Mark was telling me today that one of the first things he learned at school was not to eat pencils. Apparently he used to devour them by the boxful, relishing the delicious core of graphite on the tongue. ‘But what about splinters?’ I objected. ‘Didn’t you get a tongue-full of them?’
‘Oh, yes,’ he answered carelessly, as though a tongue full of splinters were a small price to pay for the pleasure of consuming such a delectable mixture of wood and graphite. He tells me that he particularly liked the chewiness of the wood and the feel of the flakes of paint as they broke off the surface; but the best bit was the core of graphite which when you grind it between your teeth, turns into a chewy paste which coats your mouth and tongue.
The texture is more important than the taste, he goes on, sounding more and more like a gourmet guide to some esoteric cuisine: that is, apart from cedarwood which is pleasant and aromatic. Jelutong is apparently horrid.
OK then. Moving on…
Is She the Cat’s Mother?
Who knows where this phrase comes from and what it means? People were always saying this when I was a child, and I was usually told off for calling a woman ‘she’ as though it had a note of something dodgy about it; and their response was generally to say enigmatically ‘she is the cat’s mother.’
What does this mean? Please tell me.
It bothers me even more than Mark eating pencils.