Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ridding ourselves of abominations

I hate liver. I mean, I really detest the stuff. It is ugly to look at, disgusting to handle, foul-smelling when being cooked, and has a nasty taste and vile texture on the tongue. It would be safe to say that I consider it an abomination.

How anyone can eat that gross, repulsive substance is beyond me. Aside from being horrid to look at, an assault on the nostrils when being cooked, and revolting in the mouth, it’s not even healthy to eat! It is full of cholesterol and, if you consider what the purpose of the organ is in the body, eating it is like eating a filter full of toxic chemicals! Yes, I know it is high in iron, but so is just plain old red meat…not to mention modern science has come up with a host of ways to supplement your iron without ingesting lots of cholesterol along with a cocktail of toxins that are trapped by the liver but not excreted by the body, plus antibiotics, hormones and pesticides to which the animal was exposed. It is also very high in purines which can lead to gout, an exquisitely painful form of joint inflammation, and kidney stones.

One would think that, having such an aversion to liver, I would stay away from it. Believe me, I’ve tried. But I am forced to view its disgusting presence in the supermarket, pictures of it fried and plated on menus, and even watch people eating the disgusting stuff. I have had liver forced on me repeatedly as a child, and in adulthood, people have actually tried to seduce me into eating it through subterfuge and outright falsehood: “Oh, but it is pâté, not really liver. Here, try a bite! It doesn’t taste like liver at all!” (Yes it did!)

I don’t know what is wrong with these hepatophiles that they can’t keep their abominable predilections to themselves. Those of us who don’t share their penchant shouldn’t have to share it, not even by observing it or being seduced into participating. Not only is it patently disgusting, it is a health hazard to eat the stuff, and people simply should not be allowed to do that…especially in public!

Think about it this way…oleander is a lovely, hardy plant sold in nurseries all over the world. But its sap is highly toxic and it is not sold as a food or even as an herb or food additive. Just as the unhealthy qualities of oleander are known, so are the unhealthy qualities of liver…high cholesterol and purines, repository for toxins…well-known. So, why is one allowed to be sold for human consumption and the other is not? Why are parents allowed to force it on their children? Why is it sold and consumed openly, despite the disgust and revulsion it generates in a majority of people? If people are going to be allowed to compromise their health by eating this toxic stew, shouldn’t it be behind closed doors and without the explicit consent of the community? Are we not, after all, our brothers’ keepers?

I think the public sale and consumption of liver should be banned. It is for the good of the health of the community, good for us as a whole and good for the individuals who are merrily poisoning themselves with this noxious stuff: by making it unavailable in the market place it will be easier for them to abstain and to even convert to healthier choices in food. And that, after all, is the goal: a healthier community through healthier individuals. We cannot allow this small faction to indulge their aberrant gustatory fancies at the expense of others, and the health problems brought about by ingesting high cholesterol, high purines and retained toxins ultimately costs us all in lost man-hours in the workplace and higher medical costs.

What of individual freedom of choice? Well, there is plenty of precedent in law that prevents people from indulging themselves at the expense of others or even at the expense of common decency. There is no right to eat liver…you won’t find it in the Constitution anywhere. And if the government can ban other substances and behaviours under the banner of “for the common good,” then banning the sale and consumption of liver is well within the scope of the government’s rights. And if the government can prohibit people from walking around naked on city streets or having sexual relations on the courthouse steps or marrying their dogs, then it can prohibit them partaking of a substance that most of the rest of us find absolutely disgusting.

So, when the petition arrives asking you to support a bill banning the display, sale, preparation and consumption of liver, please sign it. It will benefit you not only in saving you from having to look at the repulsive stuff and having to watch people actually put it in their mouths, it will ultimately cut down on sick days taken from work and the cost of treating their self-induced ailments (which raises your health insurance premiums). It’s a win-win situation for all of us. We can’t let a small coterie of deviants continue to hold the rest of us captive to their ghastly tastes and practices!


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

How to lose a long-term loyal customer in 2 brief emails…

I haven’t had my hair done since December, what with all the drama surrounding the move and all. It is now getting unmanageably long and the dark ribbon of dishwater blonde hair…my roots…is starting to become entirely too obvious. Monday was a public holiday, which meant that people with non-retail jobs were off work and the retailers had extra customers…or at least in theory that’s how it is supposed to work. It doesn't, but that's a tale for another time.

Before we left Cape Town, my hairdresser gave me a business card with the formula for my hair colour written on the back of it. My hair has a large amount of red in it (even though it is not visible to the naked eye) and requires an unusual amount of toner added to the colour to keep me from coming up with orange roots. Most hairdressers don’t believe me when I tell them this and, afraid of my turning up with purple hair (what you get when you use too much ash toner), they go conservative the first (and even subsequent) time they touch up my roots. The result is blonde hair with a brassy orange stripe along the hair line. My Cape Town hairdresser took about six months to come up with the right formula (which uses an unusual amount of ash toner) and for the past 5 ½ years we’ve rubbed along famously. My natural hair colour is not dramatically different from the blonde shade I ordinarily wear, so even having it grow out a month or so isn’t a problem. But it’s been more than three months and it is time to find a salon that can touch me up.

So, despite my feeling like hammered horse hockey (I was coming down with this flu), we trundled all over town looking for a hairdresser that carried the brand of hair colour I have used faithfully for nearly six years. It is a German brand and virtually every salon in Cape Town carries it…imagine my surprise at arriving home yesterday afternoon, still shaggy and two-tone. We went to several independent salons and three malls, and not a one of them carried the brand I was seeking! I was shocked, as I expected it to be as ubiquitous here in Joburg as it was in Cape Town!

When we got home, I got on the web, looking for a salon that used this brand…no luck. So, then I searched the brand name and came up with their website in Germany…apparently they don’t know their product is used in South Africa, as this country was not on their list of countries they serviced! With a bit more sleuthing...and a fever starting to cloud my vision…I came upon a South African site for the product line and decided to ask their customer service for a list of salons in my area that used their products, expecting a quick response with a list attached. That’s not exactly what I got…
From: Sweet Violet
Sent: 05 April 2010 02:19 PM
To: Customer Service, HairCare Division
Subject: HairCare Enquiry - General Enquiry

I moved to Joburg from Cape Town in January. I have been unable to find a salon in the Sandton/Morningside area that uses your hair colouring products. I am so desperate for a touch up that I am considering switching to Redken or L’Oreal just so I can get rid of the contrasting stripe down the middle of my head.

Please advise how to find salons in my area that use your colouring products ASAP.
From: Customer Service Liaison
Sent: 05 April 2010 07:31 PM
To: SweetViolet
Subject: HairCare Enquiry - General Enquiry

Dear SweetViolet,

Thank you for contacting us with regards to your enquiry.

Are you referring to HairCare Salon products or HairCare Retail products (Spectrum Hair Colour available at local stores)?
From: Sweet Violet
Sent: 06 April 2010 06:19 AM
To: Customer Service Liaison, HairCare Division
Subject: HairCare Enquiry - General Enquiry

I am looking for a salon in Sandton, preferably near Morningside, that uses HairCare hair colouring products. My hairdresser in Cape Town uses HairCare exclusively. When I moved to Joburg she gave me the formula for my hair colour, but I cannot find a salon in Joburg that uses your products. I thought perhaps you would have a list of salons in Joburg that stock your products.

Thanks for your time
From: Customer Service, Hair Care Division
Sent: 06 April 2010 09:21 AM
Cc:; sweetviolet
Subject: HairCare Enquiry - General Enquiry


Could you please assist with this enquiry?

Thank you kindly,

Customer Service Liaison

In the meantime, while I am still waiting for the company to provide me with a list of who in the area stocks their products, two of my friends have found salons where I can go (at malls near their homes). Gee, if I didn’t already have friends here to pull their bacon out of the fire, if I was newly moved here with no prior local contacts, the company would have lost a loyal customer, someone who ordinarily spends about R500 every six weeks ($66 USD) or so on her hair…a good bit of which goes for the purpose of buying their hair colour!

I dunno…I’ve been contemplating going red lately and there apparently is no salon using these products near my new house, so I just may bite the bullet and try something new…whattaya think? Red? or stick with the old faithful, blonde?

Let me know what you think…