WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Chalk or cheese: what’s in a name?

James Lyons
2 August 2012

Private member’s Bill: to change the definition of cheese to include chalk. (A contribution to the discussion on whether the definition of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples.)

‘From now on I want to be known as Cheese!’ Chalk made this announcement quite calmly and without the slightest embarrassment. ‘I regard my present situation as very unfair and I want all the rights that Cheese has.’

‘That’s impossible,’ Cheese replied. ‘We’re very different. Everyone knows that. ‘Like chalk and cheese’, they say! We’re not alike at all.’

‘We’re very alike,’ Chalk insisted. ‘We’re mostly white, we come nicely wrapped, we don’t take up much room, we survive in refrigerators, we mature with age and we’re user friendly! Yes, we come in different shapes and sizes, but doesn’t everyone? I believe it’s time we shared the same identity.’

‘But why? Aren’t you happy the way you are?’

‘I’m okay, but you’ve got a lot more going for you. I’ve got a right to have the same.’

‘Ah, so that’s it! This is all about rights. How about I become chalk?’

‘That won’t work! The whole point is that you’ve got a better public image. People admire you; they enjoy your company and you have such a good taste. I don’t have any taste but it would help my image if I had your name.’

Cheese thought about this and found it hard not to agree. In a way it didn’t seem fair that Chalk should be so disadvantaged. But then, if you’re called something that in fact you aren’t, you are not being true to yourself. That would be the real disadvantage.

So, Cheese replied: ‘You’re Chalk and I’m Cheese. That’s what we are. There are things about me that I don’t like but I am what I am. There are things about you that I admire, but I know in my heart that I could never be you. None of us can have what we weren’t made to have.’

‘You think I should stay Chalk?’

‘Dear Chalk. You’ve been looking in my direction for so long that you risk becoming blind to your own gifts. Your uniqueness is your strength. The difference between us is important. Don’t lose it. It is where your goodness and beauty are found and the rest of us would be the poorer without it.’

‘I don’t want you to be poor,’ Chalk sighed. ‘I want us both to be rich. I guess we can be if we stay friends.’

‘For sure! We can be as different as chalk from cheese, but still be the best of friends!’