Mon | Feb 6, 2023

Sunday Sauce: Oxy and the bone

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Oxy Moron Contributor

People live in all sorts of boxes made of manners, etiquette, ethics and all that jazz. And if you are not cut from their cloth, you are the most uncivilised and unrefined creature on Earth. They want to tell you how to walk, how to sit, how to eat, how to chew, how to hold your hand, how to laugh, how to talk ...

And should you refuse to toe the line, discrimination sets in; you are not of their ilk. Some who want to be part of a certain clique become quite pretentious and jump on to the 'wannabe' bandwagon, while many simply refuse to subscribe to people's whims and fancies and just be themselves.

Sandra comes to mind. You remember her from a couple of weeks ago? Sheila had invited her to dinner at her palatial upper St Andrew home, and Sandra, who is from Kingston's inner cities, was a riot. I love her. She showed Sheila and her four friends how to relax at the dinner table, but I am certain that Sandra's lessons were scoffed at, as was the powder she had whitewashed her buxom bosom with.

unnecessary etiquette rules

While I might not be as extreme as Sandra, I, Oxy Moron, really have no space in my head for all those dos and don'ts of dining. What are they good for anyway? To which culture do they belong, and are they written in stone? Will I not go to heaven if I don't submit? Will I not live to a ripe old age? What a pain they are.

And that's why I don't attend all these dinners to which I have been regularly invited. I don't know the rules of fine dining and I refuse to learn. To do all that is required is so tiring. I need the energy to eat, not to observe table rules. I might not be as extreme as Sandra, but like Sandra, I am me. I am not a pig, nor am I a gentleman, and let me tell you why.

One day, at a communications seminar in one of St Andrew's posh hotels, I sat all morning listening to boring presentations. Just before lunch, we the participants were asked to introduce ourselves. This was just before lunch! So, everybody, pretending to be okay, got up and said, "I am" so and so. When it was my turn, I just said, "Well, I am very hungry!" in a rather cross tone. And then there was silence.

Over lunch, people looked at me and smiled. They seemed to want to strike up a conversation, but I was contemplating what to do with a big piece of juicy bone on my plate. After the meat was removed with my knife, I would never dare do justice with it at the table. So, suddenly, I was the pretentious one. But, not for long.

I looked at the faces. Nobody was paying any attention to me by now. Good. There were paper napkins nearby. I got some. I looked again, and they were busy feeding themselves. No more time to waste. I swiftly lifted the bone from the plate into the napkins. After wrapping it properly, I swiped it into my right jacket pocket.

After a few minutes of sipping on the drink, I excused myself and went straight to the restroom. There, I found myself in a cubicle, locked the door, and then removed the napkin with the big piece of succulent bone. While I will not go through the details of how I spent the next 30 minutes pulverising the bone, what I can say is that it was the most delicious piece I ever had.

So much for modern etiquette, hmmm ... .