Author: Ben Trovato – Durban Poison

A letter to our next president

A flashback to a letter I wrote to NDZ six months ago.

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

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Dear President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,

I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your election to the highest office in the land. Please do not panic or consult a sangoma. I am not back from the future. Yes, I am fully aware that the election is only in 2019, but there is no reason to think that you won’t be our next president and my name will go down in history as the first person to congratulate you.

If, for some bizarre reason you don’t win, I shall withdraw my congratulations and deny ever having written to you. I would also prefer it if you did not attempt to contact me. However, this unfortunate situation is unlikely to arise since you are blessed with the magical name of Zuma.

Marrying Jacob was the smartest thing you ever did. Well, second smartest. The smartest thing you ever did was divorce…

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Number One, your time is up

Dear Comrade Jacob Zuma, Prince of Patronage, Fighter of Crime Fighters, King of the Courts, Defender of Lawsuits, Ambassador of Appeals, Bête Noire of the Bench.

I get the feeling you might not be around for too much longer and wanted to thank you for everything you haven’t done this year. You haven’t, for instance, declared war on any of our neighbours. Nor have you managed to turn South Africa into a united economically strong well-run country. The last thing the world needs is another Australia. You also haven’t succeeded in butchering the economy beyond the point of no return. Never mind. You still have time.

Speaking of dejection and despair, condolences are in order. I was watching the heavyweight fight in the North Gauteng High Court this week and was disappointed when your opponent Judge President Dunstan Mlambo won on points after going the full distance. I suppose some of his points were valid. “We are of the view that the president was ill-advised and reckless in launching a challenge against the remedial action of the Public Protector.” Who the hell is advising you? Steinhoff’s people? Lawyers on weekend pass from Weskoppies?

Other points weren’t at all valid. “His conduct falls far short of the expectation on him as the head of state to support institutions of democracy.” I don’t agree. When it comes to you, we the people have no expectations whatsoever. We don’t even expect you to support your family, let alone run a government. That’s what the Guptas are for.

To make you pay for the fight out of your own pocket seems damnably unfair. It’s not like you started it. Well, I suppose you did. But still. If you’re short of cash, my advice is that you put the wives in a cheap hotel and stick Nkandla on Airbnb. You could also borrow from your boy Duduzane. He’s like human bitcoin. Get in now before he moves to the emirates. Or Pollsmoor.

Quite frankly I don’t know why you appointed Mlambo as a judge in the first place. Were you not aware that he comes from the same stable as legendary southpaw Dikgang Moseneke and slugger Mogoeng Mogoeng? These guys are old school. They still believe in frumpy concepts like truth and justice and will never throw a fight no matter how much you threaten or pay them.

Didn’t you lose another fight against Mlambo just the other day? Yes, you did. He ordered your pet bipedal ruminant Shaun Abrahams to be put out to pasture and a proper chief prosecutor to be appointed by deputy president Squirrel Ramaphosa. True to form you have now demanded a rematch. Please stop doing that. Your Stalingrad defence has collapsed like a two-legged dog with a middle ear infection and you’re going to reach a point where all this appealing starts to look like begging. It’s unseemly. And if you get slapped with another bunch of legal bills you’re going to have to borrow from your ex-wife. There’s nothing worse than that.

Unless you appeal the latest judgement – it’s becoming hard to keep track – you have 30 days to appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture. Thanks to Mlambo’s inexplicable attachment to ethics and the law, the judge presiding over the probe will be appointed not by you but by the indecently honest Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Imagine if he appoints Mlambo? You might as well cancel everything and report directly to Zonderwater Prison. And if Shaun the Even-Toed Ungulate is ousted and replaced by, say, Thuli Madonsela, you’ll soon enough have those 783 annoying counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering to deal with.

Anyway, you might be bruised and battered, but as long as you remain president of the country there is still a chance of escape. By now I expect you’re no longer capo dei capi of the ANC. This must be quite a relief. The party is suddenly awash in rats scrambling for the moral low ground. It’s unlikely they will ever make it to the high ground, but you’ve probably noticed that a lot of colleagues have already started avoiding your calls. You might have to do the same to Atul and the lads at some point. I can’t see the bromance continuing for much longer. For a start there’s hardly anything left that’s worth stealing. I suppose they could still dismantle Table Mountain and move it to Dubai. I’d rather you gave them Limpopo.

If your ex-wife becomes president, you’re going to have to get her to abandon this Roman Dutch law business that’s causing you so much trouble. It’s a ridiculous concept. Have you been to Rome? They toss Christians to the lions, for heaven’s sake. That’s incredibly cruel. Lions belong in the bush, not the Colosseum. As for the Dutch, they smoke so much weed it’s surprising that they can come up with anything more complex than a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich.

Big weekend for you, this is. Massive. Big weekend for all of us, I guess. The only difference is that our personal freedom and finances aren’t dependent on the outcome. Not to the extent that yours are, anyway. If Nkosazana wins, investors will abandon South Africa but the stock market will go up as the rand weakens and all the rand hedge stocks gain value. I don’t know what this means, either. I read it somewhere. I don’t suppose you get much time to read anything apart from legal documents, although even then it’s more likely you have them read to you. By one of our grade four pupils, it would seem.

It’d be a shame if Squirrel had to win. And not just because you’d probably have to go to jail or into exile. All those ANC cadres who have worked so hard for so long to find ways to screw the system will be out of work. There’s a lot of competition in the private sector and professionals like the Stellenbosch mafia have pretty much cornered the market.

In Joburg alone a newly formed unit has recorded over two thousand cases of corruption involving almost R15-billion. More than 450 officials linked to bribery and corruption have been arrested and dozens more suspended. If Squirrel comes in and helps the DA to clean things up, a lot of institutional expertise in the specialised field of white collar crime will be lost.

Truth is I’m not wild about either option. I don’t trust anyone who is prepared to spend R18-million on a buffalo. Beer, yes. Buffalo, not so much. And he’s tight with Coca-Cola, a company with a worse record than my ex-wife when it comes to mistreating people. On the other hand the economy could do with some Venda financing.

I don’t like Nkosazana very much either. She’s short and surly and reminds me of my old woodwork teacher who used to beat us with a cricket bat. I’m also not convinced of her ability to exercise good judgement. I’m not talking about her marrying you, but there is that matter of cigarette smugglers contributing to her campaign. Smuggling I don’t mind, but cigarettes are the devil’s work.

Anyway, comrade, have a good Christmas. If someone gives you shares in Oakbay, get them off your hands as soon as possible. Or use them to start a fire. Burn your house down. Claim the insurance. Move to Mexico. That’s what I would do.

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The right honorable mentions the downright dishonorable

My vote in this weekend’s ANC elective conference – not that I have one – goes to the Cyril Ramaphosa/Lindiwe Sisulu tag team. Not just because she’s a political thoroughbred with looks to match, but also because she’s the only politician who has ever mentioned my name in a public forum. Not once, but twice. Okay, so it was almost 13 years ago. But I like to imagine she still thinks of me from time to time. I thought I’d share the honorable mentions.

 

Speech by Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the Women for Housing Contractors Graduation Ceremony

Centurion Lake Hotel
14 March 2005

The satirical Ben Trovato, writes in one of his recent pieces that:

‘Men are genetically designed to leave a mess in their wake. Luckily, one of the spin-offs of evolution is that women are programmed to clean. This is why I know without a shadow of doubt that George Bush is a real man.

Just look at the mess he is making. And when it comes to the final mopping up operation, I would not be all surprised to see half a million Washington wives flying into Baghdad with industrial vacuum cleaners, heavy-duty pot scourers and a stern warning to suicide bombers that they will be expected to clean up after themselves’.

Even though Trovato expresses the value of women to the rest of human society in as mocking a manner as I quote here, and perhaps more seriously in as less an illuminating way about the true nature of the relationship between men and women – a relationship founded more on social conditions than on biological traits – my guess is that all of us here will agree with him.

 

Speech by Lindiwe Sisulu: Minister of Housing at the Black Management Forum

26 May 2005

Nedbank Head Office, Sandton

In 1776, the famous Adam Smith, author of Wealth of Nations, drew our attention to those kinds of deprivations that he described as causing ‘an inability to appear in public without shame’. He made reference in this regard to the English custom that rendered leather shoes a necessity of life in the eighteenth century. Until recently, our Ben Trovato thought that he had discovered the custom that enabled South Africans to set out in public with perhaps the same attachment to the custom as the English. He therefore writes that:

“I used to drink Klipdrift by the barrel until they started screening their latest advertisement on television. You know the one – black yuppie couple stop on a dirt road to admire the view or whatever it is that black yuppie couples get up to on the rare occasion they are out of cellphone range.

Next, a dangerous-looking white farmer pulls up in his bakkie. But instead of slamming the black guy over the bonnet of his shiny new 4×4 and loudly denouncing him as a bastard son of a dead hijacker, as one might expect, he hooks up the guy’s car and tows it away at one hell of a speed. Not to the nearest police station, but back to his place.

We assume that, once there, he will strip them both naked and bring out the horsewhip. But, no. Friendly Frikkie brings out a bottle of Klipdrift instead. By the end of the advert the black man clearly wishes it had been the horsewhip.

For the rest of the evening the two couples do little else but drink enormous quantities of brandy and consistently misunderstand each other. This, at least, is an accurate reflection of the new South Africa, even if it does stop short of the black couple lodging a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, or at the very least coming back a week later with on outraged Debora Patta in tow.

Now, if the advert had featured a couple of fresh-faced white yuppies being accosted by a big black brute of a goat farmer who dragged them back to his place against their will, fed them piles of steaming offal and forced then to drink buckets of skokiaan, they would have kept me as a customer.’

I think that in having given up on the Klipdrift advertisement I can through yourselves here, offer Ben Trovato a dependable and reliable custom. I think that together we can ensure that together with millions of other South Africans I am attracted to this story of the Klipdrift because this is indeed such an accurate reflection of the competing interests of various sectors of any society in transformation. We as the state have the responsibility to mediate to ensure that we can arrive at the position where we can all share in the stability that has been created. And our, tonic, in this regard, is not the notorious Klipdrift that sets people talking past each but the Comprehensive Plan on Sustainable Human Settlements.

A pair of dogs is not a paradox

I got an email from Discovery Health this week. The subject line reads, “Ben, here’s what you can look forward to in 2018!” Wait, don’t tell me. Higher premiums? An increased reluctance on your part to pay for any treatment that doesn’t involve the loss of at least two limbs? My pitiful retirement savings being wiped out because Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is elected ANC president?

I didn’t bother opening the email for the same reason I don’t answer the phone or see who’s at the door. The news is not going to be good. Whoever it is, they’re either going to want to know if I’ve found the Lord or if I’ve found the money. What part of “prescribed debt” don’t they understand?

To their credit, Discovery doesn’t care much for wheedling or threats. You don’t want to pay? Fine. Miss a monthly payment and the paramedics will leave you in the parking lot. Face up, at least, so you can see the stars while you gently expire. Discovery is caring in that way.

In other news, at least seven people suspected of being vampires have been hunted down and killed by villagers in Malawi in recent days. This is in keeping with the Christmas spirit, especially in a country that is 80% Christian. Next to money-lenders and Romans, Jesus hated vampires most of all. Just because I’m not a Christian doesn’t mean I’m a vampire-boetie. I make a point of avoiding bats altogether. Bats and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are really just bats in human form. Not vampire bats, obviously. The more benign kind. Fruit bats, perhaps.

And moving on to that glittering jewel East London, where someone from the Selborne College class of 2017 came up with a rip-snorting poster designed as an invitation to a social event for matric pupils. The “artist” used an iconic image on which to base his masterpiece. Remember the photo of a dying Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo while his sister‚ Antoinette Sithole‚ ran alongside? It was taken by Sam Nzima in 1976 during the Soweto uprising.

So this by-product of white privilege creates a caricature of the image, but Hector is now just a body without a head, wearing a Selborne blazer. Mbuyisa and Antoinette are depicted with the heads of dogs. The boy dog seems alarmed. The girl dog appears to be howling.

There have been accusations of insensitivity, but we should be grateful that this fine young man chose a South African image to parody. He might have used that picture of the little Vietnamese girl running naked down the road after an American napalm attack, possibly putting her in water wings and snorkelling gear. Maybe a pair of flippers for added comical effect. Or what about Jesus on the cross in a clown suit with a Panda head? That would’ve been good for a few laughs.

The cretin, who remains nameless, has apologised for “any misunderstanding caused by the artwork”. That was decent of him. We’re not very bright, you see, and misunderstandings come easily to the likes of us, especially where art is involved. For instance, I was in Florence this one time and came across a statue of some oke called David. I felt sorry for the bugger because his willy was so small so I tried to put some broeks on him but got arrested by the carabinieri. I don’t know what the artist was thinking. Mickey de Angelo or something. Sounds foreign.

He said it was never meant to reflect racism or prejudice. I’m talking about the Selbourne muppet, not de Angelo. Of course it wasn’t meant to reflect these things. You’d have to be mentally ill to think there was something not right about manipulating an image of a dying boy and two terrified youngsters running from the police. I mean, two of them had dog’s heads! There’s nothing funnier than people with animal heads. And it’s not like he gave the Hector Pietersen character a dog’s head. He has no head at all. The symbolism here, in case you’re a complete moron and missed it, is that the blazer is being passed on to the incoming matrics. Or something.

“I was commissioned to do an artwork that expressed loss‚ grief or sadness that the matrics could relate to,” said the boy genius. This must be some school for its matrics to feel devastated at having to leave. I celebrated wildly after walking through the hellish portals of St Bastard’s for the last time. I’ve never really stopped. Then again, unlike Selborne, my school didn’t come with hot and cold running servants, pool tables, cable television and mouthwatering meals.

But why the dogs? In the words of the idiot savant, “The two people have been adapted into dogs as symbolism to our school. Selborne is often referred to by its official symbol of a greyhound or whippet and was in no way meant to be derogatory or disrespectful to any person.”

Ah, my boy. You will come to learn that metaphors are tricksy things. Treat them roughly and you’ll pay a dear price.

Sensing an impending scandal, the governing body was quick to distance itself from the poster, the artist, dogs in general, metaphors in particular and everything that happened between 1875 and 1994.

It was perhaps unfortunate that social media distributed a photograph of 25 boys, every one a proud member of the glorious Caucasian race, drinking beer around the poster at a gathering at the Old Selbornian Club. They were clearly working on issues of transformation. Now we are sober and later we shall be drunk. That’s transformation at its best.

I’d never heard of Selborne College until now. Like most people in this country, public or private sector, I don’t give a damn about education. Too much learning is a dangerous thing. The more words you know, the more trouble you’re likely to get into. That’s why people who communicate in little more than grunts and hisses are the happiest. And they get nice jobs at home affairs and the traffic department.

You think things are bad now? Wait twenty years, when our grade four kids are taking up government positions. Almost 80% of them are functionally illiterate. Out of 50 countries that took part in a reading literacy study, South Africa came stone last. Maybe the ability to read at 10 years old isn’t vital. Maybe the important thing at this age is to know how to hotwire a car and file the serial number off a 9mm Beretta.

The study also revealed that a quarter of kids under three are stunted. So there’s going to be an entire generation of unemployed short-arses who can’t read anything more complicated than a Wimpy menu. But it’s okay because by the time they’re grown up Noksazana Dlamini-Zuma will be in her fifth term and we’ll all be living in caves and eating locusts anyway.

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It’s that time of year when …

It’s that time of year when boilerplate journalists stare out the window, sigh heavily and begin writing stuff that begins with “It’s that time of year when ….”

Calling them journalists gives them more credit than they’re due, I suppose. They’re content producers. And it can’t even really be called writing. ‘It’s that time of year’ stories are almost always lists or advice. Quite often advice in the form of a list. Any idiot can draw one up. I am nothing if not an idiot, so here’s my contribution.

It’s that time of year when the ravening dogs of capitalism are out of the cages and straining at their leashes. Their eyes are red and wet and their foam-flecked jaws snap and slaver. Soon they will slip their choke chains and, howling and biting at our heels, they will herd us into the malls and shopping centres until panic drives us crazy and we plunge desperately into debt.

The objective of this appalling game of loans is to accumulate as much new stuff as you can while not losing any of the stuff you already have. Cars, handbags, cellphones and occasionally entire families are lost at this time of year.

One of the byproducts of poverty, unemployment, sloppy genes, faulty upbringing and bad drugs is that the closer we get to Jesus’s birthday, the more our personal belongings become irresistible to others.

For some the festivities have already begun. Last week a group of 20 armed shoppers visited a shopping centre in Limpopo, blew up a safe, shot a policeman and left with some cars that weren’t theirs. In some towns people gather around and cheer when the Christmas lights are turned on in the main street. The other day in Vereeniging, onlookers cheered when a Fidelity cash-in-transit van exploded during a heist. I’m not making this up.

Parking lots are filling up fast and you don’t want to find yourself having to park so far away that you need a GPS to find your way back to the mall. I was lucky enough to buy a second-hand car that already had a disabled sticker on the windscreen. I don’t really take advantage of it because shopping takes so much longer when you have to pretend to be crippled. You can’t just get out of your car and limp off, either. To properly pull it off you have to gimp it up spectacularly, which can be exhausting. Also, everyone around you then makes a very obvious point of not looking at you, which is a bit cruel if you enjoy being the centre of attention, as I do.

A lot of malls have parking bays right at the entrance that are reserved for women with babies or toddlers. I don’t know why toddlers. I’ve toddled around plenty of parking lots as an adult and if I can do it I don’t see why a two-year-old can’t. They don’t even drink beer.

As for babies, they’re either pushed in carts or carried in plastic bags. Any mother who can’t portage her own baby shouldn’t have one in the first place. And if she has more than one, she shouldn’t be allowed out in public. The parking is great, though. If you don’t have a baby, try to borrow one for the afternoon. A lot of mothers would be grateful for the break. I think R30 an hour would be a fair rate for a decent baby. If it has teething or colic issues, or is one of those babies that can move objects with its mind, insist on a discount.

I can’t remember if the sign actually says ‘Mothers With Babies’. That would be incredibly sexist if it did. If security says you can’t park there because you’re a man, tell him that you are in fact a woman and threaten to hit him with your borrowed baby. There’s a lot of sensitivity and confusion around gender at the moment. Exploit it.

Don’t think you’re safe once you are in the belly of the beast. Keep your guard up. Trust no-one, especially not members of your family. Children who could barely string a sentence together a week ago suddenly understand the psychology of guilt and coercion.

And remember that even though pickpocketing and purse-snatching is considered quaint and old school in this glamorous age of state capture, the pilferers and purloiners are still out there practising their ancient craft. Fleet of foot and nimble of finger, not for them the tedious complexities of tender rigging and money laundering. Handbags are their thing. This is why women should keep a small explosive device in their bag at all times. If the bag is stolen, they can detonate it with a remote control. This will not only teach the thief a valuable lesson but will also help thin out the crowds in the mall.

Apparently the big thing this year is not to go to the mall at all but instead to second-hand shops. Peter Forshaw, the chief financial officer of Cash Converters, said more people were starting to buy “pre-loved” gifts. This makes sense. There are a lot more pre-loved people out there than ever before.

The only thing I want for Christmas is for people to shut the fuck up about bitcoin. Stop telling me to get in now. Stop trying to explain the mining process. You got nine percent for maths and your mother was still helping you with your jersey at sixteen. Maybe that was me. The point is that you sell bathroom supplies, believe that women who have abortions are going to hell and that the earth is six thousand years old. When it comes to advice of any kind, I’d sooner trust a Nigerian prince.

One from the archives

I know it’s a bit early for nostalgia, but here’s a letter I wrote to the one-time lion of Africa eight years ago.

 

To: Zimbabwe President His Excellency Robert Mugabe

1 Feb. 2009

Dear Mr President,

As per your request, I examined your wife, Grace, upon her recent return from China and may I say what a lovely woman she is. You are a very lucky man.
Having said that, however, I would be failing in my duty if I did not admit to having detected one or two interesting anomalies in her psychiatric make-up.

While Grace admits to having attacked a man upon leaving a Hong Kong shopping mall, she maintains that she was stricken by an episode of snow blindness and mistook the photographer for a Ninja assassin working for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

I find her version of events entirely plausible. History has shown us that the Chinese cannot be trusted. You only have to ask the Japanese. Or place an order at my local takeaway. You ask for stir-fried shrimp and they give you chicken that smells like fish. But I digress.

During our session, Grace used her lipstick to draw several organograms on my office wall, proving that the triads are controlled by the House of Lords. This makes perfect sense given that Britain ruled Hong Kong with an iron fist for 150 years.
 Grace told me her primary concern was that Hong Kong, her preferred shopping destination, would now be closed to her.

I assured her that these fears were unfounded. All it would take is a call from you to President Hu Jintao threatening to cut off their rhino horn and close down the shoe shops.

I am, therefore, pleased to inform you that Grace is a healthy, normal woman. Well, she will be once the operation has been performed. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with a good man in Pyongyang.

In the meantime, I would like to suggest that you keep her indoors, preferably away from the windows, for the next 12 months.
 As far as medication goes, not that she needs it, you may wish to consider slipping 1500mg of lithium into her Beluga caviar each morning.
And if there is any buspirone, propranolol or clonidine lying around State House, you could always stir it into her raw rabbit spleen and fish eagle foie gras.
 It is up to you.

Yours eternally,

Professor Benjamin Trovato (Dipso.M.Aniac Chimanimani Univ.)

Bitcoin se ma se blockchain

If you had bought R50 worth of bitcoin five years ago, you’d be worth R50-million today. You have read this sort of thing before. And it has left you crippled with self-loathing and regret.

You go to someone’s braai to forget the sting of failure and a drunk man shouts into your face, “It’s not too late. Get in now!” It sounds like he knows what he’s talking about because you’re also drunk so you get into your car and race to the mall shouting and singing but when you get there you can’t find the bitcoin shop because it’s 2am so you take the money you were going to invest and spend it at the shebeen instead.

In the morning, hungover, depressed and scouring the internet for free porn, you inadvertently come across news that bitcoin has slumped after plans to increase the cryptocurrency’s block size were cancelled. You don’t understand what it means, but you do recognise the word ‘slumped’. Filled with schadenfreude, you turn up the music and drink every bit of alcohol in the house.

Much later you go to bed, possibly on the floor, still congratulating yourself on not having wasted your money on this dirty pyramid scheme. Burbling about burst bubbles, you pass out and wake up two days later to the news that bitcoin has surged 500% while spittle was dribbling from your mouth. And so the cycle of self-flagellation begins all over again.

In the entire history of people, no girl or boy child has ever left home with a dream of pursuing a career that involves mindless drudgery and physical toil. People who do an honest day’s work are usually one bond repayment away from the homeless shelter. I am not the only one interested in making filthy amounts of money by doing nothing more strenuous than checking Google once a day to see what’s happening to the price of bitcoin. So don’t judge me.

Even though the R50-into-R50-million ship has already sailed, it still sounds like the kind of action I should have a piece of. Bitcoin currently has a market value of $105-billion. Once I have directions I will go down to that market and tell the man at the bitcoin stall that I want to buy some of his damn fine bitcoins. I’ve seen pictures of them on the internet. Shiny gold coins with a B on them. I don’t know how big they are. Probably as big as manhole covers. I’d have to pick up a couple of guys at the robots to help carry them to the car.

But it’s not that easy. It never is. Apparently you don’t actually get a bag of coins in return for your cash. You don’t get anything. Maybe an email. I don’t know what it says. Perhaps something like, “Dear Sir/Madam, thanks you for helping my dead father pay for his operation. Your bitcoins are in the post.”

If I was walking down the street and a man sidled out of a dark alley and said, “Psst. Wanna buy some of this?” and opened his jacket and there was nothing there, I’d say, “I can’t see what you’re selling. Get away from me.” And if he said, “It’s cryptocurrency, man. It’s good shit. The best. It’ll make you rich. Believe me,” I’d be more inclined to buy whatever drugs he was on.

I don’t think I’m mentally incompetent, even though some of my decisions in life might suggest otherwise, so I don’t understand why I can’t understand what’s going on. Perhaps there’s something of the Dunning-Kruger effect at work here.

Take this sentence. “Volume across bitcoin exchanges jumped to 436 021 bitcoins on Sunday. BitMEX, an exchange for cryptocurrency derivatives that allows shorting, saw record activity.” There are people out there who will read this sentence, raise an eyebrow and nod knowingly while stroking their well-groomed beards. Then there are those who will simply nod off while stroking their imaginary cat. I’m with the cat people.

And don’t for one minute think that it’s only bitcoin you need to get your head around. Bitcoin came home late one night in August, drunk as usual, and had a fight with itself. We’ve all been there. When bitcoin woke up, an entirely new creature called bitcoin cash was standing in the doorway with its hands on its hips saying, “I’ve had enough of this. You’re on your own.”

Since then bitcoin cash, like every woman who has ever left you, is doing very well for itself. Glowing, in fact. It jumped 32% since last Friday. I don’t even know which Friday I’m talking about. It doesn’t seem to matter. Bitcoin, still staggering about the kitchen looking for aspirin, slumped to its knees and had a bit of a weep.

Apparently speculators were spooked when a faction of the cryptocurrency community scrapped plans to increase bitcoin’s block size, preventing it from moving unessential data off its underlying blockchain thereby allowing mermaids to grow legs while red dogs performed cartwheels and the moon deflated.

What worries me is this talk of a faction. Are they rebels? How powerful are they? Who are they? What weapons do they have? My financial advisor said they’re probably just a bunch of fat boys lolling on futons in their parents’ basements pecking at their keyboards with one hand and masturbating with the other. He said there was nothing to worry about. He’s never been right before so I don’t know why he would be now.

It gets even more complicated. When bitcoin cash flounced out on her own, shares in companies that make graphics cards used in the mining of digital coins were dragged down along with bitcoin’s sorry hungover ass. So much in this sentence doesn’t make sense. Mining? It’s like expecting us to believe that Snow White never once slept with the dwarf who kept finding the biggest diamonds. Mining is a filthy business at the best of times.

And it’s no good turning to Wikipedia for enlightenment, either. The oracle of the indolent says bitcoin was invented by someone called Satoshi Nakamoto who might or might not exist. And down the rabbit hole we go.

Bitcoin was released as open-source software in 2009 and is peer-to-peer.” There was this one time I surfed a wave from Bay pier to Snake Park pier and it ended badly. I’m not saying that investing in bitcoin will end with metaphorical fishing line wrapped around your throat, but I’m not not saying it either.

The nice thing about bitcoins, apart from them being sexy golden unicorns, is that you don’t have to buy a whole one. Like you can get a mutton bunny in a half or a quarter, so you can buy a millibitcoin or, if you’re not so hungry, you can get a satoshi to take away. A satoshi is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin. If you bought one for twenty cents eight years ago, you could buy a Ferrari today.

Happy flagellating.

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