Recently a young friend started his valedictory speech with these words: “When you embark for strange places don’t leave any of yourself safely on the shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.” Alan Alda.
Far be it from me to insult the great Elizabeth Barrett Browning but I remain perplexed as to why, why, why companies ever chose to torture us with the mini USB. I should add it is, in fact, the micro USB that is the truest source of my frustration. At the time of writing “mini” just worked better.
Apparently “Funeral Blues” (Stop all the Clocks) by W.H. Auden was originally written as satire. Then came “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and the poem’s popularity soared.
Originally written some time after Jodie died May 16, 2014.
Originally written on 9 July 2013 – humour intended rather than offence.
My irritation with the month long Mandela machine marathon has inspired me to write a few alternative endings to the drama, no one likes predictable endings. It’s a multiple choice story.
Option 1: An experienced nurse is promptly sacked after revealing the truth to the media – Mandela is not on life support, he has died long ago. The rand and the petrol price go to hell in the consequent media scandal. The nurse flees to Russia where she hides out with Edward Snowden at the airport. They fall in love and marry and Snowden eventually starts publishing moving romantic stories. He is dubbed the American Tolstoy in Russia. Afrikaans poets Antjie Krog and Fanie Olivier both write poems about the scandal in SA.
Option 2: Shortly after all life support measures were suspended a wide awake journalist photographs Mandela in Ventersdorp. An old white male figure appears on the photograph as well. YOU Magazine has the exclusive – it’s Elvis. Carte Blanche prepares a special hour long programme with experts discussing the authenticity of the photo and the identity of the people in it. Mandla threatens with a court interdict, but the judge won’t have it. Edward Snowden claims the NSA has known the truth all along.
The photographer flees to the United States where he suspiciously dies of a heart attack despite not having a family history of heart disease and being very young. Joel and Ethan Coen make a film about the saga. George Clooney wants the main part, but is too old.
The rand and the petrol price in SA remain as shitty as ever.
Option 3: On 18 July all important figures are present for life support measures to be withdrawn, but seconds after all machines have been turned off, Mandela opens his eyes and asks for a cup of Rooibos tea. The next day he announced his return to party politics and forms a new political party. Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr joins as his deputy.
Julia Gillard emigrates to SA and becomes Zuma’s next wife. She is fed up with sexism in Australian politics and men who cannot make up their mind about marriage. Zuma builds a large extension to his house and imports hordes of kangaroos to help Gillard feel more welcome. The Sunday Times features an in depth report about the cost of each kangaroo.
A great number of expatriates living in Aus follow Gillard back to SA. JM Coetzee refuses to come back until SA has taken definite measures against rhino poaching.
For months South Africans are caught up in a renewed spirit of patriotism, the likes of which has not been seen since the 1995 rugby world cup. They are so inspired that the Cheetahs play against the Bulls in the Super Rugby final. The Cheetahs win the trophy when Morne Steyn misses a sitter of a penalty from in front of the posts in the last minute of the game. Afterwards he promptly leaves South Africa to continue his rugby career in Japan.
A mere month after that famous cup of Rooibos, Mandela leaves for Egypt where he quickly solves the current political crisis. On his way back, he also quickly sorts out matters in Syria.
Steve finally saves the South African rhino population by housing all rhinos at Ellis Park – the Lions rugby union is disbanded and the Kings continue in the Super Rugby series.
Lester Venter writes a follow up to “When Mandela Goes” entitled “When Mandela Goes Again”. Once again it is heavily criticized by Max du Preez.
Mandla and Malema are captured by Mugabe after a botched attempt to invade Zimbabwe. The South African government declines to intervene and neither is ever heard from again.
To contest the next South African election Mandela and Steve call their party the Manstevas and launch their campaign called “Potjiekos én Pap … mét eish.” Steve composes and sings a hit song for the campaign and Mandela dances to the song at all political rallies. The song’s success helps to fun their campaign.
Zuma and Gillard fight back by visiting impoverished communities around the country. Many voters in these communities complain about being utterly confused about who to vote for. Zuma assures them that there will be clear photographs of party leaders on election ballots. On election day the story breaks on Facebook first: Zuma’s face appears next to that of the ANC, but Steve’s face next to the Manstevas. The two parties end head to head.
In the future SA has a two party democracy like the USA version instead of just the ANC. The rand and the petrol price recover slightly.
Option 4: Zuma is caught trying to switch off the life support machines himself during the middle of the night. A bloody civil war between the Xhosa and Zulu people follow and …
- South Africans who are not killed leave the country in great numbers. The country is left empty. The USA buy up the whole place for next to nothing and use Bloemfontein for testing controlled nuclear explosions and store nuclear waste in the great hole of Kimberley.
- Many civilians die and many flee. The economy is left in tatters. Russia buy SA cheaply and Putin bans all homosexuals to SA. Most of the Russian population leave, claiming to be gay, because they are tired of Putin and cold winters. Traditional leaders complain bitterly about the situation being decidedly unAfrican, no one listens. The US government has no complaints, as long as everyone is allowed to marry.
In a few years academics write interesting dissertations on the influence of Russian on Afrikaans and vice versa. Antjie Krog writes moving Afrikaans and English translations of Russian poetry. The anthology is a hit in Europe and Krog becomes very rich. The University of Stellenbosch want to appoint her as chancellor, she declines.
South Africa win an enormous number of medals at the next winter Olympics.
The NSRI has confirmed that the shark allegedly involved in the attempted attack on surfer Mick Fanning at the J-Bay Open was out on bail.
NSRI spokesman Lambi Craigon said the shark has previously been charged with disturbing surfers and trespassing into shallow waters.
Meanwhile Greenpeace has filed charges against Fanning at the United Nations. Fanning is accused of assaulting a shark with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.
The Jeffreys Bay municipality has launched a commission of enquiry to investigate the development of “deep sea” entertainment after shark experts have claimed the shark was “simply curious”. The options under consideration are deep sea toys for sharks, information brochures about surfing and information signs to remind sharks to eat only fish.
- If it looks like a long way on the map, then on the actual road it is bloody far … as in … to hell and gone.
- If you’ve ever thought yourself dedicated to a cause, you can still learn from the traffic departments in the Western Cape. Their dedication to photography is nothing short of astounding.
- The Western Cape also possibly has the world’s largest collection of completely unnecessary traffic lights.
- If we had as much tar to fill potholes as we have for building speed bumps, our roads would be a pleasure.
- Keep your cell connected to the car charger. That way you can carefully pull it back from wherever it has flown to, if you recover from hitting that speed bump in what you thought was a 120km/h zone.
- If your phone is not connected to the charger, keep it under your left thigh. That way it won’t fly anywhere, you’ll know where it is and it’s especially effective in curbing the desire to check it every 5 minutes.
- Pairing a new Bluetooth headset to your phone while driving can easily take 150kms.
- Don’t move your lip balm from its original location. Looking for it while driving is frustrating and can easily take three hours.
- There is nothing as disheartening on the open road as patiently waiting for a safe spot to overtake an enormous truck only to see the next truck a few hundred meters away. Damn!
- If you have driven for several hours getting stuck behind several vehicles travelling at way below the speed limit, you’ll eventually start understanding that a lack of speed can be as deadly as an excess.
- There really should be a minimum speed limit on national roads as well. The person driving 160 in the 120 zone is really much less of a bother than the person driving 60 in the 120 zone.
- Frustration and impatience kill more people than speed – try to not be the person causing the frustration.
- Drive as if you are going somewhere – if you want to admire the scenery, do so while someone else is driving.
- Even if you have waited 30 minutes for a safe place to overtake the first truck, that same truck will try to overtake you and the next truck while you again wait patiently for a safe place to overtake.
- Most trucks think they’re invincible and will easily overtake you on a double lined double blind … You, however, are not invincible.
- If someone has caught up to you from behind while you are not caught up behind traffic yourself, it means that they are travelling faster than you and you should allow them to overtake you. If you cannot understand this simple principle, you are too stupid to operate a vehicle.
- While driving you are supposed to be aware of all the surrounding traffic, including vehicles behind you. If you wait for the car behind to reach you and slow down before giving way, don’t be surprised if the guy overtaking you isn’t overly grateful. Your lack of awareness causes a waste of time and fuel for others.
- Also if it takes you that long to notice a car behind you, your responses are too slow to drive safely.
- I like to drive after dark, but if you don’t know exactly where you’re going darkness is a bugger.
- Road signs are generally useless: They only indicate where you could possibly end up and give you no idea of where the hell you are.
- After 12am road rules are soft – if you see any cops rushing in your direction, don’t worry. They’re on their way to the accident you passed a few minutes ago.
- Of all the scary things on South African roads, nothing is quite as shocking as the price of petrol.
- If you approach Joubertina from the Oudtshoorn side at any time from Friday to Sunday you are in the zone where you are most likely to hit a drunk pedestrian. Be careful.
- Finally, there comes a time in a person’s life when you feel as if you should risk your life for the sake of your sanity. Don’t let that urge get you while driving. Skydiving is a much better option.