Author: Ben Trovato – Durban Poison

Jesus Christ Super Shopper

With supermarkets busier than churches on a Sunday, the Church of England is marketing Jesus in the guise of a shopper to boost his appeal – Daily Mail

Excuse me, sir,” said the security guard at the entrance to Pick n Pray. “You can’t come in here without shoes.” Jesus smiled and reached out to touch the guard on the head. Jesus was on the floor before you could say “Hail Mary”. Once the misunderstanding had been cleared up, the guard helped Jesus to his feet.

Sorry about that. Thought you were going for my throat. Can’t be too careful these days. You’re still going to need shoes.”

Jesus walked over to a teenager in a wheelchair and spoke to him for a few minutes. After the kid had jumped around for a bit, babbling and weeping as the miraculously cured are inclined to do, he took off his sneakers and gave them to Jesus.

The security guard sensed something very meaningful had happened right in front of his eyes but he couldn’t work out what it was. Anyway, the important thing was that the freak in the dress was now wearing shoes.

Right away, Jesus was drawn to the fruit and veg section. He remembered his Father telling him stories about the Garden of Eden. It was just the way he always pictured it, only with a lot more people. And fewer serpents. Wandering about, stroking the broccoli and admiring the plums, he caught sight of a woman handing a man a bag of apples. Recalling the damage that a single apple was capable of causing, he lunged across the aisle and knocked the bag from the man’s hand.

What the fuck?” shouted the shopper. Jesus kicked the apples away and made the sign of the cross without even knowing what it meant. “This is forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil! Thou shalt not eat of it!” Mothers gathered their terrified children and made for the relative safety of the dairy aisle.

You’re talking kak,” said the woman. “They come from Ceres. Got ’em yesterday.”

What is this Ceres of which you speak, harlot?” said Jesus.

Watch your mouth, hey. Ceres is there by … ag, you know.”

The Mount of Olives?”

Nay my larney. Ceres just does fruit. Olives is mos a vegetable.”

Jesus gathered his robes and backed away. “You will be cursed with hard labour and pain in childbirth.”

The shop assistant pulled a face. “Asseblief. I work for Raymond Ackerman. Don’t talk to me about hard labour. And I got seven laaities. I feel no pain. I just sommer drop them right here between the pineapples and the paw-paws.” She threw her head back and laughed like the whore of Babylon.

Pale and shaken, Jesus followed the signs to the deli. The name reminded him of home. Deli. There was something Jewish about it.

Crossing the vast wilderness of dog pellets, he came upon mounds of slaughtered beasts and a terrible sadness rose up in him. “What tragedy has befallen this place? How am I to lie down with lambs when they have been rent asunder and covered in shrink-wrap?”

His eye fell upon a rack of pork ribs. With an anguished cry he lifted them high above his head. “Only the Devil has the power to turn women back into ribs!”

Just then the butcher came out from the back holding a bag of blood and gore. “Are you the dog bones?” he said. Jesus fell back. “I am the King of the Jews!” The butcher looked disappointed. “You’ll want the kosher section then. It’s over there. Just past the …”

But it was too late. Jesus was gone. Desperately searching for a way out, he found his path barred by what appeared to be a 937-year-old woman. She looked a little like Lot’s wife. Or a lot like Little’s wife. She pressed a fillet of hake into the Messiah’s trembling hands and said, “Forgot my bloody glasses. Can you tell me the price on that?” In an instant the floor was covered in fish. And not just hake, but the good stuff too. Patagonian toothfish and white musselcracker. Things turned nasty when a hammerhead shark materialised out of nowhere and thrashed its way down the toiletries aisle biting hollow-eyed housewives immobilised by Prozac.

Jesus ran like he hadn’t run since the Romans were after him. He sprinted through the bakery wreaking havoc as wholewheat loaves multiplied in his wake, then across the appliance section, along the household cleansers, down the tinned foods, through the pot plants – causing the hydrangeas to burst into flames – and, finally, out of the front door.

Not so fast, buddy,” said the security guard. “Where’s your receipt for that?”

What? What?” shouted Jesus, eyes rolling madly in his head.

That crown of thorns. You didn’t have it when you came in. Come with me.”



Dear Ancestors …


In times of great misfortune and uncertainty it is an African tradition to consult your ancestors and ask them to show you the way forward.

In the time of Zuma we have had misfortune in spades. These are also times of great uncertainty. This is a good thing. If you’re complacent in your job or comfortable in your marriage, you need to upset that applecart and get with the times. Forget certainty. It will stab you in the back as soon as sleep with you.

Change is in the air. Climate change. Regime change. Don’t be left behind. It’s a new year. Shed your old life and start anew. Sure, it might end in a homeless shelter. But it might not. Come on. Come and gamble with me. The odds are better than anything you’ll find in the Goodwood Casino.

First, though, I need to find my ancestors and shake their bones. I don’t even know if this works for whiteys. I assume it works for darkies. Last week Squirrel Ramaphosa, South Africa’s black Jesus, said the ruling party had been down and out, riddled with foreign tendencies and required ancestral intervention. Something or someone must have intervened because he was elected party president a couple of weeks ago. I’m virtually down and out and riddled with all sorts of things, so it’s definitely worth giving the ancestors a shot.

Thing is, Ramaphosa wasn’t consulting his own personal ancestors. He was reportedly shaking John Dube’s bones. And Walter Rubusana’s bones. Them be the bones of former ANC leaders. So the question I’m asking myself now, apart from why the waiter is ignoring me, is can one go about rattling bones willy-nilly when they aren’t in fact direct kin of the shaker and still expect sensible answers? Maybe it only works for people like Ramaphosa. After all, ANCestors, rights?

Can I go to the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris and shake Jim Morrison’s bones? Of course not. If I could afford to go to Paris why would I be sitting in this filthy bar writing rubbish for a pittance? Not to mention that the Lizard King would give me the most appalling advice in the unlikely event that we made a connection.

“Don’t take heroin. Don’t take a bath after taking heroin. Don’t date women called Pamela.” If he had told me this a few years ago, I would’ve listened to him on at least one of those counts. Too late. The damage is done.

It might make more sense to visit Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto, California, and rattle Steve Jobs’s bones. There are a couple of things that need clearing up. Like why do his laptop charger cables have the lifespan of a one-legged chicken in KwaMashu. Steve doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t care about any of us. He was meant to be immortal. He was meant to update his operating system, for heaven’s sake, not die.

A lot of other bones worth shaking can’t be shook because they got cremated. I don’t know what the ancestor worshipping business says about people who get burned instead of buried. Does shaking the urn have the same effect? Is it the same as praying with your eyes open or shut? Or, for that matter, not praying at all? Can I make a martini and shake it instead of the bones and expect the same result? Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.

So the challenge for me, apart from catching the waiter’s eye, is to find my ancestors. Maybe define them first. I think it excludes parents. You can’t go from mother to ancestor in the blink of an eye. Even grandparents might be pushing it a bit. If you’ve met them they aren’t proper ancestors. From where I’m sitting, and I use the word sitting loosely, ancestors are people who died before you could get the chance to thank them for their contribution towards making you the genetic miracle you are today. By thank I obviously mean strangle.

I’ve always been a bit subnormal when it comes to grasping family relationships. Anything beyond uncle and my eyes glaze over, my mouth falls open and my heart rate plummets. If someone tries to explain how my aunt’s brother’s cousin is related to me, I am clinically dead before they can finish.

When I think of my ancestors, I think Cro-Magnon. Not so much upper class as lower Paleolithic. I imagine them in skins but only because I can’t bear to imagine them naked. Perhaps I’m going too far back.

As a white South African I have no traditions other than those involving the denigration and exploitation of black people. Sadly, those days are over and now there are no traditions I can call my own. Braaing, perhaps. Even then, there are darkies who will claim they were cooking meat over open fires long before white people were invented. It’s outrageous.

Look. I’m quite happy to rattle the bones and communicate with my ancestors if it means getting an indication of what I should do with what little remains of my so-called life. Communicating with the living doesn’t seem to help much at all. Might as well try the dead.

The problem is, I can’t afford to get to the graves of my ancestors. It would mean going to Italy, England, Australia and the Netherlands for a start. Those are just the ones I know about. Europeans spread their seed like wildfire in the early days. I’m surprised I didn’t turn out Catholic.

I’m a bit ashamed to say that I just googled Where Do White People Come From. What a mistake. I was dragged from Genesis to revolutions, from Australoids to Caucasoids, from the Semites to the Hamites, from the Third Reich to the Fourth Extinction. I could go on but it’s too depressing. It turns out that white people are little more than a concept.

Anyway. That’s enough about white people. In a few hundred years everyone will be brown. Or dead. I can’t do a global tour of my ancestors’s graves but I do need some direction so I’m going down to the bottom of my garden. There are bones there. Chicken and mutton, mainly. They must know a thing or two with the benefit of hindsight. Watch your back. Don’t trust humans. Have an exit strategy. That sort of thing.

My kingdom for a Kwaai Lappies

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

South Africans who say they would rather spend their holidays here than anywhere else – because, like, it’s such an awesome country – should have their jaws permanently wired shut so that never again will they be able to lie through their stinking teeth.

Patriotism be damned. They are here because they can’t afford to go anywhere else. Two-thirds of the people who support the Proudly South African campaign are right now sucking back margaritas in southern Spain or slipping their CVs under the doors of employment agencies in Perth.

At least a quarter of our country’s population never go on holiday because they are otherwise occupied in one of our many elegant state facilities for the morally challenged. Others, like the unemployed, are permanently on holiday and are the least deserving of our sympathy.

The people who you should really feel sorry for are people like me. People who…

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Higher education makes you high

One of the challenges I have set myself in 2018 is to get off the couch quicker than last year. The springs – in both couch and legs – have slowly deteriorated and it takes an almost superhuman effort for me to go from sitting to standing in under five minutes. I want to bring it down to a minute. That will give me an extra four minutes of staring into the fridge wondering what I got up for.

This is not the only area in which I hope to up my game in the new year. I also plan on going to university so that I may add another string to my bow. What does that even mean? I can’t imagine anything more useless than a bow with a plethora of strings. Wouldn’t it make more sense to want to add another arrow to your quiver? That way, even if you didn’t have a bow you could still stab people with your arrows. But I imagine most of us go to university so we don’t have to make a living from stabbing. Diversification is key, though, and a little tidy knife-work on weekends could go a long way towards supplementing any student’s meagre income.

I’m not yet sure which university I shall attend. Or what degree I will do. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that, thanks to Jacob Zuma, it’s all free. And there’s nothing I like more than not having to work or pay for something.

Julius Malema says that if you can’t afford to study, you should just arrive at your nearest university and pull up a chair. Commandeer a locker, claim a girl, borrow a pencil and there you go.

Thing is, university only really appeals to me in the sense that all institutions of higher learning are hotbeds of sex, drugs and all-night parties. The business of studying and writing exams doesn’t particularly interest me. Besides, given the couch issue I’ll probably be late for most of my lectures, if I make them at all.

I have done my time in the hallowed halls of academia … okay, that’s not strictly true. There was nothing hallowed about the journalism department at Natal Technikon in the ’80s. I did find my first love there, though, and, not long after, the Normandy Hotel, which was a stone’s throw from Oldham House where the journalism students were kept isolated from the rest of the campus.

Right, then. This year there were 370 000 applications for 39 000 places at six universities. This was before Zuma did his Oprah impression at the recent ANC conference. “You get a university education, you get a university education … everyone gets a university education!”

The EFF leadership will be waiting to welcome you to the institution of your choice. When registration day turns into the battle of Stalingrad, Dr Ndlozi and his footsoldiers will take the blows and teargas on your behalf, giving you a chance to make it to the nearest lecture hall where you can plant your metaphysical flag of freedom, take a member of faculty hostage and demand he teaches you everything he knows.

It doesn’t particularly matter what degree you find yourself doing. The important thing is that after three years, or, if you’re easily distracted, eight or nine, you can put the letters BA after your name. The counter-revolutionary elites will say this stands for Bugger All. Ignore them. By the time you graduate it will mean Beast Alliance. You will be the awesome stormtroopers – the Orcs and Uruk-hais of the new new South Africa – providing by sheer force of numbers the opportunity for the elite Masters and the PhDs to storm the citadels of power.

Somewhere among the ravening hordes rampaging across campuses on their desperate quest for knowledge, maybe lurking on the fringes if not in the shadows, will be Nicholas Brinkmann and his ilk. I have not selected Nicholas for any reason other than that he appeared on Twitter at this very moment. There are others like him. To find them I would need to scour the internet and, as I have repeatedly pointed out to no avail, I don’t get paid enough to do research.

Nicholas is 18 years old. He has just finished up at St John’s College and is preparing for a bright future in Australia. Just kidding. I don’t know what his plans are. Given that he achieved nine distinctions, they probably don’t involve magic mushrooms and transsexual crack whores.

I am simply using Nicholas as an example in much the same way that he will in all likelihood go on to use others for whatever purposes he sees fit. As a very intelligent lad, this is his prerogative. It is ordained. It is the way of the world.

The well educated become wealthy, the poorly educated become poor. Then there is you and me – a little bit educated, a little bit poor, always money for beer. A bit of a generalisation, to be sure. Toss in an unexpected work ethic and a couple of genetic surprises and all stereotypes are off.

Nicholas is not a throwback. He is a natural. Or maybe a nurtural, given the massive amount of support his parents must’ve given him. As a school kid I supported the hands-off approach when it came to parenting. They persisted with a hands-on approach, which usually came in a parabolic arc down to my quivering buttocks.

Nicholas totally cracked top percentages in seven of his nine distinctions and it doesn’t matter that he is more fluent in Latin than isiZulu. With the government’s new Woodstock approach to education – free for all and anything goes but don’t take the brown acid – it’s quite possible that we’ll all be speaking isiLatin by the end of the century.

Nicholas is from Emmarentia in Johannesburg. I will never go there. Not to Emmerentia or to Johannesburg. Let’s give him a chance to speak. “I spent my whole high school career just trying to learn everything well. In a sense you could say that my whole high school career has led up to my performance in matric.”

Now and then one reluctantly finds oneself in the company of a professional melanchologist from the past and even though we might plumb the murky depths of our spluttering adolescence, we use words like “disaster” and “torment” rather than “career” when referring to our passage through high school.

Nicholas said that during his matric year he would wake up at 6am because he wasn’t much of a morning person. This makes no sense. If you’re not a morning person you have no business waking up before midday.

“For my whole life my parents have made it clear that they support me and my education and they would do anything in their ability to help me. In the morning‚ often my mom and dad would make me breakfast. I feel like they sacrificed a lot in order to help me perform at school.”

Breakfast! No wonder he got nine distinctions. I was given a light thrashing and a pebble to suck on before being made to crawl to school on my hands and knees.

Nicholas also played second team basketball and first team hockey, which must be reassuring for his parents because if he ever gets brain damage he can still earn a living. He said sport helped him perform better academically. “If you don’t exercise you sometimes struggle to concentrate well.” I don’t know about that. Ritalin is basketball for the lazily gifted. Or something.

Nicholas is taking a gap year and then wants to study mathematics and science in America. Better hurry, Nick, before Donald Trump bans science altogether.

  • I deliberately haven’t mentioned the half a million kids who dropped out between grades 10 and 12. Sooner or later they’ll turn up at the robots. We’re going to ignore them then so we might as well ignore them now.

2018 – Year of the year

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.

New Year’s Eve

My liver huddles up against my spleen and whimpers at the mere mention of it. Come out, you coward. I know you’re in there. I need you now more than ever.

To be honest, and I think honesty is important in times like these, I have felt uncomfortable about making a huge thing out of December 31 ever since discovering that the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The Catholics have done some truly appalling things over the ages and for all I know the calendar is one of them.

The Anno Domini system, which counts years from the death of Jesus, spread through Europe during the Middle Ages. Big deal. A lot of things spread through Europe during the Middle Ages. The Black Death, for one, yet you hardly ever see anyone walking around with a long face moaning about the good old days when the plague was all the rage, so why should we continue using a calendar wielded by organised religion as a propaganda tool in the name of … ah, forget it. Let’s stick with the liver, shall we?

The Liver

There is one school of thought that says the liver is the human body’s largest and most complex organ. This is generally the opinion of everyone who hasn’t seen me naked. Yes, Mrs Worthington of Margate, I’m talking about you.

An unsightly and consequently rather shy organ, the liver is one of the few parts of the body that’s prepared to suffer in relative silence. The poor could learn a thing or two from the liver. It must be said, however, that the liver is not as perfect as it likes to think.

For starters, it takes its job way too seriously. The heart, on the other hand, knows how to have a bit of fun. It speeds up, slows down, murmurs to itself, does an Irish jig, stops altogether and then, just when you think you’re dead, starts up again. It is an impish organ that understands the art of comedic timing.

The liver, on the other hand, does not know how to have a good time. I find this odd considering the amount of drugs, alcohol and nicotine that pass through it on an average Friday night.

Perhaps it’s not so strange. If we want to be really unkind, the liver is little more than the body’s policeman. It’s a sullen cop manning a permanent roadblock. What’s this? Tetrahydrocannibanol, eh? You’re coming with me. I’m going to detoxify and neutralise all the goodness out of you. What an utter bastard.

But there is more to surviving New Year’s Eve than merely letting your liver know that it’s not the boss of you.

When Pope Gregory established December 31st as the night upon which the faithful and the faithless join hands in drunken revelry, he probably never had roadblocks in mind.


When I am president, and I will be one day, I shall give every police officer the night off on New Year’s Eve. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to party with the rest of us? After all, cops are people, too. Well, most of them are. Sort of.

All I ask for is one night of the year in which we can go out without worrying about getting slammed up against a van full of snarling dogs, cavity searched and tossed into a stinking cell to be remorselessly ravaged by a diseased convict. Is it too much to ask that we be allowed one night free of fear?

We are all adults, apart from those who aren’t, and if we are prepared to take our chances with motherless drivers, desperate divorcees and psychos on tik, then that is our choice. If you prefer to spend your New Year’s Eve clutching a glass of warm Pepsi and getting all misty eyed over ridiculous songs like Auld Lang Syne, then stay at home. By going out and expecting Mr Plod to keep you safe, you are ruining it for the rest of us.

Since I am not yet president, we have to face the reality that state-appointed arbiters of appropriate behaviour will be out there tonight looking to ruin our lives and reputations. As if we can’t do that all by ourselves.

Roadblocks can be dealt with in several ways. One is to slip into the passenger seat and tell the officer that your driver ran away. The officer may wish to attach electrodes to your testicles to determine the veracity of your story. Unless you enjoy that sort of malarkey, you should remind him that the constitution frowns on torture.

Do not attempt this if there are two of you in the car. Police are trained to spot suspicious behaviour and there is nothing more suspicious than an empty driver’s seat and someone sitting on your lap in the passenger seat.

What you can also do is pretend to have a speech impediment. Most cops treat the disabled marginally better than they do the rest of us. But don’t hang out of the window and say, “Good afterble consternoon.” That is a speech impeded by vodka shooters as opposed to, say, falling on your head as a baby.

I used to get stopped a lot before I became a master of disguise and the cops would always ask me why my eyes were so red. “I have pterygiums, officer,” I would say, opening my eyes as big as they would go without me passing out. Cops don’t want to take your statement knowing they are going to have to ask you to spell whatever the hell it was you said you had.

You may be asked to provide a urine sample. “But I just went,” is not a valid excuse. What you need to do is invest in a fake penis. Adult World is full of them. Or so I have heard. Drill a hole down the middle of it and fill it with your dog’s urine. The cop will be so impressed by the size of your willy that he will shake you by the hand and send you on your way.

Medical Treatment

A basic knowledge of First Aid is essential for anyone who plans on celebrating New Year’s Eve properly. There will be injuries and you need to be prepared. Under no circumstances do you want to have anything to do with state hospitals this evening. The doctors have been working for nine straight days and the nurses earn R2.50 an hour. They will not share your sense of humour no matter how much you laugh and poke your finger into your gaping head wound.

Stitches are piece of cake if you have a fish hook and a piece of gut. If you don’t at least have that in the boot of your car, you’re not a real South African and you deserve to be deported.

Carry a roll of bubble wrap in your car. The moment your girlfriend gets the wobblies, wrap it around her. She won’t hurt herself when she plummets off the north face of her bar stool and the rest of the bar will join you in a game of Popping The Drunk.

If someone loses an eye, ask the barman for a glass of ice and pop it in there. It will be good for 24 hours.

Avoid amputations because they can be messy if you don’t have access to serviettes. A lot of people complain of severed limbs but if you look closely you will often find their leg bent behind their head.

Open heart surgery is easily conducted with a bottle of whisky and a steak knife. If you don’t have a knife, rush to the nearest restaurant and order a steak.

Right, that’s it. In the immortal words of Pope Gregory, “Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.”


Invasion of the data snatchers

A tsunami of want is once again engulfing the country. I want to go on holiday. I want a new car. I want a divorce. Everyone wants something at this time of year. From selling bits of seaweed tied together to vaguely resemble a crucifix to putting your house on Airbnb and sleeping in the bushes, people are trying their damnedest to get whatever they can out of the season of giving.

I’m no good at handicrafts so I put my house on Airbnb. I’m sleeping in a shack in the bushes, which is a step up from the bushes themselves. I provide guests with two complementary beers and a bag of nits … not nits, nuts. They get plenty of nits from sleeping in my bed. So beers and nuts, then. Plus free wifi.

This is fine when the guests are a Baptist couple and an oddly silent child. It’s a different story when enormous sprawling Netflix and porn-addicted families occupy my home like German troops occupying Paris. But the German didn’t use up all of France’s bloody data in three nights, did they? Or smash the ornamentals in running battles between the triplets and the twins. Or offend the neighbours with their drunken carousing. Well, I suppose Holland was a bit offended.

I was under the impression I had uncapped wifi until the Visigoths checked in. Apparently not. Apparently I am approaching my limit of 20GB. Very soon I will enter SoftCap mode. It sounds rather lovely. I imagine SoftCap mode would entail a gradual slowing down of things. A blurring of the edges. A gentle hushing of harsh sounds. But, like so many weasel words in the corporate world, it means quite the opposite.

Within moments of SoftCap engaging, the Visigothlets will begin howling and flinging their iPads across the lounge. There will be at least one decapitation. Later, moans of displeasure will emanate from the master bedroom – my bedroom – as Mr and Mrs Visigoth hunch over a poorly lit video of seven naked people and a barnyard animal endlessly shuddering and buffering until they can take it no more and are forced to turn to one another and use their depleted imaginations, for better or worse.

I don’t care, quite frankly. But since I do offer wifi, at some point they, or the people who come after them, will complain. Why’s your wifi so slow? Darryl can’t watch the rugby. Yes, he can. There’s a television set in front of you. With full DStv. Ja, but he likes to livestream it while lying in bed. I swear, I’ll come over there and burn my own house to the ground. With you and Darryl inside.

It’s okay, though. I’m not going to tell guests to control their urges because my wifi is capped. I’m not one of those people who gives R10 to a beggar and tells him not to spend it on drugs. Do these tight-lipped self-appointed arbiters of right and wrong even know how much drugs cost these days?

I don’t mind topping up my data to feed their filthy addiction to the internet. I do, however, mind having to deal with Telkom. I mind on a massive scale. In theory one can do this topping up of data by visiting the mythical online Customer Portal. In reality this is a portal to the very bowels of hell itself.

After being sent from pillar to page reconfirming one’s identity, one eventually comes up against the electronic equivalent of Charon, the boatman who transports the souls of the freshly dead across the river Styx. He doesn’t recognise your username or your password. Laughing cruelly, he gives you a number to call. People think 666 is the number of the Beast. It’s not. The number is 10210.

I crossed myself, sprinkled a little holy tequila on my hands, had two Bloody Marys and plunged in. After negotiating a menu more confusing than anything you might find in a Cambodian restaurant, the music began. Deceptively upbeat for a funeral dirge. Who died? Hope. That’s who. Hope of ever getting through to someone capable of giving you a happy ending. I bought half a million rand’s worth of airtime and made myself comfortable. Telkom shouldn’t assume I’ll be the first to crack. I can stay on hold for nine years.

And moving on to that other nasty business which occurred in the enchanting suburb of Nasrec. Well done to Squirrel Ramaphosa, then. To the presidency born, albeit through a relatively painless caesarean section. For the easily confused and those with the comprehensive skills of your average grade four pupil, I use caesarean here as a literary device analogous to not only the portentous birth of Julius Caesar but also the political assassination of the Roman dictator who, in this case, is represented by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with the opportunistic quisling Brutus being David Mabuza or Ace Magashule and the conspiratorial senators the delegates from KZN. Obviously.

This human melodrama that unfolded on the boulevard of broken dreams has sparked a wildfire of polemical pontificating and there isn’t much I can add. Well, there is. I choose not to. A couple of things caught my eye, though. The ANC has resolved to press for the full decriminalisation of prostitution, for both buyers and sellers alike, and have promised a national debate on the issue. A mass debate, if you will. I apologise. I am possessed by the Christmas spirit and will in all likelihood require an exorcism when this is over.

There was talk of new mechanisms to regulate the media and a scuffle in the plenary over a proposal for the expropriation of land without compensation. It’s understandable. A lot of the delegates were going into withdrawal by then. Daytime drinking is what makes this country what it is and it was nothing short of a human rights violation to deprive those brave men and women of their traditional muti.

So there you have it. Free education, loads of land, a muzzled media and hookers for all. The ANC National Executive Committee – making South Africa great again.

As for Telkom, I’m still on hold.