Neanderthal Man is a forty- something, ex-British soldier who collects exotic knives and can strip down and re-assemble a semi-automatic rifle blind-folded. Until recently, he thought ‘chakras’ was a Latina pop star who sung about her hips not lying. But things are changing for the card-carrying caveman, ever since he met the Tree Hugger…
The other night the Tree Hugger was sat with me and she asked one of those leftfield, curve ball questions. ‘Babe, how do we make the world better?’ she said.
Yes, she was serious. Why was she asking me? Surely Obama and the Dalai Lama have that covered. Let’s put this in perspective. That day, we’d been at a posh day spa where we’d both had a 90 minute massage followed by lots of strenuous laying by the pool alternating between slipping into the silky waters to cool off and reading a book (me, Jeffrey Archer; her, something about the Law of Attraction). That evening we’d dined at one of those restaurants where the chefs have their own TV shows and now we were settling in at our local pub. I had a yeast-based beverage in one hand and had strategically positioned myself so should the conversation get too ‘new age’ I could watch the footy being shown just over the Tree Hugger’s left shoulder whilst grunting at intervals. For me, life couldn’t get any better! Not unless Bernie Ecclestone came over and said, ‘Jenson’s sick; can you take his place in the Formula One?”
Of course, Tree Hugger wasn’t talking about the perfect little world we had created for ourselves that day. She was worried about melting polar caps, war orphans, child labour, oppression, poverty, racism, sexism, and bunnies being forced to wear lipstick. Anyway, there she sat, all earnest and sincere, with Man United scoring and the crowd going wild on top of her lovely head, “Babe, how do we make the world better?”
That’s when bloke brain kicked in and I said, ‘Another bowl of potato wedges with sour cream would make it better.’ Her expression made it clear that wasn’t the right answer.
Truth is, I don’t know. I love you Tree Hugger but I don’t know! Buy Fair Trade coffee? Start a charity? I don’t know! Yes, I get it; people are doing horrible things to other people and animals all over the world but it’s all too big and overwhelming. I need it breaking down into bite-sized chunks for my man-mind to cope. What I think though is it starts with asking the question. If we keep asking, ‘How we can leave our world better and kinder than when we left it?’ maybe we’ll all start coming up with our own answers.
Finally, Bernie, the answer is ‘OMG yes!’ I can start immediately and I’ll be faster than Jenson, promise. Can I have a red car please?