Titles December 19, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
As always, this will be a few lines of ill-thought-out garbled chuff but, as the great Dr. Johnson said, “Blog it when it’s fresh, for ’twill otherwise surely go unblogged and unrecorded for the good of mankind,” or something like that. So I got to thinking, as I tucked into a little cigarette while pretending to be at the computer for work’s sake, that titles are an awfully useful thing. I’ll explain…
Now I’m having a cigarette. Yet, the thing is, I am, officially, a “non-smoker”, so it doesn’t really count, you see, me smoking. I may get through a good packet and a half on a “good” day, but, having nomenclatured myself a non-smoker, I can puff away without the slightest hint of remorse or worry – this is probably untrue, in fact, and the fact that I’m writing this is no doubt the first seed of guilt, doubt and worry. I might be renaming myself with early post-Soviet vigour forthwith – about what I’m doing to my innards. (I’m in a room alone with doors and windows closed so only my cactuses and swirly bit of IKEA bamboo can conceivably be suffering the effects of passive smoking before someone high-horses me.) But non-smoking smoker, that’s me. And, titles aside, I’ve got a squillion other ways of justifying this internally. If I hadn’t gone out yesterday, then I wouldn’t have had to buy these emergency fags anyway. So, you see, they’re only an occasional vice. Honest. No, really.
I’m all for a bit of deceit. My sister and her husband claim to be vegetarians. Drones ring out across nations the moment anyone thinking of ever inviting them into their home is reminded of the fact. But the wonderful thing is that my vegetarian sister and her husband are everyone’s favourite type of vegetarian. The type that eats meat. They’re always a relief, that kind, and make such easy guests. Most vegetarians I know eat meat. I decided I should be a vegetarian aged 19. As I was too dim to know why I’d done it and as you always have to justify why you’re a vegetarian to folk the moment you declare it, I eventually came up with a stock answer that it was because I hated animals so much. That normally shut people up. I never dared say this in France, of course, where vegetarianism is a serious social crime on a par with murder and not-being-in-a-bad-mood. (Oh, mais alors là, tu m’énerves!) And France soon cured me of my vegetarianism anyway. But the thing is, when I was a vegetarian, I happily chomped away on a choucroute bursting with sausage when it was put before me, willingly twizzled lashings of spagbol onto a spoon provided or even, when nobody was looking, gorged on burgers from the chip-van that served the hordes of drunken, underfed 19-year-olds that poured out of the Student Union building on a Friday night. My ex’s family was crawling with meat-eating vegetarians. We would condescendingly sneer at the barbarians tucking into succulent venison with a good splurge of thick, meaty gravy as we prodded our lentil bake gloomily around our yearning plates. Then we’d queue up, silently, with not a seditious word peeped by anyone, to gorge on the carnal leftovers when the barbarians had retired, fully sated, for the night. But vegetarians we remained, at least in name.
So, yes, I’m all for a bit of an obfuscatory title. I don’t know what else I lie about. A well-worn lie becomes so ingrained eventually that you forget it’s not the truth any more. But the day I declare on this site that I’m a non-drinker, someone call an ambulance. Quick.