Here’s a joke that Benny was told one night: ‘How can you tell if someone is vegan? They’ll TELL you’. He laughed with the person who told the joke, not in a loud way, but he did recognise the personality foible that made the humour. He had come across people like that of course, who made a point of letting others know how good they were. He also knew people who genuinely followed the vegan diet, and weren’t pushy or obvious about it, but of course that wasn’t what any chortle-worthiness hinged upon in this case. It had more to do with the way some people make an effort to wear a perceived specialness on their sleeve, or absorb an otherwise genuine action for their own puffed up sense of prominence. There were many examples out there.
But that joke was also a timely reminder for us — I had found Benny toying with a vague notion that the discoveries he’d made, those long-view ruminations settled upon when a mood to mull things over took hold, were not receiving the recognition they could have. It seemed to me to be a notion that was brushed not just with a hint of ownership, but a half-peeled eye for how these could be exploited — his home-grown punnet of puffberries. And it wouldn’t do to see the fruits of his mindful labours be turned toxic.
Thankfully it was a brief and flitting flash in Benny’s thinking periphery, and thankfully also he seemed to pick up on the concern — even though this must have seemed a very vague intuition for him, like my finger wagging at him from behind a door. But then again, from who else would he pick up on such signals, if not from me…
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