The purpose of Jasper & outwitting superstitious dining practices with sawdust…

I’m a firm believer that we make our own bad luck—

We can’t just have it the one way, surely— it’s just not democratic…

418838_10151214975596041_1406077767_nI like to think of the purpose of Jasper as a blessing; one of wonderment— and for those of you who find yourselves caught short at the dinner table; whether it be over-blessed with company, or under for that matter— a Jasper is a handy thing to have at hand, since no one would wish an unusual fatality to occur to someone you’d only just dined with.

There’s only one drawback, it’s fairly minor, to a point— but drawbacks by definition, does not plain-sailing make. Jasper is a stuffed cat; not the most ubiquitous of items I know. In fact I can safely say I’ve never had the fortune of observing; or the misfortune of having missed one being plucked from the bottom of a woman’s hand-bag instead of a lipstick. I’m sure however, that if I live long enough— it may just happen. I know enough to know that these are bottoms that do indeed hold some strange, strange stuff.

The story goes, that a hundred years or so— I’m not entirely sure when exactly but it’s usually a hundred years or so. Besides, if it wasn’t it should’ve been that a group of hungry people were due to meet for dinner at The Savoy, but one of the party members couldn’t make it, so naturally, as was the case a hundred years ago when everything was unexplainable and spooky: thirteen diners remained.

Now, with ‘thirteen’ being a number synonymous with bad luck even then— as if they didn’t have the monopoly on weird already, the last man to sit at the table was sure to became afflicted with doom of some kind; and this despite repeated warnings that congregating in such numbers was ‘not on’. Anyway, the gentlemen took his chair, the waiter told to ‘shoo’ no doubt flippantly at the same time assuring him that he was well aware of the risks and so on and so forth.

A couple of weeks later however, when word got back that the chap had died in the most bizarre of manners upon his return to South Africa, it was decided that for whatever the reasons: should a party of thirteen meet and dine together at The Savoy. Jasper, the stuffed cat, would take a seat and have a place set for him in the fourteenth chair…

Hemmingway was on the right track when he wrote—

The road to hell is paved with unbought stuffed dogs.

But he was more into his cats with-many-toes, and would no doubt have approved…

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “The purpose of Jasper & outwitting superstitious dining practices with sawdust…

    1. Just a Little Background Noise Post author

      I wish I could remember what newspaper I read it in; was a fair few years ago – but it is wonderful. I think it’s also the Savoy which has the only road in the country where you drive on the right hand side of the road.

      I’m the same – just eat up stuff like this. Glad you liked it.

      Reply
  1. ksbeth

    i have 2 connections to this:
    1) each year, for 6 years, my family and i have exchanged the same matted, orange, mechanical cat, that is creepy beyond words, on christmas eve. each year, ‘the winner’, is the lucky recipient of this creature and is in charge of it until the next year. it could possibly disappear while under my charge one year…

    2) i have a six-toed cat, just as hemingway once had

    Reply
    1. Just a Little Background Noise Post author

      Haha! That sounds like a really wacky tradition – is it polydactyl too? You’ve got to tell me how that started! 😀

      Reply
      1. ksbeth

        the mechanical cat is not a poly, only my real one. perhaps this means ernest and i are somehow related through many degrees of separation and species. i’ll write a blog about the mechanical cat tonight and you can read the whole sordid tale. it kind of gives me the chills just thinking about it and i somehow feel it knows –

    1. Just a Little Background Noise Post author

      That is almost too brilliant. I know the whole hand-bag thing is an easy target, but honestly. Some of the gigantabags I have to get past when I fly 😮

      I think we could all do with a Jasper!

      Reply
  2. Argus

    Obliquely reminds me of the story about the UK College that drags out the mummified body of a former endower to attend their formal dinners. I’ve long forgotten who or where but think it might be Jeremy Bentham~? Excellent company, doesn’t eat much, doesn’t interrupt the speaker and never burps out loud …

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s