Kosher anorexia

2010-09-11 00:00

I DON’T know why they have to employ such a miserable old idiot at the kosher meat counter. I mean I can’t walk past but what he comes darting out and accuses me of walking straight past his wares to the unhealthy goyishe meat counter just because things are on special there. He thinks because I have this long shnoz which hangs down from between my eyebrows to just above my upper lip I must be a Jew. I mean I know plenty Jews who don’t have long weird shnozim and anyway my friends say if I look like anybody it’s Osama bin Laden.

Mr Kaplan, say I, if I ignore your place it is because your sacred food is too expensive; if it were tastier I wouldn’t mind paying extra for some god-fearing old fart to lay his blessings on it. And how about putting your sausages on special then, so I don’t ignore them? But you’re paying for excellent attention, says he, see how artistic my display is, see the little sprigs of parsley all over and the decorative little sculpted radishes! Radishes shmadishes, say I, excuse me I must collect my accurséd pork bangers and away to my little after-lunch dreml, which uncultured philistines like you don’t even know about. Dremls shmemls I know about, says he, but I should be such a shlof and stupefy my brain with dreams in the middle of the day. Your brain is in a failed state inside your head, say I, it doesn’t even tell the outside to grow a bit of hair so you can anchor your yar mulkah down with girls’ hairclips, you have to stick it to your dome with Prestik. And there’s a nasty pong around here anyway. That smell comes from Raymond Ackerman’s yokkishe fish counter, says he, I don’t know what’s wrong with the man, see how dull his fishes’ eyes are, you can always tell if a fish is fresh by its shiny eyes. See how shiny my fishes’ eyes are. The pong I smell is of Mr Min, say I, which I dare say you use to polish your fishes’ eyes.

But there’s more to this life than such mindless bickering. My nephew-in-law, now, he has a fine old Victorian Gothic house down the bottom end of Town Hill, high walls and a lowish space beneath the wooden floors for storing things. He asked me please to come and stack certain timber in that space: yellow-wood and umthombothi which has to be stacked the proper professional way if you want to avoid warping. It was for his son Jeff, you see, a fine young fellow who is really into artistic woodworking, cabinet-making as distinct from carpentry.

There is a fine young daughter too, I must add, name of Nellie, also v. artistic. Or has been, that is, after a school lecture on anorexia she got sort of strange; when the family dindins was placed on the table she would place the back of her right wrist to her forehead and stagger off to her bedroom grasping at furniture along the way lest she fall down faint. She took to wearing long loose ethnic-type hippy clothing lest people notice her nice new little titties and nice plump legs. She would emerge in the morning with hair full of knots and eye sockets all black and sunken and stagger off to the bathroom to make such vomiting noises as would fill this Gothic house end to end. It was all terribly worrying, of course, she just didn’t eat, and my niece-in-law, her mother, took her to a psychotherapist.

Well anyway, here I am under the floorboards stacking this fancy wood one morning when I notice a strange kind of pyramid-shaped heap over there, something like a small termite mound, which upon examination turns out to be peach pips and chocolate foils and some bread crusts and a small plastic bag with a label saying Kaplan’s Free-range Springbok Biltong. “Hunted on the Hoof”. Phone Pofadder 1370. And tracing a vertical line from the top of this mound to the underside of Nellie’s floor I there come upon a fair size knot-hole. I put two plus two together and come up with E=mc² (i) Nellie doesn’t realise there’s an underside to the fine old Gothic house. (ii) Do we know a butcher round here called Kaplan maybe with a relative in Pofadder?

Good morning Mr Kaplan, say I, I would like half a kilo of your kosher springbok biltong, please. My what? says he. The springbok biltong shot by a Beth Din rabbi in Pofadder with a gun never ever used to shoot uncircumcised yokkishe springboks, say I. R145 a kilo, says he, unblushing. What? say I, the goy meat counter has springbok biltong for R120 a kilo! Well why don’t you buy it there then? says he. Because they’re sold out, say I. Mister, says he, if I was sold out I would give it to you R100 a kilo. Make that R135, say I. Done! says he and hauls out two plastic prepacks from a cardboard box behind his office door.

I discreetly placed one of them on Nellie’s P.C. keyboard for psychotherapeutic purposes, and you know what, the anorexia has ceased. Nellie knows it was me all right, but she’s my buddy, see, and I am hers.

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