Wild & mild
Koon-fused, Part II
September 20, 2002
Like all Iranians, I was shaagerd aval too. In fact there are over 70
million schools in this world and all are occupied by former and current prize-winning
Iranians at the top of each and every class.
OK, I admit it. I was schooled by an Irish/Croatian wanna-be sodomist governess
named Shirley, in a cave on the borders of Inner and Outer Mongolia with a tea-cozy
on my head, a donkey called Donald the Dumper in hand and sipping Ceylon tea during
my pedagogic breaks, made from bacteria-free teabags, shipped all the way from Sri
Lanka to South Hampton via Canary Wharf to the nearest port to Mongolia you can find
on the map. So, really I had to become first in class, since the only inhabitants
of the cave were Shirley, myself and Donald the Dumper. ("Ye rashtiye bood..."
Click to see
The strange thing is that with all this self-delusionary brainpower, as well as
grandeur of shaagerd avali, AND my bemusing moments with Shirley, who had
a thing for "isms" that went as far as "Samovarism" in that very
cave; today nothing has changed.
I still find myself always totally outwitted by the sheer lack of understanding
anything. And I mean anything. From the difference between biological and non-biological
washing powder, bomb-babbling baboon wanna-be's and the need to chlorine-gas tampons.
And what on earth is Quorn or whatever it is called? I just don't get it. Any of
However I am not to blame. It all seems to have a root somewhere in my predestined
genetically, astrologically, geographically-challenged make-up at birth and/or in
my so-called formative years. Hey, I have to find something to blame!
You see apart from Shirley, there was also my Mami. She is German and a patient
sort. I didn't have someone following me around the house with a fork to force-feed
me in the customary Iranian version of "I'm a Big Mac and I love you".
Maybe our house was too small for Mami to exercise such extra cardiovascular activity
or maybe Hoovers (vacuum cleaners to you Americans, American-Iranians, Iranian-Americans,
Persians or just the wanton-whining-warrior ones) were too big and heavy to schlep
around, inbetween Mami's washing of all curtains at least once a week.
In any case, mealtimes were announced on some Asian resonating gong, and like
good old Pavlov's dogs we all turned up, albeit sometimes in Lederhosen. Lederhosen
are German leathershorts, usually green with hearts on them; if well-worn they are
great on slides and great for a scary kind of echoing alpine-avalanche producing,
Germanic sing-song called "yodelling". Yes, most amusing.
Of course, as a result of such discipline, I became, at the robust age of four,
a revolutionary solitary rebel just for the sake of reappraising "An army marches
on an empty stomach" (or vice-versa; which one of these Frenchies said it anyway?).
Or maybe I liked the delicacies that Shirley wouldn't let me have but that Donald
the Dumper was allowed.
I went on hunger-strike for four whole days. Remember at the age of four! They
(the parents, not Shirley and Donald the Dumper) nearly rushed me off to hospital
for a drip, because I got fed up with being a dog and thought myself a decision-making
human being and because I didn't like the stuff they put in front of me.
That brown stuff. And that white stuff. That stuff that danced on the waves of
the river of Prague's Vltava to Smetana's "My Country" that Mami had told
me made the flute sounds. (ducks and swans). That stuff that I used to sing about:
Schubert's "Die Forelle" (The Trout) that had been cruelly, whimsically
murdered. And that stuff that once upon a time taught me the alphabet and went "dogh
dogh dogh" or "kikiriki", as the Germans would have it.
By the way, how come chickens make different sounds in different countries? Is
it their ears or tongues or a case of good old-fashioned pollution? Or different
forms of treatment that gives out corn-fed asthmatic arias or torturous Stockhausenian
atonality? And are eggs actually chicken placenta? This minuscule mind of mine doth
Anyway, leaving this footnote for another session; as I was muttering. Mami used
to tell me apparently originally Aryan Grimm fairy-tales, but I've got them all wrong
because she had to change them, because all the wicked people had dark hair except
for snow-white. I loved snow-white dearly, but wasn't really sure about the seven
dwarfs: "Which loo (the bog, the shithouse, the phonetic baaeethroom, the toilet
to you American blah blah. non-Brits of dubious, hairy origins like myself) do they
use? Mami, the Iranian 'mostaraa' or the 'toaalete almaani'?"
And those peculiarly questioning, Californian self-affirmations
of her stepmother were too fathomless too! Poor woman if she had waited a few years
she could have had a Guru, plastic surgery and felt better about herself and filled
the apple with life-long testosterone and viagra. That prince would have done some
serious jogging! Crikey I'm muttering again.
As I was saying before I lost the plot. Mami in her great strives and struggle
to educate, tried to find solace in versing me in the grizzly Old Testament.
Not on my great-hits collection, I must say: "Where is Sinai? Is it where we
went last Friday (Damavand)? Why did it take Moses so long?"
And anyway I didn't like Moses at all. What a creep! First his own son and then
the baby 'maaaa eeeeeee maaaaa eeeee babai'? Who would be next? Bambi? The entire
cast of Sesame Street? My canary called Dovomi (Avali had been let out to
be free by me!) that I used to carry everywhere in a bright-red basket with white
polka dots basket?
I was a veteran four-five year old vegetarian, if they (the parents and stingy
Donald the Dumper didn't like sharing either) would only let me! The guy Moses gave
me nightmares: "Mami, which knife in the kitchen did he use?" Now Mami
was starting to have nightmares. Mami gave up. And so legend has it that Mami never
got as far as subjecting me to Salome nor the New Testament when swimming
lessons were a real danger when Jesus was walking on water.
TV in Iran was banned too. The reason? 'The Flying Nun'. But I was
upgraded from golden goose eggs, snakes and sticks to all insides. Combustible confusion
crept in again. Why was I eating "jigar" when it was my neighbour's son's
household nickname? And why did sheep behave so sheepishly and give their dangly
bits to people to eat? "Mami, do they go and see the doctor and get new ones?
Do sheep have money to pay the doctor like Baba?"
OK, I made this bit up and it isn't very good, is it? But I'm not making up this
next bit .
To you men out there: Don't even start to enjoy your own childhood memories and
reveries! Beware of the dangerous statistical fact that most accidents happen at
home: I'm not the only Iranian woman who could be a nuisance at an adult barmitzvah.
As a stickler for precision (induced and instilled by Shirley the Irish/Croatian
Grande Dame governess and Donald the donkey's dumping and lack of space in the cave)
I know exactly how to remove hair and skin for a recipe of revenge-marinated "donbalaan
But despite such elevated education in culinary delights, alas, all confusion
still remains with me to this very day. As you can see, I was an environmentalist
at age 13! What a hippy! (See poem, my first year in England).
But nowadays my troubles have different names but are
of the same root. For example the trouble I have with concentration (please, see
above) and vegetable concentrates. I don't like mixing letters; thus confusion leads
to concentration. See the logic? You poor soul! Welcome to the land of Going-going-gone-gaga.
Welcome to the club! You are shaagerd aval number 1001.
And please do answer this: If, for example, I squish my small amounts of concentration
cells into a concentrated niche will I become like Heinz tomato ketchup and be able
to get out of my hermit cave (Shirley and Donald the Dumper went exploring a long
time ago; Shirley is still a stern 'Samovarist' and Donald the Dumper is still stingy,
or so I've heard.) and make friends with Big Mac, in beef-extract fried-chips (french
fries to you on the other side) and Coca Cola and be more marketable and successful,
omni-present and bubbly, become the centre of the world's concentration and take
it over? And be really, really Post-Hegelian Happy?!
OK, you've got me; it's a trick question. But all in line with centralization
and concentrated vegetable matter without the Alpha, but plenty of E's!? Every time
such questions arise however in order to uphold the denial of confusion in front
of other people and pushing reality forward just a little bit; I have developed a
full fool-proof remedy.
Here's a tip. I dwell upon and exist in the certainty that first of all I loathe
tofu sausages, secondly that I can't bring myself to let a lobster go into conscious
coma for fifteen minutes in boiling water before waking up on my dinner date's side
of the table and say "Hi, I'm Lilly the Lobster, you're special this evening."
(Lilly is not insured by the way, because she smoked too much, all cooped up in the
restaurant tank and couldn't keep up with the premiums).
Thirdly, Shirley was right in her admiration for Sodom-ism
and all other "isms", although impossible for her to become an Sodomist,
as the word doesn't exist, except when stuffing the Christmas turkey. You see, Sodom
has blessed the English language with "sod off". Refreshing, isn't it?
And eat your hearts out before any of you can tell me to 'sod off? With all the above
I'm shaagerd aval again. Got there before you do: I use this expression
in front of the mirror everyday. Three times for good old-fashioned luck and white
voodoo magic. Just like snow-white's step-mum, but with a prescription for Prozac
in one hand and yodelling in sign language with the other! I could win another shaagerd
aval prize, couldn't I?! See photos
PS Please, all spare a thought for my poor Mami. She is still trying. Told
you she is a patient sort!