It’s not a proper pandemic unless there are zombies

Lockdown is a prison term. It’s when there is trouble afoot and convicts are restricted to their cells. There’s trouble alright, but not from us inmates. No, sir, Mr Ramaphosa. We’re good, obedient citizens who will do whatever you tell us to do. Well, maybe not all of us.

Even though I have nowhere to go, I now feel trapped and desperately want to go out. I don’t know if it’s because I resent the government telling me what to do and how to live or if there’s something wrong with me mentally.

Before corona, I was happy enough to stay in with a cup of tea and a game of rummy with the cat. Now, forced to remain at home, I feel an overwhelming desire to have lashings of unusual sex with strangers while drinking heavily and experimenting with dangerous drugs. I think it’s something to do with the wartime syndrome – a reaction to the idea that we’re all going to die and have nothing to lose. In World War Two, everyone who didn’t go off to fight quickly turned into ravening beasts guzzling amphetamines by day and copulating like rats by night.

To be honest, I don’t really feel like death could be imminent. I do, however, feel a bit infantilised. I went to a friend’s house the other day to leech off her gin supply and she offered me a lesson on how to wash my hands. She’d watched a video, she said, and that if I wanted gin and maybe a small sexual favour then I had to cooperate. I meekly followed her hand-washing ritual and by the end of it I felt like I needed help going for a wee on my potty.

I see messages from people all the time saying they need to go to the supermarket and does anyone have any advice. It’s as if we are no longer confident enough to handle basic everyday stuff. We are going to be utterly helpless and completely malleable by the time this thing is over and we won’t even notice the Illuminati erecting millions of 5G transmitters to control our thoughts and make us slaves to the new world order.

I was hoping for this to be a coronavirus-free column, but when I began the usual ritual of pacing and chain-drinking while thinking of a topic, I found that my brain was coming up empty. Sure, that might have been the beer, but I like to think it was more because the pandemic has so completely overshadowed everything else that writing about local politics or the usual criminal shenanigans in government would seem like a wilful distraction.

On Sunday I wandered up to my local pub, careful to maintain the standard 300m distance between myself and the police. That’s the best thing about this virus. New rules of engagement insist on maintaining a gap to prevent possible arrest.

On a normal weekend, there’d be live music, laughter and braai smoke drifting through the milkwoods. The place was deserted and the gate padlocked. A hadeda looked at me as if to say, “Go home, you idiot.” All that was missing were four horsemen in black hoods cantering down the empty street.

We’ve been told to stay inside even if we are not sick. The point, apparently, is that we might catch it while we are out and give it to someone else. Someone old. I don’t know, man. The elderly shouldn’t be on the streets at the best of times. They’ve had their chance. It’s our turn now. Well, not any longer, obviously. The streets have been turned over to hamsters and chickens and dolphins. When we finally do emerge, it’s going to be quite a shock to find elephants instead of crack dealers loitering on the corner.

We are told that we need to look after the poor and the vulnerable. Let’s not forget that they only became poor and vulnerable because nobody has ever given a shit about them. The indigent don’t particularly care if they live or die, but they must be delighted with all the attention. They risk dying of exposure, disease or boredom every day of their lives, but now that people with cars, jobs and homes are affected, they have been swept up in a global dragnet of concern.

In London, people who sleep on the streets are being given hotel rooms. Here, our homeless are being given a wide berth. No change there, then. We don’t treat the destitute as real humans when there’s not a pandemic on the go and it would be cruel to raise their expectations now. Imagine when it’s all over and London’s dossers have been turfed out of the hotels. What do you say to them? “Now that we all have immunity, you can go back to your cardboard box. No, you can’t take the towels.”

Some governments are bending over backwards to help their citizens. Not ours. Not really. Yes, the president mentioned some numbers on Monday night, all of which pale against the R1.5-trillion lost in the feeding frenzy of greed during the Zupta years.

The corporate world hasn’t exactly been quick to offer a meaningful hand to businesses either. The Oppenheimer and Rupert families tossed some spare change into the effort. Telkom asked its customers to activate debit orders so they don’t risk infecting their staff who are already suffering from non-contagious ennui. A couple of banks have made token gestures. More importantly, though, nobody has asked me if I’m going to be alright. The self-employed are people, too.

They can all suck my stimulus package.

10 thoughts on “It’s not a proper pandemic unless there are zombies

  1. Caroline Masters says:

    Typo in Chastity belt’. Tsk tsk!

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      ARGH! Now I have to kill myself.

    2. Ben Trovato says:

      Oh wait. It’s not my mistake. I don’t have to kill myself after all.

  2. Richard Benjamin says:

    Considering the recent history of plundering of any available trust and fund by a group who seem to think their contribution to the ‘Struggle’ was priceless, and the licence and dereliction shown by the accountants, lawyers, and banks to eagerly follow suit, it is indeed noble of Rupert and Oppenheimer to give what they have given and vigilant for them to watch how the process unfolds and how the money is distributed. The underlying principle in offering support in a community or social context is that it establishes an example and carries an expectation that others will follow.

    Now where are the members of the CR-Motsepe clan, the Sekwale’s, Zumas, Shaik Bros’, Jayendra Naidoo’s and, to avoid a gender bias, why not ‘impoverished’ Dudu Myeni who could give a fraction of the cash in her Gucci handbag, partially following the example of the New Testament widow who gave all she had. Wiese might have lost a lot to Markus Jooste, but he still has massive wealth. Where are the media baron Surve, the tycoon Ace, Zwane, Molefe, Koko, and all the greedy nepotist tender syndicates? Where is the undertaker who took R84 million for three ANC funerals and must be relishing the Corona business prospects despite our junk status? Oops, I forgot Trevor Manuel (plus his ex-ABSA wife) our brilliantly inscrutable former Finance Minister now in remission from his auditory impediment during the years of Arms wheel and dealing and State Capture, but now chairs or sits on at least a half dozen boards that collectively provide well over R1 million monthly to prevent him having to lose face and stand in the SASSA pensioners’ queue. As our school boarders, ever trolling for handouts, would say when you refused to hand over the most special lunch your Mum had ever packed: “They are a BLOODY SNOEP bunch”.

    Why are they not all saying: “Well I’m only moderately super-rich but there’s a pissy million of small-change in my chasity belt that I can donate that I too can be seen as charitable!” Of course, they’re all in denial about what they’ve stolen and where in the off-shore world it’s hidden. They either plead dire poverty or their hands are tied. It’s obvious, that irrespective of the Guptas, they are sitting on a sizeable portion of what should be in the Treasury.
    As for this correspondent, when I’ve finished my bootload of Tassie’s, OB’s, and Lion just before closing time this evening, I made sure I kept a blue one to donate to the Fund. Come to think of it, perhaps I should keep that one to hand directly to the Army when I’m caught red-handed signing at the shebeen next week.

  3. Susan O'Hagan Ward says:

    Hi – Are you going to be alright?
    Please write something about the hot debate over children of divorced parents who have joint guardianship. Can they be moved during this lockdown? Whats the issue – are they worried that they wont get rid of them in the middle of this lockdown? Should they not be happy to have them longer. There must have been enough “tugs of war” when they divorced Just love your children whether you have them for 3 weeks or not!

  4. Clive Read says:

    Ironic that a bunch of pastors convened a prayer meeting a week ago and invited some infected Americans. Now potatoe farmer Angus Bachun has tested positive. He who says gay people are an abomination.

    1. Andrew says:

      He doesn’t say gay people are an abomination – the Bible says so. He is a believer in the Bible.

      1. Ben Trovato says:

        Oh well that’s okay then.

        1. Kim Warner says:

          The same book that justified slavery… and incest… genocide… Pandemics…

          1. Brett says:

            Of course, the sodomites were perfectly content and not harming anyone until that pesky fire and brimstone incident…

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