Month: July 2013

Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 14

Chapter 14



South Africans are among the most accident-prone people in the world. Get into a car with one and you will end up with your face on back to front. Ask them to cut something and they will chop off their head by mistake. Or more likely your head. They drown in the sea and fall off mountains. They burn down their houses and slip in the bath. They fly into hillsides and slam their fingers in doors. Women fall pregnant and men fall down. They drop things, spill things, bump into things and trip over things. This happens all the time. Day and night. Cities and towns around the country reverberate to the sound of sirens rushing the accident-prone to hospitals, clinics and police stations.

It’s an accident when a schoolboy playing rugby breaks his neck in a scuffle and it’s an accident when a cable thief electrocutes himself. A woman is found in flagrante delicto with her husband’s best friend and it turns out to be an accident. A government denies forty million people the vote, then detains and tortures thousands of them. Oops. Sorry. That was most definitely an accident.

Here are some other accidents you are likely to have in your lifetime:

Eating & Swimming

My mother always told me not to go swimming right after a meal. Then, when we went to the beach for a picnic, she would force-feed me giant ham and cheese rolls.

I was the only kid on the beach who had to sit under the umbrella and digest his food while everyone else was having a whale of a time in the water. I had no idea what was going on in my stomach. Nothing, as far as I could tell. But my mother knew. She could hear my salivary enzymes breaking down the roll. She knew when a mouthful would enter my oesophagus and how long it would take for peristalsis to force it down into my stomach. She knew precisely how much gastric acid was needed to convert my roll into chyme and exactly when it would enter my duodenum, jejunum and ileum. She could feel the moment the inner wall of my small intestine began secreting bile and pancreatic enzymes and she knew when my large intestine had begun removing water and electrolytes from the little that remained of my lunch. She also knew the names of the Latin-speaking bacteria that came out to help. “Bacteroides, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella,” she would whisper under her breath, a faraway look in her eyes.

Then up, up into the ascending colon went my roll. There was no stopping it now. It sped across my transverse colon and then, with barely a pause, rocketed down my descending colon and through my sigmoid colon. At this point, my mother’s breath would get heavy and ragged. It was as if it were she and not the roll that was on this exhilarating roller coaster ride through my abdomen. Then, sweating and trembling, she would cry out and fall back on her towel. Squeezed of everything good, my lunch had finally made it to my rectum. This was the moment when my mother would gasp, “You need to go to the toilet. Then you can swim.” My father would say, “Sharks feed at dusk. You can swim another day.”

It is because of my mother that I am alive today. If I had not listened to her, and had instead gone into the sea right after eating my ham and cheese roll, my skinny body would have been wracked with agonising cramps and I would have drowned in the six inches of water I wanted to paddle in. And that is a terrible way for any 16-year-old to die.

Since then, the human body has evolved. When today’s children eat, the food proceeds directly from their mouths to their bums. This means that your kids can eat and swim immediately afterwards. Hell, let them eat in the water if they want to. Pack a floating lunch. They will be fine.


A lot of people drown off South Africa’s beaches each year. Nobody seems to know exactly how many because some of them simply vanish and their bodies are never found. In the case of white people, these are generally recorded as bona fide drownings. But if the person is from one of the war-torn, poverty-stricken, disease-riddled basket cases east, west and north of us, then he probably swam underwater for a bit, came up where nobody could see him and hitchhiked to Johannesburg where he is waiting tables in Rosebank by day and selling crack in Hillbrow by night.

In cases like these, police divers don’t even bother getting out of their cars. In their reports, they use the word “suspect” rather than “victim” and

“disappeared” instead of “drowned”.

If you do find yourself drowning, there are two ways to catch the attention of the lifeguard on the beach. The first is to put on a blonde wig and scream in a high-pitched girly voice. Lifesavers rarely bother to save men unless they themselves are gay.

I can’t speak for you, but I would rather drown than be dragged from the surf by a raving queen in a little red Speedo who gives me mouth-to-mouth in front of a rowdy crowd shouting things like, “Get in there! Slip him some tongue!”

The second is to raise your right arm high enough for him to see the R200 note in your hand. When he swims out to you, he is going to want to slap you around a bit. This is what lifesavers do to punish bathers for distracting them from flirting with underage farm girls. The slapping will make you hysterical. To calm you down, he will then punch or even head butt you. It is important to remember that the Marquis of Queensbury rules do not apply on the high seas. Retaliate by gouging his eyes, pulling his hair and biting his face. Fight like a girl, if you have to. Nobody can see you out there.

Adrenalin will course through your body and you will begin to get the upper hand. Your assailant’s resolve will weaken and he will try to get away from you. Go after him. When you get within striking distance, dive down and swim underwater. He will turn around and think that you have drowned. Then bite him hard in the fleshy part of his leg. He will believe a shark is attacking him and he will pass out with fright. Flip over on to your back and drag his body on top of yours. Use one arm to hold his head above water. Paddle backwards with your free arm. If he regains consciousness, tighten your grip and cut off his oxygen supply. It is not essential, but you may want to remove his Speedo before you get to the beach. By the time you hit the sand, a crowd will have gathered. If there are news cameras on the scene, pretend to give him mouth-to-mouth. Make sure the reporters get your name right and then leave the area the moment his eyes open.

Drinking & Swimming

Lifeguards consistently warn you not to drink and swim. I have never heard such nonsense. What are you going to do? Lose control on the backstroke and sideswipe a buoy? Burst a water-wing and roll? Have a head-on collision with a jellyfish? The ocean is by far the safest place in which to drink. For a start, it is impossible to fall over. That means no more inexplicable cuts and bruises the next day. There are no roadblocks to ruin your life. No chance of irresponsible sex with someone whose name you can’t remember. The only problem I ever encountered while drinking and swimming was having my drink diluted with seawater.

The good news is that I am in the process of developing a watertight three-litre container that can be strapped to your back. A plastic hose runs from the container to your mouth, much like the bottles cyclists use to suck steroids from during long-distance races. I am also working on a 10-litre container for those who would like to swim from Cape Town to Luanda. The beauty of this invention is that the more you drink, the more buoyant the container becomes. Eventually, when the container is empty, all you have to do is lie back and let the Benguela current do all the work.


Only you will know whether your pregnancy is the result of a terrible accident, an act of God or an act of the Devil. If you still aren’t sure by the time you give birth, the answer will become increasingly clear as the little monster grows up.

Some couples struggle for years to conceive. Others just bath together and the next thing you know there are babies everywhere. Some men have sperm like tiger fish, other have tadpoles. Some women make eggs like ostriches, others have the eggs of a hummingbird. Don’t ask me why.

One thing I do know is that women have been “accidentally” falling pregnant ever since God was a little girl. They do this because they either want to be a mom without all the attendant trauma of having a man permanently in the house, or they know the only way they can nail the poor unsuspecting fool is to get him to put a bun in her oven and hope he does the right thing. Then comes the agonising dilemma. She can never tell him that the pregnancy was a deliberate accident and her dirty little secret gnaws at her night and day. She is doomed to spend the rest of her life wondering if he ever would have proposed to her if she hadn’t cut the ends off his condoms.

“How will I ever know if he really, really, really loves me,” she asks herself over and over again. Distraught, she turns to Prozac and loses her sex drive. Confused, her husband turns to Sarah from downstairs. And the accidental baby remains determined to ensure that nobody gets any sleep ever again.

I think it is important to tell a child if he is the result of an accident. That way there is less pressure on him to succeed. If the kid knew that you planned to have him, he would have to go through life feeling obliged to make you proud, or worse, make you rich. He would be suffocated with the fear of failure and would always feel indebted to you for giving him the gift of life, no matter how useless it may turn out to be.

But if he knew that when mom and dad were dating they drank too much one night and got careless, he would be able to live a carefree life and choose to be whatever he wanted to be, secure in the knowledge that since he wasn’t planned, there could be no expectations.

He would also be cursed with the knowledge that ultimately he was a mistake – that his mom and dad never really wanted to have him. To numb the pain he falls in with a bad crowd, turns to drugs, shacks up with a middle-aged crack whore and eventually commits suicide in a rat-infested hovel down by the harbour. Maybe it’s best not to tell him.

Pregnancy seems to be more of a big deal for women than it is for men. I think this is because women are more conscious of their body image. The first thought that crosses a woman’s mind when she discovers she is pregnant is, “Omigod! What am I going to wear?” The first thought that crosses a man’s mind when he discovers he has got someone pregnant is, “Omigod! What am I going to drink?”

For a woman, one of the hardest things about being heavily pregnant is learning to ignore all the “hey, fat chick!” remarks whenever she steps outside. For a man, one of the hardest things about having a heavily pregnant girlfriend or wife is learning to ignore his erection.

Surviving pregnancy in itself is not difficult. What poses more of a challenge is staying alive after having given in to the cravings for raw blowfish served on a bed of Namibian charcoal and drizzled with multigrade engine oil.

Emergency Childbirth

If you are on a bus or train or aeroplane or on the beach or just walking down the street and you see a pregnant woman’s waters break, the first thing you need to do is panic. This is a big moment for her and the last thing she wants is people to act nonchalant. She will probably want you to take a photograph. First make sure she is comfortable (put your jacket or shoes under her head) and then take the photograph. Do it tastefully. You have not been commissioned by Hustler.

Some people say that childbirth is the most natural thing in the world. Of course it is. What could be more natural than a miniature human growing inside your body for months and months and then one day, when it has become really large, have it squeeze through an aperture designed to accommodate nothing bigger than a penis and sundry accoutrements from Adult World?

It is inadvisable to rely too heavily on Nature for a hand with the delivery. If it were such a wonderfully natural thing, the two of you could share a couple of beers and chat about your favourite books while she popped it out right there in the bar.

When confronted with an emergency delivery, you will find yourself in the rare position of having a woman hoik up her skirt and open her legs without you having to beg. Don’t make a big thing of it. However, the entire process is fairly personal so you might want to get her phone number before getting down to business. If it turns out that she doesn’t know who the father is, forget the phone number. You don’t want to end up a surrogate dad for some little bastard born on a pavement.

When it comes to the birth, follow these pointers and everything should be fine:

  • Refrain from commenting on her vagina, no matter how complimentary you mean to be.
  • Tell her to push.
  • Tell her that she has dilated by, say, half a metre. That will encourage her to push even more.
  • Tell her to leave your mother out of this.
  • When you see the baby’s head appear, resist the impulse to shout, “Alien spawn!” and run away.
  • If the baby is taking its time to come out, stick your hand in there and give it a good tug.
  • If you don’t have a knife or pair of scissors, chew through the umbilical cord and tie a knot in it. Close your eyes and pretend you are on Fear Factor.
  • If the baby is not breathing, this means he has already started with his nonsense and should be reprimanded with a gentle smack.
  • He will then start crying. So will his mother. It is best that you cry, too. If a crowd has gathered, ask them to join in.
  • Wait a few minutes for the afterbirth to appear. I don’t know why it doesn’t just come out with the rest of the carnage.
  • Put the afterbirth in some sort of container. A lot of mothers like to take it home and use it as a conversation piece.
  • Give the mother gin, cigarettes, drugs – whatever you have in your pockets. She deserves it.

Plummeting Elevator

When an elevator cable snaps, it could be an act of God or an act of the Devil. It all depends on who is in the elevator with you at the time. If it is Wouter Basson, it is an act of God. If it is Nelson Mandela, it is an act of the Devil. If it is Charlize Theron, it is an act of the Devil because she may be so badly hurt that she can never act again. And yet it is also an act of God because you get to loosen her clothing and give her mouth-to-mouth. That’s assuming you’re okay.

The only thing you can do if the elevator goes into freefall is to climb up the tallest person there. If your feet are not touching the floor at the moment of impact, you stand a very good chance of surviving. If the very tall person tries to get you off, cling to him like a baby monkey. Place your legs around his waist and your arms around his neck. Hold on tight. You may even want to make baby monkey sounds so that he feels sorry for you.

Brake Failure

If you want someone else’s brakes to fail, it is a simple matter of draining the brake fluid from their car or cutting their brake cables. I would tell you how to do this but I have no interest in being charged as an accessory to murder. Not that I have anything against appearing in court. In fact, I relish the opportunity to speak without being interrupted by a woman. It is just that I don’t want to get involved in your sordid attempt to kill your wife, husband, husband’s lover, wife’s lover or boss. Unless, of course, there is something in it for me. I am not talking about anything as crass as money. I want love. True love.

If you are driving down a long, steep road when the brakes fail, there are several things you can to do to minimise the odds of certain death. Once you accept that you have no way of stopping, you can give up stabbing at the brake pedal and start panicking. Remaining calm will do you no good at all. You need your body to pump out as much adrenalin as it can produce. Your fight or flight response must be peaking at maximum power if you hope to have any chance of survival.

If you choose flight, open your door and curl yourself up into a ball as quickly as you can. It is vital that you have no protruding bits. Tuck your head as far down between your legs as it will go. Don’t get distracted. Only double-jointed people and dogs can do that. Then, lift your knees until they are touching your shoulders. Next, fold your legs until they are flush against your chest. Wedge your arms into the space between your thighs and your body. You are now ready to roll. Tip yourself out of the door if there is no oncoming traffic.

When you hit the tar it is essential that you retain your ball shape. If a foot or hand comes loose, it could spin you out of control and send you plunging over the edge. You will roll for as long as you keep your ball shape. Lean into corners and try to stay on your side of the road. It may not seem like it while you are rolling, but the road has to flatten out eventually. Wait until you have come to a complete standstill before unrolling yourself. You will have the odd bruise and scratch and will probably feel a bit stiff the next day, but at least you will be alive.

When you get home, hire the best lawyer in town to defend you on the culpable homicide charges that arose as a result of your car smashing into a van full of disabled orphans on their way to see the ocean for the first time.

If you choose fight over flight, you are going to have to do some fast thinking. Screaming and closing your eyes is not going to help. Your first move is to get your car to slow down. Trying to gear down or use the handbrake will be senseless at that speed, so don’t even try it. Well, try it if you think I am lying, but you are wasting valuable time. With every passing second, your car is getting more out of control. Here are some methods you could use to reduce speed:

  • If you come across a pack of cyclists riding on the shoulder, make sure you hit them squarely in the middle of your bonnet. You want the impact to slow you down, not cause you to veer sharply to the left or right.
  • Pull the catch on your bonnet. The wind should flip it up and create considerable drag. You might have to put your head out of the window to see where you are going.
  • Pick a vehicle that is going slower than you (all of them should be going slower than you). Drive into the back of one of them. Try to lock bumpers. Unless you have snapped the driver’s spine, he will bring his vehicle and yours to a halt. He may not be in the right frame of mind for stories about brakes, so get out and run away the moment you stop.

Runaway Police Horse

It sometimes happens that you are ambling down the street swearing at street kids and fending off drug merchants when you hear the thunder of hooves growing louder and louder. Unless you live in the country, this indicates that a runaway police horse is heading your way. It may or may not have a policeman on its back. It doesn’t really matter. If the officer has not yet fallen off, it will only be a matter of time before he does. The cops who join the cavalry are not trained to ride fast-moving horses. They are trained to stay in the saddle at a slow walk and say things like, “You can’t do that here” and “There are no public toilets in the city”.

The moment you see the runaway horse coming your way, you need to draw yourself up to your full height and shout, “Whoa! Not so fast, Mr Horse!” Do not lie down or curl up into a ball. The horse will think you are a crocodile or an armadillo and he will take fright. It is better to have a spooked horse on an open street than inside a shoe shop.

Start running in the same direction as the horse when it is approximately thirty metres from you. Tourists, especially those from Spain, are likely to think it is some kind of sport and will want to join in. Lash out at them while you are running. Shout things like, “¿parecen los toros, usted los bastardos estúpidos?”

If you see the horse has lost its policeman, wait until it has drawn level with you and then grab the reins. Swing yourself up into the driver’s seat and hold on tightly with your thighs. Lean forward and smack her across the side of the head three or four times. Then whisper into her ear, “You want to know something? You’re pretty damn cute for a horse. I’ve seen you around here before. What do you say we slow things down to a canter and get to know each other a little better?”

She will either take you up on your offer or deliberately speed up to let you know that she is not that kind of horse. In this case, you have to go back to the ear. Instead of whispering sweet nothings, sink your teeth into it. Horses are like dogs, only bigger. They both understand that any animal capable of biting its ear is of superior strength and intellect and they will immediately capitulate.

Terrified pedestrians will see you bring the horse under control after putting your mouth to its ear. The media will call you a hero and dub you the “horse whisperer”. Use the opportunity to write a book about one man’s extraordinary talent to communicate with horses. That man, of course, will be you. But nobody need know that. Fiction sells better than fact. And if you play your cards right there could even be a movie deal in it. I was thinking that you should try to get Robert Redford for the lead, but you might want someone a little less weather-beaten. Try for Brad Pitt. I hear these days he’s looking for any excuse to get a break from the orphans and that mentally disturbed bisexual wife of his.

If you don’t know how to ride a horse, there would be no point in trying to be a hero. You would fall off like Eugene Terreblanche and everyone would laugh at you and you would have to go out and beat up an old black man just to regain your self-esteem.

If you have never learnt to ride, the chances are that you don’t particularly like horses. I don’t understand what makes them tick. They are furtive, devious animals and it is impossible to tell a happy horse from a sad horse. No matter how they feel, they always have a long face. Any animal that hides its emotions to that extent is certain to be hiding other things – dark things that sometimes cause them to snap and turn into killers. People get bitten, trampled and thrown all the time. And yet we still give our daughters ponies without once pausing to consider that these cute, gentle creatures are little more than murderous understudies to their bigger brethren.

If you feel the same as I do about horses, it is likely that you wouldn’t be caught dead on his back. All you can do then is wait until you can see the whites of his eyes, reach down and remove the 9mm pistol strapped to your ankle and fire a single clean shot into his brain.

People who recognise horses for what they really are will still regard you as a hero. But there will be the others, the people who wear scratchy jumpers, stained khaki trousers and sensible shoes, who will bay for your blood and who will not rest until you are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They really do talk like that.

Before you pull the trigger, it is only fair that you consider the very real possibility that the horse is, in fact, running away from the police. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Imagine walking around all day long with a policeman sitting on your back. And then imagine having to defecate openly in front of people having their breakfast at pavement cafes. Wouldn’t you also want to throw the cop and bolt? I know I would.

If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t shoot. Let him run. Let him run down the N1, take the slipway at Century City and then left on to the N7. Then it’s straight on for a week or so, an easy swim across the Orange River and left at the Luderitz turnoff. After two hours, a sharp right into the dunes and it won’t be long before the wild horses of the Namib take him in and teach him the ways of the desert.




Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 13

Chapter 13




A recent study released in Stockholm revealed that everybody contemplates suicide at one time or another in their lives. The Swedish researcher ended up killing himself when the institution that commissioned the study refused to pay him on the grounds that his findings were so blindingly obvious that a child raised by a family of meerkats could have come to the same conclusion.

And while all South Africans think about suicide, some more than others, only seven or eight thousand people a year progress from mere contemplation to the act itself. Even more worrying is that twenty people try to kill themselves every hour – and fail. What kind of message does this send to the rest of the world?

There is something seriously wrong with a nation when not even its broken-hearted, manically depressed, chronically ill, substance abusing, debt riddled no-hopers can kill themselves properly.

We must be the laughing stock of the world. Even people in happy countries like Sweden and Norway have a higher success rate than ours. In Scandinavia, ordinary people like you and me think nothing of flinging themselves off buildings or into the path of oncoming trains. Sure, alcohol plays a prominent role, although in their case it seems to be the obscenely high prices that drive them to it.

How Not To Do It

Like brain surgery and programming a VCR, surviving suicide is harder than it sounds. Much of the art lies in preparing the groundwork for your attempt. You do not want it to look like you were indulging in a little late afternoon autoerotic asphyxiation, nor do you want people to think you were cleaning your gun when it accidentally went off. Or that you inadvertently swallowed the wrong stash.


In South Africa, hanging seems to be all the rage, with shooting and poisoning lagging behind in the popularity stakes.

If you have chosen hanging, avoid using the hangman’s knot. You will need a knot that works itself loose less than three minutes after you have strung yourself up. It may seem hard to believe, but there are over a thousand knots to choose from. If you are the obsessive-compulsive type, try to stop yourself from going through all of them. If you are of a nautical bent, you might want to try a gaff-topsail halyard bend or a gripping sailor’s hitch. If you prefer something more exotic, consider the tumbling thief knot or the twined Turk’s head. In the end, though, it is probably safer to stick with the bottom loaded release hitch. The only real problem with hanging is that it comes across as dull and uninspired.


Shooting yourself will certainly attract the attention you so desperately crave. For this, you will need a handgun. Shotguns have their own romantic appeal, but few people survive suicide attempts when they choose a weapon that sprays lead pellets. Try to get your hands on a .22. The bullets are small and the gun itself is easy to handle.

The next thing you have to do is write a suicide note. This will make your attempt seem genuine. Try not to make spelling mistakes. Even close family members will regret that your attempt failed when they find your note saying, “I is going to kil myslef becorz i does knot wont to liff no more becors my gurlfrend left me.”

Now give some thought to where you are going to do it. Estate agents are right when they say location is everything. It’s just a pity that more of them don’t try suicide.

Avoid remote areas. Remember that you want to be found and rushed to hospital. You don’t want to be crawling about a field in the middle of nowhere slowly bleeding to death and weeing in your broeks while a sheep looks at you with dumb, uncomprehending eyes.

Your bedroom is always a good choice. Or even better, your parents’ bedroom. That way they will at least feel guilty every time they go to sleep at night. And isn’t this one of the reasons you are going to so much trouble? Philip Larkin might well have been considering suicide when he wrote:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.”

Now lie down on the bed and shoot yourself. But not in the leg or arm. This will look like an accident and you won’t get nearly as much sympathy. You will need to shoot yourself in the head. Your best bet is to place the barrel of the gun under your chin. Angle it so that the bullet will exit through your nose. Any higher and you risk taking out a chunk of your frontal lobe. On the other hand, a lobotomy may be just what you need.

Even though you will require cosmetic surgery after tearing yourself a third nostril, people will get the impression you were deadly serious about killing yourself, but that you had a miraculous escape. They might even say this was a clear sign that god wanted you to live – that you have an unfulfilled destiny, a higher purpose to serve. It is almost certain that everyone will be a lot nicer to you in future. Well, apart from those who mock you for being such a pathetic loser that you tried to blow your brains out and missed.


This will only work if you are known to have a soft spot for pharmaceuticals. If you are a violent gun freak, nobody is going to believe that you tried to kill yourself with pills. If you have never taken anything stronger than aspirin, you need to start developing a tragic air about yourself at least a month before the event.

Leave scraps of poetry lying on the floor. Try not to plagiarise. You don’t want anyone finding a poem in your handwriting that starts off:

No more of mirth and rural joys,

The gay description quickly cloys,

In melting numbers, sadly slow,

I tune my alter’d strings to woe;

Attend, Melpomene, and with thee bring

Thy tragic lute, Euphranor’s death to sing.

Right off the bat, they will think you are barking mad and have you committed the moment your stomach has been drained. Rather write something simple like this:

I would rather die

Than tell a lie

And this is why

I have to  …

Let your handwriting trail off the page. Smudge it a bit with water so that people will think you were weeping as you wrote.

If you choose pills, make sure that you take enough painkillers, antidepressants or benzodiazepines to warrant a stomach pump. You don’t want your mother slapping you back into consciousness and telling you to stick your fingers down your throat. That is strictly for amateurs.

In all of these cases – hanging, shooting and overdosing – you need to ensure that somebody is aware of your intentions. There is no point in surviving suicide if no one knows you even attempted it. This is a bit like having nobody around to hear the sound of one hand clapping when a tree falls in the forest.

How To Do It

If you live in Durban, the quickest way to shuffle off this mortal coil is to hire a Mercedes SL500 and cruise the back streets of KwaMashu on a Friday night at the end of the month with your windows open and your CD playing Steve Hofmeyr songs at full volume.

If you live in Johannesburg, start hooting at the driver in front of you before the traffic lights turn green.

If you live in Pretoria, cut a broomstick into equal lengths and tie them to your body, wrap a dishcloth around your head and take a long run at the American embassy. Wave your arms about and shout incoherent gibberish.

If that doesn’t work, slip into a pair of leather lederhosen, hang a brace of Canon digital cameras around your neck and take a leisurely stroll downtown. Any town. Any city. You won’t have to go far before a varmint hoves into view. If he grabs your cameras and walks away, call him back. Tell him you have some more stuff that he might want. Then stand on your tiptoes and hold your wallet and phone up where he can’t reach them. If he is taller than you, hide them behind your back and make him guess which hand has the phone and which has the wallet. Tell him he can only have them if he guesses correctly. At this point, he will shoot, stab or bludgeon you to death.

Suicide By Proxy

If you are serious about wanting to end it all but lack the courage to do it yourself, then you should consider getting yourself murdered. This is known as the Kebble Option.

There are many people in South Africa who will quite happily kill you in return for your car, the contents of your wallet, your phone or even that banana you have in your hand.

The benefits of getting murdered are obvious. For a start, most insurance policies refuse to pay out in the event of suicide. Getting someone else to do it for you means that your family will at least benefit from your death. Secondly, a lot of people who commit murders do it only once in their lives. Homicide is a bit like homosexuality in that way. Once they have done it, their curiosity is satisfied and it is out of their system. They might think about it from time to time, but it is unlikely that they will want to do again. In other words, by letting the one-off killer pop his cherry on you, so to speak, you could be saving someone else’s life.

Even though danger lurks everywhere, it is quite possible that weeks could go by without someone making an attempt on your life. Don’t give up. Stay weak. You have already lost the will to survive. Keep it that way. Here are some helpful hints on how to go about getting yourself killed without jeopardising the insurance payout.


Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You do not want to miss an opportunity to be killed, no matter how slight it may seem at the time. Keep your eyes peeled for cash-in-transit vans. They are not unmarked, as you might expect them to be. Instead, they resemble urban armoured personnel carriers. They have names like Coin Security Group, Fidelity Services Group and SBV Security emblazoned across their doors. Their reinforced smoked glass windows clear up any misconceptions that they might be transporting chickens instead of great steaming piles of money.

Once you spot one of these vans, follow it. Don’t let it out of your sight. If it is going in the opposite direction, make a U-turn and stick right on its tail. Sooner or later, a BMW with no licence plates is going to come out of nowhere and slam into the side of it. Stop your car and get out. This is exactly where you want to be. There will probably be a shoot-out between the robbers and the guards. However, crossfire can be notoriously unreliable and you may find that the bullets keep missing you. Your best bet is to run up to one of the robbers and try to grab the money away from him. At the top of your voice, shout: “This is my money, motherfucker!” Now you have the attention of both the robbers and the guards. Unless everyone is blind drunk, it will be almost impossible to survive the ensuing firestorm.

If you are looking for something a little less dramatic, you might want to try staging a high-speed car smash. You don’t need a particularly fast car. In fact, the older and more run-down it is the better. The last thing you want is an airbag going off or any kind of German engineering that ensures the car retains its shape after rolling seventeen times.

Forget about driving into walls, lampposts or over the edge of cliffs. That kind of thing makes insurance investigators jumpy. What you want to do is find a two-way road that is used by heavy vehicles. The N7 between Cape Town and Namibia is perfect. Head out of town as if you were planning to see the Namaqualand daisies instead of planning to cause a terrible head-on collision. Thinking of flowers will help take your mind off things. Sooner or later, you will see a cattle truck coming towards you. Make sure there are no other vehicles in the immediate vicinity. There is no point in taking other people with you, even though there is a very good chance that they are also driving along thinking up new and innovative ways to kill themselves.

When the cattle truck is roughly twenty metres from you, swerve into its path. Aim directly for the steel reinforced bull bar. Cattle trucks are built to withstand collisions, so don’t fret about the driver’s safety. He will barely feel the impact and care even less. The worst thing that can happen, apart from you surviving the smash and having to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair, is that the driver will swerve and the truck will overturn.

In a way, this is also the best thing that can happen. Those sheep or cows he is transporting are on their way to be turned into mutton chops and hamburgers. And even though there may be a certain amount of collateral damage in the form of dismembered livestock, a substantial number will escape into the veld where they will be able to live out the rest of their lives as free animals. You will have saved innocent lives by sacrificing your own. God loves this kind of thing and I imagine he would have some kind of special surprise waiting for you in heaven.


Another way to kill yourself is by walking and walking and walking until you collapse from hunger, thirst or cardiac arrest.

Before you set off, remember to take your passport. If you are relatively fit, you could easily reach the Zimbabwean border and still be going strong. Cross the border and keep walking. If you have remembered to bring it along, put on your Democracy Now! T-shirt. It won’t be long before a member of Mad Bob’s Central Intelligence Organisation picks you up and takes you to CIO headquarters where you will be tortured to death. Okay, so it’s not quite the same as dying from walking, but it’s good enough.


People who run have a death wish, whether they know it or not. More people die jogging than they do sitting in front of the television drinking beer and eating pizza. You may, however, be one of those with the heart of an ox, in which case no amount of running is going to make it explode. Instead, you are going to have to run into heavy traffic or into the path of an oncoming train. Make it look like murder by throwing your arms up and pretending that someone has pushed you to your death just as you run past them.


The sea is full of animals that can cause you grievous bodily harm. But don’t for one moment think you can simply pitch up at the beach, wade in to the water and hope that something will jump up and bite your head off.

What you need to do is call the Natal Sharks Board and get an idea of where the shark-infested beaches are located. There are an average of six shark attacks a year in South African waters. In the past sixteen years, only 12% of attacks have been fatal. With such a pathetic strike rate, you would be forgiven for thinking that sharks are pretty hopeless when it comes to dishing out a decent savaging.

You don’t want to waste your time with second-rate sharks like Zambezis, Makos and Hammerheads, let alone that big aquatic pussycat, the Ragged Tooth. For a start, you would have to slap them around a good deal to get them angry enough to take even a foot or an arm, which isn’t at all what you want.

You need to find Carcharodon carcharias – the Great White – the most feared animal in the sea unless you happen to be swimming at Umhlanga in December. You can make it easier for the shark to find you by following these simple instructions:

  • Do not swim at netted beaches.
  • Use a razor blade to lacerate your legs and arms before entering the water.
  • Swim only at river mouths at dawn and dusk.
  •  Make sure you are the only person in the water.
  •  Swim out into deep water and splash vigorously.

Water In The Lungs

If death by shark is not an option (you may want to have an open coffin), the next best alternative is to drown. Again, this has to be staged carefully to avoid attracting unwelcome attention from your insurance assessor. Take a packed lunch to the beach. Spread out a blanket and remove some of the goodies from your picnic hamper. Leave a book lying open and have a bottle of Dom Pérignon in the cooler box. Nobody in their right mind would kill themselves while there was a bottle of Dom to be had.

Before going into the water, check to see where the dangerous rips and currents are located. A good place to swim is alongside rocky outcrops where, if the tide is right, you will find a dangerous undertow that will suck you out to sea. Your first instinct will be to struggle. Don’t. Give in. Let the current take you right out into the shipping channel. It will only be a matter of time before you die of hypothermia. You should be warned, though, that the moments preceding drowning are generally filled with a fair amount of unseemly thrashing about. You need to override the survival instinct. Done properly, drowning can be one of the most graceful acts imaginable. I would go so far as to say that it compares to a prima ballerina performing a perfect pirouette, only wetter.


Phlebitis may sound like nothing more serious than an infestation of blood-sucking parasites, but you will be pleased to know that it can be a life-threatening occurrence. All you need to do is book a round trip economy class ticket to Sydney, Hong Kong, Bermuda and New Delhi. Make sure you sit as still as possible on every flight. This will increase the chances of the blood in your legs turning to sludge. With a bit of kneading, you should be able to pry loose a clot that will lodge in your heart, lungs or brain once you are at cruising altitude and far away from the nearest airport.

If the plane happens to crash in the middle of the ocean and you have not managed to induce phlebitis, you could well find yourself adrift in an open boat for weeks on end. You will develop painful blisters across most of your body. The only way to turn them into weeping sores is to squeeze them. After that, infection is not far off. At the same time, drink lots of seawater to ensure that your lingering death is made more pleasant through a series of colourful hallucinations. If you are dying and some do-gooder on the lifeboat tries to give you the kiss of life, quickly stick your tongue into their mouth and make moaning noises. That should deter them.


This is one of the easiest ways to kill yourself without it seeming deliberate. Book yourself a cabin on a cruise ship. The travel supplement in your local newspaper will have a listing of various cruises available. My favourite is from Cape Town to Nowhere. You spend two nights drifting aimlessly around the Atlantic and then you come back. Or, in your case, you don’t.

On your second night, go for a walk around the deck. Do I really have to continue? Head for the stern. It is always quieter at the stern. You may come across a couple of crewmen shagging passengers from Bellville. Wait for them to finish. Then, when the coast is clear, climb over the railing and let yourself go. The captain won’t know you are missing until the next day. And it’s not as if he would give a damn, anyway.

If you can’t afford R4 500 for a cruise (no wonder you want to die), then get yourself a berth on a yacht. Skippers are always looking for crew. Tell them you can cook and they will take you on immediately. There will probably be seven or eight of you on board. This presents a minor complication as you don’t want to get caught jumping over the side.

What you need to do is start getting rid of the others. Every time you are alone on deck with someone, sneak up and give him or her a powerful shove into the water. Pretend to have a coughing fit to drown out their cries for help. When you can no longer see the person, raise the alarm. Tell the others that there was a terrible accident. Repeat until the boat is deserted. Now it is safe for you to jump.

The plan sounds a little loose on paper, but if it could work on the Marie Celeste, it could work on any boat.


Although they are not always aware of it, most South African men regularly bring themselves to the point of death by drinking so much alcohol that it would induce organ failure in smaller men with more delicate constitutions. Swiss men, for instance.

However, the most serious thing that happens is that they are late for work on Monday. Over time, these men sustain varying degrees of brain damage, but since ours is a society highly tolerant of aberrant behaviour, nobody really notices.

If you have decided to drink yourself to death, first go to the video shop and take out Leaving Las Vegas. Nicholas Cage does it with style and panache. He also does it with a hooker, which is a lot more fun than doing it with a wife who keeps nagging you to stop drinking so much.

Next, go to the bottle store. You will already have seen how Cage does it. Fill your trolley with bottles of every shape, size and colour. Leave the beer. Nobody can drink themselves to death on beer. I’ve tried it. All that will happen is that you get more and more bloated and possibly suffocate on your own gaseous emissions, which is a horrible way for anyone to die.

Go home, lock all the doors and draw the curtains. Set up the bottles so that they are within easy reach. Start with the vodka. By the fifth double, you will feel a lot less depressed. You will start thinking that maybe life really is worth living. This is just the booze talking. Ignore it and switch to brandy. After the first bottle, you may find it difficult to pour a drink without it sloshing all over the carpet. The main thing is to remain calm. Panic will cause your throat to close up. This will interfere with your ability to continue drinking and you will need a friend to come around and hook you up to a drip to enable you to finish the rest of the alcohol intravenously. Drink as rapidly as you can. Don’t worry if you vomit. You won’t be around to clean it up. Depending on your size, you should be able to induce a coma after three litres of spirits. By the time anyone finds you, your brain should be in a vegetative state. Don’t be afraid that nobody will be able to tell.

You will be rushed to the nearest hospital (if you are not on medical aid, you will be driven slowly to a rat-infested clinic in the next province). After a couple of weeks on life-support, a member of your family will be called on to decide on pulling the plug. If you are lucky it will be your wife. She will ask for a few minutes alone with you. Then, when everyone has left the room, she will bend down, take you by the throat and whisper, “You low-down good-for- nothing drunken son of a bitch how can you leave me with unpaid bills you sorry-arsed selfish pig of a boozehound!”

By the time everyone returns, her tears will be genuine. Less honest will be her reason for taking you off life-support.


Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 12


Chapter 12




South Africa’s most powerful earthquake hit the small Boland town of Tulbagh on 29th September 1969. It measured 6.5 on the Richter scale and killed nine people. Tulbagh is one of the oldest towns in South Africa. It is also home to some of the oldest people in South Africa.

As the 37th anniversary of the earthquake approached in 2008, members of the Dutch Reformed Church ganged up on an art dealer who was planning an exhibition of nude works. He began getting anonymous death threats at 2am every morning. The local minister told his flock that some parishioners had experienced visions of the town being swallowed up by another earthquake, and he warned them that “the back of the dragon will open up” if the town turned its back on God. Taking no chances, the art dealer cancelled the exhibition and moved his collection to Cape Town.

Cause & Effect

Over a million earthquakes are recorded around the world each year. That’s one every thirty seconds. This makes them more common than gum-chewing girls in white plastic pants. The difference is that while you might not always be able to feel the earthquake, you will always want to feel the girl. I’m sorry. That was sexist and uncalled for. It won’t happen again. Not in the earthquake section, anyway.

Californians like to brag about the San Andreas Fault. Every day, unemployed drag queens get together in the bars of Berkeley and Santa Rosa to talk in hushed tones about The Big One. They might not be talking about earthquakes at all.

Typical Americans. Always over-dramatising. There has barely been a tremor in San Francisco since 1906. We also have spastic crustal plates. We just don’t talk about them all the time.

One of the effects of an earthquake is to make some people very rich. In Alaska, 54 companies offered earthquake insurance in 2004. They took in premiums totalling $12.3-million and paid out $36,000 in damage related to earthquakes. As far as profit margins go, I can’t see much difference between the Alaskan insurance industry and the Colombian cocaine trade.

Religious fundamentalists consider earthquakes to be God’s way of punishing us for our sins. This makes sense when you consider what goes on in San Francisco. God doesn’t like homos. Apparently it says so in the Bible. I looked for the relevant passage but got side-tracked by this incredible story about a drunken whore from Babylon who would visit clients on the back of a seven-headed beast. That’s my kind of hooker. I bet she charged a fortune, too.

But not everyone believes that earthquakes are caused by a prudish, holier-than-thou god. New age hippies, for example, believe that giant trolls hold up the earth from the inside and that an earthquake is caused when one of them loses his grip.

The Hindus believe earthquakes happen when one of the eight mighty elephants holding up the earth gets tired and lowers its head.

For the Chinese, it is the twitching of a giant frog.

And the Japanese say earthquakes are the result of an enormous catfish thrashing about.

Personally, I think earthquakes are caused when the frog jumps onto a troll who is concentrating on trying to hook the catfish, startling him and stampeding the elephants.

Quake Alert

Animals provide a reliable early warning system for earthquakes. If your dog, cat, fish or geese start behaving strangely, you need to get out of your house as quickly as possible. If you are keeping anything in cages, release them so they have a fighting chance of survival. I run out into the street four, maybe five, times a day. This is the price you pay for keeping animals that exhibit consistently strange behaviour.

 What To Do

If you are not drunk or having sex (you’re not from South Africa, are you?), there are certain steps you need to take to ensure that not only do you survive the earthquake, but you come out of it a whole lot better off than when you started.

When the tremors begin, move quickly to get under a solid object such as the kitchen table, or even your wife if she is of the larger variety. If the vibrations continue for long enough, she may begin deriving a certain amount of enjoyment from the experience. Do not encourage her. This will set a dangerous precedent whereby she expects the earth to move every time she lies on top of you. Nobody needs that kind of pressure.

Once the shaking has stopped, do not hang around waiting for the aftershocks. Go outside immediately. If you live in the suburbs, use your car to get to the nearest commercial district as quickly as possible. Do not try to get there by foot. Speed is of the essence. There is no point in getting to the shops only to find that all the best stuff has already been taken. Besides, you will need the car to transport your loot back home.

If it has been a particularly good earthquake, most of the shop windows will already be broken. This saves time and effort. Step right in and help yourself. A lot of people instinctively make for the larger items like television sets, plasma screens and computers. Don’t follow the herd. It is not worth putting your back out. The whole point is to minimise the chance of injuring yourself in a disaster. I recommend that you stick to the smaller items like cellphones, jewellery and handguns. That way you will be able to fit more in your car.

If you have finished shopping and feel a little guilty, a good way to assauge your conscience is to assist others who may have fainted or been knocked unconscious by falling debris. The first thing you have to do is remove necklaces, watches, belts and even underwear if the victim is a beautiful woman. This will help them breathe more easily. Place the items in a bag, then place the bag in your car.You have done all you can. Now go home and rest.


Poverty is an act of God because I say so. But if you insist on hard evidence, just go into any poor person’s house and look around their lounge. On the wall will be at least one crucifix and a full colour poster of Rafael’s Jesus holding a lamb and looking depressed. The poorer the people, the more cheap and nasty Christian gimcracks will adorn the walls and tables. The poor love God. Quite why this is, I cannot say. And I have no doubt that God loves the poor, too. Just not enough to make them wealthy.

Poverty & Crime

One of the enduring myths of the 21st century is that poverty causes crime. This is a lie put out by foreign aid workers whose thinking is as woolly as their jumpers. They use it to increase their budgets so they can buy more dope and sell more children into slavery.

Poverty does not cause crime. It causes malnutrition, alcoholic dementia and CNN specials on Africa. Poverty, however, is a crime. Every time a poor person bangs on my door or my car window, I tell them to fuck off. Then I feel guilty. People who care about the poor tell us not to give them money. They say that by doing so we are encouraging them to continue with their despicable begging ways. But since this makes me feel guilty, it ruins my day. Well, maybe not the whole day.

The point is that it should be illegal for the poor to make people like me feel guilty. People who have done something wrong should feel guilty. I have done nothing wrong. And this is why I resent the poor. Surviving poverty certainly can be an emotionally draining experience.

Tie A Tourniquet On Time

I have noticed a burgeoning fascination with youth that turns my stomach.

Look at the fuss made over that mewling whelp spawned in London this week. Now that the cossetted little prince is five days old, the running dogs of the media will have lost interest and sloped off to sniff out a story involving someone younger. Maybe a two-day-old Puerto Rican suckling who can speak seven languages and play La Borinqueña on the bars of its crib.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am.

I went to buy supper from the Spar in Ballito on Wednesday, which is depressing enough on its own, but when I proceeded to the checkout point, the wage slave rang up my half loaf of white bread and bottle of meths and said, “Pensioner?”

My mouth fell open. I looked at her in disbelief. “Pensioner?” I said. Had I misheard? She looked at me blankly. “Pensioner!?” I repeated three or four times, getting progressively louder and shriller.

I turned to the people in the queue, expecting them to join me in staring at the teller as if she were a sight-impaired person recently escaped from an institution for the criminally insane. Instead, they gave me weak, indulgent smiles and looked away. Their faces suggested they were thinking, “Shame, he’s obviously hard of hearing.” What? WHAT? How could they not detect the incredulity in my voice? How could they miss the twinkle in my eye and the spring in my step?

Okay, I was limping at the time. I suppose it could have been misconstrued as gout. I prefer to think of it as an old surfing injury. And my eyeballs have been ravaged by too many years of sun, surf, tears and beers. Also, it has been the kind of year that turns one’s hair dusky blond before its time. It probably didn’t help that I have a couple of teeth missing, thanks to a dentist who reached for the pliers at the crack of a tooth. I suspect he was hoping to score from all the implants I would no doubt be wanting. Tough luck, buddy. I’d rather look like a car guard than pay for your next trip to Thailand. That’ll teach him.

I have an idea what happened here. You know how white people think all black people look the same? Well, it’s obvious that darkies can’t tell how old whiteys are. It must be a rural thing. The bigger the tree, the older it is. Stands to reason, right? And since I am 1.93m tall, it’s no wonder she thought I was one of the ancients.

To calm my shattered nerves, I went around the corner to The Galley Beach Bar and Grill. I got a couple of stiff shots down me when this black dude came up off the beach. I was sitting at the table nearest the stairs. He was carrying a bunch of sticks and I braced myself for a fight. Instead of attacking me, he tried to sell me one. Normally, I would have waved him off. But he said something that turned my day around.

Holding up one of his carved sticks, he said, “They are not only for old people.” This was clearly a man who knew what he was talking about.

“This one is good for walking,” he said, holding up a stick identical to all the others. “You don’t need it.” Damn straight I don’t. He held up another that was good for leaving in your car in case of road rage. Then there was the Zulu fighting stick. I didn’t even haggle. If one were going to live in KZN, one would be an idiot not to own a stick specially designed to fend off the impis. It was made from tamboti and had a big knob on one end. I felt so virile limping out of the bar swinging my big-knobbed Zulu fighting stick that I wanted to go back to the Spar where the ageist teller would beg me to take her as one of my wives.

By the time I reached the car, I was out of breath and leaning heavily on my stick. On the way home I bought a magazine called Longevity in the hope of discovering some sort of Benjamin Button-type elixir to reverse the ageing process.

Worryingly, the giveaway sealed inside the plastic was a canister of ten vitamin A tablets and a paperback called The Camden Cowboy. I couldn’t work out if there was a connection between the two.

I flipped through it. “Once their peaks had been reached, leaving them both sated and satiated and their reunion finally and firmly sealed, Seth collapsed with his back to the …” I closed the book, desperately hoping it was a story about mountaineering and that Seth was exhausted after summiting the Matterhorn.

Being a late starter, I think it is only fair that I live to at least 140. I was relying on the magazine to help me get there. Right away, I wolfed the vitamin A and began searching for the secret to immortality.

I hoped they wouldn’t tell me to stay out of the sun. We live in Africa. What should we do? Go and live with the Mole People? I’ve tried that. It was a disaster. I can’t stand being jostled and pawed.

And I’m not interested in cosmetic surgery as a means of looking younger. On the other hand, my butt is my best feature. It’s extremely well preserved after sitting on it for so many years. I could get a transplant, I suppose. It wouldn’t be the first time I have been called assface.

I came across a remedy for hangovers. This was a good start. Hangovers take weeks off my life. Biologically, I am nine-years-old. By 2018, I expect I’ll be a foetus. Their advice? Exercise. Oh, come on. Those familiar with hangovers will know that anything more strenuous than slurching between the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom can kill you. Oh, wait. They’re not giving advice on how to feel better. They’re just saying that exercise can help repair brain damage caused by too much alcohol. What is too much alcohol? What is brain damage? What is what? I rest my case.

I spotted an advert for an incontinence product featuring three youngish women. They are having tea and scones and laughing and, presumably, weeing gently in their broeks. I’m not judging. It happened to me once, but it had nothing to do with tea. And I wasn’t even conscious at the time.

Memory loss and brain shrinkage can, apparently, be stopped with a daily cocktail of vitamin B and folic acid. I tried asking the barman at the Bush Tavern in Umdloti for a Long Island Iced Tea with a shot of B6 and B12 but he gave me the lazy eye and went off to phone for backup.

As for memory loss, I watched my mother die of lung cancer last year. I’m looking for something that can speed it up.

Something else I learnt. If you want to know whether you should be taking multivitamins, you need to check your homocysteine levels. That’s fine for some, but what about those of us who can’t even check their oil levels because they don’t know how to open the bonnet of their car?

There was a section on serums, but the only serum I’ve heard of is a truth serum. We need to get our hands on a million litres of the stuff, dump it in the Union Buildings’ water supply and rig the offices with hidden microphones.

I was told that five grams of salt is the recommended daily allowance for an adult. I don’t know what that looks like. Is it the same as five grams of cocaine? Seems a bit excessive. Unless, of course, you have friends around from the Bluff, in which case it’s probably not enough.

The back section of the magazine is taken up with depressing stuff about working out. How to do deadlifts, lunges and something called burpees. As a beer aficionado, I do plenty of burpees but they don’t make me feel any younger.

If you’re angry, their advice is to take up boxercise. They just make up words, these people. Here’s my advice. If you’re angry, become a police reservist and shoot a hijacker in the face. You might not live longer, but, more importantly, neither will he.

I was left with the distinct impression that the magazine was heavily slanted towards women. Why? They already outlive men. How much longer do they want to live? What are they planning? I’ve changed my mind about longevity. I don’t want to be around when they make their move.

Unless, of course, they already have.



Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

The Hazards of Solitude


Some people are inclined to give up and wait for death to take them when they find themselves trapped in disastrous situations on their own. This doesn’t always work. What sometimes happens is that you abandon the struggle to survive, and the next thing you know, some burly do-gooder in a checked shirt has you over his shoulder and your dress is up around your neck, there are branches and leaves in your hair, your makeup is all over your face and half a dozen international television news cameras are zoomed in as far as they can go. Later, watching the slow motion replays on Real TV, you are reminded that you lost your underwear in the river.

For some people, being on their own is about the worst thing that can happen to them. They suffer from autophobia, a persistent and irrational fear that can provoke intense panic attacks. They are not much fun to be around. This is probably why they spend so much time on their own.

I once knew a woman who kept a small purple notebook beside her bed. Whenever she was alone, she would end up calling someone to come over and spend the night with her. Come to think of it, she might have tended more towards nymphomania than autophobia.

The fear of being alone can be avoided by getting a girlfriend or boyfriend, moving back in with your parents or joining a group like Jehovah’s Witnesses who will never leave you alone no matter how much you beg or threaten them.

Getting To Know Yourself

Autophobia can also mean a fear of oneself. If this is what you suffer from, sit in front of the mirror for one hour each day (mornings are best) and tell yourself that you really aren’t as scary as you think you are. Run through your good points. Most people have at least one.

When you have built up a little confidence, take yourself to a restaurant or a movie. Have a bit of fun. Tell yourself a few jokes. At this stage, it is best to stay in crowded areas. Even though you have started to trust yourself, you might still not be comfortable going off with yourself into a remote area where nobody can hear you scream. Go for long walks along the beach (make sure there are people around) and talk to yourself. Get to know yourself a little better. You will know when the time is right to go away with yourself for a weekend.

A cottage in the mountains is a nice romantic choice. If you make it through the first day without doing anything to frighten yourself, prepare a tasty meal and pour yourself some wine. Have a few glasses to loosen up. You may even want to dim the lights and slip into something a little more revealing. When it comes time for bed, let events unfold naturally. Don’t rush things. Tell yourself that you don’t need to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. Then, if you feel like playing with yourself, go right ahead and do it. This is quite normal for people who are in a loving relationship with themselves.

In the morning, get up and make yourself breakfast in bed. After that, go into the bathroom and look into the mirror. Tell yourself that you still respect yourself and, more importantly, that you love yourself. There you go. You’re cured.


Autophobics also frequently suffer from agoraphobia. This is a fear of open or public spaces. If you are planning a trip to Namibia, make sure you do not take an agoraphobic along. Unless, of course, you want to be standing in the middle of Etosha pan or on top of one of the highest dunes in the world and have them suddenly clutch their head, collapse into a quivering heap and start screaming, “No! No! Holy mother of Jesus! Make it stop!” That can be quite a lot of fun, too, though.

Apart from the voices, other symptoms of agoraphobia include dizziness and nausea. As a result, agoraphobia is often confused with hangovers. Fortunately, Bloody Marys are just as effective when it comes to treating agoraphobia.

If an open space suddenly begins terrifying you, go inside. And if you need to be told that, you were probably one of those dog-like children who were too stupid to come in out of the rain.

To be fair, though, you might be standing in a place where inside is a long way off. This is why it is always a good idea to carry a brown paper bag with you. In the event of being unable to go indoors, place the bag over your head and do not move until the panic attack passes. People may laugh at you. Especially if you are at open-air rock concert. They may even try to set you on fire. Others will take you by the hand and offer to lead you somewhere. Nothing they do to you could make you feel more humiliated, so you may as well go with them. If they offer you drugs, take them. Drugs often cure agoraphobia.


Safety & Security

Police are forever warning people not to go into certain areas on their own. But, for security reasons, they will not divulge the whereabouts of those areas. It is safe to assume they mean any area that lies beyond your front door or anywhere outside your office.

Police also advise that, when visiting remote or built-up areas, people travel in groups of ten or more. However, statistics show that among any given ten people, one will be a rapist, two will be HIV positive, one will have spent time in jail and three will have had a homosexual experience. You stand a better chance of surviving on your own.

Gritting Your Teeth

While giving up and accepting the inevitable comes naturally to South Africans, particularly cricketers and rugby players, there is something to be said for looking death sternly in the eye and saying, “Look here, Death. I am not ready to go yet, so you can just fuck off.”

It is at times like these that you gnaw your arm off to escape from beneath the tree that fell on you after it was struck by lightning while you were running naked through a haunted forest in the middle of a raging storm trying to escape from a madman carrying a chainsaw who was watching you having sex with two first-year college students in a creaky old wooden cabin down by the bottomless lake at midnight.

If you are with a friend and it is their arm you have to gnaw off, it is best that you are both very drunk or on extremely powerful drugs that aren’t hallucinogenic. Once your friend’s arm has been severed, do not start on the other limbs, no matter how tempting it may be. You should consider yourself fortunate it is just his arm that you have to get through. Imagine if a branch was pinning him down by his penis. That would be no fun at all. Unless, of course, you are that way inclined. In which case go right ahead and munch away.

Buried Alive

People are often at their loneliest when buried alive. This happens fairly often to the men who work underground in South Africa’s gold mines. If you are a member of mine management, there are certain things that have to be done quickly to prevent the disaster from escalating. First, call a press conference and vehemently deny allegations that inadequate safety measures were in place, even if these allegations have not yet been made. Second, get rescue teams down the shaft as soon as the journalists have filed their stories absolving management of any blame. You want to get those miners out as quickly as possible. The longer they are trapped, the higher their overtime claims will be.

If you are white, it is unlikely that you will be buried alive in a gold mine. It is far more likely that you will be buried alive when your wife spikes your dinner with a fast-acting poison that precipitates unconsciousness and masks your vital signs (similar to the stuff Juliet took), leading the doctor to believe that you are, in fact, dead. The effects will wear off an hour or two after the last mourner has drifted away from your graveside. Should you wake up to find yourself in pitch darkness squeezed into a pine box two metres beneath the ground, do not panic. Next to hate, panic causes more deaths each year than any other emotion.

Do not waste oxygen by working yourself up over what a duplicitous murdering bitch you married. Focus your attention on finding a weak link in your coffin. You are lying in one of the products of the fastest growing industry in the country and your wife may well have picked out a “Friday coffin”. This means the workers did a rush job in their haste to finish up and make an early start to the weekend’s raping and pillaging. As a result, the hinges might not have been screwed in properly.

Using your front teeth, scrape away at the area around the hinge above your head. Gnaw like a beaver. If you are buck-toothed, this will be the first time in your life that you have good reason not to curse your mother for being too preoccupied with her tennis and bridge to notice that your mouth was beginning to resemble that of a Shetland pony.

Once you have chewed your way through the lid, use your fingernails to widen the hole. As the hole gets bigger, soil will begin falling on to your face. Try to avoid swallowing it. Eventually, after two or three days, the hole should be big enough for you to pull more and more soil down. Push the soil to the far end of your coffin and trample it down with your feet. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours, or maybe a day or two, to dig your way out. Pull yourself out of the grave and shake the earth from your clothes. Apologise to anyone you might have scared to death and go home.

Your wife will be in bed with another man. Or maybe another woman. If it is another woman, you may want to pretend to be a ghost. Tell your wife that only by joining in will your soul be able to rest.

Good Things Will Come To You

People find themselves alone for different reasons. Sometimes they outlive their friends and family. Or they are too shy to get to know anyone. Or they might be just plain old ugly. Or fat. Nobody really likes to be around fat, ugly people. I know I don’t. If you are fat and ugly, you might want to consider losing weight and having cosmetic surgery. It is very selfish to inflict yourself on the rest of us. Make an effort, for God’s sake.

People who find themselves alone are often driven to drink or drugs. This is a senseless waste of time and energy. Why drive when there are delivery services available? A lot of liquor stores will bring a case of vodka right to your front door. And the Nigerians are increasingly aware of the good public relations value of providing you with a range of narcotics in the privacy of your own home.

Alcohol and drugs make perfectly good substitutes for human company. You can invite the barbiturate family over for a bit of quiet introspection. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you might want to let your hair down with a gram or two of amphetamine sulphate. If you’re in the mood for romance, you can’t go wrong with Ecstasy (and if your serotonin levels are already high, you can expect a wild evening of the safest sex there is). If you feel like a few good laughs, marijuana is always hard to beat. And if it’s conversation you are after, a cap or two of lysergic acid diethylamide will have you chatting to your dog or even your furniture in no time at all.

Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Part 2

Chapter 10

Surviving Acts of God

(and some things for which he is not prepared to take the rap)

God is blamed for a lot of bad stuff that occurs in the world. But he is a Teflon God and nothing sticks to him for very long. In fact, people often end up thanking him after something terrible has happened. I have never understood why. They just do.

South Africa is not a country that is blessed with natural disasters. Natural resources, yes. Too many, if you ask me. But disasters are thin on the ground. This doesn’t mean that God is happy with us. Far from it. You would be mistaken in taking this as a sign that you can be complacent. Complacency can be lethal, especially if you combine it with alcohol and then try to operate heavy machinery.

When it comes to survival, the words of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, spring to mind. “Be prepared,” he said.

Then again, he also said: “To get a hold on boys, you must be their friend.” Lest we forget, Robert was the one who insisted on the boys wearing tight-fitting khaki shorts, gaily-coloured scarves and leather woggles.

The world is a dangerous place and it is getting more so by the minute. But instead of honing your survival skills, you are eating more red meat than ever before. You smoke anything you can get your hands on and you drink half a dozen double gins during your lunch break. And, unless you are reading this in hospital, you probably believe that nothing really bad will ever happen to you. What makes you think you are so special? I am sickened by your arrogance and can only hope that you find yourself embroiled in a series of unfortunate incidents in the near future. If crime doesn’t get you, God will. Luckily for you, this book can save your life. On the other hand, you may not want to live but are one of those wishy-washy types who lack the courage to commit suicide. Again, luckily for you, this book is just what you need to help ensure that death comes as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

Surrendering To Fate’s Fickle Finger

The survival instinct is a peculiar thing. Even when a person has lost everything he holds dear, like his car keys or even his wife, he will refuse to give up and will instead fight on in the face of insurmountable odds. Of course, not everybody is that stubborn. Perhaps you are like me and would prefer to die flamboyantly rather than be caught on amateur video weeping, screaming and begging for help. Resistance to the inevitable is unseemly and common.

If you have no intention of putting up a struggle in the face of disaster, then now is a good time to begin preparing. Draw up a daily schedule of drinking heavily, eating plenty of carbohydrates and watching a lot of television, preferably from a reclining position. This will slow your reflexes right down.

If you have successfully lost the will to live, you may find yourself sitting around the house waiting impatiently for God to come along with one of his show-stopping acts. You may even be tempted to help things along a bit by blindfolding yourself and running around your apartment with a pair of scissors in your hand. Unfortunately, this only works for children.

The important thing is not to regain hope. Put your trust in God. Sooner or later, he will answer your prayers and deliver unto you something forged in the burning pits of hell so that you may enter the valley of the shadow of death and be done with this business once and for all.

I have a nasty feeling, though, that God’s interest in us might have waned a little over the centuries. I suspect that a new project has come up. Things were never quite the same after Adam and Eve blew it for all of us by eating that goddamn apple. What was Adam thinking? There he was, well on his way to celebrating his 931st birthday, and he has to go and screw it up. Silly bugger.

Anyway, don’t stop despairing. Half the fun of losing the will to live is in coming up with your own creative ways of avoiding a lifetime of pointless struggle and heartache. However, if somebody owes you money or a round of drinks, you may want to survive long enough to be able to collect. This is why you need to pay attention. As I have said before, this book will save your life. Or not. It depends on you, really.

Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 9

Chapter 9


The Police Station And You

One of the most terrifying consequences of crime in South Africa is having to visit a police station to file a complaint. Fortunately, there are places one can go afterwards for trauma counselling.

Victims often say they are afraid to report a crime. This does not mean, as some people think, that they fear the criminals will come after them and punish them for reporting them to the police. What they mean is that they simply do not have the courage, patience, fortitude, time, money or tranquillisers needed to subject themselves to the process. Should you find yourself in a charge office, here are some guidelines that may help you to stay sane.

  1. If you immigrated to South Africa this morning, you will have been mugged by lunchtime and would probably like a nice cup of tea before reporting it to the police. Take your time. Unpack your bags. Put your feet up. The police operate on skeleton staff during lunch.
  2. At around 3pm, find a phone book, look under Police and find the station nearest to you. Dial the number. While it is ringing, go to the kitchen and make yourself a snack. If you are really hungry, make a chicken casserole. Once you have eaten, go and take a long bath. Afterwards, watch television or read a book. A constable will answer the phone just as you are getting ready for bed. He will not be able to fully grasp what it is that you are saying. Shouting will not help him to understand. Using verbal sign language, he will tell you to come to the charge office.
  3. You will need to take a few essential items with you. Along with a packed lunch, take a red pen, a blue pen and a black pen, English-Afrikaans and English-Zulu dictionaries, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the most challenging sudoku you can find, surgical gloves, Valium and a selection of unmarked banknotes.
  4. It will be easy to spot the police station. Look for the building with the best security in the neighbourhood. They will also have an armed response sign attached to their wall. Just because they are the cops doesn’t mean they don’t get burgled on a regular basis. Park your car where you can keep an eye on it. Activate your anti-theft device, lock all the doors, disconnect your battery and remove your hubcaps. Walk in a brisk fashion towards the charge office while remaining aware of who is around and behind you. Do not stop for anything or anyone.
  5. Upon entering the charge office, put on the surgical gloves. There are more harmful bacteria in a police station than in a hospital.
  6. There will be one constable standing behind a dark wooden counter carved with phone numbers, pleas for help, admissions of guilt and graffiti of an anti-social nature. Behind him there will be a female inspector. She will be rooting around inside her ear with a government-issue pen and paging slowly through a black hardcover A4 book. Next to her will be a sergeant (male) twiddling the buttons on a two-way radio. There will be three or four people – two in camouflage, one in plainclothes and one in beach wear – who drift through the charge office like wraiths at a séance. The only person dealing with the growing crowd behind the counter is the constable, who appears to have fallen into a catatonic coma while remaining on her feet.
  7. Take one Valium. Read War and Peace from cover to cover.
  8. Take another Valium.
  9.  Complete sudoku.
  10. By now you should be at the front of the queue. Ask the constable what his home language is. Use the relevant dictionary to ask him which colour pen he prefers to use. Do not let him use his own pen. It will run out halfway through your statement and it will take him three hours to find another one with matching ink.
  11.  Take out R200 and slide it across the counter. Tell the constable there is more where that came from if he lets you write your own statement. Offer whatever it takes. If it works, you should be out of there in 20 minutes.
  12.  If the constable is too retarded to accept the bribe, swallow the rest of the Valium and relax. You will be there until midnight.


Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Opportunistic Crime


People who study sales and marketing, which should be a crime in itself, say that one of the most effective techniques is the placing of goods at the point of purchase. By the time you get to the till, you have had plenty of time to scope out the Fuck al-Qaeda keyrings, penis-shaped lighters and other senseless gizmos on the counter.

“Damn, I got to get me one of them things,” you say to yourself. This is known as an “impulse purchase”. Later, when you get home and show it off, it becomes known as “the stupidest thing you ever bought ”.

There is a certain breed of varmint that operates on the same principle. He will be walking along minding his own business, with absolutely no intention of committing a crime, when in front of him he sees an old lady with a gammy leg and a handbag over her shoulder. What the hell, he thinks. He snatches it and takes off down the road at an insouciant saunter.

Here are some other examples of impulse crime.


This has become a popular weekend sport among schoolchildren and the less mature adult. The rules are simple. Find a fist-sized rock or piece of concrete. Next, make your way to the nearest freeway. Stand beneath a flyover so that oncoming motorists are unable to see you. Sooner or later you will spot a car driving in the lane nearest to you. Two seconds before it reaches you, throw your projectile at a height you imagine the windshield to be. Some people say this sport does not require skill, but they are wrong. Timing is everything. Nine times out of ten, the professionals manage to land their projectile square in the face of the driver. The amateurs either miss altogether or hit the passenger.

As the driver of the car, the rules state that you are entitled to chase your opponent either on foot or in your car. This is assuming that your face is still where you last saw it. The thrower will do his best to get back to the township or squatter camp from whence he has come. This is where the game gets exciting. Driving at night down unlit roads half the width of your car poses challenges of its own, and a certain amount of collateral damage is unavoidable. It is likely that at some point an angry lynch mob will begin chasing you. Don’t let them distract you. Once you have cornered your opponent, take the electric bread knife from your cubbyhole, sit on him and cut off his hands. This means that he is banned from the sport for life and you are the winner. The mob will probably want to award you some kind of prize.


You are waiting for the traffic lights to turn green. Your crocodile skin handbag is lying open on the front seat with your purse sticking out of the top. Your window is wound down and you are shrieking at the top of your voice on your shiny new phone. This is like going to the zoo and trying to pat a lion through the bars, then being outraged when it takes your arm off at the elbow. If I had to be crossing the road, not even I could resist snatching your phone. And I am one of the honest ones. More or less. That’s just the grab part. If your window is wound up, you will get to experience the smash component of this impulse crime. Winding up your window to prevent theft is like taking a shower to prevent Aids.

In similar vein, an ordinarily law-abiding person might be walking through the centre of town when a diamond necklace will catch his eye in the window of a jewellery store. This, in turn, triggers the recollection that it is his wedding anniversary. But all the shops are shut. So, rather than risk disappointing his wife and having rumpy-pumpy privileges withdrawn, he tosses a brick through the window and takes the necklace. The jeweller is happy because he hasn’t been able to move that piece in months and he had it insured for more than it was worth; the glass company is happy because they have another window to replace; the police are happy because it’s a call-out in which they are unlikely to get torn apart in a hail of gunfire; the wife gets the necklace, the husband gets fellatio and everyone lives happily ever after. This is one of the few opportunistic crimes in which everyone stands to gain.


Shoplifting costs the South African economy millions every year. This is good news to those of us who have to stop ourselves from collapsing in supermarket aisles and weeping at the sheer impossibility of choosing between so many different brands. There is way too much on the shelves and the more stuff that gets stolen, the easier it is for me to do my shopping. The old USSR would have been heaven for me.

A few years back, two women walked out of a Parow grocery store with four 1kg packets of rice, two 1kg packets of sugar, two boxes of meat sauce powder, two bottles of cooking oil, a packet of batteries and two 500g blocks of margarine stuffed down their underwear. If it wasn’t for the lamb chops that started melting and slipped down their thighs, they would have got away with it.

I once walked out of a shop with a chocolate bar down my pants. My mother made me take it back, apologise to the shopkeeper and offer to make it up to him by sweeping his floor. I was so mortified that I never stole again. Well, not when my mother was around, anyway. And when she is no longer of this earth, I expect that I will steal something really big, like a bus or a train, just to unload a lifetime of repressed kleptomania.


This forms part of the training programme for development athletes hoping to go to the next Olympics. If your snatcher is a sprinter, don’t bother trying to chase him. Shouting “Good luck!” after him would be considered supportive. If the lad is hoping to be a long-distance track athlete, go after him. Set the pace. The pressure will be an incentive for him to put in that extra effort. Just think – you could take some of the credit if he brought home the gold. The gold medal, not your gold card. He already has that.


Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 7

Chapter 7

Artificial Respiration


I once heard of a woman whose husband collapsed after suffering a heart attack at a cocktail party in one of the more affluent suburbs of Cape Town. She was in the toilet at the time, probably shnarfing, and came out to find a ravishing blonde straddling her husband with her mouth clamped firmly to his. She removed one of her stilettos and plunged the heel into the back of the woman’s neck, severing her spinal column and leaving her a paraplegic for the rest of her life. Her husband died where he fell.

This is why it is called “artificial” respiration – to prevent people from getting jealous when they see what looks like another man or woman kissing their supine loved one.

Making sure someone is dead before trying to resuscitate them avoids wasting time that could be better spent with your mates in the bar. You need to actively search for signs of death. Don’t simply kick them in the ribs to see if there is any response. And just because someone has dilated pupils, blue lips, glazed eyes and his mouth is hanging open doesn’t necessarily mean he is dead. He might be a civil servant having a little lie-down during his lunch break. If you suspect the person is dead, the following could help to confirm your diagnosis:

  • Bullet hole in forehead
  • Knife protruding from chest
  • Head detached from body
  • Maggots in mouth
  • Brains on floor
  • Skeleton exposed
  • Body hanging from ceiling
  • Suicide note

Once you have confirmed that the person is deceased, you must notify the emergency services. The police will arrive at the scene within five minutes or five days, depending on which area you are in. Before they arrive, wipe your fingerprints off anything you may have touched. The police will be hoping to make a speedy arrest and get back to the station before the duty officer finishes the brandy. Often they simply arrest the person nearest to the body.

Vital Signs

A lot of people fall down in South Africa for many different reasons. It doesn’t always mean there is something wrong with them. The first thing you need to do when coming across someone lying on the ground is to ascertain whether they are resting or dying. If the person is not breathing, it is your moral duty to attempt to revive them. It is not your moral duty to remove their jewellery and quickly walk away. Stealing from the dead is a crime against something extraordinarily powerful. Look what happened to Lord Carnarvon and his grave-robbing cohorts after they opened King Tutankhamen’s tomb and made off with all the silver in 1923. That was some nasty curse.

There are a number of medically acceptable methods you can use to verify whether someone is still alive. First, check if there is a pulse. This can be done by lightly resting two fingers on his wrist or neck. If the person is a particularly attractive woman, you may check for a pulse by removing her bra and cupping one of her breasts in your hand. This will also ascertain whether or not she is faking.

If there is no sign of a heartbeat, there is no time to waste. Remove your jacket and roll up your sleeves. If you are on your way to work and you have a packed lunch, grab a quick bite to eat. It will give you the energy you need to bring this person back to life.

When you have finished eating, poke a stick down their throat to check that their air passage is not blocked. If there are no sticks lying about, go back to your car and fetch the dipstick from your engine. The oil will help it slide down the trachea.

If they are lying in the street, drag their body to the edge of the pavement and hang their head backwards into the gutter. That should open up their air pipe good and proper.

Next, block their nose, cover their mouth with yours and blow as hard as you can. Try not to get aroused. You want to feel their lungs inflating like footballs. While you are blowing, hammer on their chest with your fist. After two minutes of punching and blowing, stop for a break. There is no point in giving yourself a heart attack. During your break, slap them around the head and shout, “Live, damn you! Live!” This won’t do much for the victim but it does make it a lot more exciting for the crowd that has gathered.

If you are successful, you will notice the person beginning to breathe on their own. Ask someone to call the media. There is no point in saving someone’s life if only a handful of people know about it. If the person tries to get up before a journalist arrives, makes sure they bump their head against the pavement and knock themselves out.

If your efforts are unsuccessful and the person dies, get someone to take a photograph of you with your foot on their chest. Later, you can tell your friends that you killed a mugger with your bare hands. Alive or dead, either way you look like a hero.




Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Under Attack (female)


All women are attacked at some point in their lives. In 90% of cases, the attackers are men. Outraged wives and girlfriends constitute 5%. Dogs are responsible for 2%, while bees, wasps and other insects prone to sudden mood swings attack the remaining 3%.

Women are the victims of violence for a number of reasons. Sometimes they are attacked by women who are trapped in men’s bodies and who fly into a jealous rage when they are informed that their medical aid does not cover sex change operations. It is no laughing matter to have someone with the physical strength of a man – but who thinks like a woman – coming at you without warning. This is one of the few situations in which you have to fight as well as talk your way out of trouble.

Research has shown that men are prone to violence when they are denied access to food, sex or beer. These form the staple diet of the male and he is unable to think rationally without them.


Cooking His Goose

When your husband comes home after a hard day at the office, he might expect supper to be prepared. You might be tempted to tell him that he can do the cooking for a change. In turn, he might be tempted to give you a sharp smack upside the

head. He will tell you to go and start dinner and bring him a beer. Topless. This is no time for pussyfooting around. Go into the kitchen as if you had been whipped into submission. Grab a nutcracker and the heaviest pot you have and go back into the lounge. By now, he will be engrossed in the rugby. When he puts his hand out for the beer, slip the nutcracker over his fingers and squeeze with all your strength. When he falls to the floor in agony, hit him across the side of the head with the pot. He will be out for the count for some time. Now get all his beers from the fridge. Open then one by one, pouring the contents over his prostrate body. Toss the cans around the lounge. If he has any whisky or brandy, pour that over him, too. Now take a bag and fill it with everything of his that would fetch a fair price at Cash Converters. Put the bag in the boot of your car. When he regains consciousness, tell him that he went on a bender and drank everything in sight and just as you were trying to put him to bed, masked intruders broke into the house, assaulted him and stole whatever they could get their hands on. Make sure you wash the blood off the nutcracker and frying pan before the police arrive.


Conjugal Rites

Sex, or more specifically the lack thereof, is the other thing that drives some men to violence. The male sex drive is stronger than that of the female. Well, certainly the females I have known. Maybe it’s just me.

Some women try to argue that men and women are possessed of similar sex drives. This is nonsense of such staggering magnitude that when I hear these words I have to walk away and lie down, no matter where I am at the time.

If men and women had the same sex drives, women would be hitting on men in every bar across every city. They would be whistling and calling out at men in the street. They would rub up against men in crowded places and grab their bums while waiting in line to use the office photocopier.

If women were as highly sexed as men, we would be stepping over copulating couples every time we went outside. Men do not refuse offers of sex. Women do. All the time. Especially in my house.

Women have done to sex what De Beers have done to diamonds. They have pushed up the value of the vagina through the clever manipulation of supply and demand. The reason De Beers is so opposed to the free-for-all sale of diamonds on the open market is the same reason women want prostitutes off the streets.

Some men deal with sex deprivation in a civilised fashion by embarking on an affair or getting Mrs Palmer and her five daughters to come around more often. Others turn into seething coils of incendiary testosterone that are liable to come unsprung at the slightest provocation.

Then there are the extremists. The fucking fundamentalists. The men who commit marital rape because they believe that sex with their wives is a conjugal right. It was once, but everything changed when women were allowed to become judges.

If you are married to a man who beats you when you ask for a one-hour break from sex, there are certain steps you can take. Have you thought about Muay Thai lessons? If you make the violence a two-way thing, you may even find it quite a turn-on. There is nothing like giving your man a roundhouse kick to the head to get those pheromones flowing. If fighting is not your thing, there are alternatives to dissuade your beloved from punching you in the face to get you in the mood for sex.

Bits ‘n’ Bobbitts

In 1993, an American couple managed to work out their differences and went on to live happy lives. Just not together, that’s all.

While John Bobbitt was asleep in his Virginia home, his wife Lorena cut off his willy with a carving knife. But not, as you might think, because he had been running after the farmer’s wife.

She then got into her car and drove off with it. Police found the dismembered member lying on the freeway. It was surgically reunited with its indignant owner, who went on to become a porn star and serial wife beater. Lorena later told police that she had de-knobbed her husband because he was selfish and wouldn’t give her an orgasm. Four years later, Lorena was charged for punching her mother. Did I mention she was from Ecuador?


If you can’t stand the sight of blood, you might want to consider investing in a few bottles of Depo Provera. When ingested by men, this highly toxic American-manufactured birth control product for women acts on the brain to inhibit hormones that stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone. You may as well toss in some Tamoxifen for a bit of flavouring. Mix it all in with his food. Chemical castration is not permanent, but it will give you enough time to get your hair done and do lunch with the girls.


Dutchman’s Courage

So much for the hazards posed by hungry and horny men. Now, on to men who have trouble holding their liquor.

A woman can be attacked by a drunk man in a bar, on the street, in her office, on the beach, at the golf club or even in the privacy of her own home. In other words, drunk men are everywhere. And if cocaine were legal, wired men would be everywhere. If marijuana were legal, stoned men would be everywhere. You get the idea.

Men drink for a number of reasons, none of which have anything to do with being thirsty. Let us forget, for a moment, the walking wounded who drink to forget a lifetime of regret and sorrow. We, sorry, I mean they have drifted too far down the boulevard of broken dreams to ever make it back. Some men drink to help them find the courage to strike up a conversation with a girl at the bar. These men are usually introverted and sensitive, the most dangerous kind there is. The Yorkshire Ripper was a shy man. So were Josef Stalin and Margaret Thatcher.

Women are more likely to be attacked by the reserved, withdrawn type. He will appear anxious and embarrassed when he first comes up to you. Since he is full of Dutch courage, he may also be slurring and slightly unsteady on his feet. If you don’t want to be fighting off his advances in a dark alley later in the evening, you need to be firm but polite from the word go. When he asks if you would like a drink, say: “Listen to me, you grotesque little freak. I would rather have my eyeballs sucked out by a rattlesnake than have a drink with you. Now fuck off before I call the cops. Go. Shoo.”

If nothing else, this will teach him that the meek haven’t a hope in hell of inheriting the earth.

If, on the other hand, a giant unshaven brute of a man bumps into you, spills his beer down your dress, belches loudly and grabs your left breast with his free hand, you know that it is safe to have a drink with him. You have already seen the worst. Sober, he has to be more sensitive.

The first thing to remember when fighting off a drunk man who is trying to force himself onto you is that his pain threshold is higher than normal. This means your acts of resistance must be doubled or even trebled in force. In other words, it is no good simply kicking him in the crotch. He will interpret this as foreplay. Take out the rubber mallet you keep in your bag for emergencies and whack him four or five times on the genitals. If he still doesn’t get the message, take out your ballpoint pen and give him a crude tracheotomy right there on the spot. If he continues grasping and wheezing, ram your car key into his ear and crush the arch of his foot with your heel. Take advantage of his confusion to spray him with lighter fluid. Then stick your fingers into his eyes and flick a lit match at him. If this has no effect, try to communicate with him. Ask him about his mother. There is an above average chance that this will stop him in his tracks. He may even start crying. Now is your chance. Take out your Advanced Taser M18 and fire those high-voltage probes into the side of his neck. Even though he is electrocuted and blind, on fire with a hole in his throat and a ruptured eardrum, two crushed testicles and a shattered foot, he may still want to fondle you. It’s up to you, but you might want to consider allowing him a quick feel. The thrill of it will in all likelihood stop his heart.