The art of applying for a job – #12

Here is #12 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To Monsanto: R&D opportunities

Dear Sir,

I understand that you have “research and development opportunities” within your magnificent company and, quite frankly, you would be a fool not to hire me.

Your website says you are an agricultural company that applies “innovation and technology to help farmers around the world be successful, produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more fiber …”.

Ethicalinvesting.com says: “Monsanto has recently begun to unleash the most dangerous threat to the health of world population – genetically-engineered foods.”

What is wrong with these people? Are they jealous that you are designing giant, indestructible, self-watering, talking tomatoes and making a bazillion dollars a second while all they are doing is sitting around smoking weed and whining? Don’t let it get to you. I think you are doing a splendid job.

Your advertisement says you are looking for people to work on your Water Efficient Maize for Africa Project. I am particularly interested in the bit where you talk about developing “improved drought tolerant maize inbred lines utilizing the latest in breeding technologies”.

Although I am not qualified in the strictest academic sense of the word, I am a keen dabbler in biotechnology and I am full of ideas that will make your company even wealthier. Here’s just one of them.

Forget the maize. Maize has never won anybody the Nobel Prize. But listen to this. Have you thought about adapting breeding technologies to develop a line of inbred Africans with improved drought tolerance? No? Well, that’s why you need me. I have drawn a rough sketch of what I imagine these camel-like people would look like but I am reluctant to include it for fear that you will steal my idea.

If I do not hear from you by tomorrow, I will assume that I have the job and will report for duty before the end of the week.

Forget Frankenfoods – Africa needs Frankenpeople!

Yours sincerely,

‘Dr’ Ben Trovato

The art of applying for a job – #11

Here is #11 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To the Drakensberg Boys Choir for the position of Music Teacher

Dear Madam,

Being as isolated as you are in the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, you may not be aware that circumstances in South Africa have changed dramatically since your school was established in 1967.

For a start, BJ Vorster is no longer prime minister. This may come as a shock to you, but we now have a president by the name of Cyril Ramaphosa. Yes, that’s right, the natives won.

You may be experiencing feelings of alarm at this point. Do not panic. This is quite normal. The good news is that there will be no second Anglo-Boer War because most of the Boers are learning to speak English in the New World (New Jersey, New South Wales, New Zealand) and the Anglos are drunk.

As your latest recruit, I would be failing in my duty if I did not assist your boys to acclimatise to the new new South Africa, which is not to be confused with the old new South Africa. First to go will be the Broadway hits. Joining the likes of Handel and Mozart on the scrap heap of history will be anything remotely resembling gospel. No more will the hills come alive to the sound of Carl Orff’s Carmin Burana. Fuck Orff. And you can forget about anything sung in Afrikaans.

Instead, the boys will learn to sing the country’s unofficial anthem, Umshini Wam, and a host of revolutionary songs including “My father was a garden boy, that’s why I’m a communist” as popularised by the legendary tenor, Blade Nzimande.

With your permission, I would also like to introduce paramilitary training to the curriculum. No amount of singing is going to disarm a knife-wielding thug or get rid of a persistent Jehovah’s Witness. By the time I am done, the entire school will have learnt how to parachute into enemy territory and snap a man’s spine with a single blow.

Yours in the struggle to reach the high notes.

Ben ‘Soprano’ Trovato (Ret.)

The art of applying for a job – #10

Here is #10 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To St John’s College for the position of Director of Rugby

Dear Arch-Vicar,

Congratulations on having the courage and wisdom to create a position like this. People think there is something wrong with me when I tell them that the reason education is in crisis is because schools are not focusing enough on rugby. Sure, a lot of them have a team or two that plays on the odd weekend, but that is nowhere near what it should be.

Without a director of rugby, a school is little more than a place in which young people congregate to have their heads filled with rubbish like science and history. Would you believe that they are even being taught mind-rotting filth like evolution theory? No wonder our lunatic asylums and prisons are overflowing.

I am very pleased to see that a Christian school has taken the lead in showing the government where its priorities should lie insofar as teaching the next generation something of real value is concerned.

As Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, nor those who play not rugby shall inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Far too many schools in this country treat rugby as if it were just another girly sport like cricket or hockey. Tennis, needless to say, is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord and yet it is still played openly, often in front of children and the elderly. May their rotten souls burn in the eternal hellfire of damnation.

Watching the Springboks or even the Blue Bulls, the casual observer can quickly tell which player is the product of a worthy God-fearing school such as yours and which is the product of an evil system propped up by the Antichrist.

When I have the job at St John’s, I will make it a rule that any player who scores a try, drop goal or conversion and then turns to wave at his mother or wiggle his hips for the cameras will be forcibly removed from the field and locked in the Sin Bin, a one-metre-square steel box I have built, where he will remain until he is able to recite the Ten Commandments in their original Aramaic.

Players like Bryan Habana set an outstanding example by giving credit to God whenever they scored, made a pass, kicked the ball into touch or even tied up their shoelaces correctly. There is nothing that gladdens my heart more than seeing a player fall to one knee and point to the sky. He is letting us know that God is guiding him – that he is, in short, nothing but a tool.

Having said that, I do find the tactic of bowing heads and kneeling in silence to be marginally less intimidating than that disturbing pagan dance the New Zealanders do. With your permission, I will get the lads to perform something out of the Crusades. I expect the swords will be provided by St John’s. This should work particularly well when we play against the Muslim, Jewish and old Prussian schools.

I will also be changing the outfits. Although you are Anglican – what the infidels call Catholic Lite – and would probably rather stick to tradition, my research has shown that the best way to get people to watch the game is to put the boys in tight shorts and shirts. As you can see by the enclosed photograph, I have been experimenting with a prototype uniform. It proved tremendously popular and I was lucky to escape with my honour intact once the final whistle blew.

Rest assured that under my firm hand the team will return to the ancient practice of allowing forward passes, using a sheep’s bladder for a ball and stoning the unmarried mothers whose first-born play in the losing team. There will also be none of this drinking the blood and eating the body of Christ at half-time. Quite frankly, I think it is an appalling practice and sets a terrible example for the boys. Instead, we will share vials of amyl nitrate, a biblical balm which, as Moses discovered, goes a long way towards boosting team morale. Unfortunately this energising ambrosia has over time been misappropriated by sexual deviants for purposes which rarely have anything to do with rugby, but that is not our concern.

I will be taking leave before I start work, and shall sort out the paperwork when I arrive.

Yours in Christ and Rugby,

Rev. Ben ‘Hooker’ Trovato

The art of applying for a job – #9

Here is #9 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To SA National Parks for the post of Principal Planner

Dear Sir,

It is about time you advertised for someone to come up with a plan for Table Mountain National Park. The place is really going to seed. It is covered from head to toe in unsightly fynbos. Deadly snakes and unattractive animals like tortoises and dassies carry on as if it’s their home. Nobody I have spoken to has ever been there. Let me tell you that this pitiful excuse for a park would be a lot more popular if it didn’t have that dirty great mountain blocking everyone’s view.

Once I have the job, the first thing I will do is appoint a task team to look at relocating Table Mountain to the Cape Flats. The area could do with a bit of topographical excitement. I am closely connected with people in the brewing industry and I am confident that we will be able to secure a sponsorship whereby we get unemployed people from Athlone, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and so on to move the mountain rock by rock and pay them in heavily discounted beer past its expiry date.

With that horrible pile of stones out of the way, I will have enough space to begin planning the Apartheid Theme Park I have always dreamed of creating. I envisage attractions like the Amazing Water Torture Ride where visitors are strapped into roller coasters with their hands lashed behind their backs and wet pillowcases placed over their heads.

We will also have the Accidental Fall of Death Ride in which tourists are blindfolded and left to wander about on a 100m high platform scattered with bars of soap.

Liar, Liar Balls on Fire won’t be a ride, but rather a quiz show in which white male contestants are hooked up to polygraph machines with electrodes taped to their genitals. They are then interrogated about their part in propping up the former racist regime. Fun, fun, fun for the whole family.

I will also convert Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens into a parking lot for staff and faculty of the nearby university. As you are doubtlessly aware, the only people who bother visiting this absurd jungle are little old ladies and Nigerian muggers. And they can find somewhere else to practice their flower-sniffing, purse-snatching ways. You want a park? Alright, then. Park right here, madam, for just R200 a day. We will be rich in no time at all.

You will be pleased to know that my vision extends all the way down the peninsula to Cape Point. If you ever go to this desolate region, you will find nothing there but tour buses full of relentless Germans and snap-happy Japanese. Let me remind you that views do not make money. Casinos make money. Open-cast kaolin mines make money. Strip malls make money. Either give me the job and let me do what I do best or, for the love of god, rename this place Cape Pointless.

I expect to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ben Trovato (PhD Peri-Peri-Rural Planning)

The art of applying for a job – #8

Here is #8 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To the National Gambling Board for the position of Chief Executive Officer

Dear Sir,

I take it you are a sir and not a madam because it has been my experience that, apart from the moment when they stand at the altar and say, “I do”, women are not gamblers by nature. Although their sixth sense clearly doesn’t cover the selection of a fit and proper husband, there is no reason to think it wouldn’t work when it comes time to decide whether to hit or stick, see or raise, or just plain have another tug on the old fruit machine.

I assume the position of CEO does not require much of an education. I do have one, though, but it is currently not in use. What I do have is an overwhelming love of gambling. I bet that you will not find anyone else whose passion for this sport of kings surpasses mine. I bet you R500. By reading this, you have automatically accepted the terms and conditions of the bet. Best you get your wallet out.

As the country’s gambler-in-chief, I will obviously be introducing a number of changes. My first act will be to install slot machines in every bar, restaurant, cinema, theatre, museum, supermarket and rehabilitation centre in the country. I don’t know who had this job before me, but he clearly dropped the ball on this one. Nobody should go out at night and not be within two minutes of a slot machine. It is simply unforgivable that this situation has been allowed to develop.

My second act will be install roulette wheels in schools. This wonderful educational tool will teach children about centrifugal force, the law of averages and the difference between red and black.

It must be remembered that the children of today are a new breed. When we were at school we were never given pocket money. Our parents were in the church or the army or police force and never earned very much although you would think that anyone who worked that hard to keep the blacks out of government would have been paid handsomely.

When our mothers packed us off to school, we were given a punch in the face and a piece of bark to chew on. Today’s kids are spoilt rotten. Not only are they given food, but the little darlings get money for the tuck shop, too.

That’s another thing. In our day we couldn’t get tik and ecstasy from the tuck shop. We could only buy rubbish like cream donuts and fizzy stuff full of sugar and caffeine that would drive us demented and force our teachers to beat us mercilessly until we were hollow-eyed shells barely capable of absorbing even the most basic facts surrounding the Great Trek.

But I digress. My point is that these children have access to disposable income which should be put to better use. Just because they are shorter than most adults doesn’t mean that their rights should be trampled upon. Smack them about, by all means, but don’t deny them the right to gamble.

A child who doubles or even trebles his money between classes is a happy, motivated child. I am nothing if not a responsible gambler, so it must be said that a child who loses all his money will suffer self-esteem problems and may try to commit suicide.

Seriously, though, who wouldn’t want their son or daughter to learn from a young age that one doesn’t necessarily have to work hard to become rich? I made this discovery late in life – I think I was 12 – and that was only by a fortunate coincidence involving my uncle, two Indian fellows and a Chinaman with a rabbit down his trousers.

As CEO I will also strive towards ensuring that every suburb has at least two casinos. With religion dying out, it should be a simple matter of buying up the churches and converting them into bright, shiny pleasure palaces.

I want to put the sex back into bingo. I want poker machines in public toilets and blackjack in the hospitals. I want horse racing in the mornings, dog fights in the afternoons and naked mud wrestling at night. I want heads or tails to decide political matters and I want playing the Lotto to be made compulsory.

I am able to start immediately. But what if I am just saying that? Maybe I can only start in a month’s time. Want to put something on it?

Yours truly,

Ben “The One-Armed Bandit” Trovato

The art of applying for a job – #7

Here is #7 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To Truworths: for the position of Ladieswear House Model

Dear Madam,

I presume you will not reject me on the grounds that I am not a woman. To be honest, you would be a damn fool to do so. For starters, you would be opening yourself up to a legal battle that will rage all the way to the Constitutional Court. I am close to several of our top judges and I can assure you that at the end of the day, I will walk away with Truworths and you will be lucky to escape with the clothes on your back.

Having said that, let me also say that you won’t find a harder-working and more loyal employee than me. My wife, Brenda, is threatening to abandon me unless I get a job and I can honestly say that I have never worked this hard to find work. By the end of the day I am so exhausted that I have to  chuck flagons of lager down my neck just to be able to feign conversation when Brenda comes in after a shift at the fish factory or wherever the hell it is that she works.

I have always fancied myself as a bit of a model. When I was younger, I would dress up in my mother’s skirts and blouses, cover my face with makeup and put on a bit of a show for the family. Everybody would laugh, of course. But it was a year later, when I turned 21, that I realised they had been laughing at me and not with me. Sometimes I have to dip into the goodie bag and whip myself straight.

Your advertisement says that I will be “required to attend fitting sessions of sample garments”. When I first read these words, a frisson rippled up and down my spine all tingly and kundalini-like. The requirements of the job are redolent with memories of the precious moments I spent with the Marquis de Sade. I am talking about his writings, naturally, and not the Marquis himself. I am not that old.

I see you also require that I have a passion for fashion. Oh, but I do. And not just that, dear lady. I also happen to have a flair for hair, a lust for bust, a yen for men, a zeal for veal, a verve for lurve, a craving for slaving, an ache for cake, a quiver for liver, an urge to purge and a fever for beaver.

I notice that I will also be expected to juggle appointments and tasks and work to deadline in a demanding environment. Please. When I was on the border fighting the communists, I once walked across a minefield juggling a bottle of brandy, a grenade and a dead terrorist’s head. I find it hard to imagine that your environment would be any more demanding.

“To qualify for this role you need to be a size 10/34.” I do not understand what 10/34 means. Men don’t attach numbers to their size. Well, some do, but I see no need to brag.

Let us look at the rest of my vital statistics.

Coming in at 1.95m, we can safely say that I surpass your height requirements. I have a small problem in the breast area, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a bag of silicone. Towards the end of the month, my waist is the required 69cm. However, after payday it has been known to balloon to around 104cms. My thighs are firm and well-rounded but, like other men, I do not have a top hip and a lower hip so I am unable to provide you with those measurements.

I am enclosing a photograph of myself modelling a little something I whipped up last night. I expect that by spring, everyone in Parys will be wearing it.

Yours in fashion,

Dr Ben Trovato (Ph.D. Fash.)

The art of applying for a job – #6

Here is #6 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To the Chief Executive Officer: Potchefstroom Hospital

Dear Comrade Doctor Sir,

I am applying for several positions at your hospital, largely because of the spectacular salaries, great working hours and the gorgeous nurses who will doubtlessly be assigned to assist me in the performance of my duties which, I imagine, would include opening people up, taking rotten stuff out and putting good stuff in, sewing them up, pumping them full of drugs and then taking the sisters out for drinks and whatever happy events may transpire thereafter.

I have several degrees in medicine from the highly respected Luanda Cyber University which only accepts 500 000 new students each month. The paying of one’s fees upfront constitutes 80% of the final mark and for geniuses such as myself, an MBChB with all the bells and whistles can be obtained in less than three weeks. I am unable to send you my certificates at the moment as they with the laminators.

You will be pleased to hear that I have specialised in all the fields mentioned in your advertisement.

Although damnably difficult to spell, especially after a few drinks, ophthalmology is really my forté. There is something profoundly magical about looking into a new patient’s eyes and knowing that it won’t be long before you are holding them in your hands. Naturally I will wear surgical gloves. I would never place myself at risk of infection by handling other people’s disgusting body parts without protection.

I believe eyes are the windows to the soul. This is why I have invented a device that plugs the eye sockets once the balls have been removed. I have seen far too many hospitals where souls have been allowed to escape because the windows were carelessly left open during surgery, and I don’t need to tell you that there is nothing worse than being inside a ward full of troubled souls flitting about switching the medication and tickling the patients wearing straitjackets.

You will also be interested to know that I have developed a technique in which the patient is able to leave his or her eyeballs with me and then come back for them in a week or two when I have finished scraping, painting and polishing them.

Paediatrics is another of my specialities. I love children. Even the sick ones. Actually, I am not all that fond of the sick ones. They never stop crying and complaining and, unlike my adult patients, I cannot take the horsewhip to them. My ideal paediatrical patient is a 10-year-old who pretends to be sick in order to miss school. With a little whispered collaboration and the dispensing of certain substances that shall remain nameless, it often ends up that the child manages to miss two or three years of school. I expect some of them will want to reward me handsomely later on in life.

I understand one of the requirements of this position is a willingness to train junior doctors. What an excellent idea! Given the nature of the field, it makes perfect sense. A teenager with a sore throat or crushed vertebrae would feel far more comfortable in the hands of a doctor her own age.

I showed a tremendous interest in playing doctors and nurses from a very early age and can testify that by the time I was seven, I could identify and name every part of the female anatomy blindfolded. After I got married, I began removing the blindfold at bedtime but it wasn’t strictly necessary since I still knew my around and nothing much had changed.

I see you also have a post in orthopaedics. Be sure to count me in. If there is one thing I know, it is bones. I have five dogs. Don’t talk to me about bones. From where I sit, I can see dozens of them strewn across the floor. My house looks like Hannibal Lecter has moved in.

You will be thrilled to hear that I have invented a procedure whereby people are able to remove the bones from their arms before they sleep. I won’t go into detail because you will steal my idea and win the Nobel Prize, but be honest, who wouldn’t welcome the end of awkward nocturnal arm syndrome? Just imagine, no more waking up in a blind panic thinking you are having a heart attack when it’s only paraesthesia, or, as we know it in the medical fraternity, pins and needles.

However, I still get the odd patient who wakes up and forgets to put his bones back in and then finds he can’t pick up his beer or beat his kids, but generally the ORA (overnight rubber arm) procedure works remarkably well.

As for the positions available in the Intensive Care Unit, say no more. I simply adore the ICU. My absolute favourite is the machine that goes ‘ping’. Are you familiar with it? I also find that patients in the ICU are the best-behaved of all. No idle chatter about the rugby or whining about the food. Lovely people, they are. Tolerant, respectful and above all, dead quiet. And also you’re not wallowing about knee-deep in misery, blood and gore. The nurses are hot, full of jokes and they keep the place spotless. I should have married an ICU nurse.

The hospital will also be able to utilise my skills as an anaesthesialologist. I have first-hand knowledge of everything that makes you pass out. Growing up, my father would come home and play games with me. One of the games was called Chlorocatch. We would chase each other around the house and whoever got caught would have to sniff a dishcloth soaked in chloroform. I never managed to catch my dad, but every time I woke up after the game, my mother would be pregnant.

The part of anaestheololology I love the most is when you get to have a little fun with the patients when they are unconscious. I have yet to meet a doctor who can resist drawing a happy face on someone’s grumpy penis or taking cellphone pictures of a particularly pretty vagina. After all, isn’t that why it is called theatre?

One last thing. I see one of my duties would be to ensure adherence to something called Batho Pele principles. Is that the South African version of the Hippocratic Oath? I hope not. Have you seen the Hippocratic Oath? It says things like: “In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.”

I am sure you will agree that the whole point of being a doctor is that you get to have sex with desperate and vulnerable patients. Well, that and the money, obviously.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Dr Ben Trovato (MBChB; FNB; ACDP-FF+)

The art of applying for a job – #5

Here is #5 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To the SA Dental Association for the position of Chief Executive Officer

Dear Sir,

I presume you are a “sir” because women don’t feature very prominently in dentistry.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Women make fabulous dental hygienists, assistants and receptionists, but when it comes to rolling up your sleeves and getting to grips with the rank hazards of trench mouth, only a man can do this job.

It is unlikely that you will find anyone better suited to this position than me.

If there is one thing I know, it is teeth. My mouth is packed with 27 of the clever little buggers, all of them genuine originals. Incisives, bicustards, mortars, canines, felines. The lot of them in perfect nick.

Although I am not a qualified dentist per se, I have removed the front teeth of several people who were suffering from various problems. There was this time when I had to punch a guy 14 times in the mouth before he told me he no longer had a problem.

I also know a lot about the different kinds of dental diseases. Like plague. Which is carried by rats, although why anyone would want to put a rat in their mouth, I don’t know.

And tartar, which isn’t much fun on your teeth but it does go well with a nicely grilled kingklip. As for receding gums, well, my position has always been that if they want to go, don’t try to stop them. They will be back when they see what kind of world it is out there.

Apart from hurting people and laughing my ass off on nitrous oxide, the thing I most like about dentistry is the money.

You get someone to lie on their back and in less than an hour you’ve made enough to fly to the Seychelles. Not even prostitution, which also involves rooting around in body cavities, pays that well.

Please don’t worry about providing me with equipment. I have my own Black & Decker drill, long-nose pliers and metal scraper thingy.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ben Trovato

The art of applying for a job – #4

Here is #4 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To Transnet Freight Rail for the position of Apprentice Welder

Dear Meneer,

I have been looking for work but nobody wants to hire me. I think the problem, apart from being white, is that I am setting my sights too high. But who wants to be a brain surgeon, anyway? Pompous old pedants poncing about in white coats. They should grow up. Welding cracked railway tracks is more fun than fusing ganglions in some loser’s cracked brain.

Your advert says applicants must have matric maths and science. I expect that all your train drivers have degrees from Yale. I am a Harvard man, myself. We have certainly come a long way since the days when working for the railways was first choice for anyone who had been dropped on their heads as a baby.

Your ad says I will have to manage equipment and fix battered rail ends. No problem. But you also say I will have to “repair skid marks”. I need clarity on this. Are you referring to train lines or my supervisor’s underwear? I agree there are times when only an oxyacetylene torch can get rid of the most stubborn stains, but then I would want some sort of danger pay factored into my salary.

You mention that I would be required to assemble “flashbutt joints”. After a lunchtime spent deconstructing Descartes’ dictums with the wheel tappers, your welders would need to unwind. But joints, flashbutt or otherwise, are a little effeminate in my opinion. When I come for the interview, I will bring my Hong Kong bong along and show you how the workers can relax without wasting half their break looking for the Rizlas.

You also say that visual acuity and psycho-motor abilities are essential. I don’t mean to be rude, but you risk confusing applicants who might still be working towards their doctorates in developmental neurobiology. What you mean is that you are looking for someone who doesn’t need the help of a Labrador in finding his way to the bathroom and who can follow a conversation while simultaneously lowering the tinted visor of his welding helmet.

Other stated requirements are physical fitness, balance and agility. Are you looking for a trapeze artist or a welder? I may have to reconsider if the job involves working on top of fast-moving trains and then leaping onto other trains speeding in the opposite direction. Similarly, the prospect of racing to finish a job before the 8.45 from Kapteinsklip slices me in half leaves me less than enchanted.

If I am unsuitable for the position, please consider me for the post of Trainee Shed Assistant. I would love to work long and irregular hours for a transport company that openly admits it cannot provide transport for its staff.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ben Trovato (PhD Welding)

PS. I would like to be based in Kroonstad among the cream of Transnet’s intelligentsia.

The art of applying for a job – #3

Here is #3 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.

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To the Directorate: Agricultural Disaster Management for the position of Agricultural Scientist

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am not altogether sure why you are looking for a scientist when it is patently obvious that you don’t need to be an expert to work in the agricultural field. Whether you are planting crops or cattle, the rules are the same: Give them plenty of water and watch out for poachers. It’s common sense, really.

When it comes to managing disasters, I am your man. You will doubtlessly agree that one of the biggest disasters to hit agriculture in this country occurred when cheap papsak wine was banned. This forced thousands of farmworkers to rely on the unethical ‘money’ system whereby they were expected to take hard cash and exchange it for bottles of more expensive wine. As your new scientist, I will work hard to ensure a return to the more equitable dop system.

I will also focus on cloning as an agricultural tool. I can assure you that the breeding of genetically modified employees will go a long way towards improving productivity. Not only will I create a workforce capable of staying awake for the duration of the planting and harvesting seasons, but, through DNA engineering, I intend creating farm animals that are just as unique to South Africa.

We have all driven through farmlands and seen herds of cows, goats, pigs and whatnot lolling about idly sunning themselves or, worse, fast asleep. My dream is to create transgenic animals that utilise their time more efficiently. Imagine what the world would think of us if we began rearing Nguni cattle that laid eggs! Instead of giving birth to a single calf once a year, they could produce one every 24 hours. While hatching the egg, the cow could use the time to milk itself.

Maize is our country’s staple crop. Second only to the potato, it is also our country’s most boring crop. Let’s face it. Maize is dull. It might have fibre but it lacks character. Nobody talks about it because there is so little to say. As your chief scientist, I will take it upon myself to crossbreed maize with marijuana.

The new crop, mieliejuana, will be tasty and filling while simultaneously provoking feelings of euphoria and goodwill. The more people eat, the happier they become. I estimate that within six months of coming on the market, the mieliejuana plant will have created a completely crime-free society. A possible side effect is that nobody will want to work. To counter this, I intend developing a nutritional pick-me-up hybrid plant made from khat and paramethoxyamphetamine.

I understand that people like Dr Wouter Basson have given white scientists a bad reputation, but I can assure you that I have never killed anyone. Not deliberately, anyway.

Please let me know when I can report for work.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Ben Trovato