Please, Sir, May I Have Some Economy?

When President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that the economy was still in the hands of white males, I was filled with shame.

Actually, at the time I was filled with beer but after visiting the little boy’s room I found space for a surprising amount of shame. The little boy’s room? What am I – a Catholic priest?

This is what happens after a lifetime of bloody Marys.

I felt shame because none of the economy is in my hands. Not even a smidget, which is what economists call the smallest most insignificant part of the economy.

Zuma made me feel like an unmitigated loser. A disgrace to not only my race, but also my gender. I am a failure as a white and a flop as a male. I am little more than a gross domestic product of my upbringing.

It gets worse. I don’t even have powerful friends. All the white men I know are barely in control of their bowels, let alone something as big and beautiful as the economy.

I think what happened here is that the president has been mixing with the wrong class of white males. He is clearly under the impression that we all own gold mines, which we rarely visit because the stock market takes up so much of our time.

I think the president should get out more and mix with us dysfunctional white men, if only because we far outnumber the pinstriped freebooters who so brazenly commandeered the good ship Economy all those years ago.

Before I release this metaphor back into the wild, let me just say that these pale-faced pirates aren’t doing a particularly good job at the helm. Not any more, anyway.

It’s almost as if they are deliberately steering into the wind. Maybe even reefing the mainsail. The waters are getting dangerously shallow and nobody wants to still be on board when the ship runs aground.

The ANC’s privateers have spent the last 18 years in lukewarm pursuit of these Caucasian corsairs. What’s happening, comrades? Wallowing in the doldrums?

The bleached buccaneers have even slowed economic growth to 2.7% to let you catch up. Hoist that spinnaker and move it before there’s nothing left to plunder.

Thank you, metaphor. You have served me well and it is time for you to go back to your own kind.

Half the problem with this country is that we don’t understand each other. The other half is that we do.

For example, I don’t understand why, when opening the ANC’s policy conference in Midrand, the president spoke for what felt like three days in a foreign language brought here in 1795 by the insufferable British. Cosatu’s pet goat Patrick Craven aside, delegates might have been a little less tight-fisted in the applause department had he delivered the speech in one of the other official languages. And I don’t mean Afrikaans.

I also don’t understand why some black people, when taking money from you, will touch their forearm with their free hand. I’m not talking about muggers and housebreakers. I don’t know what they hold while taking money from you. A gun, probably, which seems more effective but less traditional.

I have thought of doing the same, but where will it end? Reciprocating a cultural gesture out of common courtesy, even one as simple as touching one’s elbow when paying the petrol attendant, is a slippery slope and could easily lead to a sheep-slaughtering, witch-burning frenzy that would upset the neighbours terribly.

I don’t understand why some black people have conversations at 140 decibels when standing right next to each other. I have heard white people say it’s a habit picked up in the rural areas when there were no telephones and one had to shout across the valley if one wished to speak to one’s friend.

Rubbish. I think it’s a habit picked up by shouting at Telkom, if anything.

I have also heard speculation that speaking loudly is a way of letting bystanders know there are no secrets being discussed, no heinous plots being hatched. There was a time when I would come across darkies talking in hushed tones (90 decibels) and, fearing an uprising, I would report them to the police. I don’t recall if any arrests were made. Memory loss was one of the side effects of my anti-psychotic medication.

I don’t understand why some black people insist on possessing vast tracts of land. I have a small garden and an even smaller gardener and he dreams of one day owning a farm but he can’t even prevent my pathetic excuse for a lawn from degenerating into a weed-infested atrocity riddled with devil thorns and empty beer bottles.

I’m all for land grabs if you plan on growing genetically modified crops like mieliejuana, but otherwise cut your hair and get a real job.

I don’t understand the need for virginity testing. In my culture, not that I have one, virgins are nowhere near as much in demand as are girls who know for sure that fellatio is not a character in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

White virgins over the age of 20 are nothing but trouble. Black virgins might be different, but I doubt it. The longer you go without sex, the crazier you become. I should know.

If I were the king of white people, I would have a Read Dance where all the girls wore cocktail dresses and recited passages from their favourite books. Afterwards, I would invite them to join me in a tribal ritual involving light spankings and lashings of baby oil.

And I don’t understand ancestor worship, but that’s probably because my ancestors weren’t the sort of people you would want anything to do with, dead or alive.

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