Tag: Beer

Give me a break

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my father’s health travails. Now it’s my turn. This is what happens when you get older. I’m going to be one of those people who, upon being asked, “How are you?” will pin you down, at gunpoint if necessary, and tell you in explicit detail.

It’s a good thing I’m not given to long, lingering illnesses. Get in, get sick, get out. Truth is, I don’t suffer much from poor health at all. I do, however, suffer from accidents. I have fallen into rivers and off mountains and been hit by everything from cars to bouncers.

This is why I am not terribly surprised to find myself with three fractured ribs. Disappointed, yes. Filled with self-loathing, absolutely. But not surprised.

Chest injuries were furthest from my mind when a friend called last Friday night and suggested I come around for dinner and other experiments. He fancies himself as something of an amateur scientist. You know the type. Has to understand how everything works. Was always blowing up the school laboratory. Except in this case, it wasn’t his school. Also, it was 3am. And he’d just turned 45.

Dinner was an experiment drawing heavily on his dangerously limited knowledge of plants, liquids and animals and how they react under certain conditions. He always insists on full audience participation and usually has his guests sign an indemnity form. He used my form to help start the braai.

The problem with homegrown scientists is that they don’t know when to stop. I had a bad feeling about the final experiment of the evening but he shouted me down. “What can go wrong?” he gibbered. Oh, I don’t know, I could’ve said. One of us might end up with fractured ribs, perhaps?

The body’s hematic system is composed of blood and the vessels that carry it through the body. On Friday night at approximately 11.45pm, our bloodstreams were made up of water, calcium, globulin, gin, glucose, tequila, potassium, beer, sodium and brandy. The introduction of tetrahydrocannibanol into hermatic systems already heavily contaminated with unstable toxicants was going to be a fascinating experiment. No, of course it wasn’t. It was an appalling idea from the start.

I don’t know at what point during my departure I decided to dispense with the stairs and simply glide effortlessly to my car. Author Douglas Adams said, “The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” I clearly have a lot of learning to do.

I woke up in the morning paralysed with pain and waited to die. That didn’t happen. By Sunday I was starting to get hungry. Since the hospital was next to the shops, it made sense to stop off there first. I didn’t want to spend a fortune at Woolworths only to be told there’s a good chance I’d expire before the beef lasagne.

Sunday is a bad day to seek medical attention. Or anything, really. Everyone has the Sunday Fear and nobody is interested in your problems. I staggered into casualty clutching my chest and moaning with every step. This, in the eyes of the interested observer, would appear to be a man in cardiac arrest. In the absence of interested observers, I was given a form to fill in and told to take a seat.

There was a lot of pain below the ribs, which worried me more than the actual chest pain. Ribs are ridiculous bones. They can make a hell of a fuss but if you ignore them they pull themselves together sooner or later. There’s a reason God made women from a rib. I was more concerned about my liver. My best drinking days were still ahead of me and I couldn’t have a second large, meaty organ falling into disuse.

I weed in a cup, had blood taken for a liver function test and got X-rays done. The doctor said I had a fracture on the 12th rib, promised to call me in an hour when the results were back and sprinted for her Mercedes.

The following day another doctor looked at the X-rays and said there were fractures on the 3rd and 4th ribs, too. Also on my clavicle. “Is this sore?” she said, whacking me on the clavicle. Now it is. I had to wee in another cup. Presumably one of the night staff mistook the first one for an energy drink. Then it was off to radiology for an ultrasound. With my shirt off, I appeared to be in my third trimester. I joked about my baby while the radiologist smeared jelly on my belly but he wasn’t in the mood.

“I can’t see your pancreas,” he said. I told him that it had to be in there somewhere and encouraged him to keep looking. I said drinks were on me if he found it. Then he called my liver Fatty. I gave him the lazy eye. “You’re no supermodel yourself,” I said. After a bit more prodding and poking he gave up in disgust, tossed a paper towel onto my chest and walked out. I felt so used.

Now I have sacks of anti-inflammatories and painkillers, one of which works by “effectively tricking the brain into thinking that endorphins have been released”. Worth a shot. After all, I got into this mess after taking a herbal remedy that effectively tricked my brain into thinking I can fly.

Luckily I’m on Discovery Health’s hospital plan and have been for nearly 20 years. In all that time, I’ve claimed once. They owe me, big time.

Oh, wait. They’re refusing to pay for this latest treatment, presumably because I wasn’t flown in by air ambulance with at least two severed limbs and a brain tumour.



Still want to emigrate to Oz?

Here’s an excerpt from a piece written this week by Matt Barrie, the CEO of Freelancer.com. You can read the full rant here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/would-last-person-sydney-please-turn-lights-out-matt-barrie


“The total and utter destruction of Sydney’s nightlife is almost complete.

A succession of incompetent governments has systematically dismantled the entire night time economy through a constant barrage of rules, regulation and social tinkering.

And oh, how ridiculous these rules have become in Sydney. A special little person has decided that there is a certain time at night when we are all allowed to go out, and there is a certain time that we are allowed into an establishment and a certain time that we are all supposed to be tucked into bed. There is a certain time we are allowed to buy some drinks, and over the course of the night the amount of drinks we are allowed to buy will change. The drinks we buy must be in a special cup made of a special material, and that special material will change over the course of the night at certain times. The cup has to be a certain size. It cannot be too big, because someone might die. Over the course of the night, this special little person will tell you what you can and cannot put into your cup because someone might die.

It is now illegal to buy a bottle of wine after 10pm in the City of Sydney because not a single one of us is to be trusted with any level of personal responsibility. Apparently there is an epidemic of people being bashed to death over dinner with a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that we have all been blissfully unaware of.

Likewise it is now illegal to have a scotch on the rocks after midnight in the City of Sydney because someone might die. You can drink it if you put some Coca-cola in it, but you can’t drink it if the Coca-cola has been mixed previously with it and it’s been put in a can. Because that is an “alcopop” whatever the hell that means. The only person more confused than me is the bartender. The poor sod is only trying to scrape a few nickels to make it through university; not only are they struggling with their hours being drastically cut back with venues shutting, but the government is now threatening them personally with fines if they break any of the rules.

Most damaging of all a 1:30am curfew where you cannot enter a licensed premises, which deliberately aims to kill the trade of any business that operates at night. Everybody knows that the point of going out is usually to bar hop or visit several venues over the course of the night and that for decades Sydneysiders would be busy at work, dinner or someone’s house and wouldn’t even think to go out until after 11pm. The Sydneysider’s predilection to going out late is backed up by the City of Sydney’s own report from 2010 showed that foot traffic in Kings Cross continued to grow until 11pm. This brutal rule pointedly kills market liquidity in an industry that relies upon bar hopping from venue to venue.”

My 2008 European Holiday – Part 1

By the time you read this, I will be gone.

Not, as some of you may hope, to the afterlife, but to somewhere far more erotic. Spain.

And not a moment too soon, either. There is blood in the water and darks shapes are circling. Treachery is afoot and it’s time to get out of town.

Spain seemed like a good bet because it is a lawless country with no police and a handful of corrupt politicians in charge. Hang on. That’s us. Spain is a well-run democracy full of beautiful women with fiery temperaments and a rebel movement that can’t really be bothered to blow up too much stuff.

Brenda seems to be under the impression that the trip is going to be some sort of second honeymoon. Well, I suppose it couldn’t be any worse than the first. What am I saying? Of course it could. At least we survived the first, even though I will carry the scars with me for the rest of my life.

I have been trying to interest Brenda in bullfighting but she says it is a cruel and barbaric sport practiced by cruel and barbaric people. I told her that if she insisted on talking like that in Spain, I would have her arrested by the Guardia Civil. Then I showed her a picture of the famous bullfighter Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez in his tight, sequined trousers and scarlet cape. Her eyes glazed over and she began breathing heavily. I quickly pointed out that a bull by the name of Islero gored him to death in 1947. She seemed disappointed.

“Don’t worry about that,” I said. “Wait until you see me in action.” If there’s one thing that will rekindle the guttering flame of passion, it will be the sight of me leaping over the barricades and single-handedly challenging a giant Córdoban bull to do his worst.

Obviously I won’t hesitate to reach for my ankle holster and whip out the old 9mm Parabellum if el toro gets too cheeky. That’s how we South Africans fight wild animals. None of this girly sword stuff for us.

Apart from an inexplicable reluctance to gun down their wildlife, Spain is very similar to South Africa in many respects. They had General Franco. We have General Mbeki. The Basques and the Boers both want their own homeland. We have Vladimir Tretchikoff who was influenced by his mother. They have Salvador Dali who was influenced by lysergic acid diethylamide. Their street life is as vibrant as ours is in Khayelitsha or KwaMashu except that in Barcelona people generally don’t wind up in hospital, jail or the mortuary after a good night out.

I read on a website that “Spanish men tend to maintain eye contact with females for longer, although this does not mean anything”.

Yeah, sure.

“Hey amigo, I’m just taking your wife for a walk down the beach. Relax. It doesn’t mean a thing.”

The rules of the road seem similar to ours: drive as fast as you can on whichever side of the road has the least amount of traffic and stop only for petrol.

When it comes to the winter solstice, “the tradition in Spain witnesses the jumping of men over men which is a symbolic representation of victory over illness”. In Cape Town we have men jumping on top of other men, which is a symbolic representation of a society going to hell in a handbasket.

Spain is known as a wine-drinking country. We are known as a country that drinks wine, beer, brandy, vodka, cane, ethanol, formaldehyde and, if it’s very late on a Friday night, blood.

Another fine tradition we share with Spain is the siesta. The only difference is that while the Spanish close their shops and offices for a few hours in the afternoon and go home to sleep, our people keep theirs open and sleep right there on the counter in front of us.

The money might take some getting used to. Thanks to the likes of Tito Mboweni, a couple of sheiks with more wives than they can handle and a bunch of narcissistic coked-up teenagers in the New York Stock Exchange, the rand is like Monopoly money compared to the euro.

I bought a wad of the stuff on the black market last week. And please understand that I don’t mean black in any pejorative sense. Even though some of my best friends are white, they have close ties to the black market, which must count for something.

Thousands of our money got me a few brightly coloured notes with boring pictures of old buildings on them. This trip is going to cost me a fortune. With beer coming in at around R35 a pint, I doubt that I shall have much money left over for luxuries like food and accommodation.

Never mind second honeymoon, I have a strong feeling this is going to end in Brenda being deported and me clinging to the legs of a Flamenco dancer, begging for refugee status.