Dear Tom Cruise (A Flashback)

I’m going to eat the cord and the placenta right there.”

Who said this? Was it Jeffrey Dahmer? Hannibal Lecter? No, it was you, Tom. In an interview a few months before the birth of your first biological child with the equally childlike Katie Holmes.

Later, you told everyone you had been joking. Maybe you were, Tom, but we just can’t tell the difference any more.

You were born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.

The other kids at school mocked your name. And when they found out you were dyslexic, they made fun of you. The fact that you were shorter than anyone else also got a big laugh.

Years later, in a bid to be taken seriously, you joined a church which believes that 75 million years ago an alien tyrant called Xenu ruled the Galactic Confederacy, an etheral alliance made up of 26 stars and 76 planets, including Earth. Except it wasn’t called Earth. Back then, our planet was known as Teegeeack.

As a means of population control, Xenu enlisted the help of psychiatrists to call in billions of people for income tax inspections. Instead, they were given injections of alcohol and glycol to paralyse them.

Then Xenu used interstellar space planes to bring these paralysed people to Earth. They were stacked around volcanoes and blown up with hydrogen bombs. After that, their souls inhabited the bodies of the people who survived and this is the reason there is so much trouble in the world today.

That sure stopped people from laughing at you, Tom.

Then, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, you eloquently defended your beliefs by saying: “Some people, well, if they don’t like Scientology, well, then, fuck you. Really. Fuck you. Period.”

You tell ‘em, Tom.

You absolutely don’t get to be an Operating Thetan on Level 7 of the Bridge to Total Freedom without being able to say whatever you want, whenever and wherever you want to say it.

People are talking, Tom. They are saying you have gone nuts. Not only because you are about to get hitched for the third time, but because you jump up and down on couches while being interviewed about Katie, your latest cradle-snatching coup.

But you’re not mad, are you, Tom? According to you, there’s no such thing as a chemical imbalance.

Even if your mind had snapped its moorings, you wouldn’t be caught dead visiting a shrink. In fact, you believe that psychiatry should be outlawed.

Dianetics is the answer, right, Tom?

Bring in the auditor and plug in that Electropsychometer. Erase those evil engrams and implants placed eternally in our minds by those dastardly Helatrobans and other alien nations of their ilk.

L. Ron Hubbard was the founder of your church. Like you, he also had three wives. Unlike you, he was a science fiction writer.

Xena? The Galactic Confederacy? Thetans? Anything ring a bell there, Tom? I could be wrong, but it all sounds a bit like science fiction to me.

By all accounts, your great leader’s overactive imagination might also have been somewhat chemically enhanced. When he died in 1986, enormous quantities of the hallucinogenic drug Vistaril were found in his system.

What drugs were you on, Tom, when you behaved like a hyperactive teenager on the Oprah Winfrey Show? Clearly not Ritalin, a med that you consider equal to heroin in the harm that it does to the youth of today.

Speaking of harming the youth, what on Teegeeack were you thinking when you pounced on the unsuspecting one-time child star of Dawson’s Creek? At 25, your wife was the oldest virgin in Hollywood.

You were 21 years old when you starred in Risky Business. Katie was five. It would be another 12 years before she was legally old enough to see you dance around in your underwear before banging Rebecca De Mornay seven ways to Sunday.

Shame on you, Humbert.

What are the odds of your relationship lasting? Well, Ladbrokes offered 5/1 that it wouldn’t see the end of 2006. I’m offering 20/1 that you will move on to convert another victim once Katie has parted with enough money to allow her to reach Operating Thetan Level III.

In October last year, your spin-doctor announced to those who care about these things that Katie was pregnant. She said the entire family was overjoyed.

No, they weren’t. Katie’s father, a staunch Catholic, thinks you’re some kind of demon instead of the highly evolved Thetan that you are. For a start, you impregnated his precious little girl without even having the decency to marry her first.

Then you filled her head with wild notions that we are all part of an elaborate space opera involving extraterrestrial civilisations. And you demanded sole custody of your child.

At first, everyone thought the pregnancy was a publicity stunt. After all, there must be a reason you had to adopt a couple of kids during the 10 years you spent trying to turn Nicole Kidman into a Scientologist.

Mission impossible, indeed.

Some said you had a zero sperm count. Others suggested that you preferred to have sex with men. You were understandably outraged. You are, after all, a Real Man. One only has to watch your movies to see this.

You gave us further proof of your heterosexuality by sticking your tongue down Katie’s throat whenever a photographer hove into view. Katie always played her part, consistently declaring with heartfelt sincerity: “I am, like, so in love it’s just not funny. It’s like, wow.”

Then your daughter was born. You named her Suri after the Andean Alpaca, a member of the camelid family known for its soft, wooly locks and easy breeding.

Katie offered you the placenta but you said you had already eaten.

The alien spawn had barely drawn its first breath before you were packing your bags. Taking yourself squarely out of the running for the cover of Ideal Fathers magazine, you jetted off to Rome, Paris, London and Mexico to promote your latest film.

To be fair, you did tell everyone who would listen that you called her a thousand times every day. It’s quite possible that you did. After all, your leader believed he was 74 trillion years old. Numbers mean nothing to you.

Unless, of course, they relate to the box office.

(Written in May 2006)

An Open Letter To Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Dear Bibi,

Well done on your latest crackdown on foreigners in Israel. It’s bad enough they are goyim, but schvartze goyim? Oy vey!

Billions of Africans are fleeing to glittering democracies like Israel and Uzbekistan and it is reassuring to see you have not allowed yourselves to become yet another limp-wristed, refugee-hugging nation like Australia.

As for Britain, well, the Windsors are the only family left whose friends and relatives are entirely white, and even then Prince Harry has shown a disturbing penchant for the African ladies – if you can call Chelsy Davy African. Or a lady.

I am delighted to see Israel is not afraid of being accused of racism in its drive to send the unchosen back to where they belong.

This is what the world needs right now – people who are not afraid to stand up and defend their culture. Unless, of course, they are Mel Gibson, not that he can stand up.

The Promised Land was promised to the Jews, not the Africans. Even the Babylonian Talmud tells how God punished Ham by turning him black because he broke the no-shtupping rule on the ark.

And yet you have a meshuggener schlemiel like Desmond Dekker singing a song titled Israelites that goes: “Look, my shirt them a tear-up, trousers are gone. I don’t want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde. I’m poor, I’m poor, the Israelites.”

Some say the lyrics suggest darkies see Israel as a refuge from poverty. Others say they suggest Dekker was so high he needed to file a flight plan before going on stage.

I think it’s a combination of both. I mean no disrespect to your wonderful country, but you would have to be very desperate and very stoned to want to live in Israel.

Sometimes I wonder if God didn’t make a mistake. You have to admit the Caribbean is much nicer.

I understand most of the intruders rounded up earlier this week were from South Sudan. This is outrageous. They whine and complain and so we give them their own country and before Khartoum’s counterfeiters can even forge the new currency, they are off on an exodus across the desert with lots of children and unleavened dough. And it’s not taking them 40 years to get to Israel, either.

Did you know Moses had an Ethiopian wife? This is where the trouble started.

On Wednesday, that group of hysterical French lefties, Médecins Sans Frontières, warned of “dire medical consequences” as tens of thousands of people fleeing from Sudan into South Sudan find refugee camps full and unable to provide basic life-sustaining essentials. Like sushi, I presume.

No wonder the South Sudanese are moving to Eilat. Given a choice, who would want to share their lebensraum with a bunch of sweaty refugees? Right, Bibi?

According to your spokesman, Captain America, Israel approved one asylum application out of 4 603 received last year. What on earth were you thinking? You’re setting a dangerous precedent, my friend. This year, approve none. Be strong. We will love you the more for it.

Africans often make the mistake of assuming that because their government has friendly relations with another government, they will be welcomed into the neighbourhood.

What they don’t know is that you are only friends with South Sudan because President Salva Kiir wears a cowboy hat and Juba is at least four thousand years away from developing a nuclear weapon.

Reports indicate you also nabbed three Nigerians, two Ghanaians, two Chinese and one from Ivory Coast. If I were you, I’d let the Chinese go. These people are hard workers and your restaurant scene could do with a little diversity.

I don’t mean to sound anti-Semitic, but not everyone is a fan of blintzes and bagels.

How about giving them their own piece of land? The Negev desert would be ideal. If it was good enough for the Philistines, it’s good enough for the Africans.

A month ago you said in a cabinet meeting: “If we don’t stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60 000 could grow to 600 000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Damn straight. Take South Africa, for instance. In 1993 there were, like, five thousand black people in the country. Within a year of elections, there were 40-million. The ANC wasn’t kidding when they referred to the birth of a nation.

President Zuma has personally sired thousands of children, some of whom are probably selling drugs on the gritty streets of south central Tel Aviv as we speak.

Funny old world, though, isn’t it, Bibi? All along you think the Palestinians are out to get you, then it turns out that Africans are your biggest threat.

They might not lob mortars at you, but they will play bongo drums and chew khat and dance in the street until all hours of the morning. Personally, I would rather have a suicide bomber as my neighbour.

A word of warning. Your criminally liberal interior minister, Eli Yishai, says any infiltrators who hand themselves over to immigration authorities will receive one thousand euros to help them on their way. So you’re hoping to get rid of Africans by giving them money?

You’d better have deep pockets, Bibi, because if I were black (and I hope to be one day) I would sneak into Israel, claim the cash and go home for a big fat drunken orgy.

And when the hangover subsides, I would do it again.

An open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy

 

Cher Monsieur Président,

Comment allez vous, eksê. What a shame that the Dutch beat you to my country. French is so much easier on the tongue than Afrikaans. Oh well. C’est la vie. Or, as we say, jammer om van jou kak te hoor.

I was delighted to hear that you have begun rounding up the unspeakable Gypsies and sending them back to Gypsyland with their tails tucked between their rotten little legs. I assume they are being put on cattle trains after receiving a damn good whipping from the legionnaires. You have to be tough with these people, with their surly ways and cheap earrings. Show them the slightest bit of compassion and they will filch the petit culottes right off you.

I think it was that liberal old fool George W Bush who described the French as a nation of cheese-eating surrender monkeys on the basis of your government’s reluctance to jump into Iraq with the rest of the lemmings. He must have been high. Your armed invasion of the heavily fortified Gypsy camps has shown the sort of courage not witnessed in America since George Washington set fire to his father’s marijuana patch.

Everyone knows what a formidable adversary is the common Gypsy, especially on the rare occasion that he is sober. Even though they dress in rags and travel in caravans with no wheels, they are a ruthless and determined enemy who, given the opportunity to breed freely, would eventually seize control of France and turn it into a nation of lazy, pilfering drunks. Even more so than it is today.

I must also compliment you on banning the wearing of the burqa. There was a time I forced my wife, Brenda, to wear one so that I didn’t have to look at her angry face all day long, but then I discovered she was stockpiling weapons inside this voluminous garment and made her take it off.

Even though you are rather small, you are a leader with an outstanding nose and an equally magnificent wife. Have you considered jailing taller men with bigger noses than yours? How about executing women prettier than Carla? You are the President of France and should not be overshadowed by anyone, least of all your subjects.

I assume you have not yet been alerted to the fact that your cities are full of black people, otherwise you would surely have taken action by now. I was in Paris recently and it was like being in Lagos. What do you intend doing about this? Please do not send them to South Africa. We have more than enough as it is. Perhaps you could drive them across to Germany like the cowboys drove their cattle across to Kansas. No reason it couldn’t work for you. And the Germans love black people, especially when they come with a side plate of schnupfnudel and sauerkraut. I do apologise. It’s a private cannibal joke and I was simply attempting to lighten the mood.

I understand you are half-Jewish? Well done. Some of my best friends are half-Jews. Once you have rid your country of all the Gypsies, Muslims and black people, you may want to start on the Christians. I hear the Catholic prelates are giving you a hard time. That’s rich. Slobbering over altar boys is fine, but heaven forfend that you try a little rough stuff on a Gypsy. Round the bishops up and have them extradited to the Vatican at once.

I believe you’re also having a hard time getting new pension reforms passed. Here’s the solution – herd your whining oldies onto cargo ships and send them to us. We will put them to work in the gold mines and harvest their organs on behalf of our new best friends, the Chinese.

Keep fighting or one day your country will fly the flag of the Islamic Republic of Gypsia and that will be the end of my holidays on the Côte d’Azur. You will still allow tourists to come in, won’t you? Did I mention I was white?

Bon chance!

Ben Trovato

Grand Wizard: Fish Hoek Klan

Dear Boss of Eskom

This is the fourth time I am writing this letter to you. The first three times you turned the power off before I could save. I was angry before. Now, I am incensed.

I live in Cape Town, supposedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But what the hell good does that do when I can’t see anything for most of the time? Oh, sure, the sun still works, but how much longer can it be before you find a way to switch that off too?

The first time you plunged the entire province into darkness, you kept very quiet and hoped that nobody had noticed. Apart from those on life support systems, we weren’t all that upset. The blackout forced married couples to switch off the telly and go to bed where, without the option of reading, they were left with no alternative but to have sex. This kind of thing apparently helps to keep couples together.

Then you turned the power off several more times over the next few weeks. Suddenly it wasn’t such fun. People began stumbling around in the dark, barking their shins on the furniture and raising their voices in anger. Weeping women, sated with sex, begged their husbands to sell the house and emigrate to a country with electricity.

People began going hungry, fridges defrosted, beers got warm. The only thing moving in the streets outside were four men on horseback riding from town to town shouting in what sounded like Aramaic.

You, in the meantime, denied that anything was wrong. “Relax,” you said. “Everything’s under control.” The rolling blackouts got worse. Suburb after suburb, town after town, became engulfed in darkness.

Your men in suits went into a huddle. “The masses are revolting. What are we going to call this thing?” A middle-ranking executive blew his chances of ever getting promoted by replying: “An unmitigated fucking disaster?” But the truth is not something to be bandied about at times like these, is it?

Let’s call it load shedding,” you said brightly. “That makes it sound like we are getting rid of something that we have too much of. People will want to thank us,” you said.

Apparently not. Instead, people wanted to hunt you down and ram a syringe full of sodium pentathol, or any other kind of truth serum, into your big fat capitalist bum.

Once the ANC had pointed out that your incompetence was going to lose them control of Cape Town, which indeed it did, you said “sorry” in a very small voice and pretended to cry.

The then public enterprises minister, Alex Erwin, felt so sorry for you that he made up a story about a bunch of imaginary warlocks who threw a bolt into one of the Koeberg nuclear power station’s generators, damaging a rotor and causing a serious power shortfall in the Western Cape.

Since Koeberg is your baby, and a potentially lethal one at that, the last thing you wanted was the government suggesting that just anyone could walk up to the facility and gain entrance by scaling a wall. Oops, sorry, Greenpeace already did that several years ago.

So you dismissed Erwin’s allegation. Erwin, under the mistaken impression that you were right behind him, quickly denied ever mentioning the word “sabotage” or even knowing where Koeberg was located. “Look,” said Erwin, “I don’t even use electricity. I’m a gas man, myself.”

So not only were we surviving on tins of baked beans heated over cheap candles, but we now also knew that our shivering bodies could be incinerated in a boiling tsunami of red-hot radioactive particles at any moment.

Then, once businesses hit the magical mark of R500-million in losses, you began publishing a load shedding schedule in the local newspapers. But even then, you never lost your keen sense of humour. I bet you found it hard to stifle a giggle when you tricked people in Hermanus into thinking that they would be without power from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday, only for the lights to go out from 7pm to midnight on Thursday. You did this, with a twinkle in your eye, in towns around the Western Cape. And sometimes even in the Northern Cape, although it’s not quite as much of a laugh for you because the folk in Kimberley don’t even notice these things.

Sometimes, in the middle of a spot of load shedding, you would switch the power back on and then, a few seconds later, turn it off. What’s the point of earning R13-million a year if you can’t have a bit of fun? If you have the ability to make millions of people go “yay!” and, moments later, “fuuuck!” in perfect synchronisation, then you should go right ahead and do it. I know I would.

In the unlikely event that you decide to do the decent thing and resign, I would like to be the first to propose that Homer Simpson takes your place. He has worked at the Springfield Nuclear Power Station and is unlikely to cause more mayhem than you already have.

Apart from the loose bolt, short circuits caused by mist and soot, an unusually high tide at Llandudno beach and the gay pride parade in February, the power crisis is the result of you believing, in 1998, that South Africa was doomed to become just another corrupt debt-ridden crime-ravaged basket case and there was therefore no point in building more power stations only for them to be taken over by squatters or stripped down and sold on the black market.

Strange as it may seem, the government is also partially to blame. Let the private sector invest in building power stations, they said. We don’t have to pay and it’s one less thing for us to take the rap for when everything turns pear-shaped. The private sector must have taken a long lunch, because somewhere there’s a man sitting in an office in a government building who hasn’t had a visitor in ten years.

In that time, the economy has grown and more boys have reached drinking age. This means more fridges are needed to keep more beers cold. And so you discover there is simply not enough electricity being generated to keep all those new fridges running. This is how countries descend into civil war.

Now you are asking us to help you conserve energy by bathing in cold water, cooking over primus stoves, washing our clothes in the river and eating bread instead of toast.

We white folk are simply not accustomed to this lifestyle.

Welcome to the winter of our discontent. Vote Homer Simpson.

Yours truly,

Ben Trovato

 

Dear 4×4 Driver

The great outdoors really was until you came along. Now it’s just the outdoors. The part that made it great ended abruptly when I was sideswiped by your forweeldrarv’s wing mirror on what I had always thought was a hiking trail.

I played with cars when I was a kid. I would spend hours pretending to drive up steep banks, down the rockery, through mud pools and across the sandpit. But then I grew up and discovered that all I really needed was a car to get me from one point to another. Maybe you played with dolls when you were young, because you carry on as if you have just discovered cars. Don’t you think you are a bit old to be showing off your new toy?

When it comes to holidays and weekends, you feel compelled to get higher, deeper and further than anyone else. Being the nature lover that you are, it’s surprising that the notion of hiking never crosses your mind. But why walk when you can drive, right? After all, that’s why you bought an off-road vehicle. So you can smash your way through the bush scaring the animals and stinking up the air with diesel fumes, or wheelspinning through the coastal dunes using endangered lizards for traction.

You feel like a pioneering adventurer as you head off to conquer dangerous, uncharted territory (first left past N1 City). Move over, Mike Horn. The sad truth is that an overweight alcoholic with emphysema could do what you do. All it really takes are hands strong enough to grip the steering wheel and legs long enough to reach the pedals.

Given that all the latest models have air suspension, power steering, adaptive gearboxes, downhill descent control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, light sensitive headlights, onboard trip computers, climate control and special holders for your sunglasses, you would have to be a blind quadriplegic not to master the coarse art of bundu-bashing.

More often than not, though, your notion of a remote area is the Pick n Pay in the next suburb. Even then, you rely on your dashboard-mounted GPS to get you there.

Your topatha range forweeldrarv hasn’t been off the tar since you bought it. So what are those jerry cans doing on your roof? Are you expecting a major fuel crisis on your way to work? And that spade lashed to the side? Of course. To bury the corpse of anyone who might accidentally scratch your bodywork.

The point of owning a fuel-slurping monstrosity is that once you are in the driver’s seat, everyone has to look up to you. Back on earth, you’re so short that people think you must have escaped from the circus.

Having a forbahfor also allows you to park on pavements, even when there is ample parking off the pavement. This gives you a tremendous thrill because you feel that you are doing something unconventional, if not downright illegal. You devil, you.

When you pull up behind me at a robot, all I can see is a giant chrome bull bar filling my back window. Your bull bar, of course, is cleverly designed to break every bone in my body should you decide that I am taking too long on the pedestrian crossing. At least after that I won’t feel much pain when I get strained through your tennis court-size radiator grill.

Once a year you go to a neighbouring country (Namibia is a firm favourite because the old colony is still pretty safe and everyone speaks Afrikaans) and when you get back you cry around the braai about the poor state of the roads/campsites/facilities and how the natives have got so cheeky and what a pity it is that FW de Klerk caved in and gave the country to the terrorists.

But hey, at least you got a chance to drive up and down Dune 7 and do power slides across the gravel plains outside Swakop. When you leave, you look back at your tracks with pride knowing that they will still be there for hundreds of years to come.

Your favourite local destination is St Lucia in December. There, you are among hundreds of people just like you, all swilling brandy and coke and sneaking off down the beach in your forbahfors to find the best spot in which to get rat-assed and kill fish in large numbers.

Even though tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk was once the leader of your favourite political party, you wouldn’t give him a piece of wors if he crawled into your campsite dying of hunger.

Marthinus is a double-dealing backstabbing two-faced traitor because he refused to overturn the ban on beach driving imposed by that interfering Indian fellow, Valli Moosa, who wouldn’t know his camshaft from his sump.

Anyway, now that South Africa’s beaches are open to all races, it’s no longer safe to drive on them. That’s why you go to Mozambique. Your kind helped Renamo destroy the country’s infrastructure, so it’s no big deal if you ruin their beaches as well.

The day you walked onto the salesroom floor and picked out a shiny new forbahfor (with built-in right-of-way) was the day that you started losing your friends. So you joined a forbahfor club and found a whole lot of new friends who never made snide remarks about your wanton destruction of the environment and hardly ever turned slack-jawed and glassy-eyed when you started raving about your ABS with EBD and two-speed low-range transfer case with centre diff that distributes torque evenly.

At the club, everyone treats you with respect because they know your car has just cost you half a mil. Outside the club, everyone thinks you’re a pretentious urban cowboy with more rands than sense.

Your image is Camel Man but your role model is George W Bush, a man dispossessed of the mental capacity to fully understand the consequences of global warming. You and George see nothing wrong with owning a “recreational” vehicle that will emit over 100 tons of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. You don’t live on a low-lying island so why should you care if the polar ice caps melt?

The main thing is that you feel like a Real Man when you hoist yourself up into the driver’s seat. You feel powerful. Masculine. At times like these, you almost forget that you have an embarrassingly small willy.

Actually, a lot of the time you aren’t even a man. You are a woman in your late thirties with long blonde hair and designer sunglasses who double-parks and then (after touching up your lipstick) sashays into the chemist to pick up your 85-year-old husband’s weekly dose of Viagra. You got him to buy you a BMW X5 because Trixibelle is such a special little doggie that she deserves her very own electronically controlled leather seat.

You are a Stupid Underdeveloped Vulgarian (SUV).

Yours truly,

Ben Trovato

Dear Barman

Two Tagel lagers and a double Jack on the rocks, please.”

Sorry?”

Two Tafels and a double Jack.”

Sorry?”

TWO TAFELS …”

And so it begins. I have just walked into your bar and already my idea of a fun evening is clashing heavily with your staggering inability to make the connection between the volume of the music and the fact that nobody can hear anything anybody else is saying.

All around us, people are communicating in sign language. Girls are screaming into each other’s ears. Boys have given up and are staring at the floor, slack-jawed and drooling. But none of this is important. The main thing is that you are having fun. And are you having fun? By golly, you certainly are. Stripped to the waist, you are gyrating your hips and flipping vodka bottles through the air and catching them behind your back. How frightfully clever of you. I’m sure your parents are very proud. But while you are balancing ice blocks on your nose like a goddamn performing seal, I’m on the other end of the bar dehydrating faster than a lame dog in the Namib desert.

Flairing, my arse. The only things flaring are my nostrils as I hyperventilate and struggle to contain myself from leaping over the bar and smashing your fat gormless face repeatedly into the counter.

There are only two types of barmen. Which one are you? The alcoholic or the recovering alcoholic? Judging by the trouble you have remembering orders and working out the change in your head, I would say you were born with a touch of the old foetal alcohol syndrome.

I don’t care if you drink behind the bar. In fact, I am all for it. The more you drink, the more chance there is that I can stiff you on the bill. But what I do object to is your crass attempt at guilting me into giving you a tip. If I pay for a couple of drinks and I’m due R10 change, just give me a fucking R10 note. Don’t break it down into a whole bunch of loose change in the hope that I will leave some of it in that cracked white saucer you prod across the bar in my direction, you panhandling prick.

Stupidly, I invariably do leave a coin or two behind. But never without cursing your mother. It’s not enough that you put a 300% mark-up on bottle store prices, but you still want me to cross your sweaty palm with silver because you went to all the trouble of walking three steps to the fridge? You can suck my cocktail shaker.

I don’t mind giving a tip to the waitress, because this rewards her for making the effort to come all the way over to my table. A tip also entitles me to sexually harass her in a light-hearted manner, which is something that I would not wish to do to you.

Hey! Look at that! For once you actually came to my end of the bar and took my order. But you know what? That tequila you just poured me? How come it slipped down my throat so easily? Where was the gag reflex? The watering eyes? You low-life son of a bitch. You cut the tequila with tap water, didn’t you? Unless, of course, my body has developed a tolerance for the stuff. In which case, I apologise.

To be fair, you do provide a valuable public service. And on behalf of millions of South Africans with a drinking problem, I would like to thank you for the good work you do.

Why, then, must you spoil your chances of winning some sort of humanitarian award by adopting an attitude that suggests it is we who should feel deeply honoured to be served by you? Perhaps you aren’t the compassionate altruist I thought you were. Perhaps you really are nothing more than a glorified sweatshop monkey trained to pull levers and press buttons and top up the peanut bowl.

This may come as a shock, but you are not some sort of deity that deserves to be worshipped. You are a barman. You are there to serve me – to bring me whatever I want. You are not there to look at me with hostile, hooded eyes because I have ordered something that involves more than two ingredients and maybe a small purple umbrella.

Most of the time, however, you do not look at me at all. You look at everything else except me. Even though I have fought my way through a crowd of angry dipsomaniacs standing seven-deep and am now pressed right up against the bar waving a fistful of banknotes at you, there seems to be something wrong with your peripheral vision. You wipe the counter, get more ice, wash a glass or two, check yourself in the mirror, take the orders of everyone around me. I begin to feel like a character in The Others. I start to think that maybe I died in the toilets and came back to get a drink but now nobody can see me because I am a ghost.

I pinch a girl’s bottom and she slaps me. So I am still alive. And now I’ve got your attention. But only because you think there’s trouble and you have been dying to use one of those fancy muy thai moves on a drunk customer. Well, buddy, you’re out of luck. I’m not drunk. And that’s because I have been standing here for the last hour shouting your name. Maybe I should start shouting: “Hey Batman” instead of “hey barman”.

Would you like that? You are, after all, a Superhero without whom the evening would die an unnatural death as people stood about speaking among themselves in hushed tones, too self-conscious to dance, too shy to flirt, too sober to even go for a quickie in the loo.

As the designated pusher of the world’s most popular legal drug, you have the power to make people lower their expectations and shed their inhibitions. Without you, nobody would have any fun at all. Ugly people would never get laid. Tow truck drivers would be out of work. Casualty wards would stand empty. The divorce rate would plummet. The poor would have money for food. No wonder you suffer from an overblown sense of importance.

Making matters even worse, new legislation empowers you to refuse to serve anyone who you deem has had enough to drink. This happened to me not too long ago in a sleazy dive in the deep south of the Cape peninsula. I walked into your bar with a friend and you refused to serve us. We had had enough to drink, you said. I could understand it if we had been falling over tables, molesting the patrons and singing rude songs in an off-key manner, but we were on our best behaviour. I asked what it was about us that made you think we had had enough. You, at half my age, said you just knew these things. You are an aberration among barmen and one day I will hang your head in shame.

Dear Captain of the Golf Club

I like your title. It evokes images of strength and leadership. Of fearless officers who lead their men into battle. Of Captain Marvel, Captain America, Captain Planet.

And now, you. Captain Golf.

While Captain Planet has the power to control the natural elements, you have the power to control undesirable elements that attempt to gain membership to your club. Captain America uses his powers to stop evil beings from taking over the world. You use your powers to stop evil beings from taking over the bar.

Okay, so maybe you lack one or two qualities in the superhero department. But you make up for it by being a monumental pain in the ass. What were the main criteria for your getting the job? No, wait. Let me guess. Must be anal-retentive. Nit-picking skills essential. Obsessive-compulsive disorder a plus.

Before starting to write my recent book on golf, I thought I should at least play one round in the name of research. Easier said than done. The trouble started when I found an empty parking bay right in front of the club. I was removing my Cash Converter driver and putter from the boot when you screamed up in your red Hyundai and started hooting and shouting like a lunatic. It’s a parking bay, Captain. There’s no need to behave as if you had caught me with my head up your wife’s skirt.

After a couple of quick practice shots in the clubhouse bar, I walked briskly onto the first tee and was about to fire off a humdinger when you appeared out of the trees and began heading straight down the fairway towards me. I knew it was you because the word ‘Captain’ was emblazoned on the side of your golf cart.

You jumped out of the cart, came running up to me on your funny little legs and told me that you couldn’t allow me to play.

I thought you had perhaps mistaken me for a black man, but my infringement was of a far more serious nature.

In a voice that sounded like your balls were trapped in a vice, you told me that under no circumstances would I be allowed to tee off in the shirt I was wearing. I was relieved to see that you had a sense of humour, after all.

“Ha ha. Good one,” I said, resuming my practice swing.

Then you jumped in front of the ball as if you were a security service agent ready to take a bullet for the president. Apparently you were not joking.

Even though I paid more for my Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt than you pay for Viagra every month, you deemed it to be an illegal garment because it lacked a collar.

When I enquired further about the precise nature of the relationship between golf as a sport and shirts with collars, all you would say, over and over, was: “Club rules.”

So you left me with two choices. Change my shirt or face charges of assault with a deadly weapon. It was a close call, but in the end I shouldered my club and stalked off to the pro shop.

“And get some proper shoes while you’re at it,” you shouted after me. Caterpillar boots, apparently, are not good enough. Apparently you have to wear two-tone slip-on brothel creepers that cost more than any hooker in any brothel I’ve ever been to.

A couple of thousand rand lighter, me and my stupid collared shirt went back to the first tee. And there you were, waiting to inspect me as if you were a real officer who had been commissioned for bravery in the face of extreme danger in the bunker on the 7th hole.

Actually, a lot of the time you don’t even get your hands dirty when it comes to dealing with lowlife scum like me. You make up the rules and then employ a grim-faced petty-minded paramilitary thug to enforce them on your behalf.

After setting your attack dog on me, you belly up to the bar and slide effortlessly into your chair. I know it’s your chair because your fat white privileged bum has polished the wood to a shine and there are indentations on the bar where you rest your fat white privileged elbows.

Without being asked, the barman brings you your first double G&T of the day. He has been at the club longer than you have and you treat him with the respect he deserves.

“You’ve come a long way, Bobby. I’m proud of you. From caddy to barman in just 20 years.”

“Thank you, Mr Captain Sir. I remember when I …”

“Never mind that now, Bobby. Just bring me another drink.”

Nurturing the careers of employees is just one of your responsibilities. Another is to ensure that the club’s membership remains exclusive. Without exclusivity, you might as well be the captain of an old boy’s rugby team or the captain of a leaky old snoek boat.

In your eyes, there are certain people who should never be allowed to play golf. Questioned further, you reply: “Look, I’m not a racist, but …” We understand. The last thing this country needs is hordes of unwashed darkies urinating on the fairways, going at each other with 7-irons and highlighting our inadequacies in the showers.

At least everyone knows you’re not gay. If you were, you wouldn’t tell quite as many homophobic jokes every time you entertained a visiting team in the bar. You are fond of women. The vice captain’s wife, in particular. But you long for the good old days when a woman’s place was in the clubhouse and not on the course.

You might think you’re an officer, but you’re certainly no gentleman.

Yours truly,

Ben Trovato