New Year’s Eve. My liver huddles up
against my spleen and whimpers at the mere mention of it. Come out,
you lily-livered coward. I need you now more than ever.
The Anno Domini system, which counts
years from the death of Jesus, spread throughout Europe during the
Middle Ages. Big deal. A lot of things spread through Europe during
the Middle Ages. The Black Death, for one, yet you hardly ever see
anyone walking around with a long face moaning about the good old
days when the plague was all the rage, so why should we continue
using a calendar wielded by organised religion as a propaganda tool
in the name of … ah, forget it. Let’s stick with the liver, shall
To be honest, and I think honesty is important at a time like this, I have felt uncomfortable about making a huge thing out of December 31 ever since discovering that the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The Catholics have done some truly appalling things over the ages and for all I know the calendar is one of them.
There is one school of thought that
says the liver is the human body’s largest and most complex organ.
This is generally the opinion of everyone who hasn’t seen me naked.
Yes, Mrs Worthington of Margate, I’m talking about you.
An unsightly and consequently rather shy organ, the liver is one of the few parts of the body that are prepared to suffer in relative silence. The poor could learn a thing or two from the liver.
It must be said, however, that the liver is not as perfect as it likes to think. For starters, it takes its job way too seriously. The heart, on the other hand, knows how to have a bit of fun. It speeds up, slows down, murmurs to itself, does an Irish jig, stops altogether and then, just when you think you’re dead, starts up again. It is an impish organ that understands the art of comedic timing.
Simply put, the liver does not know how
to have a good time. I find this odd, considering the amount of
drugs, alcohol and nicotine that pass through it on an average Friday
Perhaps it’s not so strange. If we
want to be really unkind, the liver is little more than the body’s
policeman. It’s a sullen cop manning a permanent roadblock. What’s
this? Tetrahydrocannibanol, eh? You’re coming with me. I’m going
to detoxify and neutralise all the goodness out of you. Bastard.
But there is more to surviving New
Year’s Eve than merely letting your liver know that it’s not the
boss of you.
When Pope Gregory established December
31st as the night upon which the faithful and the faithless join
hands in drunken revelry, he probably never had roadblocks in mind.
When I am president, and I will be one
day, I shall give every police officer the night off on New Year’s
Eve. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to party with the rest of us?
After all, cops are people, too. Well, most of them are. Sort of.
All I ask for is one night of the year
in which we can go out without worrying about getting slammed up
against a van full of snarling dogs, cavity searched and tossed into
a stinking cell to be remorselessly ravaged by a diseased convict. Is
it too much to ask that we be allowed one night free of fear?
We are all adults, apart from those who
aren’t, and if we are prepared to take our chances with motherless
drivers, desperate divorcees and psychos on tik, then that is our
choice. If you prefer to spend your New Year’s Eve clutching a
glass of warm Pepsi and getting all misty eyed over ridiculous songs
like Auld Lang Syne, then stay at home. By going out and expecting Mr
Plod to keep you safe, you are ruining it for the rest of us.
Since I am not yet president, we have
to face the reality that state-appointed arbiters of appropriate
behaviour will be out there looking to ruin our lives and
reputations. As if we can’t do that all by ourselves.
Fact is, even if you haven’t touched
a drop all night and then you kiss someone whose blood alcohol level
is above 00000.01, this would put you over the limit and you will be
dragged behind the police caravan, pistol-whipped and read the last
rites in a language you don’t understand.
Roadblocks can be dealt with in several
ways. One is to slip into the passenger seat and tell the officer
that your driver ran away. The officer may wish to attach electrodes
to your testicles to determine the veracity of your story, but,
unless you enjoy that sort of thing, you should remind him that the
constitution frowns on torture.
Do not attempt this if there are two of
you in the car. Police are trained to spot suspicious behaviour and
there is nothing more suspicious than an empty driver’s seat and
someone sitting on your lap in the passenger seat.
Also what you can do is pretend to have
a speech impediment. Most cops treat the disabled marginally better
than they do the rest of us. But don’t lean out of the window and
say: “Good afterble consternoon.” That is a speech impeded by
vodka shooters as opposed to, say, blunt trauma to the head.
I used to get stopped a lot before I
became a master of disguise and the cops would always ask me why my
eyes were so red. “I have pterygiums, officer,” I would say,
opening my eyes as big as they would go without me passing out. Cops
don’t want to take your statement knowing they are going to have to
ask you to spell whatever the hell it was that you said you had.
You may be asked to provide a urine
sample. “But I just went,” is not a valid excuse. What you need
to do is invest in a fake penis. Adult World is full of them. Or so I
have heard. Drill a hole down the middle of it and fill it with your
dog’s urine. The cop will be so impressed by the size of your willy
that he will shake you by the hand and send you on your way.
A basic knowledge of First Aid is essential for anyone who plans on celebrating New Year’s Eve properly. There will be injuries and you need to be prepared. Under no circumstances do you want to have anything to do with state hospitals this evening. The doctors have been working for nine straight days and the nurses earn R2.50 an hour. They will not share your sense of humour no matter how much you laugh and poke your finger into your gaping head wound.
Stitches are piece of cake if you have
a fish hook and a piece of gut. If you don’t at least have that in
the boot of your car, you’re not a real South African and you
deserve to be deported.
Carry a roll of bubble wrap in your
car. The moment your girlfriend gets the wobblies, wrap it
around her. She won’t hurt herself when she plummets off the north
face of her bar stool and the rest of the bar will join you in a game
of Popping The Drunk.
If someone loses an eye, ask the barman for a glass of ice and stick it in there. It will be good for 24 hours.
Avoid amputations because they can be
messy if you don’t have access to serviettes. A lot of people
complain of severed limbs but if you look closely you will often find
their leg bent behind their head.
Open heart surgery is easily conducted
with a bottle of whisky and a steak knife. If you don’t have a
knife, rush to the nearest restaurant and order a steak.
Right, that’s it. In the immortal words of Pope Gregory, “Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.”