“That was close,” Vetfaan says as he sits down at the bar. “I was almost arrested in Prieska, man! Gimme a beer!”
Now, anybody who knows Vetfaan, knows he likes to stay on the right side of the law. Policemen and lawyers tend to make him nervous, especially when he returns from his biltong-gathering excursions. He maintains he has never poached a single Kudu – he only uses the meat from recently deceased animals. Although the cause of death might be disputed, he insists it should be listed as another case of lead poisoning.
“Been out hunting again, have you?” Boggel’s secret admiration for Yoda surfaces from time to time. “Trouble you should have.”
“Nah, it’s not that.” The burly farmer swallows half to contents of the glass, burps with gusto and plonks down his drink. “Sexual harassment! Can you believe that? At my age!”
“Pleased, you should be.”
“Ag, Boggel, snap out of it! I only told the girl at KFC she has beautiful eyes. Next thing I know, Constable Kiewiet arrives and gives me a talking-to. He would have arrested me, but I reminded him of the last time we met.”
That story had done the rounds a few months ago. Kiewiet stopped Vetfaan’s pick-up one evening and found two recently deceased Springbok carcasses under a tarpaulin. When he got excited about his discovery, Vetfaan cleverly diverted his attention by reminding the constable of the fact that he – the policeman – would not be able to pin the demise of the poor animals on him, the innocent farmer who came across their pathetic remains. Why, he – Vetfaan – was on his way to the police station with the evidence of some individual’s (or individuals’) dastardly deed to shoot at defenceless and unarmed creatures.
The constable agreed that, indeed, Vetfaan had made a strong case for further investigation. Vetfaan suggested that they discuss the matter like gentlemen should, over a beer and maybe a bite to eat. This they did, right there, next to the road. Afterwards, Vetfaan mentioned the fact that Kiewiet had partaken in the unlawful act of consuming evidence. It was then mutually agreed that maybe – just maybe – it would be unwise to pursue the matter further. Case closed.
“Lucky, you were.”
“You know, Boggel, I don’t get it. What happened to good old chivalry? These days you dare not compliment a lady. You may not even sneak a peek at a shapely figure – it’s called invasion of privacy these days, and put on the same pedestal as abuse. Laying a comforting hand on an upset shoulder, is suddenly equal to fondling. Where is this all going to end?”
“Called gender equality, it is. Rights for humans. Laws for privacy. Not allowed to abuse, you are.”
Vetfaan shrugs. “You’re right, of course. Society seems to think that everybody is the same. If you say somebody is black, you’re a racist. If you smile at a woman, you’re a sexist. When you talk about labourers, you’re elitist. And…you are completely politically incorrect to talk about blindness, physical impairments or mental instability.
“Everybody suddenly got on the Discrimination Wagon. It’s as if society became so oversensitive about…issues…that we dare not mention them anymore. No, society wants us all to believe there are no differences in colour, gender or ability. Society wants us all the be the same; but let me remind you: equality has nothing to do with being the same. Unlike politicians want to tell us, we’re not a colourless, cultureless society believing in every religion ever invented. I’m white. Kiewiet is black. He’s a Muslim, I’m Christian. He votes for the ANC and I’d rather die than do that. We are, Boggel, and never will be, the same.”
“But respect him, you do?”
“Of course! He’s a human just like me. He has dreams and goals. He lives, loves and functions just like I do. What I’m saying, Boggel, is that the human race consists of two sexes, a multitude of cultures and a spectrum of colours. Each of us are precious. But…why make us fit into the same little box? Why can’t we stand back in wonder, celebrating diversity and acknowledging obvious differences without adding the word ‘discrimination’ to everything?”
“Everything backward, we have?”
“Yes, Boggel. There was a time when a compliment didn’t land you in trouble. When a handsome man or a beautiful woman didn’t feel threatened when somebody said something nice. When opening a door for a lady wasn’t called abuse, or when being courteous and friendly didn’t imply sexal impropriety.”
“Old school, you are.”
“Yep, Boggel. And very much out of fashion I am. Another beer you give.”