I didn’t intend being at the Brass Bell in Cape Town’s Kalk Bay at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, but there I was.
The evening had started in a smart house in close-by St. James, the home of some people my friend has known for years and that I had known for a total of 7 minutes which were racked up about 2 years before. They were and are in their fifties, and ply their trade in the medical professions. All their friends seemed to be in their fifties too, and funnily enough also seemed to be doctors of some description. When one of these freaks told me what he did following a polite enquiry, I got mixed up with those that have devoted their life to feet and those that toil away for a living poking away at children.
Easy mistake to make I thought; they both begin with ‘p’ and have lots of syllables. He didn’t seem to think so, and gave me a look only a doctor can and a look that usually precedes the sentence “We’ve received the results of your test Mr. Williams”
Word spread like a hospital Super-Bug and Williams, L, was ostracised. Try as I might (and I did try) I couldn’t find anyone to talk to me and then panic set in. There were clumps of these quacks everywhere nodding at each other and every now and then I heard a peal of smug sounding laughter. They were, no doubt, breaking the Hippocratic Oath and tittering about Mr. Robinson’s piles or how hideously ugly the Smith’s baby turned out.
I’d had enough. Sweat was pouring off me, I was drinking at a liver throbbing rate, and people were shooting unpleasant glances in my direction. So I grabbed my partner’s car keys, mumbled something about nipping to the car, and legged it for the wide-open spaces. As I stood in the cool False Bay air, gulping it down, I knew my life had changed forever. This act of apparent cowardice and selfishness was, in fact, precisely the opposite.
Those nice people at the ‘party’ whom, because they have a certificate on their office (sorry, SURGERY) wall allowing them to legally lance boils and hand out Aspirin and look down at mere mortals like me who don’t, will never have to endure me again. Good start.
I will never have to go to a ‘drinks party’ again on a Saturday night which had been pre-allocated to watching Lionel Messi on the couch in my underpants with a tin of cheap lager. Even better.
And this brings me to the point; New Year resolutions. My extraordinary act of bravery in the face of extreme adversity has, for me, opened the floodgates for 2013.
I’m in no way qualified to give advice (ask my children), and in truth I’ve made some spectacularly bad decisions over the decades. But having clocked up half a century and seen a bit of this and that, I reckon I’m entitled to offer a few suggestions. Let’s start a Resolution Revolution. Some of my ideas are rather ambitious, but most are easy. Some are intensely personal, but all will in some way help. Our country is being mismanaged, looted, and it’s time to take it back from those responsible.
Here’s my 13 for 13. Send Gareth yours.
Don’t compromise. Ever. If you don’t want to do something and it doesn’t hurt anyone that you happen to like if you don’t do it, then DON’T do it. Remember that YOU are the most important person in your life, and if you’re unhappy then that unhappiness rubs off on everyone in your circle.
Try telling the truth a bit more. Lying is habit forming, so try the alternative. It’s a huge relief because as some supercilious bore once said “If you tell the truth you never have to tell a lie”. Or something.
Give. Give freely until your trained senses tell you to give no more. Give an hour a week of your time to someone or organisation that needs that hour more than you do. And if you can’t or won’t, keep a bag of grub in your car and give it to a beggar rather than the small change he’s going to use to stick his head in a bag of glue.
Adopt a child. Yes, seriously. If this government thought laterally instead of thieving all day they would realise that people that are comfortably off could obliterate future unemployment and crime by encouraging us to take in some unfortunate mite and give it a proper fucking life instead of waiting for successive governments to fail it and the rest of us. And Charlize and Madge do it, so you could be cool at the next drinks party.
Don’t vote at the next election. Zuma’s a shameless crook who spends R2.3m on lifts to a bunker under his house. Whose he scared of? And Zille is honest and decent but doesn’t have the team around her to deserve your valuable ‘X’. Don’t vote until things change.
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If someone’s nasty to you on ‘twitter’, ie a personal attack on you, block the bastard and move on. Silence drives ‘em bonkers.
Buy your partner a present on a Tuesday, for no reason, and with no agenda.
Money isn’t everything. Studies conclusively reveal that people with sackloads of the stuff have so many choices and accumulate so much unnecessary clutter that they are generally miserable specimens entrapped by materialism. In an autobiographical book by Marcel Pagnol, the author, a little boy from the city,made friends with a simple country bumpkin from the hills above Marseilles called Lili. When Lili asked him what he wanted to be, the young Pagnol replied “A millionaire”. Lili was nonplussed and in turn replied “WHY? You can only eat so much! You don’t have two arseholes!”
Think about it.
Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Go through your wardrobe and if you haven’t worn it for a year, chuck it out. Apply this same principle to people. If someone is a negative influence on you, or has wronged you, don’t let it rattle you or they’ve won. Eliminate them from your life. Pretend they have ceased to exist. It’s not easy to pull off, but if you do, it’s a liberating experience
Start a school. The half-wits in the education department can’t manage it but you can. Once a week gather up some less privileged little snot-gobblers (you know lots so don’t protest) and teach them something for an hour. The fact that you’re reading this means that you have a skill that needs to be passed on. They REALLY love it, even if it’s just reading them a story.
Be careful of 2013. There are some powerful people out there that care nothing for you but are shaping your future. Our economy has ground to a halt because of their ignorance and corrupt ways, our youth isn’t being educated, and our money is being stolen. Keep your head down. Be careful of 2013, but have a blast doing so.