuisances of themselves before they could compel the authorities to burn or expel them. They were unpleasant people who decided to spread it about.
How much better, instead of spreading kindness, to lash about with mindless acts. Folly and questionable behaviour spread thinly. The theatre of random occurrence. Do things then run away.
To this end I have gone to Bunnings and purchased three cans of clear acrylic spray in a matte finish and a large screwdriver. I’m going to the place out in the industrial area where they stack the wrecked cars.
The screwdriver is so I can scratch the paint and the cans are so that I can paint stealth graffiti. I’ll show ’em…