Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The difference between L and R

Funny how two letters can make a big difference.

Please insert the letter "l" where the asterisk is located in this word:


Now insert the letter "r".

I'll wait for you.


Have you giggled?

One word means, according to Merriam-Webster, "the right, power, or privilege of making a choice" while the other means "the state marked by firm turgid form and erect position of a previously flaccid bodily part containing cavernous tissue when that tissue becomes dilated with blood". When choice and freedom are involved, both feel really good.

One was, for the majority, illegal in South Africa until 1994 when the first multi-racial elections were held and the other was rarely discussed until a constitution was ratified that ensured the rights of all, regardless of who inspired their erections. Or elections.

Sunday night Amazing Guy and I attended Pieter-Dirk Uys' performance of Elections and Erections. We had seen his show Foreign AIDS three years ago. I became aware of him and his character Evita Bezuidenhout in 1999 while traveling in South Africa. I was floored to see on the newsstands this lovely lady of royalty (read drag queen) on the cover of their Time magazine equivalent. She had rented a decrepit bus and was traveling from black township to township promoting elections.

Evita Bezuidenhout is "the most famous white woman in South Africa" and was quoted as saying during her bus tour that voting is incredibly important, that is why the whites kept it away from the blacks.

Now Evita performs a cabaret show in a renovated train station in Darling, South Africa. She also travels from school to school in those same black townships talking about erections. Pieter is on a one man/woman campaign to honestly talk to children about sex and AIDS. His theater show three years ago, Foreign AIDS, reduced me to tears as he talked about the fears, dreams and misunderstandings of children and their teachers and parents.

I had the opportunity to meet Pieter after the performance. It was a fundraiser for the wonderful group that brings books to South African school libraries, among the other wonderful things they do.

I was marginally articulate (unlike if I ever get the chance to meet Vince Clark then I will be a blubbering, incoherent mess) and actually told him I liked the show three years ago better (maybe I wasn't so articulate). He graciously explained to me that he didn't want to spend the rest of his days telling stories about the children, which he could easily do. Amazing Guy later said he felt Pieter's more personal in this more recent production.

And as we parted, Pieter said to me, "I'll see you in Darling, darling".

He called me darling.


Heather said...

Yes, I giggled. And I giggled at the definition of the "r" word too.

That sounds like a great show darling. Doesn't sound as good coming from me.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Fascinating post, SMID, and what an extraordinary man and work. I hadn't known of him before. Thank you.

Flower Child said...

so cool. I wish he were coming to DC!

cathouse teri said...

Love it!

And I do rather enjoy a firm turgid form every now and then.


Mariposa said...

Giggling I am at 7:47 AM at my desk...after a long exhaustiring crazy meeting! Yup, I work on a night shift... ;)

Nice post...and I so love your introduction...you got me there! This is more powerful than my coffee right now. :D

Kate said...

Are you in love with South Africa too? I did an orchestra tour through south africa a few years ago and i kid you not it changed my life, my perspectives on life and the way i think as a whole. I Love Love Love this amazing country have you ever watched a documentary called Amandla a revolution in four-part harmony it's about the music throughout the apartheid.. you must must get it and watch it straight away! It makes me angry, hopeful and devestated all at the same time.. this usually results in me blubbing at the TV. Oh i'm so thrilled with this blog entry... you must go and read my rant on the treatment of aborigines during the colonisation of australia.

Oh i'm just so excited... thank you

kazu_11 said...

i love this post! made me laugh!

Alex Elliot said...

I hadn't heard of him before either. Yes, I did giggle.

Jenn in Holland said...

Ah, darling. You make me laugh!!!
What a great post and as always, well thought and well played. I just love the lead...

Meet you in South Africa?

Anonymous said...

WOW, what an amazing man....I was talking at breakfast this morning about Africa and how it is appalling and disgusting that the entire world has turned its back on this incredible continent.

A dear friend of mine goes to Nakuru every summer to work with children who are deaf...I plan to go with her, to do my part....a little TIKUN OLAM (hebrew commandment to take care of our world)

Thank you for bringing this fine man to our attention!

Brillig said...

First of all, wo. That's stinking cool.

Secondly, an L and R sure do make a bit of difference. And, um, was I supposed to die laughing over the "R" definition? hahahaha.