A Flo-cratic Easter dialogue

A conversation in which Kent (37, atheist) and Flo (6, Jewish), have a semi-successful discussion about religion. At Easter.

Happy Jesus weekend.

Kent: Are you ready for the last day of school before Easter?

Flo: Not everyone believes in Easter. My teacher is a little bit Jewish. That’s what she said, “I’m a little bit Jewish”. People can be whatever they want. They can believe whatever they want to believe.

Kent: That’s right, lot’s of people believe lots of different things.

Flo: Do you want to be be Jewish daddy?

Kent: …um… [tumbleweed] … because my Mummy isn’t Jewish, I can’t just say “I’m Jewish”, I would have to do a test.

Flo: Well why don’t you do the test? I just did my spelling test. It was easy. The Jewish test is probably easy.

Kent: I like hanging out with Jewish people, I’m married to one, but that doesn’t mean that I need to become Jewish as well.

Flo: But why don’t you want to be Jewish? If you’re not Jewish, then what are you?

Kent: I’m not sure of what the right name is, but I believe different things to Jewish people and Christian people.

Flo: Are you a Muslim then? You don’t have a mat, do you?

Kent: No, I’m not a Muslim. And you’re right, I don’t have a mat.

Flo: But I have seen you wrap a book up.

Kent: That was just to stop it getting wet in the rain. Christians and Muslims and Jewish people all believe certain things about God and life, but I don’t think the same things about God. That’s why I’m not Muslim, or Jewish.

Flo: What do they believe that you don’t.

[getting into dangerous territory]

Kent: Well, most of those groups think that God has written rules for how we should live. But I think that people are better at writing those rules. A lot of God’s rules were written a long time ago, and while some of them are good, I don’t think they all make sense any more. So this means that some people are using some rules that don’t make sense. I think what when people come together and share ideas, we can do a better job of figuring out what’s good to do and what’s not good to do. Better than using rules that don’t make sense.

Flo: Like what?

Kent: Like lots of things. Like whether it’s a good idea to eat bacon, or help people, or kill people who believe different things, or give your money away.

Flo: I like bacon.

Kent: That’s right. You’re Jewish and you eat bacon, because you’ve decided that it’s a good thing to do. That’s a people decision.

Flo: Bacon is soooooo yummy.

Kent: Yeah, it’s one of the tastiest things in the world.

Flo: But you don’t eat it. If you like it, why don’t you eat it?

Kent: Because I think it’s better if we don’t eat meat. I think this is one of those things that most people will do a good job of figuring out if we keep sharing ideas. It might just take some time, and even then, lot’s of people might not agree.

Flo: Because bacon is yummy?

Kent: Because bacon is yummy. Especially with banana and maple syrup.

Flo: Banana?!? That sounds disgusting.

Kent: See, I told you people might not agree.

Squirrel #6 – PREVIEW – Pret, Projects & Starcraft 2

Jim & I have been so caught up in the real world that we haven’t had time for any of our Squirrel on a Stick fantasy endeavours.

Not wanting you to have to go a full fortnight without us, here’s a little teaser for what will be coming up in the next episode.

Download Episode 6 Preview | Subscribe in iTunes

Jam, Gobble, Swallow & Burp

Today I’m eating lunch with my nine-month old daughter Florence; or rather, I’m busy being amused while she gobbles her food down with reckless abandon.

I’m jealous of Florence for the way she can eat, fistfuls of food, pulled with varying degrees of success into her gaping maw, coupled with an intense determination to enjoy it all. Her current method and manners suggest that, but for her age and current location in the space/time continuum, she wouldn’t look out of place at a fire-side boar feast in an Asterisk comic.

I wish I could eat like her: all enthusiasm and no cutlery, but if I tuck into even a pasty (a food surely designed to be eaten freehand) with any of her vim and vigour, I draw scowls of disapproval from nearby members of the public. “Eat that properly,” they think at my face, “or at least a little slower for God’s sake.”

But I don’t want to eat slowly, or carefully, or neatly, or politely. Sometimes I just want to tuck in with both hands like an angry viking, tearing where appropriate and slurping where possible. I want messy fingers and a dripping chin; I want evidence of a good time.

Much to the chagrin of my family and friends, I’ve always been a messy eater and I’ve spent the last thirty years being told to clean up my act. But I think now it’s time I let go of your expectations and followed my heart, if not my stomach. From now on I’m going to be taking my lead from Florence and the food goes in the way it comes out: messily and not without a certain degree of pleasure and satisfaction. If it feels right, I’ll be using cutlery, but if not, you’ve been warned. The only concession I’ll make is that I promise never to attempt Florence’s ultimate trick of indulging both ends at the same time. But only ’cause I love you guys.

Wearing White

Today I’m covered in vomit and I don’t care. If I changed my clothes every time my daughter Florence spewed on me, I wouldn’t have time to leave the house; but this afternoon I took it too far towards the other end of the spectrum which was probably even worse.

While down at the green grocer, the man behind the counter pointed to my jumper and said, “I think that you have something on your top.” I didn’t really have the energy or inclination to lie about what it was, so I just told him “oh, that’s just vomit,” and when the look on his face changed from concern to horror I tried to allay his fears by following it up with, “but don’t worry, it’s not mine.”

To a stranger, the only thing more alarming than being blasé about being covered in your own vomit, is being blasé about being covered in someone else’s.

The problem was, whenever I heard someone say, “you’ve got vomit on yourself,” I assumed that they were doing it out of a concern for my appearance and the welfare of my clothing. The real reason that people will tell you about vomit on your clothing however, is to measure your mental stability by gauging your reaction to news of the spew. If you have a normal reaction to news of the vomit, “oh God, really? Do you have a cloth?” then people can rest easy that you’re ok and that the vomit/porridge/tipex/semen down your top is the result of an accident that probably wasn’t you’re fault.

If however, you react with, “don’t worry, it’s not my vomit,” you present yourself as an absolute fuck-trophy, seemingly incapable of recognising or acknowledging the social damage that can occur when you’ve got a suspicious white stain on your top.

I mean, what kind of toolbox gets vomited on by someone and doesn’t think or care to clean it off? As it happens, this kind of toolbox.

To be fair, baby vomit isn’t as bad as adult vomit: It’s watery, it doesn’t smell of chartreuse & regret and until your baby is eating solids, it’s blissfully carrot-free. But despite this, telling someone that the vomit on your shirt is “only semi-curdled breast milk” doesn’t placate their concerns, it’s just a surefire way to make sure that you’re well on your way to earning a reputation on par with trough-man.

The up-side is that at least fatherhood has allowed me to break free from the shackles of caring what other people think. The down-side is that I’m no longer welcome at my local fruit shop.

Existential Vomit

I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with my daughter Florence, but every time she sees her own reflection, she vomits on herself. At first we thought it was just a coincidence. We’d held her in front of the mirror twice and both times she’d spewed cascades of semi-digested breast milk which would soak through whatever she was wearing and splatter artfully on the floor – disgusting, but hardly statistically valid.

Now while Normal-Kent was busy giggling and Pragmatic-Kent was wondering if a spewy mirror needs to be windexed, Science-Kent was considering the possibility of correlation and causation in the case of Florence vs Florence. Now, Science-Kent is generally not to be trusted. One only need review his past hits “Burning the Garage with Napalm” (1993) & “There’s No Way We Could Get Pregnant Doing it Like This” (2009) to know that he’s a reckless idiot with little regard for consequences (or the highly flammable nature of a gel-based flame fuel). But Science-Kent had his interest piqued and was going to test his mirror-vomit theories no matter how many times it meant cleaning the floor in the hallway.

At this stage, before any of you decide to call child services, I should probably mention that at no time in the following experiment did Florence become distressed. If anything she’s a cheerful vomiter who is just as happy throwing up as she is eating her own fist, playing with her toy rabbit or bending the laws of conservation of mass with the incredible volume of shit she produces.

So with the aim of determining if there was any relationship between the mirror and the throwing up, Science-Kent presented Florence to her reflection every day for a week to see what would happen. What happened, was that he spent a lot of time cleaning the floor. Not only did Florence spew on herself every time she looked in the mirror, but the time it took her to spew grew shorter and shorter with every session. By Sunday of “Science Week”, we only needed to walk past the mirror with Florence in our arms and she would spurt a torrent of hot surprise down the length of both of us. Despite our concerns, Florence seemed to think the whole thing was delightfully funny. She’d see her reflection, giggle, wave, fart and then blaarrgggghhhh before laughing to herself and then jamming her fist in her mouth – such a lady.

It didn’t really offer any clues as to why she spewed, but at least the laughing did rule out the possibility that the vomit was triggered by existential terror. I’d been concerned that when she saw herself in the mirror she realised the bare reality of existence which manifested itself as a warm stream of curdled horror – so the laughing was a load off my mind. Some parents worry about illness or strangers, I worry that my daughter will be petrified by the nature of her own existence.

One week in and still no closer to the truth, the experiment was called off after my fiancee Charly asked me why I was scrubbing the floor again. When I told her about my quest to learn the secret behind the mirror and spewing, she just looked at me with a mix of pity and despair “She gets excited when she sees her reflection and she vomits when she gets excited.” Smart arse.

There’s nothing quite like the humiliation of discovering, the hard way, something that was as obvious to everyone else as hot chunder on a freshly cleaned mirror. Of course, I didn’t feel bad, but Science-Kent is very proud and he moped around the house for weeks, not even motivated enough to watch old, clips of “The Curiosity Show” on you tube. Thankfully he recovered from his melancholy after hearing about what happened when Charly forgot about Florence’s affliction and took her into a changing room at The Gap.