Blow me down, they were right

John Lapsley
John Lapsley
Dear Uncle Norm,

I thought Comrade Jacinda and her Socialist clique were naive in imposing their mega lockdown. After all, it seemed we faced nothing more than a niggly seasonal ’flu. I also believed these handwringers strangled a tourism comeback, by dragging the chain on opening Aussie borders.

But, given the Victorian mess, it seems the Beehive Bozos may have been right and myself, (B.Com. Waikato), marginally incorrect. We have an election coming. How might I admit a change of heart without losing face?

Member for (Electorate Obscured).

The most elegant response may be to quote John Maynard Keynes’ remark to a diehard whose thinking had been left behind: "When the facts change, I change my mind — and what do you do sir?"

If you find this is a step too far, perhaps you could prattle on about the Victorian situation. That state is run by a "socialist claque", has dodgy Chinese connections, and is run by a Comrade Dan. I trust this helps.

Dear Uncle Norm,

Last week’s temperatures show we are headed for an early spring, which means bringing forward my plans for this year’s strawberries. My last few crops have been rather tasteless, and I’m wondering if I should put something different on them. What do you think would be best? Horse poo, fish meal, or cow manure?

Seraphin Mole, Portobello.

In Arrowtown we favour whipped cream. But it’s best you make your own choices. People’s tastes vary.

Dear Uncle Norm,

I object to sports stars being blackmailed into supporting Black Lives Matter. F1 champion Lewis Hamilton organised that Grand Prix drivers "take the knee" on the starting grid. Those who felt uncomfortable, and didn’t, naturally found themselves branded racists. Israel Folau got the same treatment when he didn’t kneel before a British league match.

BLM’s Marxist connections and mob vandalism make supporting it difficult for thinking people. How do we stop the Lewis Hamiltons of the world using moral blackmail to create other high-profile protesters?

Hot Rodder.

You may as well demand that King Canute turn back the tide. The Hamiltons of the world are notching Virtue Signalling up to Virtue Enforcement. "I want to protest — so you must too." We once valued keeping our opinions private.

Dear Uncle Norm,

Unless the Nabobs of Immigration discover they have hearts, we'll soon be sending home more than 20,000 people with expiring holiday working visas — often to dangerous places ridden with Covid.

Many are young backpackers desperate to stay. It would be easy to extend their visas. Can't we cut through the red tape, and display our humanity?

Sarah Gentle, St Clair.

Here's the problem. When the Covid wage subsidy ends in September, Kiwis' unemployment will rocket, especially in the less skilled sectors where most backpackers work.

Backpackers tend to be the creme de la creme of their home country’s youth workforce. They come here briefly to have fun and expand horizons, and happily tide themselves over with lower-skilled jobs. If you’ve employed them, you quickly understand you have the inside running on a wonderful visa lurk. You get to borrow enthusiastic high achievers, who can’t hang round long enough to become slow and jaded.

Come September, and the end of the Covid work subsidy, we’ll have many more Kiwis needing those lower-status jobs that people on holiday visas do so cheaply and brilliantly. So who comes first with your humanity? Damn awkward, isn’t it?

Dear Uncle Norm,

Friends (very odd ones) who wanted an excuse to party decided they’d honour the birth of St Gundelindis. They claimed this saint was important because she was once Protector of the Holy Foreskin. Does this astonishing relic really exist, and if so, to where must I journey to pay my respects?

Intending Pilgrim.

Before we titter . . . The Holy Foreskin has been the subject of much angst and scholarship. Jesus, being Jewish, would have been circumcised. Thus, because it’s believed his entire body rose to heaven on Ascension Day, theologians consider it the only bit that could have been left behind.

Holy relics were the money spinners of Medieval pilgrim tourism, and exhibiting a piece of Christ beat the tripe out of a mere saint's finger or martyr’s ear. And so by the Middle Ages there were 11 holy foreskins.

The most famous held office at Neidermunster Abbey. But your friends are wrong in thinking its Abbess, St Gundelindis, once dusted and polished it. She died in 749, 50 years before five knights and a camel bore this foreskin — once curated by Charlemagne — to the nuns of Neidermunster.

Foreskin pilgrimages ended in 1983, when the last disappeared from the Italian village of Calcata, after leading its New Year parade. Some blamed Calcata’s priest for its loss — he’d kept it in a shoebox. Others blamed his cat.

 - John Lapsley lives in Arrowtown.


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