Tag: 2018

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.

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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.

Roadblocks

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.”

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