I love... no, I like fridge magnets! No... not the ones with Dutch windmills, the UK’s Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty from the States, or the Egyptian pyramids, but those that have homespun philosophies.
A mother and wife perhaps underlined the frustrations of cooking for a family of fussy eaters, in rehashing what was probably her Grandma’s mealtime mantra that, “Every day my family has two choices at dinner... take it or leave it!” In today’s environment of vegan, vegetarian, and everything in-between food fads, I think it’s a great statement of intent to ‘take back’ the kitchen!
Which also begs the random question... why do vegetarians like going to barbeques so much? I love doing a ‘bbq!’ They are a fun social occasion, with good food, good company, and usually lots of laughter... but there is always a vegetarian or a vegan who pushes and prods at the chicken, steaks, sausages, and burgers with a fork, lifting them half off the plate with a fascinated/horrified glance at the underside, expecting it to look different maybe, and stridently exclaiming something like, “Oh it’s disgusting! I don’t eat meat, and I don’t know how you can. You’re all disgusting, yuck!” I mean really, what’s that all about? Desperate for attention maybe? I don’t inspect the salad, cheese and yoghurts going, “OMG! When you think about where that’s come from...” Do I? it’s weird!
Much of the world too, is made of tea or coffee devotees, and obviously, someone who doesn’t drink coffee, and is sick of hearing about its revitalizing, recharging, rejuvenating qualities wrote... “Drink coffee! It doesn’t make you any better, but you will do the silly things faster!” People who don’t drink coffee, according to my good friend Asim al Saqri, and his wife Hajar, the owners of the ‘Kawa Kava Café’ in Birkat al Mouz, “have never lived!” Well, I took him at his word and tried one of his signature coffees one day... and never slept for 48 hours! On the other hand, we all know people who are so frustratingly slow they could do with an expresso drip.
Many fridge magnets focus on food and diets, and another good one that probably reflects my attitude to dieting, and my inability to stick to them, resonates with considerable empathy, being... “I just finished my 28 day diet... it took me only 36 hours and 17 minutes!” While the result of being unable to discipline my nutritional intake are consequentially clear, as a bygone insistence that “My body is a temple,” has today’s addenda of... “that was once worshipped, but is now an ancient, crumbling, abandoned, facile, remnant of yesteryear’s glories.” Fortunately, “I’m still good in bed... I can sleep for days.”
Our interactions with others are challenged, or enhanced, depending upon your perspective, by pearls of wisdom like this, clearly from someone with a thick skin, “I do not have an attitude problem. You have a problem with my attitude, and that’s your problem, not mine.” My Mum would explain that she “rarely argued, but often explained why she was right!” A warning was issued by another mother taken past their ‘tipping point,’ by a lazy teenage son saying, “You better run... the chains on my mood swing just snapped.” While the best of that genre must be, “I’m sorry. Did I roll my eyes out loud?”
I do like inspirational philosophies too, and though laughter may well be the best medicine, we take eloquence, meaning, and poignancy from the man with the greatest name ever given. Minor Myers Jnr was a noted liberal, political historian, political theorist, and philosopher, who once exhorted an Illinois Wesleyan University graduate cohort to “Go out into the world and do well,” then he thought for a moment and said, “but more importantly, go out into the world and do good!” How could you fail to be galvanized by such clarity?