2018 is going to be the best year. I don’t mean compared to last year. Or even the year before, whatever that was. Maths was never my strong suit. I’m talking about the best year in the history of time. Before dinosaurs even. Every year until this new one has been rubbish, starting from that nasty business with the cross on the outskirts of Jerusalem right through my second marriage and all the way to Donald Trump.
For a start, 2018 adds up to 11 – the smallest positive integer requiring three syllables and the largest prime number with a single-morpheme name. Sounds to me like 11 is a bit of a show-off. I prefer seven, an honest working class number you can count on when the chips are down. Eleven’s only saving grace is that it’s the atomic number for sodium. This is a clear indication that you should drink plenty of whiskey and sodium next year.
The eleventh sign of the Chinese zodiac is the dog and 2018 is the Year of the Dog. That’s pretty damn auspicious if you believe in signs and dogs. If you were born in 1946, 1958, 1970 or a laundry basket to a mother with eight nipples, you are a Dog. I am a Rat, “pleasant and seductive, possesses extraordinary abilities that allow him to emerge victorious from the most delicate situations”. I have put this in quotations to prove it’s not me saying it.
Notable Dogs are Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump and Justin Bieber. That says all you need to know about Dog people.
2018 is also, in a more general sense, the year of the Chinese. Expect to hear more Mandarin and see fewer natural resources.
So, the eighteenth year of the third millennium. Sounds impressive. It must’ve sounded downright impossible around this time in 1917 among shellshocked survivors of the Battle of Passchendaele huddled in Belgian bars necking flagons of foaming ale and wondering what the world would be like in a hundred years’ time. I can’t help feeling they’d be terribly disappointed.
What’s coming up in 2018? The Winter Olympics in South Korea, for a start. Pyeongchang will either be a winter wonderland or a nuclear wasteland. And the Commonwealth Games will be held in Queensland, Australia, where everything from box jellyfish and bull sharks to red-back spiders and Russel Crowe will kill you for no good reason.
After a rapid dwindling of interest in global affairs, the United Nations has decided that 2018 will be the international year of nothing at all.
Closer to home, nobody, thanks to the Machiavellian machinations of the ANC, is prepared to predict anything much beyond the weather. Clowns to the left of us, jokers to the right, here we are, all 56 million of us, stuck in the middle. But I’ll give it a shot.
The minister of justice establishes the Jacob Zuma Court of Desperate Appeals in recognition of the president’s longstanding and generous support of the legal profession (defence).
An anonymous donor establishes the Jacob Zuma Rehabilitation Centre for Lame Ducks. It emerges that R300-million a month is being spent on a single one-legged duck. Sars and the Hawks decline to investigate on the grounds that every available member of staff is attached to the Jacques Pauw case.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation’s foundations begin sinking into a quagmire of allegations and the entire artificial edifice is ordered to be torn down for health and safety reasons.
China takes an interest in South African real estate. After a traditional money-exchanging ceremony at Nkandla, a delegation from Beijing puts in a cheeky offer for Limpopo. President Zuma throws in the Eastern Cape as a bonsella.
Police minister Fikile Mbalula is reshuffled out of the cabinet. As a reward for his loyal service, he is appointed deputy supreme commander of the Dubai traffic department and declared an honorary Gupta in a ceremony involving goats.
Duduzane Zuma is jailed on corruption charges. He is released on medical grounds two days later after developing a conscience.
ANN7 launches a hard-hitting investigative programme aimed at exposing the government’s achievements.
Finance minister Malusi Gigaba solves the issue of how to pay for free education by getting the Reserve Bank to print an extra billion R200 notes.
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union wins its members the right to work in a child-free environment three days a week.
Squirrel Ramaphosa becomes president and begins running South Africa like a business. Strictly monitored sick leave, a cap on expense accounts and a reduction in tax-free perks sparks a wave of resignations in the civil service. GDP quadruples in six months.
The unemployment crisis is partially alleviated when Telkom rounds up two million people from intersections around the country and puts them to work in their call centre. Time spent on hold is reduced to 25 minutes. The nation rejoices.
The rand rallies against the dollar. The dollar fights back. The euro gets involved. There are casualties.
Cape Town runs out of water. The DA launches a billboard campaign with the message, “Let them drink champagne.”
* Further afield, Russian president Vladimir Putin insists that everyone – players, coaches and supporters alike – must benefit equally from performance enhancing drugs during the Soccer World Cup. State-sponsored doping stations operated by tame Cossacks will be accessible to all.
Brexit negotiations plunge into chaos when a hotel security camera reveals British Prime Minister Theresa May to be a reptile of sorts. Tests are conducted to determine what galaxy she is from. “I told you so,” a spokesman for Northern Ireland says.
Bitcoin reaches a million dollars a coin in March but slumps to three dollars in June. The cryptocurrency recovers and soars to a billion dollars in October. By early December bottle stores are charging nineteen bitcoin for a six-pack. Psychiatric hospitals report severe overcrowding.
Kate Middleton gives birth to a three-toed sloth. The British people are beside themselves with joy and celebrations go on for weeks. The first pictures of the royal sloth sell for millions.
After suffering from prolonged exposure to an American accent, Prince Harry gets divorced.
Elon Musk’s South African genes kick in. He sends black people to the moon to mine it for precious metals.
Addiction to social media is included in a new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg admits he is the Devil. Apple’s Tim Cook claims the title is his. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey smiles and winks.