Friday, May 12, 2017

Don’t Shred Your Coconut in My Toto

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone should express similar beliefs and diets.

For some people the sight of a coconut brings to mind rum, vacation, freedom, lazy days, flip-flops, straw hats, a stress free lifestyle and floral clothing.  Life in the tropics was always touted as being conducive to good health, thanks to the coconut which most people have identified with.  Ask the elders of yesteryear and they would have told you that coconut water is a great thirst quencher and the only water that goes straight to the heart.  Equally soothing to the soul is the signature picture of the tropics, an ocean with blue water and a single coconut tree standing guard.  Chiefly though, like a true agriculturalist, it is noteworthy to mention that the coconut tree is a member of the palm family and is significant to the tropical and subtropical climates.

Genus, endosperm, copra, drupe, mesocarp, pericarp, epicarp and endocarp are some of the endorsed labels that are associated with the anatomy of the coconut.  The translations are welcome and when put into proper perspective they give credence to the perverse minds of humans.  If the translations are not clear, view the handling of a coconut by a consumer.  Nature makes no apology in it delivery as the skin is peeled away, exposing the waiting flesh in the middle ready to be eaten.  Besides courting the freak in humans, the coconut is also known for its resourcefulness.  In its immature stage it is referred to as “jelly coconut” because of its tender meat or flesh and abundance of water.  The meat of the matured coconut is hard; from which oil and milk can be derived.  The shell is used as charcoal or carved into jewelry and other items; whereas the coir from the fibrous husk is used as stuffing for mattresses. With all those assets and more, the coconut essentially equates to wholeness.

As a child I was frightened by the height of the coconut tree and the tales that surrounded it.  The most interesting tale was about its association to the supernatural world.  For example, pieces of meat from the matured coconut were placed in designated areas in and around the home to trap evil spirits or to be more cultural “run di duppy dem”.  I also recall the coconut being used as a weapon.  It functions like the stone.  One forceful strike on any area of a person’s body, especially the forehead, could be ruinous.   Then there were times when the physique of the coconut tree was used to verbally abuse a lanky person, “Goh wey!  Yuh lang like coconut tree”.  The most astonishing display of the verbal abuse was when the abuser included the owner of the coconut tree to bestow the abuse, “Goh wey! Yuh lang like Mass Jim coconut tree”. Some songsters also used the coconut to convey sexual advances and thirst.  Digging into my memory bank one such song carried the lyric, “Coconut wata good fi yuh dawta”.  If that wasn’t enough just listen to a Jamaican who detests when someone lies to them, “Yuh going straight tuh hell in a coconut shell”.  It’s hard not to look at the fact that a dried coconut shell vigorously fuels fire.

The most admired recollection of the coconut is the entrepreneurial spirit it had brought among the people who were financially challenged.  They were propelled into making cooking oil from the meat of the matured coconut for home use and peddling.  At the time, the popular brand Puritan or other refined oils would have left them broke if they were to cook with them every day.  Additionally, the coconut oil that they made was also used for skin care and medicinal purposes.  Their resilience and skill also led them to produce milk from the coconut which they used in teas, coffee, soups, porridge and other foods.  The phrase “tough cookie” is relevant to the coconut.  It is by name, fame and nature.  It rose from the scrutiny of the rich who had viewed it as a poor man’s food, back in the day, to being one of the most sought after produce.

More and more each day the ultra-nutritional benefits of the coconut have been alarming according to reports and research, enough to drive its lovers nuts.  It has become a popular and main ingredient in most concoctions produced in the kitchen.  I think of the delectable indulgences especially the Jamaican ones such as cassava, potato and corn puddings, toto, grater-cake, drops and the roast coconut which was one of my favorite childhood treats.  Today, the toto is a big winner for me from among the list of coconut products.  It has become a handy snack at home and work.  It would be an evil act in the culinary world not to add coconut as one of the ingredients when making TOTO.

However, my one desire is not to have any one shred their coconut in my toto.  The toto is not a participant in a ticker tape parade.  The confetti look alike pieces of coconut dodge my bites all the time.  It is impossible to chew the slender suckers without biting my tongue.  I spend too much energy focusing on how to get rid of them instead of enjoying the real taste of coconut in my toto.

While I am at the heart of the shredding of coconut in my toto, I have also noticed the coconut drizzle in its various debut.  What’s up with that?  Please stop with the coconut drizzle.  Sometimes it drizzles so much that it floods away the taste of the other ingredients in the food.  I know that I am not the only being around but it’s important to remain calm in the kitchen and not be carried away by creative juices.  My toto is not a “cook-off” game.  Be nice to me.  Let me enjoy a chunky piece of coconut in my toto.  Let me get a good bite of it, chew and then swallow. That is all I desire and when all my teeth are gone due to aging I will have grated coconut in my toto, soft and poh-toh poh-toh (slushy).

Tah-tah!   The things that have been overlooked could be important. 

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Power of the Old Fashioned Thank You

Thank you!   Spasibo!   Many Thanks!   Yekeniyeley!   Thanks!   Gracias!   Tenk yuh!   Merci!   Danke! Diakuyu!

To count the many ways to say thank-you is alluring.  Perhaps even more alluring are the various languages in which it can be said: English, Russian, Tigrinya (Eritrea), Spanish, Jamaican dialect, German, and Ukrainian just to name a few.  It is also important to know that some people express gratitude through actions.  They will give a card, gift, flowers or extend an invitation to dine at a fancy restaurant. And believe it or not some people usually count on giving a session of revved up sexual intercourse.  For them there is no other thank you as grand as that.  If anyone is surprised about this, you are not alone because I often wonder why the method of procreation has to be dragged into almost everything we do.  Is there a presumptive reminder here?  I leave this for the rocket scientist to figure out :).

In the meantime, the improvement in technology has given leads on how to funnel thank yous.  Send a video message, skype or do FaceTime.  Online shopping would serve well for the people who express gratitude through action.  Buy and ship. No waiting on lines as seen at the Post Office or elsewhere.  Likewise, there are others who would rather send an electronic thank you.  Chose an item be it word-based or pictorial and then upload and send to the intended recipients via Facebook, email or any other form of social media.  This method is super-duper for the frugal, lazy bones and the people who view thank you as a trend instead of good breeding.  On the other hand, such senders will quickly remind the recipients who oppose the method that it is the thought that counts. Sure enough it is good to keep that thought and treasure it too but the concept of leaving bricks and mortar to exist in a virtual world has taken away the person to person interaction which contributes to a joyful soul.  Some things are more acceptable when they are not in an artificial state especially among the people with strong emotions.

Electronic devices amount to fun for some people.  They are drawn to the assembled pieces of gold, aluminum and other materials which constitute a computer. The truth is that the computer has a brain like the human and can be programmed to do or say anything.  It can be polite: Tell me in a few words what you are calling about. It can be insulting: I am afraid I do not understand you.  It can be curt:  Goodbye.  It can be unsympathetic: You do not have sufficient funds for this transaction.  Regardless of how efficient a computer is it does not give the same vibrations or connectedness like a human would.  Thank yous should be a part of our daily interactions with people.  For example, inasmuch as we pay for our taxi rides, we should say thank you to the driver when we get to our destination.  If someone holds the door for us we should say thank you.  If someone bags our groceries at the supermarket we should say thank you.  If someone gives up a seat on the train to another rider, it is incumbent for that rider to say thank you.  We should never ever take thank you for granted or hold it for a ransom. A thank you doled out could make someone’s day.

It is poignant to me whenever I receive a thank you note or card which is handwritten instead of being typed.  It is enlivening.  It leaves a great impression.  To top it all, the five senses will be involved upon receipt.  It will replace what electronic means has robbed us of.  A good old fashioned handwritten thank you note or card embodies civility.  Sometimes our daily maneuvers should not be centered around quickness or anything artificial. Instead it should be about the basic things in our environment that use to bring us satisfaction and happiness.  Therefore, it’s time to retrieve a few note pads, fountain pens and inkwells and start writing THANK YOU the old fashioned way again.  Someone will be eagerly waiting to receive the precious back to basics.  Pick a leaf from a tree or take a petal from a rose, fold it in the note and then place it in an envelope.  Or, roll the note and put it in a tube. Upon receipt, it will boost the five traditional senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

Tah-tah!   New broom sweeps clean but old broom knows corners. 

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2017

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Leap Year 2016 In Review…Superstition, Idiosyncrasy and Adage

30 days hath September
April, June and November.
All the rest have 31,
Excepting February alone
Which has but 28 days clear
And 29 in each leap year.

By the time this essay crosses paths with everyone, it is my wish that the year 2016 with one final day to complete its tenure would have been stopped in its tracks with its bucket of devastation, deluge and wicked wonders.

On the political front, the turn of events in the United States of America during the Presidential Campaign have been jaw dropping.  It wasn’t politics as usual.  The days of law and order and sticking to the rules and regulations were overrun by brutish modern style and sordid comedy.  It has also defined that a woman’s place is in the house…the small house which is the kitchen. To have galvanized a posse of rowdy women with frying pans, rolling pins and dutchies (cast iron pots) would have probably done the trick of chasing an “orange-hair” white man out of town thus giving America its first female President.  But as the beat went on and ended it’s now what will be will be.

To say the least though, during all the hullabaloos and shenanigans, the other extremes in life whether by free will and brute force were hardly noticed.  The tragic loss of family members and friends were merely given thought and so were all the major successes in our daily lives, surroundings or even in governmental affairs.  The social digest was so covered with hate that I had totally forgotten about the traits of a leap year. The elders from way back when had instilled in my head that a leap year is a year to be watched.  It is a year that is filled with major disasters and happenings. I have marked the behavior and I must say that there have been elements of truth in what the elders imparted. As an example, the elders mentioned that a woman who is in a relationship with a man becomes the aggressor by proposing to that man.  It is the one time that a woman can take the role of a man without being criticized of not having pride. We all know that the traditional way expects men to ask for a lady’s hand in marriage and not the other way around. It is also said that cooking black-eye peas on New Year's day will bring good luck throughout the year.

Tied into the superstitious settings of a leap year are other beliefs and idiosyncrasies that some individuals take on during the onset of any new year. For example: a) One should never wash dirty clothes on New Year’s Day because that will become chronic throughout the year. b) Throw away old brooms and buy new ones to sweep your houses. If not, ill luck will prevail throughout the new year. 

Beyond the New Year's beliefs, which I wish that I had enough time to list a few more, I also like to dabble in other kinds of adages of some sorts.  I will whet your appetite until another time: a) A dog’s toe nail draws lightening. So never be around any dog during the course of lightening. b) Do not wear one foot of a shoe and leave the other foot bare because it a sign of calling your mother’s death before time. c) On arriving at your home late at night, it is important to enter backwards to prevent any evil spirit, that trailed you, from entering your home :) :).  d) Tan an see nuh spwile noh dance. A interference mash it up. (Do not engage yourself in every activity).  e) Cotton tree should know how its behind stay before it calls wind. (Educate oneself before getting involved).

Last but not least, I hope that in 2017 we will exercise love.  We should all start a project by sewing the dodder/love bush/love weed to show some love.  Back in the day it was most children’s delight to pull a handful of dodder or love bush, cast it on a shrub or tree, spit on it and then call the name of a person that we were in love with.  If the plant grew and spread abundantly that meant that the person was also in love with us.  This little assignment always made me smile and brought joy to my soul.  On this note go spread the dodder.  Have a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Tah-tah!  Spread some love.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall Copyright © 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dear Millennials: I Refuse to Be Obsolete

How truthful is the phrase: When in Rome, do as the Romans do?

Hey Millennials! WTF! ‘SUP with D lingo, technology N writing style? Please, allow me 2 introduce myself B4 U ask who the person is.  I am a Baby Boomer N anything U can do a Baby Boomer can do better. That is our mantra :).  U dig! So DYD, for one-minute, underestimate my/our full potential.  Yow! I am LML BC D abbreviations that U use when texting is off D chain…mad fly!  Oh sweat!  LMAO. I have never seen anything like that.  BTW just let me put it out there, somewhere in D universe, that Baby Boomers R familiar with abbreviations 2. We 2 believe in quick ways 2 convey thoughts N information.  It was common assault during my elementary school years 2 learn abbreviations N then quizzed by D class teacher on their meanings.  Some abbreviations spell real words N those R called acronyms.  FYI check D book called First Aid in English which gave me my first taste of abbreviations.  However, please keep in mind that D abbreviations in that book speak integrity which is a far cry from UR WTF N others of such nature.  LOL.  U Millennials really crack me up; if U know what I mean. We have been there N done that. We know D crude stuff 2. We R not innocent N have had a few wild moments in executing texts which include H E 2 STICK, BAS N @#!&%.

Millennials, U may LYAO at D mention of telegram.  WADR I am not insulting UR intelligence but do U know what a telegram is?  Back in D day telegrams were used where phones did not exist.  D messages were shaped with brevity 2 cut cost.  Less words would B less money. For example: Mother low come quick.  I recall D Jamaican women who used 2 take pleasure in sending messages 2 their love interests via telegram.  They enjoyed using cryptogram.  One such lady, over powered by her amorous feelings, resorted 2 D use of D abbreviations seen on D license plate of certain motor vehicles. D abbreviations were CMC (Commercial Motor Carrier) N PPV (Peoples Private Vehicle).  D cryptic manner conveyed otherwise: Come man come (CMC) Pussy Positively Vex (PPV). ROTFLMAO at this TMI.

LOL. B4 going further with this essay, let me pause N give my respect 2 D numbers’ posse that R tantamount 2 D pronunciation of some words.  It’s a pleasure 2 C them 2 incorporated in texts because they also save time N space. They R fly but not as fly as D official shorthand writings known as Greg, Pitman N ABC.  2 me they R D masters of all shorthand writings. Back in D day such shorthand was considered a RASS in D workplace N an important skill among D Baby Boomers who worked as an office clerk or a secretary.  Bosses dictated D contents of a business letter which was taken in shorthand N then accurately typed in Standard English in a jiffy.  Millennials, do U C what I am saying?  Beyond that some PPL who were enticed by this kind of shorthand writing took advantage of it for their personal use just 2 freak D hell out of D ignorant PPL N nosy parkers :) :) :).


Millennials, if U should go back in time U would notice that abbreviations N shorthand writing have come full circle.  As for technology it has been around a long time, not today, not yesterday but for a very long time.  I SMH at D way Baby Boomers R viewed when it comes 2 handling advanced technology.  Hey U guys it is only fair 2 say that U were born in an age that lives N breathe technology. Hence, U would B crazy not to master it.  Everything around these days R computer by nature so 2 speak.  I doubt if U even know D correct way to hold N use a pen N pencil.  2 a certain degree, advanced technology has engaged us in touch screen, voice command, electronic signature N all kinds of hullabaloo.

As for GPS we had it long before you had ever dreamt about it.  In D rural area of Jamaica GPS was 2 our beck N call in D form of D insect named Criss Alice. We dug deep in D earth 2 find them, hold them N ask them 2 show us any location or direction 2 a certain place.  This method worked like a charm.  Criss Alice never failed.  It flicked its body 2 D desired request. LMFAO.  Also when it comes 2 voice command, Baby Boomers were in business long before it became an important feature. We practiced for many years shouting in hollow places N across hills N dales where our voices echoed back at us. It wasn’t ET playing games with us. It was D real deal which was improved on later :) :). While I am at this, screw U Siri because I remember D time when I asked U 2 spell D word FUCK N U told me that U do not engage in profanity. Millennials, GMAB!  U may laugh N call us crazy but if U should think about it we were way ahead of our time:).  Trendsetters!  D word out on D street is that Freud was seen as a madman.  So were Chopin N Shakespeare.  Get UR queue from that.  There is no other genre G8R than Baby Boomers. DWL.  Drop MIC. LOL.

Millennials, Baby Boomers have lived through many changes N in context each change is relevant 2 D next. FUTAB.  SSDD. Love under new management :) :) :)  OMG!  Adding 2 that I LMFAO when Baby Boomers like me talk about carbon paper, micro fiche machine, key punch machine, word processer, manual typewriter N U ask what R those things.  GMAB Millennials!  Go easy:).  They were BAE.  They 2 had lived their modern times.  CTFU.  Hearing about Wang computers have a way of freaking U out.  I wish I had a couple 2 taunt U with daily.  DWL.

Hello Millennials, this Baby Boomer is not about dissing U neither B in any competition with U.  D concern is 2 get D word out that Baby Boomers will N can adapt 2 change.  Yes, we can especially if it is a matter of survival.  Given that, it’s about time some PPL STFU N stop saying this N that about Baby Boomers.  Don’t B saying that we R 2 old 2 B tech savvy.  We R like good wine; we improve with age:). Baby Boomers ain’t no child left behind.  HMU anytime.  ICYMI, this Baby Boomer is no slow poke.  FMY, Millennials! I wish that I could list D many reasons, stories N examples why I refuse 2 B obsolete.  I can text just like U.  I can whine like U. I can take shots like U. I can curse like U. I know how 2 scroll D internet N tell those darn cookies 2 piss off N especially spell check which has a mind of its own. 

My dearest Millennials, Baby Boomers R exceptionally marketable just like D wedding rule: something old, something new, something borrowed.  We come with versatility, life experience N long attention spans.  We know how 2 multitask: wash, cook, clean, iron, feed children, run 2 D store… all accomplished in 1 shot while keeping focus.  N that is only 1 of D many ways that we can multitask.  So Millennials, listen 2 me boos, I just KMT when I hear PPL try 2 place Baby Boomers in a corner, expecting them 2 doubt themselves in a world where technology changes like D fashions in D garment industry.  There is a saying in Jamaica which overrides all doubts N fears “If a egg mi in a di red”.  No one can stop us but ourselves.

Tah-tah!   We are never too old to learn.

BLOUSE AND SKIRT (Jamaican expression)

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

Coming Soon... Dear Millennials: I refuse to be Obsolete

The texting lingo and style among the Millennials have become rather popular. WTF is up with this?!?

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Penis as a Pencil…Indelible and Erasable

The penis and the pencil both have points...points with points of interaction.  From another perspective the power of the point can either build, teach or destroy.

Hands up and hands down, the penis is a magical tool.  It ticks, stretches, bends and usually experiences episodes of atrophy. There is whispering about its many labels: grizzle, prick, weapon, tone, willy, pipe, pilley, pencil, stabber and peter. Don’t be too eager to breathe a sigh of relief because there are more labels: injection, wiener, dick, shaft, knife, sausage, joy stick, wood, bruiser and gun.  Remain calm for the next round: candy cane, rod, ruler, cock, corkscrew, cocky, lollipop, pecker, and tickler are among the drop in the bucket.  Given that, can you imagine the private names and the ones used during secret romps?  In all seriousness, why are so many labels attached to the penis?  Is it vying against the king of the jungle?  It’s possible that locale, arrogance, emotion, ruckus, ego, disbelief, hurt and feelings could have led to the labels.  In addition, some of the labels are so highly embraced.  Hence, the audacity to reference deed poll to make a name change certainly would not come as a surprise.  Nevertheless, of all the names given to the penis, there is none quite as amazing and intriguing as pencil.  They are both elongated and are repeat offenders of poking, spotting and touching.  They equally engage in scripts which are indelible and erasable.

The driving force behind the pencil is the lead. Thus, there are designations such as HH, HB, BB to differentiate the hard and soft lead.  More pressure will have to be applied when working with a hard lead.  This is the truth but even so the devil would bemoan the breach created by this choice.  The only ratification in this situation would be the use of a material that is suited with the stamina of an ole turbit.  To clarify that, the Jamaican elders back in the day would lament at the amount of time and heat it took to cook the fish called turbit (turbot).  To them anything or anyone seemingly tough would be referred to as ole turbit.  If a pencil with soft lead is chosen to do work, I cogitate the frustration of having to entertain slipping, rubbing and smearing and the rush to put it back in the desired position.  Coupled with that are the ejection of thoughts which leads to the conclusion that the pencil is not good: Wah happen to it?…It not werking at all…Cyaan bada wid it.  Regardless of the outlook, the soft and hard pencil have their place among clients.  For example, no matter what the quality of the pencil is, a person with the expertise in manipulation would make it function.  Even with this designation, a pencil’s operative and disposition is shady.  From time to time the lead displays a disruptive halt, spent /bruk/pop seconds into doing work, in the middle or half of one second away from achievement. To scream disappointedly is to put it mildly as this warrants nothing short of a premature ejaculation.  In some cases, it is conceivable that the introduction and the trying-out of a pencil on new material can contribute to premature work due to excitement and rush to get the work done.

When working or writing with a pencil it is best to savor the moment as there is beauty in looking at the work we are engaged in.  Put effort in properly holding and operating the pencil.  Do not tap the material with the pencil because this suggests the behavior of a sadist…abusive.  Also, be certain that the pencil is up to par because too often when the pencil is not good, the material usually gets blamed for poor work.  Romance the material with solicitous long statements.  Sentence the material with sweet words. View the material all over.  Brush away a careless flake caused from erasing.  Linger on the dots.  Make them brighter by scouring the area with tender circular motions to avoid punctures. Tickle the material by touching up a letter or two. Be playful about it.  Plus, if you have to chew on the pencil, please be very careful because the possibility of swallowing foreign objects could be detrimental.  Then, there are also times when the pencil operates beyond comprehension. It triggers zombie reactions such as the uttering of strange language, the will to die, screaming, moaning, profanity, promising not to give away the pencil, neither share it.  And most frightening is the repetitious yelling of Jesus and oh God.

The pencil is mightier than the spoken words and this is noticeable in its various colors.  Yellow, white, black and brown are a few from the abundance.  They all function in the same manner and the primary goal is to make an impression.  The pencil also comes in sizes and shapes: long, short, stout, meager, oversize, wide and stump.  If that isn’t exciting, please be informed that according to designers’ likenesses some pencils, to the touch, are smooth whereas some are created with veins. The 4-1-1 never seems to end when it comes to the pencil. As it is, the pencil can also be mechanical, one push or couple twists and the lead rears its head ready for movements.

So far the pencil is a cool tool even when it jots or doodles.  That being the case, it would be interesting to conduct a survey on the performance of the pencils in our society.  Will it be copacetic, so-so, chicken scratch, crab toe, barely there, or good fist?  The chicken-scratch and crab-toe writer does not give an iota about meticulousness, patience, or material satisfaction. The attitude is slam, bam, thank you, moving on to another subject.  Whereas the writer with the good fist gets down to the nitty gritty, not missing a step when engaged in cursive writing.  The proper formation of letters and chiefly the expertise in the light and heavy strokes can be seen in the letters with loops.  The dotted… i… and the crossed… t… are vastly imperative as these demonstrate attention to details.  A carpenter, working on any material, uses a pencil to make points of contact before getting into details.  An artist maneuvers the pencil to exercise details.

To leave any stone unturned about the pencil would be a sham. It is expected that everyone needs a pencil that is a winner.  One that works well.  However, particular attention should be paid to the measurements.  Already, in some cases, the build can pose threat in the procurement of a good grasp as much as a tussle between quantity, savings and quality.  Some people are addicted to pencil, any kind of pencil.  Some will go out of their way to find a good working one or even pay big bucks to get one.  Is there failure in doing so?  To dabble in opinion, the most expensive pencils or the good-looking pencils are not necessarily faithful.  They are flaccid and dry, perhaps an oversight by quality control or a deliberate act in allowing them to slip through the cracks.  Now and then, the better deal is with the pencils that are a dime a dozen.

 Remember a good pencil is elusive; the idea is to groom a low-cost one, making it to be the ultimate tool.

Tah-tah!   Choose wisely.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2016

Disclaimer:  This article was not written to inveigle anyone into using the pencil to stimulate or appease sexual appetite.  Please refrain from placing it in the orifices on the body. Doing so could result in bodily harm. Should you indulge, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When the Rum Is In…Wit, Brouhaha, Tragedy and Sex Mingle

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, College Edition has defined the word rum as: an alcoholic liquor or spirit distilled from molasses or some other fermented sugar-cane product; intoxicating liquor. 

Skrunk as a dunk!  Drunkards attract gossip. They are laughed at and mocked by the common mischief-makers.  To a zealous preacher, drunkards are causes for concern.  They are viewed as lost souls.  So, it is hook line and sinker when a preacher looks at the congregation from the pulpit and then in a wailing voice delivers:  My brothers and sisters let us take heed as we traverse this land because it is written that wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.  And whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.  Such admonition is geared to set off deep and long groans from the congregation especially among the guilty members.  They are sanctified in the moment, truly penitent of all their indiscretions, perhaps until it’s time for another drink of intoxicating liquor.

 How did sugar-cane mutate into such a wanton brute as rum?  Sugar-cane is a juicy delicious product with the end result of a toothbrush.  To tell the truth sometimes I wonder about chemists and scientists and their zeal to accomplish.  The layman otherwise classified as the try-a-thing-person should also be given thought.  This individual through trial and error will concoct palatable foods and beverages in the kitchen at home which sometimes end up on store shelves.  Whatever the rigmarole is about rum being a byproduct of sugar-cane, the fact is, there is intoxicating liquor available to the public.  And the transfiguration, whether or not it is consumed in moderation, has the potential to stir raucous far more than its purpose in the world of the supernatural and the medicinal and cooking values established in the olden days.  Some people taking rum under scrutiny will refer to it as devil’s soup particularly when it is linked to cantankerous and catastrophic behaviors.  This brings to mind the brawls at bars and the drivers who consume alcohol and then get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle to drive. Their notion of being a better driver after consuming alcohol is rather preposterous.  Luckily there are laws to control that widespread belief.

The effect rum has on its patrons is mind boggling.  It releases inhibitions.  Shy people become chatty and frisky.  People who knowingly avoid others daily will engage them in conversations and to the point where loose lips sink ship.  What was once held as secret becomes public knowledge.   It is also noticeable that a rum-drinker loves to do renditions of lullabies and love songs.  Reciting poems and engaging in debates, history, geography and religious knowledge are among the likes.  Some rum drinkers will sit quietly, stare blindly into space and cry for no apparent reason.  Some will laugh uncontrollably.  Some with pent-up emotions will speak their minds; and true to the saying: A drunkard speaks with a sober tongue.  Some will ask the same question or repeat the same story a million times as they drink.  I pause to think about the functioning alcoholics.

Is rum a weird product or is it the drinkers who are weird?  Some who have been stung by the full strength of rum will say that it is made from boxing gloves and underwear.  Reason being, it allures the drinker to fight or make love.  As farfetched as this may sound, there are men who claim that drinking rum increase their staying power during sexual intercourse.  Colloquially speaking, they will ride their partners for hours before “dem bruk” (ejaculate).   Then there are times when the rum-drinker tries to exercise wit and it would always be about Jesus.  One example is that Jesus found it difficult to level with the people because he mostly delivered sermons from the top of a mountain.   

Rum is truly a spirit, a spirit which influences intention and interpretation.  Sometimes there is an enlightening moment.  I recall a birthday party where a tipsy friend and I lamented that people of the darker hue had a habit of holding nighttime social activities.  Are we ordained to do so?  Adding to that, the majority of us arrive at parties long after the start time...sometimes close to the finishing time which is daylight.  In some cases, which I have witnessed, the arrival time for 9:00pm is usually 1:00am.  People of the lighter hue, on the other hand, always seem to have their activities early evening with an end time of midnight or sooner.  According to my tipsy friend, it’s the slaves’ behavior that still lives in us.  He then went on to say that the slaves attended to their masters’ requests constantly.  They were not allowed to eat meals until after their masters and the masters’ families and guests had eaten and all entertainment for the day had ended.  By that time the night had advanced drastically; the only time available for the slaves to attend to themselves and engage in their own social activities.  I remain impressed by my friend’s talk.  Who would have thought that people of the darker hue had inadvertently embraced the unavoidable practice of late night doings from the slaves?  Tom drunk but Tom is no fool.

Tah-tah!   Be wise!

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2016