The filth and the fury

South Africans who say they would rather spend their holidays here than anywhere else – because, like, it’s such an awesome country – should have their jaws permanently wired shut so that never again will they be able to lie through their stinking teeth.

Patriotism be damned. They’re here because they can’t afford to go anywhere else. Two-thirds of the people who support the Proudly South African campaign are right now sucking back margaritas in southern Spain or slipping their CVs under the doors of employment agencies in Perth.

At least a quarter of our country’s population never go on holiday because they are otherwise occupied in one of our many elegant state facilities for the morally challenged. Others, like the unemployed, are permanently on holiday and are the least deserving of our sympathy.

The people who you should really feel sorry for are people like me. People who stay at home rather than risk being decapitated by an airborne taxi or bumping into a butcher from the hinterland so drunk that he mistakes you for Lord Kitchener and plucks out your eyeballs with his tungsten steel braai fork.

Indeed, you need to feel sorry for people who get out of bed deep into the festive season, trip over a tangle of wet towels and fall down a staircase that is slippery with unidentifiable grime. I would be dead if a pile of unwashed clothes hadn’t broken my fall.

Shell-shocked, I trail through the house collecting empty beer bottles while accumulating a thick layer of animal hair on the soles of my feet. By the time I find Brenda, I look like a hobbit with a drinking problem.

The house is beyond dirty. Encrusted dishes and semi-sucked marrowbones are strewn everywhere. The windows are impervious to light and the pot plants have wilted like giraffes on tranquillisers. The cats are having a nervous breakdown and the dog has been projectile vomiting. The blood from New Year’s Eve is still on the lounge walls. The toilets are unspeakable and I fear a cholera outbreak is imminent.

Covering my mouth with a damp cloth, I swivel my eyes at Brenda and make the international gesture for “what the hell happened here?”

Like one of those dangerous mimes you see in shopping malls, Brenda goes through a range of expressions that imply sudden surprise. Why she doesn’t just speak, I don’t know. I start replying in the spirit of the game, but, quicker than a striking cobra, she catches my middle finger and bends it so far backwards that I cry out in pain.

“Kwaai Lappies,” says Brenda, “has been on leave.”

Cold panic rises in my chest. “Good god, woman! What are we meant to do now?”

Brenda sinks to her haunches, a look of hopelessness on her face. It is a pathetic sight. I try to encourage her to stand up and get stuck in.

“Come on!” I shout, dragging her by the hair. “You can beat this thing! Don’t give up now.” Her eyes glaze over and she slumps sideways. “I can’t,” she says, weakly. “Go ahead without me.”

Does this mean she won’t do the housework or, worse, can’t? Is it possible that she has forgotten how? Aren’t all women genetically hard-wired to clean? Or is this an elaborate ruse to get me to do it? There is no way to be sure. The woman is as trustworthy as a juvenile puff adder.

I call Kwaai Lappies in the Transkei, begging her to return without delay. No dice. She says she is going to Coffee Bay with the kids and will be back at work on the 22nd. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The 22nd? When did domestic workers start getting the same amount of leave as hard-working white men? This is what democracy has done to our country.

I call her again, this time wanting to know where she has hidden my whiskey, but she threatens to get a restraining order and switches her phone off.

Faced with the harrowing realisation that we are doomed to wallow in our own filth for another week, I tell Brenda that we are going to have to start rotating rooms. I only hope the en suite is able to recover after lying fallow for so long. The last thing I need is the health department cordoning off the street and declaring our house a biohazard.

Right now, in suburbs across this fine land, madams – big and small – are sobbing helplessly. Unable to operate the Hoover or find the broom. No idea how to use the steam iron or stack the dishwasher. Can’t tell their spin cycle from their menstrual cycle.

Beauty from next door is also on leave. I know this because I can hear little Chardonnay screaming her hateful lungs out. Why is she screaming? Because a strange white woman keeps trying to pick her up.

God help us all.

 

Helpful tips for job interviews

Matric students have come to the end of their school life and workers have come to the end of their contracts. Everyone in this country is either on contract or has a contract out on them. The only people making money are the lawyers who draw up the contracts and the undertakers who bury the rest.

It is a time of change. A time to tell your boss to stick it up his bottom. A time to look for a new job. A time for newspaper articles on how to increase your chances of employment.

Many of these articles are a pack of lies. They are written by freelance journalists who are trying to get jobs themselves and the last thing they want is competition from the likes of you and me.

The first thing you need to know is this. Do not be on your best behaviour. A lot of the people who head human resources these days have fought their way up from the bottom. And when I say from the bottom, I mean from the bottom of Soweto to the top of the Angolan highlands, right across Zambia, then into Swaziland after a spot of military training in East Germany, through Mozambique and back into South Africa.

The last thing they want to see is a smartly dressed, well-spoken candidate with all his teeth and hair in place. Quatro camp has become corporate headquarters. Business is the new revolution and the new revolutionary doesn’t use moisturiser or colour-code his clothes.

Bring an AK-47 to your first interview. If the security guard at reception has a problem, shoot him. Just kidding. That wouldn’t look good on your résumé. Explain to him that a gun is key to your new job. If he says you don’t need an automatic weapon to work at a call centre, then you can shoot him. Be sure to make eye contact. That would be the polite thing to do.

Some experts will advise you not to subconsciously sabotage your chances of getting the job. In this case, the only expert worth listening to is an explosives expert. Sabotage is often the only way you will get the job. I am not suggesting that you blow up the entire building, unless, of course, you don’t get the job, but you may wish to consider sabotaging the other applicants by planting small amounts of heroin in their briefcases and then calling the police when you leave. This may not always work because by the time the police arrive your competitors will probably be on pension.

If your cellphone rings during the interview, ask the interviewer to leave the room so that you can take the call. If he objects, tell him your dealer is on the line and that anyone overhearing the conversation could be convicted as an accessory. He will appreciate the warning and in all likelihood will award you points for honesty.

It is important to make it clear to the interviewer that you do not need the job. Nobody but a prostitute or a banker has time for a desperate man. Tell him you are extremely wealthy from trading perlemoen for ephedrine. If he appears shocked, make up a story about how you once saved a dog from being eaten by a member of the Chinese triads. Everyone loves dogs. You will get points for that, too.

If the interviewer asks if you have ever been fired, laugh loudly and put your feet up on his desk. Tell him the police are still looking for parts of your last boss and that you’re wanted in four provinces. This will get his respect and win you some valuable upper-hand time.

In most interview situations, you will be asked if you would like something to drink. The biggest mistake you can make is to ask for water, or worse, a cup of coffee. You need to ask for a 1926 Macallan with a Stolichnaya chaser and a couple of salmon roses on the side. If he balks, stand up abruptly and walk to the door. If he doesn’t call you back, return to your chair and tell him you were joking. Tell him you will settle for a J&B and an apology. Odds are, you will get it.

The interviewer will probably present you with a hypothetical conflict situation and ask how you would deal with it. If you foolishly left your AK-47 at reception, a stapler, punch or paperweight all make effective weapons if used correctly. If none of these are available, pick up the framed photograph of his family and push it firmly into his face. Do not kill him. He is your future boss and so far you have been getting along fine. He will appreciate your resourcefulness and give you more points.

The interviewer will also quiz you on how much you know about the company. Tell him you have a cousin who works in the Revenue Service’s criminal investigations unit and you’ll get back to him once your relative has done the necessary research.

Some so-called experts recommend that you don’t discuss salary requirements at your first interview. This makes about as much sense as going to a restaurant and refusing to tell the waiter what you want. Tell him you demand a million rand a month, plus a free car and a second house on the beach. If he so much as looks at you sideways, pick up his phone and pretend to call Julius Malema.

Afterwards, ask the interviewer for a lift home. Tell him that your Ferrari is in for repairs. Follow these simple instructions and the job will be yours.

Trust me on this.

Rebel rabble

More than twenty percent of the matric class of 2013 failed the year and, quite frankly, we decent law-abiding citizens are appalled at the prospect of them rushing off en masse to the nearest traffic lights to harass us with inflatable dolphins or look at us with cold accusing eyes as if it’s somehow our fault that weevils got into the education system.

Around this time of year, men in beards are inclined to rabbit on about how essential it is that today’s school-leavers learn how to become entrepreneurs. What rubbish. Let us not delude our children with urban mythology. The truth is that real money is made only by exploiting those who can’t spell entrepreneur. The slow and the dumb have always been grist to the millionaire and they always will be.

When I was at school, kids who regularly failed were called rebels. They were also called morons, but I preferred to think of them as rebels. So what do we do with our tens of thousands of rebels? It’s blindingly obvious. Get them to form a rebel army before they think of it themselves. If the government thought along similarly preemptive lines, they would insist the workers go on strike at least twice a year. Cosatu would be obliged to oppose it.

Right now, the kids who failed matric outnumber our regular troops by three to one. That’s a serious force right there. Sure, they might be disorganised, lazy and not very bright, but is that any different to those serving in the SANDF?

Complacency is destroying this fine country and there is nothing like the looming threat of a rebel incursion to make you switch off the telly and take notice of what is happening around you. We pay taxes, we pay bribes and we think that’s it – our civic duty is done. What we really need to be paying is attention. We need to focus. I know. It’s not easy. But if we can’t get Ritalin into the water supply, the next best thing is a rebel army made up of countless adolescents who can’t hold their liquor and who think multiplication has something to do with shagging.

This will not be a violent rebel army. Violence takes effort. It takes commitment. You don’t simply wake up late one morning, put on any old thing and go out for a spot of maiming and pillaging with the lads. These kids were so slothful and slack that they couldn’t pass their exams, even though the final results were massaged more than Tiger Dicks’ wood.

The new rebel army will have to be broken down into manageable groups. Part of the reason they failed matric was because there were 145 of them to a class and lessons consisted of flirting, getting high and doing unspeakable things to the biology teacher as part of the practical.

I would suggest no more than five to a unit. That way, they can’t easily pair off and go lie in a river bed all day long, toying with one another’s genitals and idly wondering where the sun goes at night.

So that would mean 40 000 separate units spread over 1 221 037km², which would give you … I don’t know what it would give you. It gives me a migraine.

I think I am best suited to lead the rebels. Even though I passed matric, it was more painful than passing a kidney stone. It must be said, though, compared to today, the matric exam back then was heavier than the entrance exam to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Time, combined with expired medication, late-night games of pool and a lifetime of demented women, can play havoc with one’s memory.

Since our rebel army won’t be doing much fighting beyond the odd jealous squabble among themselves, they will have to do other things to earn their keep. It will be a requirement that at least one person in each unit has the ability to entertain. Instead of uniforms, they will be issued with clown outfits.

The units will call unexpectedly on our homes and offices, as proper rebel armies do, and we will donate food, clothing or money on completion of their performance.

If they can’t make us rich, they should at least make us laugh.

Predictions & Premonitions 2014

This is the year I give it all up. I’m going to make some real money, get fit and have more sex. This year things are going to be different. Really? Unless aliens beam you up to the mother ship and turn you into a completely different person, none of these things are going to happen.

Some people seem to think there are magic spells woven into the end of the Gregorian calendar. They live in an ever-expanding bubble of blind faith, hope and optimism that this year their lives will change. Well, they won’t. Sorry to burst your bubble.

The good news is that there are still some things to look forward to in 2014. For better or worse. Here are a few of them.

* President Jacob Zuma steps down … into his fire pool.

* Oscar Pistorius goes on trial for murder. Police bungle the case so badly that the defence is able to prove it was Reeva Steenkamp who shot Pistorius, resulting in his legs being amputated.

* The Dagga Party is swept into power when three people turn out to vote in the national elections.

* The arms deal commission of enquiry finds that President Zuma helped to buy submarines and Gripens with money from his own pocket. He is recommended for an award.

* Vigilantism proves so effective that civilians are issued with uniforms and the police force is disbanded.

* Pope Francis admits to having been one of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters in the 1960s who experimented with psychedelic drugs. Before joining the church, he was known as Bendy Wendy.

* Shrien Dewani puts on his saddest face yet and gets a gullible British judge to postpone his 27th extradition hearing to March 2038.

* The SA Zionist Federation and Hamas join forces to bomb anyone who says anything negative about Israel or Palestine.

* An orphan from a village in Limpopo declares himself to be the son of God, putting a serious dent in the ANC’s election campaign. Helen Zille applies for adoption and “Jesus II”, as she calls him, becomes the Democratic Alliance’s new poster boy.

* Somali pirates begin operating in the waters off Umhlanga. A naval spokesman says the fleet is engaged in on-going exercises with the German navy in False Bay and is unable to sail for Durban.

* Schools reopen. This is good news for parents only.

* Following the Colorado model, the government announces a task team to investigate the possibility of legalising marijuana in South Africa. The initiative is abandoned after the snacks budget spirals to R10-million within the first month.

* Your cheques are returned because you keep writing the date as 2013. This allows you to play for time – the only commodity you have when you are in debt.

* The Pantone Institute announces that radiant orchid is the colour of the year. Buildings are fenced off to prevent women from jumping to their deaths after they discover that radiant orchid makes them look fat.

* Animals on game farms mount a fight-back campaign and wipe out the country’s hunters.

* Doping in all sports is allowed, elevating performances to exciting new levels. A new high jump record of five metres is set.

* Poland assumes presidency of the European Union. Warsaw’s first act is to order the invasion of Germany.

* An army of giant rats supported by a battalion of talking cockroaches overruns the offices of the Durban municipality, taking control of the city and holding manager Sibusiso Sithole hostage. Three months pass before anyone notices.

* Chinese becomes a compulsory second language in government schools.

* Beer is sold in Pick n Pay.

* Julius Malema makes a run for the presidency. The last remaining white South Africans make a run for the airport.

 

Horrorscope 2014

Aries

2014 is going to be a dreadful year for you. If you have given up drinking, take it up again. Let yourself go. Start smoking. Dabble in soft drugs if the urge takes you. Life is short, but yours is shorter than most. A relationship will blow up in your face. Wear a Kevlar helmet when going on dates. You will come to a fork in the road. Go straight.

Taurus

This year you need to spend more time at home with your wife. If that is absolutely out of the question, then spend more time with someone else’s wife. The important thing is that you re-learn how to bond with the opposite sex. Too much sport has meant too much time in the company of men. You need to find out how the other half live. Or better yet, where they live.

Gemini

There will be an unexpected financial windfall towards the middle of the year. Having a generous nature, you will spread it around and make many people happy. When you return from a round-the-world holiday, you will discover that a mistake has been made and the money was never yours to start with. Parole will be granted in 2019.

Cancer

A genetic time bomb will detonate deep in your brain early on in the year. You may find it difficult to function in the real world after this, and there is a good chance that you will lose your job, your spouse and your home. You will erect a bivouac in an isolated wooded area and live off moles and rainwater until you are taken away to a place of safety.

Leo

Nothing important will happen to you in the coming year. Life will be even more meaningless and empty than it was the previous year. You are unlikely to meet any interesting people or visit any exciting places. Your only sexual experience in 2014 will result in a case of thrush. This will be the high point of your year.

Virgo

2014 is the Year of the Horse. There will be unexpected adventures and unusual romances, many of them involving horses. Be careful of ponies who lie about their age. It will also be a good year to sell things. If you have nothing, sell your body. If your goals seem out of reach, reach for something closer. Like a beer.

Libra

A new romance will blossom in the first quarter of the year. Although these amorous goings-on will be rewarding, the relationship will ultimately prove to be a costly one – around R600 an hour. You will run out of money in the second quarter. Expect to spend the rest of the year suffering from an advanced case of Mrs Palmer’s rash.

Scorpio

As always, you are quick to dish out advice and criticism in equal measure. Be prepared to meet your match. A woman with a bigger sting in her tail than you will join your club. She will be violently beautiful and your buddies will ditch you to play mixed doubles with her on Wednesdays. Your attempts to impress her will result in charges of sexual harassment.

Sagittarius

You will need to combine your athletic ambitions with a healthy dose of reality. Learn to live with your gut. Short of it being sucked out of you, it is going nowhere. Walking briskly from the lounge to the kitchen is going to do nothing but weaken your heart. Not even industrial drain cleaner injected intravenously is going to unclog those arteries. Worrying about your cholesterol levels will kill you quicker than the cholesterol. Eat more fried food.

Capricorn

You will suffer blunt trauma to the head and start your own political party. You secretly travel to Cuba for lessons in revolutionary dancing. Returning to South Africa, drunk on socialism and Havana Club, you combine the salsa with the toyi-toyi and, with throaty cries of “Aluta awethu!” and “Amandla continua!”, you win the election and become president. You are assassinated the next day.

Aquarius

Water makes a prominent appearance in your life this year. If you are a golfer, water hazards will claim many balls from you. You will also have a near-drowning experience. A urophile hiding in a tree wees on your head while you are out for a walk. If you live near a river, your home will be flooded. You will develop water on the brain.

Pisces

There will be an unexpected pregnancy in the family and the child shall be named Firepool. There will be opportunities to expand your mind. If you don’t have one, there will be opportunities to expand other things. Like your waistline. Laughter and tears will come easily. You may be bipolar.