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Seven is a spooky number that requires we screw up our eyebrows and reflect.
After all, it was on the seventh day that God lit his pipe, put his feet up and celebrated his finishing the universe a day early. The ancient Babylonians decided seven was the theologically sound number of days for the week. Egyptians saw seven paths to heaven, the Greek Pythagoreans (Pi worshippers?) realised seven of the stars moved.Seven candles sit on the Jewish menorah. Besieging Jericho, Joshua had seven Israelite priests blow seven trumpets and strut round the fortress five, six, SEVEN times. Only then did its walls fall down. I could say more, but why? The lesson is simple — you don’t ignore seventh anniversaries.
What seemed apocalyptic when Wit’s End was birthed? I don’t recall, but I do know Wit’s End manfully straightened its shoulders and jumped straight into a critique of the local Christmas pageant. (That’s far braver than you think.) Its upstart organisers had handed our young Charlie a role that was insulting. It wasn’t just that Charlie portrayed a sheep. The 4-year-old must begin somewhere. No, the producers had given biblical nonentities such as Elvis and Superman (NOT listed among the prophets) major parts in their new-look nativity play, and so the traditional sheep got not a line of dialogue between them. In proper manger scenes small sheep sit, muttering to their mothers. But all Charlie’s Romney was allowed was to gawp at the doll in the cradle. He wasn’t allotted a heralding "hark", a dramatic "behold", not even a coyly adoring "baa".
So, seven years ago Charlie was denied any chance to forget his lines. We now know this mattered little in the grand scheme, so in compensation I should attempt seventh anniversary gravitas.
But when Wit’s End does gravitas, fur flies in the blogosphere. The politically correct correct me as if I was some parson arriving at choir practice with his fly undone. Nevertheless, I’ll stick my head in the lion’s mouth, and declare: It’s time we all signed up for LGBTQIA. Yes you, me, your boofy cousins — we all must become members. LGBT et al is an exclusive club with too few heterosexuals. It’s time they set themselves a quota for proportional hetero membership, and strove towards it. Particularly in senior positions.
To give them credit, they show signs of progress. Via mission creep they expanded from the initial Lesbians, Gays, Bis and Trannies, to gather in the Queers, Inters, and lastly, Asexuals. (I worry about the Asexuals. Are they truly committed?) You’ll have spotted, that by expanding to LGBTQIA they’ve achieved the magical seven letters. If H for Heteros were added, this perfection would be ruined? Well, not so fast with the criticism. Line up 50 heterosexuals and ask what they’d really like from their next "straight sex" encounter. Their answers will not only entertain and appal, they’ll require much more than a seven-letter acronym.
Heterosexuals are a damn queer lot, so there’s no need to give them their own "H". Heteros could simply be seated in the "Q" section of LGBTQIA lounge.
Where LGBTQIA fails sadly is with its presumption that straight heterosexuals despise them. They simply do not — times changed long ago. If we don’t get sidetracked by the extremists on all sides, we’d agreed that most of what they want, we want for them. It could be as happy, tolerant and warless as a John Lennon song. Imagine.
OK, OK, I know my suggestion may work for the debating society, but is otherwise too sensible. Still — seven years, so I thought I’d mention it.
As I write, I’m beginning chemo and radiotherapy to eject an uninvited tenant which has not only lodged itself in my throat, but is demanding extra space. Among the exercises to preserve my throat muscles during treatment is a manoeuvre to be undertaken — wait for it — for seven seconds, seven times, seven times a day. (With that numbering, it can’t fail?) I’m warned throat radiotherapy will for some time affect my sense of taste. So this wine snob may look at a bowl of porcini risotto, dismiss the seven great grapes and think: "Wow, a chilled Fanta seems the ticket for this."
I’ll unscrew that Fanta and — well, the truth is, of course, I’ll feel blessed to be here and opening it. Life is barking mad. We knew that seven years ago, but I’ve noticed several of you need reminding.
- John Lapsley is an Arrowtown writer.