By Andre López Turner

Imagine you are drinking beer with your relatives and trying to put the world to rights but then you have to stop your ponderings because of a pole dancer’s showreel

I knew I was in for a treat when my father, cousin Shaan (who always refers to me as cuz), six-year-old nephew Jetty boy and I sat down a few nights ago for one of those “putting the world to rights” sessions. We shared a great deal of incredulity at our fellow human beings, and their ability for cruelty towards each other after watching a news clip involving Russia and the Ukraine. Shaan mentioned the horrible brutality in Iran, the Burmese generals’, and a few other ills. My father shook his head. We reached for our first beer. I noticed the beer quickly dimmed our outrage at humanities inhumanity. Jetty wanted a can of Sprite. His dad mentioned it was past “Jetties” bedtime and sprite would keep him “wired awake.”

“You usually say to much sugar, daaaah,” Jetty replied.

   We returned to “putting the world to rights.” My father mentioned the spate of Ram raids (the driving of cars into shops) occurring with great frequency in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest city. I recalled working as a youth worker twenty years earlier in the same city with “at risk youth,” all of whom committed petty crime and smoked a lot of marijuana, either that or sniffed glue. 

“No one had heard of Ram raids,” I said.

“It’s gone way beyond that,” my cousin sighed.

“When I was young the country was fairer, more egalitarian, more connected, a plethora of opportunities surrounded everyone,” my father sighed, “so different now.”

   I passed around my sisters’ plate of Mexican tacos and salsa, a delicious left over from the family picnic earlier in the day.

“Sublime,” said my cousin.

“I’m not familiar with Mexican food,” said my dad, ‘but crikey it’s got an arresting flavour and the spicy salsa is something else, rough on my guts but tantalising all the same.”

We washed it down with more beer. My cousin spoke about the great Mexican spirit Mezcal, and how the indigenous from the state of Oaxaca called it the elixir of the gods.

   A local farmer popped his head through the door. 

“I see the food and drink is “hitting the spot,” he winked, “Plenty more of that over the road if you fancy coming over.”

My father said we were “pretty bushwhacked from the day’s digging holes, now eating and drinking, and that we may see him later after ‘we’d put the world to rights.” The farmer gave us a thumbs up and continued on his way. I noticed the food, and the eating of it had stalled our “putting the world to rights.” I was becoming sleepy.

   I mentioned the cyclone lashing the east coast of the north island. Before I could finish my cousin alerted us to the floods in California.

“Us greenies have been telling them for years this would happen,” my father said with a resigned tone. 

   My other cousin Natasha entered the room brandishing her phone, sharing an Instagram reel of her friends Pole dancing routine with us.

“Impressive core stability muscles,” I said. 

“Oh ho ho, that’s a deft euphemism for she’s very beautiful….” My Dad laughed and grinned.

“I know, I know uncle, she’s a real hotty and wears amazing outfits and…”

“The Pole is an art form, so graceful and strength based,’ Natasha said, “you guys are so cute sitting here….and I totally get it…she is really gorgeous… but look at all those sleazy desperate comments on the post: I mean haven’t people got anything better to do…”

   I noticed the three of us had veered “off point” again, “putting the world to rights” on hold thanks to a pole dancers’ showreel. 

“Oh my god, look at these guys resting beers on their big guts, eating pizzas in that club and watching these beautiful women dance,” they’ve got such bad form, yuk, the whole thing sucks,” my cousin sneered.

“Who cares, from what I can see and hear people are controlled by their guts, their dicks and their vanity, simple daddy, everyone knows that. Anyways, since you’re drinking a beer and wide awake!!!! can I finally have a can of sprite now daddy. If you don’t give it to me then you’re an irrational and hypocritical maniac,” Jetty said.

 Suitably speechless, my six-year-old nephew “Jetty boy” had seemingly put much of the world to rights!

“Christ, he’s a little genius,” my dad whispered.

“Cuz, you’ve just dropped your phone,” Shaan said.

Andre López Turner is a podcaster, writer, keen open-air swimmer and a mental and physically well being practitioner. He is the author of the book D-Pendency dealing with drugs and alcohol abuse. He is Co-presenter of the podcast The Programme in ZTR Radio. He lives in North London