Sanlam puts the fear of cancer into us all

Then, to the palpitating heart of the matter. How much cover do you need? All of it, please. The options range between R200 000 and R6 million. I don’t know what this will cover when it comes to cancer. The R200k? Probably three weeks’ parking at the oncologist’s offices. I’d like to think the R6 million includes a full Viking funeral with Roger Waters sitting on the beach playing Comfortably Numb while naked guests fire flaming arrows at my tequila-soaked body lashed to my surfboard and cast adrift on a wild gunmetal sea.

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There. Have a taste of my column in The Citizen on Wednesday, 30 September.

Subscribe monthly or even pay for just a single edition. That’s R8.40. You can’t even get a beer for that.

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Wednesday is Ben’s Day

I know somebody who knows somebody who recently adopted a baby in her fifties. The woman, not the baby. Although it must be said that Donald Trump has shown it’s quite possible to be a baby well into your seventies.

I hope I’m not offending anyone when I say you would have to be certifiably insane to want anything at all to do with babies right now. I mean more the deliberate conceiving of, I suppose. If the whelp has already been spawned and is up for adoption and you feel your life hasn’t been disrupted enough, then good luck to you. Personally, I’d sooner adopt a dog.

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And so begins today’s Cut ‘n Run column in The Citizen.

In terms of the new rules, you’ll have to pay money if you want to read the rest. Not to me, unfortunately. To the newspaper. Who, I guess, ends up paying me for it anyway. It’s a bit like money laundering.

Subscribe monthly or even pay for just a single edition. That’s R7.70. You can’t even get a beer for that. Not that you can get a beer.

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Buy the ticket, take the ride

Dear SANParks,

I hear you are looking for people to help you kill some animals. Well, look no further. I am your man. This filthy pandemic, and our government’s unhinged response to it, has made me very angry. I have been wanting to murder something since March. Thing is, you kill a person these days and you can go to jail for up to, I don’t know, what’s the going rate … two weeks? A month?

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Right. There’s obviously more to this than meets the eye. This is the start of the column that appears in today’s edition of The Citizen.

The editor, who graciously offered to host my column 18 months ago, has asked me to refrain from posting my weekly literary expectorations here and on social media.

He would prefer it that my unruly legion of readers either bought or subscribed to the newspaper if they wished to read my column. This is understandable.

Prostitutes are faced with a similar situation when it comes to men who, swan-like, pledge their loyalty to only one person forever more. It’s bad for business. If you can get the same service for free at home, why would you pay to get it from us?

Since I am now aware that the editor knows I have been posting my column here a day or two after he has had his way with it, let me just say that I am in no way equating him with a prostitute. I felt in need of a metaphor and it was the only one that came along.

We live in a world of unfairness and it would seem, well, unfair, to add to it. Not without being rewarded, anyway. I post my Citizen column online in the hope that as many people as possible will read it and then shower me with adoration. Or hate mail. I don’t really mind either way. Like any decent drug dealer, I know distribution is the key that unlocks the golden pig. I have yet to find the pig.

By whorishly putting my words about for any grizzled punter to come along and read for free, I am taking money out of the mouths of everyone who works at The Citizen.

Okay, that might be overstating things. But it seems fairly obvious that the paper wouldn’t be able to afford columnists (or anything at all) if nobody bought it. By offering my column for free, once it’s been published, I am effectively sabotaging myself. It’s almost Shakespearean.

So. There it is. If you love me as much as you say you do, and I’ve been married twice so there’s no reason to think you’re lying, you will either buy the paper or subscribe. If you’re really strapped, you can even just buy the Wednesday edition, when my column comes out. It’s, like, R7 or something. If you can’t afford that, you have no business being online.

And for those of you who think Eschel Rhoodie is still in charge of The Citizen, you can fuck right off.

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The dark side of change

It’s unlikely I was the only one suffering from a minor medical emergency last Sunday. Having tried all the regular remedies – aspirin, fried food, suicide – I dragged my shattered carcass off to the shop and bought a few cans of Coke.

I don’t usually drink this filth for political reasons, which, at this point in time, are a little hazy. I think it had to do with the bottlers in Columbia hiring paramilitary thugs to murder employees caught drinking Pepsi. Or something. I don’t know why I cared. I might have been going through my social justice warrior phase before discovering it doesn’t pay very well.

On Sunday I couldn’t have cared less if Coca-Cola turned out to be the official sponsor of the Trump family. I needed to dilute the massive amount of post-World Cup beer that had caused my blood to stream about as well as Telkom Wi-Fi on a rainy night in Diepsloot. Coke can adulterate, corrode or kickstart just about anything and it was my last shot.

I ripped the can open and guzzled it right there in the shop. There was a moment when everything went quiet. Like that scene when a bomb goes off in Saving Private Ryan. Instead of being stricken with temporary deafness, like Tom Hanks, I clutched my throat and, eyes swiveling wildly in my head, retched clumsily into a conveniently placed ornamental palm. Like Gary Busey in, well, real life.

I thought I’d been poisoned. It tasted as if the paramilitaries had spiked it. Once my internal organs calmed down, I inspected the can. “Plus Coffee” it said. And, in the event that one’s hangover was affecting one’s vision, in bigger letters, “Real Coffee From Brazil”. To make absolutely sure the customer knew what was happening, there was even a picture of coffee beans on the side. I didn’t notice any of this when I bought it because nobody in their right mind pauses to check if their Coke has been contaminated with anything other than the usual cola-related toxins.

What kind of crazy person would come up with such a terrible idea? This is not the work of a normal crazy person, that’s for sure. This is off the charts. Have people built up such a tolerance that they now need a caffeine boost with their sugar?

We have all, at one time or another, been exposed to children speeding on sugar in a confined space. I have been on long-haul flights with children who were given Coke to drink. They react as if they are being electrocuted. Now imagine them having the new Coffee-Coke twenty minutes into a thirteen-hour flight. They would kick the back of your seat so violently that you’d end up with a splintered coccyx and, a month after disembarking, a kidney transplant. The runty savages would be fighting among themselves to get into the cockpit and everyone in economy class would spend the night praying for engine failure.

My point is that people should just leave good enough alone. Remember that old slogan, Coke adds life? Okay, it doesn’t if you work for a bottling plant in Bogota. But for those of us far downstream of the production line, Coke has done its job adequately.

What would happen if someone had to drink a Klippies and Coffee-Coke? I shudder to think. Actually, I’ve been shuddering for three days. I wish it would stop.

I’m not the only one who doesn’t want things tampered with. Take Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of the EFF, for instance. An educated and sensitive man, he was deeply conflicted when the Springboks won the World Cup. There are black and white players in the team, which meant he could only voice his support whenever a darkie had the ball. The moment it was passed to one of the neo-colonial, counter-revolutionary puppets of the West, he had to shout “Phansi amaBhunu!” or look away and pretend he hadn’t seen. It couldn’t have been easy for him. The final whistle must have been particularly awkward. Not everyone can make it clear that you’re cheering the black players only. You’d need a PhD in political science to pull that off.

Simultaneously angry, happy and sad, Ndlozi turned to Twitter and offered his congratulations to Siya Kolisi. The white players, he suggested, should get their congratulations from Prince Harry. The prince, who has made it abundantly clear that he has had quite enough of white people in general and his family in particular, was off drinking beer in the Boks’ changing room. Harry would have noted that Faf de Klerk, while possessing the instincts and agility of a Miniature Schnauzer, is developing a bit of a boep. Being a gentleman, he refrained from pointing and laughing.

Our benign president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is also encouraging change. He said we should do like Siya says and work together. That’s fine for Siya to say. His house is a hotbed of racial unity. Personally, I’ve only ever known blondes to be nothing but trouble. Brunettes, too. And redheads.

Comrade Ndlozi’s political doppelgänger down at the shallow end of the gene pool, Oberstfuhrer Steve Hofmeyr, offered to translate Cyril’s message. “Let the Siya injection make you numb so you don’t fight back when we grab your land from under your arse because you’re white.” Translated from the original Afrikaans, obviously.

Steve bravely left his land unguarded and went to a friend’s house to watch the final. He couldn’t watch at home because he destroyed his DStv decoder a few months ago. I can’t remember why. Perhaps because it was black.

So that’s the thing. We don’t want change in this country. Not really. If we did, we’d do like the Ecuadorians and Chileans and take to the streets in our millions and refuse to leave until someone did something to fix the economy. If Eskom started working and Jacob Zuma stopped appealing, we’d have nothing to complain about. We would be lost without our healthy sense of fear and loathing of those who look, think and talk differently to us.

#ImStaying because I can’t wait to see what Cyril doesn’t do next. I also want to feel what it’s like to live in a country that’s been accorded junk status by all three major ratings agencies. Not every nation can achieve it, you know. You have to really not work at it. So far it’s only two out of three. Hopes are pinned on Moody’s delivering the coup de grâce in three months’ time.

For now, though, let us link arms with the likes of Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Irvin Jim and Helen Zille and go laughingly backwards into the future.

 

 

  • Don’t forget to visit the Contraband page and order your signed copy of my latest book, Durban Poison.