I think I’ve come up with the perfect way to figure out what part of the world you’re in. I’m not speaking geographically as much as I’m talking sociologically. You’ve heard the term “Third World” as in “he was living in a third world hell hole”. That phrase assumes that there are at least three worlds. There’s the first world, where we live; the third world, where the hell holes are and then there’s the second world. You never hear about that one but I’m assuming that it is somehow better than the third world but clearly not up to snuff when compared to the first.
Here’s an obvious statement; I like the first world.
I was born and raised there. I prefer what I know and what I’m comfortable with because I was raised in that environment but I think, even if I was raised in squalid, fetid, wretch inducing horror somewhere in dankest Thirdworldia and had grown accustomed to that lifestyle; even then I believe that I would be able to recognize and appreciate the superiority of a first world lifestyle. In the first world there’s a McDonald’s or KFC within easy driving distance and you probably can’t thrown a dead cat without hitting a Starbucks. Abundance is everywhere; abundance in everything including abundance. Everything you can think of from cat food to magazines has 300 versions of it being offered. Speaking of cat food; cats in the first world eat better than the people in the second world.
Everything in the first world is cleaner or at least less puke inducing than almost everything in the second and third worlds. The worst restroom in the worst gas station in the worst part of the worst state at the worst hour of the day in the first world qualifies as a 4 star hotel in the second world. In the third world its a hotel AND restaurant.
Unemployment in the first world usually means belt tightening, fewer amenities, government safety nets and store brand Fruit Loops. In the second world it means selling off some of the goats because you can’t afford to feed them and you don’t have the fuel to cook them. In the third world you don’t have goats so you sell off children.
I’ve watched a number of TV shows where some famous person travels the world exposing us to exotic locals and strange cultures. If it’s just a travel and eating kinda show they mostly just stick to the first world. They show you happy places where first world people vacation and other first world people stand behind counters and provide first world services. The hotels and restaurants, though not always 4 star Michelin rated masterpieces, are, at least, stocked with recognizable food and beverages. In the first world, we eat first world parts of first world animals and imbibe first world beverages that don’t have things floating in them and have not recently come from within another living creature’s digestive secretory organs.
But there are other kinds of travel shows. There are travel ADVENTURE shows. These are the shows that take you to places with unrecognizable characters in the name. And even if you can make out the letters, you can’t pronounce it… and if you can pronounce it, you probably still don’t know where in the fuck it is. It is, quite literally, the middle of Bum Fuck Egypt. These are the places where when the TV crews rolls up dusty, sweaty and tired and just hoping for a swig of water and a bit of shade, the local head man rolls out everybody in the town to perform a welcome song. There’s a shaman with a feather in his nose or sticking in his ear lobe or glued to his foreskin and he’s blowing “holy” water over the arrivees as a blessing. That holy water is courtesy of is his 14 year old 3rd wife, who recently peed it into a carved gourd. Out of the 34 people assembled for the greeting, there are 19 teeth, counting the dog, who by the way, hasn’t figured out that when you look around the village and you don’t see who dinner is, it’s you.
They show off the dances and the huts and how you can turn feces into cooking fuel as well as a polished floor if you’re just willing to lick it enough and how horse teeth can be turned into arrow points or building tools. Somebody trots out the shrunken heads or the one string violin and then they start ash scar tattooing the baby with croup while blowing smoke in it’s face to cure it and then inevitably, invariably the show comes around to dinner time and that, without exception… is when the penis hits the plate.
Yak penis, camel penis, horse penis, cow penis, pig penis, monkey penis, whale penis, lark penis. If it has a penis and it comes within reach of these people, it is on the menu. Boiled, broiled, charred, barbequed, sliced, diced, dipped in honey, delivered on a stick, on a plate, on a platter, in a bowl and surround with a pillow of testicles and eyeballs, this is their special dish that they save for special days and special guests and there ain’t nothing more special than showing up at their town with a camera and a crew and all of your teeth. Sit down, dig in, welcome to Not the First World Anymore.
If you’re really lucky, they’ve boiled up a big old pot of testicles too. And that, my friends is how you know that you are not going to find a Holiday Inn anywhere near this adventure land slash theme park. We do not, ever ever ever except for a game show or a prank show or for a series of gruesome crimes followed by basement burials, protracted investigations, trials and death row publications, eat penis. We don’t do it. It’s not done. Not here, not now not ever anymore. Maybe when we were all from someplace else where they did that kind of thing but now we’re all from here and ‘we -don’t - do – that - no- more’.
My wife reminded me a few moments ago that there are places in this country where they eat testicles. There are places where pigs, cows, horses and sheep out number people and they’ve held on to a cultural identity where they, once a year, during the holiday of the de testicling of the livestock (yeah, I know its called castration, I just like de-testicling.) Once a year they eat the testicles and they make a big deal over it and there’s a bravado and bravura about it and they all grow up doing it but mostly, they don’t. Very few like it and maybe six guys in the country actually look forward to it. Everybody else is just waiting for the whole thing to go away.
And yes, I know that everything that I consider “not first world parts of first world food animals” ends up in the hotdogs and bologna and slimJims and what not, but, and this is a big but, it isn’t a penis. It doesn’t look like a penis. It isn’t shaped like a penis; well, not exactly, but kinda sorta. It doesn’t have glands and tubules and spongiform tissue. There is not a gigantic urethra running the length of my Oscar Meyer Bologna. There isn’t a foreskin on my slimJim and I’m absolutely positive that I have never once seen even a single vein on my Ball Park frank.
Here in the first world we don’t eat penises for the exact same reasons that they do eat penises in the second and third world. Here, we waste stuff left and right. Yesterday I bought a bag of grapes because the bag of grapes in the fridge were a little soft to the touch for me. Grocery stores throw out food because it passes the sell by date. Not because it isn’t still good, unspoiled food, but just because it isn’t pretty food anymore. In the second and third world there is no pretty food. It is all ugly and up until a few minutes ago, it was running away. Every strand of protein is important including donkey dicks and if you waste food, you may become food.
Another reason we don’t eat penis in the first world is because of what we think of when presented with a penis to eat. “It’s a penis. I don’t want somebody to eat my penis and I don’t want to eat somebody else’s penis, even a very tasty bovine penis. I have choices and that choice makes me feel oddly queasy.” In the second and third world, they eat penis (aside from the fact that it is much needed animal protein) because of what it represents. To them, consuming the symbol of maleness increases their maleness. To be a more masculine man, eat the most masculine part of the poisonous snake we just killed in the hut. To get the most potent form, eat it raw, hopefully while it is still twitching.
There’s a restaurant in Beijing that serves only dishes that feature penises. That’s all I have to know about China. One of the world’s oldest civilizations and number one in population numbers and they eat penis. I’m sure lots of places in China qualify as first world, but I’m gonna say, on balance, most places don’t… especially that restaurant in Beijing. You get outside the city in most of China and you’ve gone back in time at least 50 years and more likely 200. You know what people eat in places that seem like they did 200 years ago? Eyeballs, lips, tongues, tongues stuffed with turtle cheeks and sparrow puckers. Snakes of your choice killed at the table while you wait and parboiled in bull semen and served with jellied hooves of endangered antelope. Oh, and whole, roasted mice on sticks. And… wait for it… penis. Penis and testicle party trays for visiting guests. Extra vas deferences for everybody!!
This whole concept fits into the catagory of first world problems that just don’t exist anywhere else. People in second and third world areas don’t have panic attacks or ADHD kids. They don’t worry if they should get the distressed jeans or the regular ones. They spend all day looking for the next morsel of food and trying not to get killed by soldiers, disease and Bengal tigers. They don’t have to worry about how much gas the SUV burns in the pick up line at school to bring Khalil home. It doesn’t happen often that they have to clean out the fridge because there’s too much food in it and something has started to smell bad because it stayed in there too long before being given to the cat. In the first world we worry about a scuff on the new Nikes. Everywhere else they try to imagine shoes… off brand shoes that haven’t been sent by first world missionaries with little bibles in the box. Most second and third world people don’t worry about their kid’s minutes plan or the data package for their iPhone or if they should bundle the TV provider with the internet or if they should call the plumber to unclog all the food that is stuck in the garbage disposal or the bottom of the dishwasher. These are problems that only the pampered elites have. You may not feel like the pampered elite but believe me, you are. If you’re reading this on your computer, you are living in a freakin dream compared to 80% of the people on this planet. And this dream does not include eating penis served with sliced panda nostrils and a steaming bowl of testees soup.
So, how do you know if you’re in the first world or one of the other two? Look around. Do you see people eating penis? If not, you’re probably ok.