Pancakes and pollution  

First Published in:
Di Skoorsteenki

Who makes heart-shaped pancakes? I have made kiddies' birthday cakes shaped like rockets and cute little mouse-mansions complete with little plastic icing cars.  But heart-shaped pancakes? I suspect I would be a danger to myself and others if I ever took it into my head to try. 

I recently took up candle making and just this afternoon left a pot of wax to melt on the stove. At maximum heat. Wax takes a long time to melt. I became distracted. I ended up in front of the television screen watching with great fascination the Glomail infomercial on heart-shaped pancakes. I am deeply grateful to my guardian angel who pulled me by the nose to investigate the funny smell coming from the kitchen, just in time to see flames dancing round the brim of the pot. My first instinct was to toss great quantities of water on the pot but sense prevailed. High as a kite on pure adrenaline I slammed a lid down on the pot at supersonic speed and all was well. Except that I still don't get the thing about heart-shaped pancakes.. 

Which brings me to pollution of the airwaves, otherwise known as advertising. From motor and household insurance to miracle products for weight loss our ears are bombarded by a strange assortment of people who without fail promise "and there's more! 

Imagine life according to television ads. We could start with cooking up the definitive Friday night dinner party: heart-shaped pancakes cooked in a non-stick pan and decorated with ergonomically designed carrot spirals. We would of course enjoy this meal with suitably awed friends while discussing funeral cover for our loved ones and ourselves.  The men around the table would all smell of Axe (a terrifying thought). The women would have applied their Colourstay Overtime Lipcolour 15 hours ago and their nail polish a mere 15 seconds ago. If this is not enough to put you off your food we could always pass around a few fat absorber tablets.

After dinner we could whip ear buds around each other's toilets for entertainment. On the off chance that a microscope revealed life forms on said bud we could employ scrawny looking nerds to do the jobs we hate.  This would constitute  "living life differently" and "seeing life from a different angle". 

The next morning we would find our triplet boys in our sparkling bathroom, voluntarily brushing their teeth and discussing minty fresh breath. This is after all a topic of perennial interest and good humour to primary school boys. Our rugged men would shave with an ever-increasing number of blades as triple-blade action replaces the trusty double blade, and wash with soap that leaves them not only germ-free but also smelling beautifully.

After searching in vain for the house where Francois Pienaar's kid is having his birthday party, we would decide to spend Saturday afternoon bundu bashing in our properly insured four by four. It appears that some four by fours will now also drive on a strip of multi coloured toothpaste. Like the Israelites of old even raging rivers would not deter us. A simple panty liner would soak up all the water and give us safe passage.

Saturday evening would be spent in jail for not paying our TV licence, according to an ad that is frankly in bad taste. In a country with prisons bursting at the seams with real criminals, threatening to lock someone up for not paying R200 odd per year should be against the law.

However, confinement would give us time to ponder the disappearance of the Smirnoff cat in the comforting knowledge that, should we feel a little blue upon being released, we could expect a mad visit from The Fun Police complete with super sized bag of Liquorice Allsorts.

Provided that our differently thinking bank generously springs for bail on our overdraft, we could spend Sunday saving the sea horse. Clearly we do not do laundry, instead we do life. After all, life's too short to peel a pea when you can get them frozen and already peeled out of a packet.

Is it just me or has the world gone mad? In the face of all of the above, could I be blamed for feeling hopelessly inadequate and setting my kitchen on fire? Even when I can tear myself away from the television screen I find it difficult to cope with pollution of the airwaves. You see, I live next door to a rooster. Invigorated by a good night's sleep my feathered neighbour positions himself right under my bedroom window just before dawn. Without fail. Especially over weekends. Sunrays act as steroids for this rooster, enabling him to crow beyond the sound barrier all the way to lunchtime.

Further up my street lives a Neanderthal with a Harley. Harley's are the work of the devil and should be banned. Why anything should make that much noise is frankly unfathomable. I understand the romance of motorbikes.  I get the bit about the wind in your hair (or at least over your helmet) and the freedom of the open road. I don't get that romance and freedom should be that noisy.

This is why psychologists and Prozac don't need to advertise. The confusion generated by advertising agencies drunk on their projected income statements, is enough to set us all hurtling through the yellow pages in search of a dispensing shrink. Instead of telling us to switch off our television sets however, they scribble prescriptions and perpetuate our self diagnosed, self inflicted madness. This way they earn money for heart shaped pancakes and Liquorice Allsorts, a win-win situation all around.

But now you'll have to excuse me. Inspired by Oprah to live my best life I am off to find, if possible, a spot free of rooster, Harley and television ads to write up my gratitude journal. Today I am grateful for my kitchen, for my guardian angel, for my television and my laptop, which enabled me to write this column (for which I am deeply grateful), and also for my hearing. Until next month, keep your chimney smoking.