Like most people at this time of year, my thoughts have turned to how best I can help those less fortunate than myself.
No, they haven’t. They have turned to money. More specifically, why don’t I have it and how do I get it?
These are the two prevailing questions galloping through the tattered remnants of my mind. I’ve a fairly good idea why I don’t have it, but this not something one wishes to dwell upon unless one is prepared to accept that one’s life has been a farrago of bad decisions.
I look at photographs of someone like, say, Mamphela Ramphele, and I ask myself how is it that she has managed to amass a personal fortune of R55-million. To be honest, when I look at very recent pictures of Ramphele with her tongue halfway down Helen Zille’s throat, I ask myself how is it that I have never had a threesome and whether I might not have left it a little late.
Men think of sex every seven seconds. It’s not my fault the seven seconds came around just as I picked up Wednesday’s paper. What a silly statistic. I have a fully formed thought every seven minutes, if that. And even then it’s not about sex. The only time I think about sex is when I wake up. And when I see a woman. But if I don’t go out, then it’s just the once.
So. Money. Not much of it about, these days. Sometimes I think about what’s going to happen when I am old and I have no pension, no savings and no investments. Perhaps there will be a surge in demand for octogenarian columnists living off dog food under a bridge on the M4, but I’m not sure I can rely on that.
I have more chance learning how to speak Mandarin than I do learning how to play the stock market. I see numbers as incomprehensible gibberish at the best of times. When sports minister Fikile Mbalula opens his mouth, I hear numbers coming out.
Like most financially challenged people, I read the newspapers every day hoping to spot a get-rich-quick opportunity. Don’t knock it. It’s way smarter than buying books with titles like, “Screw It, Let’s Screw Everyone”, and “Rich Dad, Douche Dad” and “The Monk Who Sold His Ass and Bought a Ferarri.” The quickest way to get rich quickly is to write a get-rich-quick book.
I came across something in the paper this week that could earn me one billion Hong Kong dollars with very little effort. All I have to do is get Gigi Sze-tsung to agree to marry me. Her father, Cecil, is putting up the bounty.
Twenty thousand men have already tried and failed to win Gigi’s hand. It’s not that she is very particular when it comes to men. It’s just that she doesn’t care much for men altogether, what with being a lesbian and all, but Cecil seems to think that she simply hasn’t met the right guy.
I would marry a warthog for that kind of money. A girl warthog, obviously. The one thing I’m not prepared to sacrifice on the altar of mammon is my heterosexuality.
I inadvertently started reading the finance section and discovered that the rand is in intensive care. Experts are saying that it’s critical but stable. We all know how that ends, don’t we?
Our currency, from what I can make out, is poked. If I were Mandela’s family, I’d ask the Reserve Bank to take his face off it.
The terminology is violent – the rand is taking a thrashing. The rand is headed for a pounding. I want to take the crumpled, whimpering notes out of my wallet and put them in a shoebox lined with cotton wool. Stroke them now and then. Make soft murmuring noises. Maybe read them a bit of poetry in the evening.
You want to know what the problem with the rand is? Nothing. The problem lies with people. The rand was a clean, well-groomed, fairly buff currency until the bankers, speculators and investors start fucking with it. They do it behind closed doors, like kiddie fiddlers. The first we hear of it is when petrol goes up. Followed by the price of staple foods like chicken, beer and crystal meth.
This is when the experts step in. Their job is to explain to us why the rand is being sodomised seven ways to Sunday.
“The rand fell to a record low against the euro as jittery investors dumped emerging-market bonds and stocks while concern heightened over the Federal Reserve’s tapering of monetary stimulus and political instability.”
What? A drunk person playing with fridge magnets at 3am would make more sense. For a start, investors are jittery because their coke dealer has been arrested. I don’t know what the rest of it means.
These people use terms like “a basket of currency” and think they can get away with it. Try walking anywhere in South Africa with a basket overflowing with pounds, euros and yen and see how far you get.
They try to make us feel better by telling us that the Turkish lira fell against the dollar. Please. The Turks have been falling against things ever since the Ottoman Empire collapsed and they still manage to produce some of the finest hashish on the planet. Maybe I’m thinking of Afghanistan.
We are told the Indian rupee has fallen to a two-month low. This, while the rand is on its knees in a dark alleyway with a knife in its ribs. You’d think the rupee might shout for help. Call a chartered accountant. Anyone. But, no. “I saw nothing, Sahib.” Sure you didn’t. Bloody rupee.
It’s all sleight of mouth.
Pravin Gordhan could just as easily have returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos and said, “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.” Pressed further, Gordhan might have added: “All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.” And we would have nodded slowly and gone about our business, happy to leave the whole filthy mess in the hands of people who know what they’re talking about.
Pick up your vorpal swords, people, for the Jabberwock is among us.