Coronavirus: Snitches get stitches

There seems little point in getting out of bed before 11am when you don’t have rabid children leaping on you or a wife standing in the doorway with one feral eyebrow raised, asking if you plan on lying there for the rest of the day.

I am still at the point where I think, “Right, let’s get up, get dressed and …” This is where the plan falls apart. And do what? Stand outside for a few minutes, then go back inside? It’s not enough of an incentive.

Some people have started exercising. I don’t have any equipment apart from a bicycle, which right now is about as useful as a Virgin Active membership. I could lift it above my head but I doubt I’d manage it more than two or three times. The chance of doing myself a mischief far outweighs the potential health benefits.

Suffering from an acute outbreak of Groundhog Day syndrome, I drove to the mall hoping for a high-octane battle of wits with a military unit manning the barricades to protect the population from people like me. Armed with a grocery list – the new dompas – I raced through the empty streets praying that someone would flag me down and interrogate me at gunpoint. No such luck.

The lockdown has revealed some interesting character traits in our fellow citizens. Right now, it’s Lord of the Flies on social media and people are turning on one another faster than ferrets down a Yorkshireman’s trousers.

Yes, indeed. There are a lot of sub-optimal humans out there, and I’m not even talking about the ones ignoring the lockdown. Or the security forces behaving as if they were trained by the Tonton Macoutes.

The suburbs are infested with the kind of people who, had they been living in Berlin in 1938, might have been inclined to whisper, “Psst, Sturmscharführer, there are Jews living in number seven.”

I have never seen white South Africans so demanding, judgemental and united in wanting to “do the right thing”. If only they had been this outspoken during apartheid. Facebook is awash in posts from self-appointed informants – people who were almost certainly prefects at school. In my area, a woman is asking if anyone has a drone to monitor the streets. Ideally, I imagine, a weaponised one capable of swooping in and firing poisoned darts into an errant cyclist’s back.

“Does anyone know this guy?” they shriek, posting blurry pictures of someone in the distance sitting alone on a park bench or paddling a canoe in the middle of a river. As we speak, people are dialling 10111 because they saw a neighbour walking their dog. Where I come from, snitches get stitches.

Nobody dare even mention that they miss being able to go for a jog for fear of being labelled a selfish, entitled mass murderer. The mob has wasted no time shutting down that particular award-winning whine. “There are poor people living in shacks who don’t even have legs and you want to jog what’s wrong with you JUST STAY INSIDE!!?!” they scream, rearing up in their imported Jefferson Chesterfield armchairs, spraying bits of Beluga caviar over the Persian (cat and carpet).

Remember when you were a kid and your mother forced you to eat your broccoli because there are children starving in Ethiopia? Well, Italy has become the new Ethiopia. “Don’t you think people in Rome would also like to walk their dogs but they can’t because they are DEAD thanks to KILLERS LIKE YOU??!!?”

When the national grid finally fails and the water supply runs out, these same manic street preachers will get on their impeccably groomed high horses and say, “Stop moaning, there are millions in this country who live in the dark and have never seen a tap.” And when men in Robocop outfits start smashing down doors and dragging away the artists, poets and intellectuals, they’ll say, “Just let the police do their jobs! Jeez people, the Rwandans had the genocide and they didn’t complain.”

As if we’re not in enough trouble, Moody’s scored the mother of all economic hat-tricks when they became the third ratings agency to kick us in the nuts. We have now swept the boards in the premier junk status league. The government says the downgrade “couldn’t have come at a worse time”. This suggests there might be another time when the government would be able to say, “There has never been a better time for a downgrade.”

Can’t really blame Moody’s, though. The real culprit is in Nkandla, doggie paddling in his fire pool. There are others, of course, both in Dubai and the ANC’s national executive committee, where they continue to successfully maintain social distancing from prosecution.

I find it increasingly difficult to follow the news. The international channels are full of talking heads shouting numbers at me and I can’t watch the local ministerial briefings for more than two or three minutes without wanting to take my own life.

There are so many graphs, models and projections out there that I thought I’d do my own. After a lot of head-scratching and heavy drinking, my calculations showed that 4.2 billion people would be dead by Easter. And that was just in Durban.

Meanwhile, complaints are mounting that police act differently in the way they treat black and white people who violate the lockdown. This is making us look badder than we already are. We need whiteys who are prepared to go out there and provoke the cops into giving them a light whipping to show there is equality and injustice for all, regardless of colour.

Any takers?

41 thoughts on “Coronavirus: Snitches get stitches

    • Ronan

      Amandla, comrade Ben!
      Has your sniper neighbour not been called to arms for the lockdown period. And Brenda & the Brat – wherefore art they ?
      Aluta continua
      R

  1. Cliff

    Hilarious as usual. About face masks. Not convinced that they do anything to keep you healthy but it makes a lot of people in my area a lot easier to look at when you don’t have to see their ugly scowling mugs.

  2. T Johnston

    I got frowned at (on facebook obviously) by a Beverly who told me that asking if Laundromats were open; my darling, ill Golden Retriever has shat, puked, blead all over my linen, duvet and mattress, was tantamount to treason (see what i did there) and that if I had the time to take it to the laundromat I have the time to hose it off, put it in the tub and stomp around for believe me what wouldve needed a lot longer than the 5 minutes suggested. I dont have the time Bev as Im working from home, have an exercise regime, teenagers, a husband (currently), a million other chores that need attending and responding to Ben Travato. Silly woman

  3. Nick Barnard

    Whilst there is merit in the article, I think one could look at in another way.
    What gives anyone more rights to do what they want to do, than the rest of the folks obeying the rules which have proved to work.

    If everyone felt (which I am sure most do) that they are entitled to go for a walk, ride swim etc. then what is the point of having a lockdown.

    We may just as well all break the rules and do as we please and end up like Italy?

    • Brett

      You do realise that your self entitled whingeing masquerading as virtue signalling is precisely what Ben and those of us still with an inch of sanity are railing against?? Look, there’s an unread Mainstream Media article lurking in your browser…off you go now…

    • Dianne Schubert

      I was shocked when my kids started school, to realise that snitching had become a thing. It seems to me that honour has taken a back seat to ingratiating snivelling. What happened to minding one’s own business? And what happened to knowing one’s place in society instead of everyone being an expert on everything? And how do we really know that the statistics are accurate? Seems to me that fear of dying is way greater than the fear of not living.

  4. Gabrielle Andrew

    Thank you Ben, I am delighted to know so many people feel the same. When do we say No More? We want our lives back before the graves of starved South Africans pile up?

  5. Dianne Schubert

    I so enjoyed this read. Mirrors my sentiments quite accurately. So many do-gooders crucifying their fellow man….rather contradictory. Simply have to laugh, otherwise we would focus on the futility of intelligent human reasoning and the subsequent futility of striving for human progress, in all its sick glory. Scary how frowned upon it is to express a viewpoint that doesn’t agree with the powers that be. While I was reading this post on a Facebook group, it was promptly removed. And this happens in the 21st century! Very glad it popped up on facebook again via a friend. Made my day!

  6. Candis

    It’s been a long time since I read an article to the end. I noticed the snitches straight away, they have the same backs that you saw in highschool when watching them in the front row from the back of the class. On a spiritual level snitches are nothing more than fearing infants. And what do we do with babies we love them because they don’t know any better.

  7. Caryn

    I call them the ‘Curtain Twitchers’. You know who you are and, in the words of Bob Newhart: “Stop it!” Thanks for the much needed laughs, Ben

  8. Carol W

    Ben, you are a star! Made my day, as you are able to articulate what i (and some others) are feeling with such humour. You have lifted me up, given me hope. Artists/writers are essential services at times like this!

  9. kelly schlesinger

    love love love love loved this !!! enjoyed every second of this read and im so proud to be on your team – looking forward to the day the snitches are the ones being shamed!

  10. Rita

    A major problem causong this is that neighbourhood forums have ended up, by default, being run by the Councillors’ Whatsapp groups and theor acolyte Residents’ Associations (or may e its the other way around?), and the rule there is, TOE the official LINE.

    And of course there is a place for that – but not to the point where the right-thinkers who would report you for overfilling your bin hold sole sway, strangling reason and rationality, which is always where rigid adherance to the letter of the law gets you 🙁

  11. Jane

    Does anyone know this guy, Ben. If they don’t they should – to make us look at ourselves – fear does terrible things to people – just gotta laugh and do some talking to something larger than ourselves not put our snouts in the ditch. Someone posted a video on how to turn men’s underpants into a really good mask – it does of course look eerily like a hijab or a balaclava depending on your orientation which is ironic. My neighbour gave me a pair of his – luckily he wasn’t in them at the time. They do a job. Crazy making times if you don’t read Trovato.

    • Karen Williamson

      I am realtor, I also run at night. Sometimes with my dog but, mostly on my own…
      Everything is for sale, at a price, please will you bid on one of my”neighbors “ properties?
      I will broker for free🙏🙏🙏
      Fucking
      Sturmscharführer
      surrounded!!!

  12. Victoria - Hout Bay

    Brilliant read once again. Pity you didn’t get caught in a roadblock – its quite fun – especially when you have your essential service document in hand (and know for a fact you haven’t been drinking). Though my sister took it a step further and gave the cops face masks. Swears it wasn’t a bribe.

    Re snitches -our neighbourhood has loads. Was super excited when I drove into B***** Street yesterday around 4.30pm and there were neighbours braaing on their pavements, glasses of wine in hand. I asked them if I could photograph them and they responded only if I covered their faces. Luckily my phone was nearly dead so photographing them wasn’t an option. Realising it was Wine ‘o Clock, I wished them well and sped home.

  13. Geraldine Day-Perkins

    Love it!
    What a real account for what is going on… so refreshing to read . Lots of snitches where I live and even people who are your so called friends.
    They say a crisis doesn’t create a character …. it reveals it .

  14. Debby Webster

    Brilliantly put. I know exactly how you feel and you have articulated my sentiments exactly. However, I believe that there are those in the USA who are not taking it seriously in any way – family get togethers and parties for Easter! Must be a balance somewhere. Dogs and their humans seriously need to go out for walks together. I walk my cat in my garden as she doesn’t need the same amount of space to “let go”. Why can’t people go for a cycle alone in their secure, closed complex?

  15. Excellent, similar situation in Canada I’m ashamed to say. Because we are having trouble leaving Mexico to go home, we have been bombarded with all kinds of accusations. We are self-isolation here and right now it’s safer than a Canada.

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