The Nataniel, Fat Boy and Not Drinking Alcohol Link

I have always liked Nataniel and I think that if we met in person that we’d get along like a house on fire. He used to have a show on tv – it was some years ago and I always made a point of watching it because I found him so funny, interesting and entertaining. He regularly presents shows at theatres and although I had never been to one they had caught my eye.

Last night I went to see his new show, Combat. I had heard that the costumes were amazing – and they were. His music is big and while not my usual listening style, it goes with the whole stage show and I enjoyed the well organised, rehearsed and thoughtful performance.

From segments I’ve seen on TV over the years it seems that he’s an incredibly hard worker, dedicated to performances as well as people in his life. Everything he does is done properly with exceptional attention to detail. So I expected this from his show and I wasn’t disappointed.

I wasn’t quite prepared to be so totally charmed by Nataniel. He is a talented storyteller with a lovely manner and clever way with words. His show is based around a number of stories, which are interrupted by song performances. The stories had me captivated.

Nataniel is matter of fact and funny and each tale has a special message. The last few stories were in Afrikaans and whike my listening is more fluent than my spoken Afrikaans, I did have to concentrate and there were a few subtleties (and jokes) that I missed. But I got most of it.

In one story (in English) Nataniel talks of his childhood and a child who was at school with him (these are not true stories… at least I don’t think they are!).

A fast-food joint opened up in their small town and one family, in particular, took to it. The boy was in school with Nataniel and over a few years he became so fat that he was unable to go to school, ended up confined to his bed, inside his house and needed to be broken out by one of those ball-demolition things to be taken to hospital.

Some of the town’s aunts decide that they need to have a stand with cakes and pies outside the house because this ‘breaking-out’ is going to be such a spectator event. So, one the day when the boy is to be broken out of the house, Nataniel is at the cake table with three aunties from the town.

They’re watching the goings on and the one expresses her pity for the boy. The other aunt says that there is no need for pity because the child (well, hardly a child by this stage – probably late teens) had enjoyed every mouthful that he stuffed into his mouth.

She goes on to say that when you know the consequences of something and you still do it, you may as well enjoy it. Eating that burger, skipping that spinning class, drinking those few beers too many – they’re all conscious decisions. Stop berating yourself for not doing this or that; or doing this of that. You chose to do (or not do) it, knowing the consequences, so enjoy whatever it is and suck up the consequences without complaint.

I liked this.

This theme came out tonight in a conversation. People feel uncomfortable when they’re doing something that others are not doing. And Nataniel is like this. He’s different to the [boring] norm; he stands out in speech, manner, clothing…

To clarify my statement about uncomfortable…

My friend’s sibling gave up smoking for about three months. She smoked. When her sibling failed and went back to smoking she was pleased, happy to have her sib back on her side. She was uncomfortable that her sibling had made the decision to quit when she should have been supportive and continued to enjoy her vice regardless of his choice. When he fell off the wagon, he was like her again. Same-same.

I don’t drink alcohol. Rarely. I maybe clock up six units a year. Most of these units are logged in flu-fighting heavy-handed hot toddies (my great-grandmother was Scots) that knock me out cold.

I’m not the anti-alcohol version of a tree-hugger, I just don’t like the stuff. Never have. Just like I don’t drink coffee, Coke and other fizzy drinks and I don’t eat brussel sprouts or any type of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew…) aside from watermelon.

I cannot even begin to describe how uncomfortable being a teetotaller makes people. Alcohol is pushed on me, I’m grilled about my taste preferences, I’m offered varieties of wine in an attempt to find something I’d like, people apologise to me for their drinking habits… and all I’ve done is ordered a mango juice instead of a gin and tonic. Why should drinking juice make other people uncomfortable? I really don’t care what you drink.

If you’re going to have a drink, enjoy it. If you’re going to have two or three or four, enjoy them. JUST DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE ‘COS THAT IS FRIGGIN’ STUPID.

Eating too many burgers or chocolates or exercising too little is a choice.

Enjoy what you’re doing or don’t do it.

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About Lisa de Speville

Adventure racing author, athlete and founder of FEAT (Fascinating Expedition ad Adventure Talks) and ar.co.za, Lisa is keenly interested in anything related to outdoor adventure, especially orienteering and trail running.

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