Day 28 – Brilliant Ben

Tonight’s Presidential address is when we will learn if the lockdown is going to be extended again. The smart money is on yes, but really, no-one has any idea. Possibly not even Cyril himself. In fact, the only thing we can all agree on is that tonight’s speech will kick off a customary n minutes late (because if he’s on time, it’s a sign that he’s been kidnapped and replaced by a lookalike.) (Hopefully a lookalike with a bit more of a spine, but that’s another story).

To kill the time before our parole is postponed, I have been reading Ben Trovato’s latest column. You know: the one in which the author’s birthday trip to Costa Rica has been cancelled and he’s blaming everyone he can think of.

As a chronicle of the lockdown in SA, it’s so, so good:

My suburb is tightly locked down. There are snitches and curtain-twitchers in every second house. Nobody dare leave their home for fear of being named and shamed on one or other neofascist community WhatsApp group. Five kilometres down the road, the streets of the township are as busy and festive as ever. Fair play to them. I’d break a lot more than lockdown laws if I had to live in those conditions.

Life is turning into a cross between Survivor and The Hunger Games. On Survivor the tribes compete in challenges to win immunity. Here, we can’t get immunity unless we are infected with Covid-19. And we can’t get infected unless someone who already has the virus sneezes into our open mouths. But sneezing has been banned. We are also not allowed to show our mouths in public. Smoking, drinking and gambling is forbidden and police are flogging people in the streets. I think it’s safe to say that the Islamic State has accomplished at least some of its goals.

That’s all I’m sharing. Go and look at the whole thing yourself if you want more (there is plenty to go around).

Now, let’s see what this evening brings…

QOTD -Trovato style

I hadn’t read Ben Trovato for a while.

When I did, it was this and it had this applicable quote in it:

I don’t have a fear of missing out. I have a fear of not knowing.
It’s unlikely to become a thing because Fomo is so much more of a catchy acronym than Fonk.

This is very me. I don’t need to be where something is happening when it’s happening. I just need to know that it is happening.

I have added Ben Trovato to the blogroll, so I know when he has posted.
I’d hate to miss out.

Ben’s plea

Bless him. It’s great, genuine, heartfelt writing, it makes perfect sense and it will fall upon a 4 million deaf ears.

What is it? It’s Ben Trovato’s unusually sincere plea to white South Africans to reach out and take part in a nation-building exercise born out of the death of Nelson Mandela. Because:

Madiba’s death has, ironically, recharged our desolate souls. I have never seen so many pictures of white people crying over something that isn’t related to rugby. That must mean something.

Like I said, it really is beautifully written. Go and read it.
It’s just a shame that no-one will take any notice of it.

Why not buy Zimbabwe?

As Patrice Motsepe gives half his family fortune away to charity, 6000 miles… favourite Ben Trovato has some better advice for him (and a little poke at the ruling party):

If I were you, I’d buy Zimbabwe first thing Monday morning. Imagine the fun you could have with your very own country. Come to think of it, you could buy Jacob Zuma for a lot less and still have your own country. This might already have happened.

The rest of the post it well worth a read. It’s classic Ben.

Ben loses his Mum

This is hilariously funny and also tremendously sad and moving.

I lost my mother a few days ago. Not in the way that you might lose your car keys.
Keys can be replaced. Mother’s hardly ever.

Ben Trovato is a huge favourite of mine. He went off the boil for a while a couple of years ago (IMHO anyway) but he’s been back at his best of late, although even he would be hard pressed to match his “Why, in the name of God, won’t someone bring Jacob Zuma his machine gun?” effort from 2008 (now deleted from the iol news site, but still available – at least in part – here).

Now, unless it is some great hoax – and I have absolutely no reason to believe it is – Trovato has lost his mother to cancer; an event to which he has applied his bone dry sense of humour and somehow turned it into an hilarious read: “Anyone For Chemo And A Nice Cup Of Tea?”:

Oncologists look down on everyone because they are fabulously wealthy and also because they get to play with lots and lots of human guinea pigs who eventually stop bothering them because they are too weak to pick up the phone and make another appointment.

There will be those who will be appalled that Trovato could describe his mother’s sickness and death in this way, but I disagree. Rather, to not have done so would have been hypocritical. His irreverent sense of humour means that nothing is sacred and so it is with his own family’s most difficult times. That’s courage (and an obvious continuing need to sell his books) right there.

I suspect all cancer patients ultimately face their fate with extraordinary courage and fortitude. But not all face it with the same degree of acceptance. Some go quietly. Others, like my mother, rage, rage against the dying of the light. Even after she slipped into incoherence, she was still shouting at us. I shouted back, trying to get her to take her medication. Then my sister would shout at me and my father would shout at her. It was like my childhood. Lots of shouting and nobody making any sense at all. The only difference being that I was too big for anyone to hit me.

As in many of his columns, there’s so much more to read between the lines in this one. Cut past the superficial and there’s a lot of depth there.

It’ll mean precisely bugger all to him that I offer my condolences here, but that’s fine.
I’ll keep on reading regardless.