funny


Don't say I didn't warn you...

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Me and the girls are off to our first family vacation in a very long time. And we are going all American. No, we are not going to take a trip down Route 66. We are not going to do a history tour of Boston. We are not going to stare at symbols of power in DC. And we are not going to be all continental in NY. Neither are we going to hunt for the world’s biggest ball of twine. Or go have hot dogs and beer at the ballpark. Forget the Keys and middle America. We’re not even going to follow the trail all the way to the Wild West. Getting married again by Elvis in Vegas will have to wait as well. None of that. Nope, we are going where real Americans go. We are going to the temple of America. Where Americans gather to pray to the god of vacations. Where you can see France, Brazil and China in one day without ever leaving solid ground. Where people gather to eat buckets of ice cream and drink gallons of soda. Where odd ears are celebrated. Where hot chicks walk around in weird clothes. Where…. You get the picture…

We’re going to Disney!

Of course my long suffering wife will be the only adult going. But they do sell booze at the hotel to calm her down and I’ve packed my stash of Starbucks coffee to keep me going. Me, my wife and my two little girls. We are ready to have fun-fun-fun!

Look out for some news headlines: “Angry African on the Loose in Disney”. And we are not talking about the lions in the park either. No sirree! I am ready to claim back a piece of the colony for my brothers and sisters back home. I’ve packed the spear and loincloth. I am ready to go hunting. Gonna get myself a nice little wildebeest on the fake Serengeti and then make a huge fire for a braai. It’ll be almost like home. Hum… Minus the spear and loincloth of course. We don’t really do that back home. We are way more basic than that. We have wallets and khakis instead of spears and loincloths. But sometimes we wear lioncloths…

Anyway… I am getting off topic again…

So we will be away for a little while. Back sometime around the end of June. Yes, 2009. I won’t be blogging until I get back. The laptop is staying while I am going. I promised the girls 100% of my attention while we are gone. And Jasmine already called asking for a date…

But you can follow me on Twitter while I am gone. I’ll update that as much as what I can in between rides and runs and food and punching Goofy and whatever you do at Disney. Click here if you want to follow. Or just type http://twitter.com/AngryAfrican.

Or you can just sit back and read a few of my greatest family hits – see below. Nothing but me and the girls having fun. And a few funny stories thrown in for good measure. Hope you enjoy. If not – see you on the other side! I’m off! Bye-bye! Hello, Jasmine… How you doin?

Love Is In The Air

I have two girls. Two beautiful girls. A little princess. And a slightly bigger angel. My girls. My life.

Quick! Pull my finger!

We all have our roles in our little family. My wife is the one that holds it all together. The glue that we stick to. The level headed one. The one that looks after us. And the one we all run to when we bump our toe or just feel like a hug. She is the centre. The foundation. The pillar. The sun we spin around…

She had to wee

There I was, just taking a pounding. One shot after the other. In the face. I tried to bob and weave, but I just couldn’t escape the fists snapping at my face. Man, this was getting tough. I could feel myself going down. But I had to fight back. Dig deep. She’s a girl. I know I am not meant to hit women, and this goes against every inch of my being, but I had to do something. So I started to swing at her. I got her with a couple of shots. Big ones. But she didn’t even flinch. She just kept on coming. Swing away. In that girlie way of hitting. But it hurt like hell. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went down. Big time…

When dad came to watch

Today was the birthday of my youngest daughter. She turned the Big Five. Yes 5. So I took the day off. To spend with the girls. But let me tell you a bit about me as a dad before I tell you about today…

Martin Luther King Jr is white

I never noticed it before. It has been there for a while. This picture of Martin Luther King Jr on our fridge door. You know, that space that kids occupy. I hardly look at the fridge door – just open it to grab something to munch on or a cold one. But there it was. Amongst all the fridge magnets and numbers and pictures of the kids. I guess it didn’t stand out because it was white on white. Yes, we have a white fridge. The reason why it stopped me was because it looked a lot like my dad. And you know about the relationship between me and my dad

I love my wife

How do I love my wife? In so many ways…

I am a traitor

I am a traitor. A traitor to my country. To my countrymen. To South Africa. To my beloved South Africa. And to every South African out there in my home country. I hang my head in shame…

I just loooove your accent

Let’s just get something straight here okay? I do not have an accent. You do. In actual fact, South Africans have the most pure and perfect English accent you can think of. It is a little known fact that we speak with the most delightful English accent – and the purest of them all. I didn’t suck this from my thumb – it comes all the way from a very well known study of languages by Oxford University. Please do go and do a fact check. (And let me know if you find it because I couldn’t)…

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fartlady

I got a talking-to from the lovely suffering wife… Yes, I know… It happens often…

Who said parenting was easy? My wife will respond by rolling her eyes and say, “A parent? You’re a bloody buddy to play with not a parent!” I’ll just be nodding my head with my eyes staring at the floor and my tail between my legs. And peeping to see where the girls are to get them to pull my finger once my “discipline session” is over.

Anyway…

I got the talking-to because the teacher had issues with my poetry teachings…

Apparently, not everyone at school appreciates good poetry. The missus got called in by my youngest daughter’s teacher for “potty talk”. Bah! It’s not potty talk! It’s poetry! Don’t they know anything cultural around here?

Let’s go back to my “poetry teaching” sessions with my 5-year old daughter…

As you might know by now, I bath my youngest daughter at night and put her to bed. Well, that is a pretty boring job if you stick to the “get-it-over-and-done” style of parenting. And I take my job as a parent very seriously. Very seriously… So up the stairs we go every night and in the bath she gets. Actually we do our “pictures” in the mirror first where we pull different faces – happy (Liverpool won!), sad (got to clean the cat litter) , mad (thinking Bush…), crazy (still thinking Bush…), handsome (my normal facial expression…), pretty (my Angelina look) and any other combination of faces. Only once we’ve done our acting classes in the mirror do I allow her to move into the bath. And Grand Master Teacher Angry (or  Guru African to some) comes out to play… hum… I mean… teach…

I have the curriculum well planned and sorted. We will eventually move on to Shakespeare, but for now I want us to concentrate on getting the basics right. Poetry 101… Nice easy rhymes…

So we did a few of the usual rhymes. You know…

“I’ve got a cat in my hat” and “I’ve got a yummy in my tummy” and “I’ve got a bear in my hair”. Just the usual rhymes. And then we moved on to more difficult pieces of poetry. Of course they also had to show me they take their lessons seriously and come up with their own poetry…

I really can’t help that my daughters are geniuses! It’s not my fault that they take innocent little rhymes and create their own unique take on poetry. Should I not be applauded for teaching my child the finer things in life? Should I not be rewarded for bringing the gift of literacy to my youngest daughter? Should I not be celebrated as a teacher and guru of poetry? Should I not be held up as the parent of all parents? Should I not…

And so on and so on. It ends with me claiming the Nobel Peace Prize for teaching my kids silly rhymes that ultimately and directly resulted in world peace and the end of world hunger and poverty. Oh yes, it also ended the current economic downturn worldwide. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the lack of appreciation…

So my youngest daughter decided to share her new found poetry gift with the rest of the class. I was so proud. My little girl sharing her passion for literature and fine arts with others. And, of course, for them to stand in awe and admire her poetic abilities. Bow down and sit at the master’s feet please. There’s a good class. Now sit still and listen. And then she let rip with some of her most creative pieces. Her own poetry in her own words…

“I have a drum in my bum.”

…and the clincher…

“I have art in my fart.”

The simple beauty of it. She makes me so proud. “Sniff.”

But noooooo… Apparently that isn’t good enough for Ms Snotty Nose teacher. Not appropriate language for a little girl. WTF? Does she not appreciate the beauty of poetry? Does she not recognize the modern version of a young Shakespeare? Damn teachers…

The curse of a genius…

Anyway, I couldn’t believe that the teacher didn’t give her a special prize for that one. Or at least push her one class ahead. Advance learning or something. Heck, I say let her teach the class literature! My little genius.

But maybe the teacher just didn’t understand her true ability. Because one of her pieces of genius poetry was in two languages… You hear me? Two languages! Bilingual baby!

“I’ve got a football in my poepol.”

Genius! Genius, I tell you!

I didn’t teach her any of this. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. She did it all on her own. Like I said, she makes me so proud. Damn teacher…

Oh, the meaning of poepol?

Hum… well… I… it’s a… the meaning is… but… No, I mean “butt”. Backside, arse, behind… You get my drift…

She mixed her languages all on her own and created this piece of beautiful poetry just for her dad. Like I said, she makes me real proud – “sniff.”

But ooooh nooooo, the teacher doesn’t recognize this piece of genius. Everyone is a critic. But maybe it was just a big misunderstanding. Because I also tell my girls to never lie. Not even in poetry.

If only the teacher asked her if she really had a drum in her bum…

My little girl would have kept a beat that will make her dad proud and her mother cry.

And maybe then the teacher would have realized that my little girl really told the truth when she said, “I have art in my fart”…

 _fartpropellant3

 funnygirl2

I have been blessed with a loving sister. She cared for me and always treated me as “the special one”. I had special names for her and she had a special name for me. The two of us. Bliss. She used to play with me and make me my favorite food. Pour me a little drinkie when I needed it and dressed me in my best clothes for Sunday school. She taught me about love and caring. She loved me and looked after me. My sister… She was my angel. My special one.

And then I have this other sister. Man… You think Freddie Krueger was bad? He wakes up screaming from the bad nightmares she gave him. She used to ride the “mares” until they pass out at night. If she didn’t pass out from the alcohol consumption first. She was the kid you warn your kids about. And that you pray to God you never get. She was the kid that the bogeyman told his kids about to scare them. She was the kid that people refer to when they say “I heard this story about a kid…”. She was the reason why cats stayed indoors. She made grown men cry. She was the reason why social services was created… for parents. The Chucky movies was based her favorite toy. When people spoke about “those Fockers living down the road” they weren’t referring to a family by that name… She was the Nightmare on Our Street.

You might have seen a few comments from her over here. Just go check out anything by a certain person called Marlize in a few earlier stories. The last one – Fat Kids and Stupid Parents for instance. She made a few comments about the lovely food she used to lovingly make me. Yeah right… More like force feeding. She has the cooking skills that is equivalent to my dancing and singing skills. And you know how awesome that is. Actually, she does bake extremely excellent tarts. But then, she knows a lot about being a tart. Baking tarts is not that huge of a jump for her.

But let me tell you a few stories of my sister from hell. The kid the devil rejected as “just too much to handle”. And what I am about to write is 100% true. I kid you not.

Yes, she did make my food almost every day when I grew up. My mother and father worked so it was up to her to feed me. Feed me and food might be a bit of a stretch, but there isn’t words to say what she did and “cooked”. But let me rather say that she “made” my food and not made my food. I need the “made” to qualify her “cooking”. But wait, let me first tell you the story of me chasing her down the road with a fork…

She commented in the previous story that I chased her down the road because she made me fish fingers with syrup and cheese on it. That is a complete lie. I did not chase her down the road because she made me fish fingers with a syrup and cheese topping. Never did that. Complete bullshit.

I chased her down the road because she made me a Big Jack pie and stuck the bloody fork in it. And that was just the start of something bigger…

I had a choice of three dishes. Actually, it wasn’t a choice. She decided which of the three I would get. And these were my “choices” for most of my life until I managed to escape her claws. I could have a Big Jack pie with some All Gold tomato sauce (ketchup), fish-in-sauce or fish fingers with syrup and cheese on top.

Now Big Jack was (and I hope was and not is) a soggy and doughy pie from a box in the fridge that tasted like cardboard and never had anything inside no matter what the box said. I think the box might have tasted better if we only tried it once but my sister was too lazy to give me that. And the box most likely had a higher nutritional value as well. It was crap and my sister had a special way of making it taste even crappier. (Note to sister – Next time just follow the instructions on the box please.) I don’t think that the instructions said that is should be burnt on the outside and frozen in the middle…

Fish-in-sauce was even worse. It was a piece of “fish” (or fish by-products most likely) in a bag of sauce. Three flavors – green crap, yellow crap and brown crap. I liked the yellow crap the best. If you want to call it “like”. I have blocked most of the details from my memory and sitting here and just typing about it makes me break out in a cold sweat and the shivers. Let’s just leave it at the fact that it was pulled off the market and declared a WMD by Saddam himself. And yes, I do have a certain “glow” at night like one of those light sticks. You never recover completely from it and I still get my tetanus shots daily thanks to my one-time consumption of fish-in-sauce when I was a little boy.

And then there was the fish fingers. Another fish-like by-product. If you take an old fish head off the rubbish dump and cook it for a few hours and then leave it for a week to cool down in the African heat outside in the middle of summer… The stuff you can scrape off the top is what fish fingers are made of… Including the flies and other “additives”. My sister tried to hide the impact of the smell and taste by smothering it with Golden Syrup and grated nameless yellow cheese. The taste of that will stay with you forever… For-effing-ever I tell you. I can taste it now. Hali-bloody-tosis! (Gotta go brush my teeth quickly…)

So those were my choices…

And then we had the fork-down-the-road scene. My sister-from-hell made me a burnt-on-the-outside-frozen-inside Big Jack. Again. For the fourth day in a row. It might have been a chicken one. Or steak and kidney. I can’t remember. And you couldn’t taste the difference either. You only knew what you ate if you opened it up. Chicken was a gooey yellow with chunky dog meat inside and steak and kidney was a gooey brown ball of crap. It all tasted the same. And on this day she emptied the full bottle of tomato sauce on the pie-like lunch. And I just had it with crap food.

(The kids at school was laughing behind my back and pointing fingers at me because I always had to go to the bathroom and smelled a bit even though I bathed every time I brushed my teeth. About six times a day. You can never get that crap out of your system..)

So I said, “No more”. Actually, it could have been in Afrikaans and something like, “Jou moer“. Translated roughly into “F-you” or “your mother”. But the message was clear. I wasn’t going to eat it. And she said, “Yes you will”. And I said, “No I won’t”. And she said, “Yes, you will”. And I said, blah… blah… blah. This went on for about 60 or so exchanges. But I think the language might have been more colourful the longer we went on with this “argument”.

Then she stuck the fork in it. In my pie! Or whatever you called that thing on my plate.

And that was it!

I said, “Now I won’t eat this effing pie!” And she said, “Yes. You. Will!” And blah… blah… blah… I think we stopped when I got up and tried to escape… I mean run away. And she started chasing me around the kitchen table.

Picture the scene…

We had this big kitchen with this big table in the middle that could fit about eight people. Nice 70’s style yellowish top table. Formica or something. And matching chairs. And cupboards everywhere. On the open half-wall was a Japanese picture my mother liked. One of those that could roll up and had the doves on the lake scene. A narrow wooden-stripped roll-up painting. Hand painted. Remember that. Now back to the “chase scene”…

So I am running around this table trying to stay away from her slapping me on my head or something and she is chasing me all the way. But I was small and nimble. No way she was going to catch me because I could take the corners quicker. She can beat me in a straight run – being older – but no way could she catch me when there were turns and twists involved.

We did about twenty or thirty laps when she started to get tired. And thank God I noticed. I realized she was slowing down and turned to look at her on the other side… and ducked just in time. The pie was about an inch away from my face when instinct kicked in and I hit the floor. I looked at the pie going past me in Matrix style slow-motion and watched as it hit the Japanese painting. Right where the two doves where flying. They were fried. KFC thank you.

The pie just stayed there for a few second but it felt like minutes. And then it slowly started to slide down the painting and eventually hit the floor. Right next to me.

I stood up slowly and kept on staring at the picture with the pie marks. And then I heard a “whoosh” sound and felt a stinging pain in my left buttock. I turned around and saw the fork stuck in my backside! She threw the fork so hard it got stuck in my arse! WTF?

I was pissed.

I pulled out the fork and shouted, “Now you are going to get it. I’m going to effing &%^@# you to pieces!”… And I charged at her. Like the Light Brigade. No, I was a Zulu impi and I had my spear. I’m gonna get me some revenge on this colonialist tyrant. Charge! For country! For freedom! For liberty! Viva La France!

(Juluka playing in the background.)

She looked at me and realized she was in deep shit. Little baby brother is about to kick some ass. She turned and ran. Out the front door.

And I was right behind her screaming and shouting.

Down the road we went. She just laying it down flat as if she was running the 100 meters sprint like Flo-Jo in the ’88 Olympics. And I’m the mad man with the fork trying to get her. Eyes blazing, screaming that I was going to take her out this time. Man, we were crazy.

We must have run about 400 meters down the road when both of started realizing how stupid this was. What must the neighbors think? I am sure I saw a few people peeping through the curtains and calling their kids and dogs inside. Again. But we just kept on running. And then we started laughing.

It was stupid. But it was fun. We stopped and just laughed and laughed. Me and my stupid weird and crazy sister. Lying in the middle of the road and laughing our asses off.

That’s the story of the fork-in-the-road incident.

But let me just give you a few other stories of my sister from hell so you can get a clearer picture of her.

She is older than me by three years so she was already well known in high school when I entered the same high school. There I sat in my first class on my first day. I had no clue that she had a “bit of a reputation” at school. The teacher introduced himself and started asking each kid to give their name where they came from. No problem. I can do that. The teacher smiled and pointed to me when it was my turn. I was chuffed to stand up and announce my name with a big smile. The teacher’s face just dropped. He kept quite for a little while and then asked, “Say that again? Are you the brother of Marlize?” “Of course!” I said with an even bigger smile. They know my sister! Great! Right…

“Come with me young man”, said the teacher and turned around to go into his little backroom. I followed. A little puzzled, but maybe he was going to ask me to help him carry some pencils or books or something. I followed him into his little backroom and saw him standing there with a cane in his hand. He looked at me and said, “Bend down”. I lifted up my school blazer and did as he said. He caned me six shots on the arse.

Why? Let me quote you using his own words – translated. “Because your sister is Marlize and just in case you turn out to be anything like her. And for what you might get up to later today”.

WTF?

Yep, that’s what happened. I was a nerd in secondary school but got my first taste of corporal punishment on my first day in high school all thanks to nothing more than being the younger brother of Marlize. Thank you sis…

I quickly learned that she was a “special needs” kid at school. Every single class had a table and chair right next to the teacher’s table. Facing away from the other kids. That was her special table and chair. In every single class. So that she couldn’t disrupt the class too much. As if that helped. Just because she couldn’t face the other kids didn’t mean she couldn’t do anything. Those ink pots had a special meaning for her…

That’s how my time in high school went. I got canned often just because of my lovely sister. She was also the only girl I know of that got canned the way boys got canned at school. On the backside. And boy did she deserve it.

But she did teach me a thing or two. Like how to hang out the windows of the top floor to shout and wave at her when she was down in the courtyard doing PE. Or rather, skipping PE and having a skelm smoke instead. My teachers had a few heart attacks with that one but I trusted in the builders having done their job. And it was cool to hang out the window on a hot summer day and feel the wind blow through your hair. Three stories up…

She also taught me that throwing a handful of certain chemicals in the big fish tank outside the headmaster’s office will allow just enough time for you to go in, get your daily caning and “the speech”, walk out and then run when you hit the corner – just before the fish tank explodes. I bet that was what they used to make those fish fingers…

Oh, and because of the mess they never gave you a hiding for the fish tank on the same day. That had to wait until tomorrow…

She was horrid. My sister. No idea how she passed any of her exams. To say she scrapped through would be an overstatement. A string of DNA could not fit in between her scrapping through school year after year. I know the UN has been investigating just how the hell she managed to pass since 1982 and are no closer to getting an answer. It’s also what Stephen Hawking has been studying since he wrote A Brief History of Time. I think he based his black hole theories on some of her exam results.

And she could drink… At school. She used to skip classes and go to the bar down the road and ask for a shot of everything. No, I don’t mean a shot of brandy and a shot of whiskey and a shot of tequila. I mean a shot of every brand in the bar!

And she stole my dad’s cars a few times… To go for a spin. And a few drinks. He never noticed the dents and marks left on the car. She added them slowly. One at a time. Little by little. Until it looked like those old stock cars from 1980. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

And oh, my parents once decided to send her to boarding school. Yeah, like that worked out pretty well…

She got kicked out after 2 weeks. And she was home for the weekend that fell in between those 2 weeks! I still have no idea why she got kicked out so quickly. And I don’t think I will hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from her either. Ha! My parents were so stupid that they gave her her yearly allowance for hostel as she started her first day there. She came back with… Nothing! She blew it! In two bloody weeks? I wonder if her getting kicked out and blowing her allowance had anything to do with each other? Mmm… Was there a bar close by?

Man…My sister. Here is another one.

You know the sign on the back window of the bus that says “Push out in case of emergency?” Guess what…

My dad got a call one day from the bus service complaining about my sister. Again. Why? Because she kicked out the back window. My dad just shook his head and asked in a faint little voice, “Why?” Her answer? “Because it was hot and for me that is an emergency.” She eventually wasn’t allowed on the bus either and my dad had to drive her to school each day. A 30 kilometre drive each and every day. Here is the clincher. My dad was the boss of the bus service in his role as head of the prison service where we lived. Yeah! She managed to get kicked out of something my dad was in charge of!

Or how about the time she kicked a hole in my room door because I didn’t want to let her in to beat me up?

Think of the worst thing you can think of for any kid to do just short of getting caught and going to jail. In her infinite wisdom my sister has done that and upped the ante to a level where you need bottled oxygen and a space suite just to breathe and survive the pressure. She lived in a rare space. A planet just for her. Population? One…

She made me take my first ever cigarette. I was six and she was nine. She was already a full time smoker. (Yes, you read right – 9!) And I caught her smoking with her friends in the park. What did I say? “I’m so gonna tell mom and dad!” Guess what she did?

She forced me to take one puff of a cigarette. One small little puff that made me puke my lungs out. I was still busy being sick all over the park and all I could hear was her laughing and shouting, “You can’t do anything now because I’ll tell mom and dad that you smoked as well!” Dammit. I was so stupid.

She used to rip me off as well. Trading my silver money for a gold money. She just polished her pieces of copper and “traded” it for my money that was “so worth so much less”. I could have been a millionaire by now if I didn’t trade my 50c for a 1c. Dammit. Again.

And she used to play “horsey” with me. Let me explain. She’ll come in and say, “Let’s play horsey. You are the horse and I am the cowboy. And then we’ll swap.” Guess what. We never swapped. I was always the horse and then she always had an excuse for why she could not be the horse. She fell off the horse and hurt her back. She had homework to do. Yeah right! I never got the chance to be the cowboy.

Or when we were on long trips and stuck in the back of the car. She used to tease me endlessly. She always told me that I was adopted and that my real name was Sareltjie Visser. Just a stupid common name in South Africa. And she would not stop until I cried and my parent threatened her with death.

My sister. Hell on two legs. There are so many stories I can tell you about her but some might still land her in jail. I know no one else who can touch what she has done and still remain more or less sane and stay out of jail. No one. Tell me your best story and I promise you I can tell you an even better one about my sister.

I promise you each and every single story is true. Not a single little detail is exaggerated. She was the worse of the worse. And she taught me everything I needed to know.

She taught me to always try things at least once. And never do it or taste it again if you don’t like it. I don’t like Brussels sprouts.

And she taught me the most important principle of them all…

Never back down. Never ever fucking back down. That’s what she taught me. To never back down when you know you are right. And to never back down when you see something is wrong.

Maybe that is why I am the Angry African. Still pissed after all these years.

I like my sister. She might have been a nightmare and the naughtiest kid to have walked this earth, but she is my sister. My effing crazy, mad, weird, delinquent and “special needs” sister called Marlize.

I love her very much. And I miss her very much.

She is special. She is crazy. She is full of shit. And she makes me laugh and love. She is my sister. And I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks sis. You have given me memories I will never forget. Even if I still wake up screaming at night. It was worth it. I love you.

Your proud brother who managed to survive your best shots.

Sareltjie Visser

 myfirstjointmr51

(Note: Sis, can you send a few tarts and some biltong this way? Oh, I mean the tarts you bake and not your friends…)

cherry

This will be short…

I was on a new business pitch with our team this week. Or as we call it in “agency speak” – new biz. Down in New York. It was fun. Great company. But more importantly, an absolutely great team from our side. It’s always fun going with our team. I always laugh my ass off at the craziness going on once they get started. I wish you could meet the people I work with. Just an absolutely brilliant bunch of people. Not only do they know their shit, but they are some of the funniest and most dedicated people you will ever meet. They want to change the world, but they want to have fun doing it.

Let me you give an idea of how close we all are. We always say that we know you can do the job once we ask you to come in for a “chat”. But the biggest thing for us is whether you can handle being part of us. Passion, humor and just generally great people – fitting in with our culture is most likely the single most important reason for our success. We work closely together and you need to laugh and poke fun or else you will never make it here. Really, I have never experienced it anywhere else where I have worked. Every place had a great work ethic and did the work because we want to change the world. But over here we want to have fun as well. Not fake fun – real fun where you can speak your mind and tell a joke at the same time. Argh! I can’t even explain it to you. Just trust me – it’s a fun place to be in so many ways.

And it start at the top. We have one crazy CEO. I’ll tell you about him at some other time. But let me just say that when I was still talking to them about joining “the firm” he first took me to a fancy restaurant for a steak and right after that took me to a real bar where all the local Red Sox fans hang out. And some of the stories he told me and words he used made me realize this is one weirdly excellent and different place. And our Chair(wo)man. She started this place. She is the guru in my line of work. She did this when everyone else was still picking their noses. And you know what? You wouldn’t know it if you met her. So many gurus have big heads and are full of themselves, but not our guru. She’ll pop in and just have a chat about my kids or politics or whatever. And we all argue like hell. We are strong willed people who want to make a difference. But we respect and like each other. From every single level. That’s our crazy gang over here.

But back to my story…

So we were all in a cab heading back to the airport on our way home. Laughing and joking. And Mrs T told us that our first meeting with this potential client was the first new business pitch for one of our gang members. Let’s just call her “Jess” for now. So Mrs T said that right after that first meeting Jess told her this – the best one-liner I have heard in a very, very long time… If not ever.

“I just popped my new biz cherry”.

Yeah. We all pissed ourselves laughing. Our CEO was in the cab. And he egged me on to put this on the blog. As if I needed any encouragement…

Jess, thanks for that – And congratulations on getting engaged. I hope it had nothing to do with you and the cherry popping…

Seriously though, may your love be as strong and full and perfect as what I have with my lovely suffering wife…

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firebucket1

Sorry about being so quiet over the last few days. I haven’t been feeling too well. That’s why I have this heading today…

Do any of you watch Monty Python? More specifically their movie The Meaning Of Life? I used to love them. Actually, I still love them. I met John Cleese once! But that is for another day. Do you remember the scene in The Meaning of Life where this huge guy called Mr Creosote is in the French restaurant eating? I mean really huge. Larger than life in so many ways. Anyway, the waiter asks him how he feels. Actually, here is the sketch:

Maitre d’: Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today?

Mr Creosote: Better.

Maitre d’: Better?

Mr Creosote: Better get a bucket – I’m gonna throw up.

Well, that’s how I have been feeling the last few days. But I am better now. Not “better”, really better…

Oddly enough it’s only the third time that I have ever asked my wife to “better get a bucket”. Really surprising if you know my willingness to try anything at least once – mopane worms, horse steak, kapenta nibbles, frog legs, “mystery” meat of various looks and flavors. You name it and I’ll try it at least once. Only thing I will never eat again? Cabbage.

Anyway, the “better get a bucket” scenes follow the story of my life. At least the signs that I am getting old. Let’s go through my three times of “better get a bucket” experiences.

First time was at my bachelor party. Big surprise hey? Actually, it was a cool party. I have some weird and wonderful friends so I knew it would be safer to have it somewhere where I would be safe. Just in case they decide to put me in a cast and ship me off on some train to nowhere. You don’t know my friends… They’ll do stuff like that.

So I decided to have it at my regular watering hole. De Akker. My home away from home. Man, I have stories about that place for you… But that is also for another day. Oh the memories… Jose, still the owner today, played soccer with me and I knew I could trust him. At least trust that he would not allow me to be carried away into the night and never to be seen again. Not because he was worried about me. More that he (and many others) was sh*t scared of what my (then future) wife would do to them.

The evening started off well. I made a few rules. Only whiskey (John Daniels – what you call Jack Daniels if you are really good friends), beer and Tequila! Anything else would get me… hum… better get a bucket… So I had a few shots and a few beers. It was going very well. All according to plan. And then bloody Christie had to do his Christie rules. Christie was a legend in my town. A huge guy. And I mean HUGE! Always had this XXXX large multi-colored jersey on (sweater for the Americans). He taught politics at the local university – that’s where we met – we both studied and taught politics there. He was a few years ahead of me though. In many ways. Anyway… He got up and shouted in a booming voice, “Listen everyone! It’s his bachelor party and you all better buy him a drink! Tequila, whiskey or beer! Now!” And no one argues with Christie. No one. Not even me. But it was a Saturday night and the place was packed. And everyone bought a bloody drink…

Now, I knew I had certain limits. I have never been a heavy drinker. But I’ve had my fair share at university. And this was the time to show my metal. But 18 tequilas lined up? Come on people! And a few beers and a few whiskeys? I knew I wasn’t going to make it through this night. Not without a trusty bucket.

I lost count somewhere along the way. Count of everything. I have no clue how I made it back to our flat. But I wasn’t feeling well. In all honesty, I never get physically ill from alcohol. I feel bad and might have a huge hang-over the next day, but never physical ill. But I knew that I might just drive that lorry with the white steering wheel later that night…

And that was where my (future) wife found me. I still wasn’t sick, but I felt awful. And she walked in, looked at me driving the truck and asked, “How are you feeling?” I looked at her and had no clue who she was. No idea! A little wet face cloth was given and I got up to lie on the couch for a while… And she was brilliant with me. She never saw me like that before. And she was great when I asked softly, “Better get a bucket…”

Haha! Surprise, surprise. I never actually used the bucket that night. The next day I felt like a truck hit me and only had some grape juice at the wedding we had to attend (not ours). But that was the first time I asked for it. I was young and still in top shape. The next time it happened I was a little bit older…

De Akker again many years later. We went there for a drink with a friend. All I had was one beer, one whiskey and one tequila. Nothing too heavy. Stretched over a few hours. But I started feeling ill very early on. Very ill. We took our friend home. I stopped the car and said good night. And then I opened the car door and leaned out to be sick. Right there in front of their home. Needless to say I haven’t lived that one down yet. I am reminded of my sorry state whenever they get the chance to mention it. Me barking like an Alsatian in the middle of the night at the cars driving past… Sorry about that. That’s just how it happened.

Again I had to say “better get a bucket” when we got home. I wasn’t feeling well. And this time I needed the bucket…

The reason for this? Bloody antibiotics. No one told me that I couldn’t drink while on antibiotics… My age was catching up to me. I was at the age where I needed antibiotics every now and again for a major middle ear infection I kept on getting. From swimming to much. Yeah… Surfing was becoming a hazard to my health and my ability to handle my drinks…

And this time? Why did I say “better get a bucket” this time? Popcorn. Bloody stupid popcorn…

We went to watch the new Bond movie on Saturday and I had some popcorn. Of course I had to go all American and decided to add some of that buttery stuff on my popcorn. I gulped down the popcorn during the movie and fell slightly ill afterwards. But I was still okay. I should have known better. I am not used to junk food. We eat healthy stuff at home. I am not a health freak, but I like home cooked food – no crap and no deep fried stuff thank you. My delicate African system can’t handle the rich food over here…

But that wasn’t what made me call for the bucket. No. It’s because I am bloody stupid. That’s why I needed the bucket the next day…

We took the girls to the movies the next day to go and watch the new Madagascar movie. It was cool – hey, it was all about Africa! Anyway… I had more popcorn. With that buttery stuff on it. Even more than the day before. Yes, I didn’t learn from the warning signals of the day before. And this time I really felt like sh*t when we got home. I had to lie down for a little bit. My lovely suffering wife gave me some stuff to “settle” my stomach. And then asked the question… And my answer? “Better get a bucket.”

I didn’t need it in the end. I was fine after a few hours of sleep and some more medicine and ginger ale to “settle my stomach”. But I knew… I just knew… Old age is starting to catch up with me.

Gone are the days of eating a whole pizza on my own and not even blinking. Or not putting on any weight if I eat until my shoulder hurts. (That’s the sign that I have eaten too much.) No more drinking as much as I can. One half of a beer and that’s it really. That little piece of fat that is so nice and crispy on the meat that just came off the braai? No more…

I am getting older. Some call it mature. Yeah right… Better get a bucket. I think I might be sick…

popcorn

barney

He used to drive me absolutely bonkers. Really. Just bloody crazy. The big fat purple blob called Barney the Effing Dinosaur. But there he was again. Singing the Barney theme song…

Barney is a dinosaur from our imagination
When he’s tall he’s what we call
A dinosaur sensation
Barney teaches lots of things 
Like how to play pretend
A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s
And how to be a friend
Barney comes to play with us
Whenever we may need him
Barney can be your friend too
If you just make believe him

Yeah… I would just like to “make believe” chopping his bloody head off. That’s what he “taught” me.

Remember his other “hits”? I Love You? Or maybe You Are Special? Okay Barney my mate… I don’t love you, but you are way “special”. Or maybe Barney Barney Go Away instead of Rain Rain Go Away? Do Your Ears Hang Low? No Barney, it’s just my mood dropping… The Bear Went Over The Mountain? Excellent! Why don’t you follow him? Are You Sleeping? No, I’m just praying that you would go away! The Itsy Bitsy Spider came down and sucked the life out of Barney. If You’re Happy And You Know It… Then just shut the hell up and keep it to yourself! The Wheels On The Bus is about to hit you and I am the driver. If I Lived Under The Sea I won’t have to see you or hear you!

You get the message… Barney used to drive me crazy. No sh*t Sherlock.

But we had to suffer through it. Day in and day out. Why? Because…

Because our oldest one had a her first crush ever on the purple blob called Barney the Dinosaur…

“Dad! Can you put Barney on for me please? Big pleeeeaaazzzeeee!”, was what we woke up to almost every single day. 6 am – just before the rooster woke up. Barney when she woke up and Barney when she fell asleep. And about another 60 hours odd of Barney videos packed in between waking up and falling asleep. Yes I know there is only 24 hours in a day, but you try and watch Barney again and again. And some more. And then again. One more time. How about a last time? It feels like a lifetime.

Of course there was all the Barney books to go with it as well. And coloring-in books. And tapes to listen to in the car. The the soft toys. Of Barney and all his friends. Baby Bop with her weird way of talking and even weirder blanky dependency. BJ the over-achieving sport star and older brother of Baby Bop (Is that a Red Sox cap he is wearing?) And let’s not forget Riff. The odd looking late-comer with punk hair and spots like chicken pox. Yeah. Real inspiring stuff.

The worst was the talking Barney. WTF? No. What the hell were we thinking? A talking purple blob? “Look dad! I just push his hand and he sings and dances with me. And if I hug him really tightly he talks!” Wow… I eventually did some “surgery” on him and removed his batteries. “Sorry girl. The batteries must have gone flat. I don’t think this is the type where you can change the batteries.” I had to do it. I could handle it during the day when I was at work. The nervous twitches subsided the further I moved away from blobbie Barney. But it became too much when you are deep asleep and she turns in her sleep and effing Barney starts talking or singing. He is bad at 2 pm. Try 2 am.

Of course it didn’t help even if you removed Barney when she is asleep. Prying it from her hands. Hoping she won’t wake up. You remove it slowly, making sure neither the little one or Barney wakes up. You slowly put him down amongst the other toys. You go back to bed and gently fall asleep again. And then you wake up in a cold sweat with “You are my best friend!” The bloody dog decided to go lie on the toys and accidentally sat on Barney. And not even our fat big-boned dog could keep that sound down. So I wake up in a cold sweat. The dog barks at the crazy toy and is about to go into attack mode. The cats go wild because of the racket. And the little one wakes up crying because Barney isn’t in bed. Good old days I tell you…

And did I mention that Barney is also a bit of a goody-two-shoes? Bloody charity clunk if you ask me. Subversive. People used to come visit us and our daughter would hand out toys left, right and centre. People didn’t even have to ask. She’ll just give them toys and insist they take it home. That they should have it. For keeps. Why? Like you really didn’t know the answer. Well, according to our daughter, “because Barney says sharing is a special way of caring dad!” I blame Barney for half of the poverty that we have suffered in our lives. I never saw him handing out Barney toys. Oh no, those you had to buy. Jeeze.

Oh, we went to the concerts and the plays. She had the outfit. The posters on the wall. You name it. Barney was bigger than Purple Rain was in the 80’s. Well, purple mullet blobbie Barney sold more stuff to our little household than Prince The Artist Previously Known As Prince Symbol “that guy” sold albums worldwide in the 80’s.

And then she met him…

That broke the ice a bit. Barney looked like Barney. He was pretty friendly. Signed her a nice picture of himself – the one he just gave her. Smiled for a photo with her (Okay, he always smiled. Like it was stuck on. Or as if it was a mask.) He gave her a big hug. A big old Barney hug. He danced a bit. Did the stuff she loved. But there was one tiny little problem. This Barney had a South African accent. Haha! Revenge! No more crushes. Or rather… Barney, feel me fists crush you! Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaa! (Dr Evil laughter in the background.)

After that came Horatio Hornblower. A television series about a swashbuckling Englishman roaming the seas. The guy she had the crush on is the same guy who played the stretchie guy in Fantastic Four. She never missed a program. Oh, he was a bit of a wimp really. An English toff. But he was better than her third crush…

Steven “Budda” Seagal… Yes, it was that bad. We left the television on by accident and didn’t realize that Under Siege was on. She walked past as Steven… I mean, Casey Ryback, was about to hit another guy into oblivion by just moving his thumb at lightning speed. Bam! The guy goes down and Steven takes another 30 guys down by flicking his hair back. You know how it goes. And my daughter was staring at the telly. And all she could say was, “Dad. Did you just see that? This guy is tough! Hey dad? Can you do that dad?” Thanks Steven. I think I still have problem with my left leg muscles in winter. I looked more like Spongebob Squarepants doing karate than Steven Seagal. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I know the dog never truly recovered. It was an accident. I swear.

I was really hoping her first crush would be Nelson Mandela. No luck. She loved him to bits. But he really isn’t much of a pin-up. She read his books, but no crush. Heck. I would have been happy with Bruce Springsteen. Hell, I played his music often enough. But no, she went with Purple Blob, Toff and the Fat Guy.

So that’s the stories of my oldest daughter and her first crushes. Now it is some smooth boy from High School Musical or something. Not sure. They change faster than I change my underwear nowadays.

Guess what? I think my youngest has got her first crush as well. Guess who?

“Dad! Look! It’s President Obama!” Yeah! I think she might just have a crush on him!

Or maybe it is me pushing my luck here. Maybe it is Mandela all over again. Maybe she really likes him. But more like a photo and a story. Nothing more. Maybe she’s got a crush on the dinosaur. Oh God please no. Not McCain…

It’s fun to watch the girls grow up. To see their crushes. Better than seeing actual boys visiting…

But tell me, who was your first crush? You want to know who was mine? You’ll never guess. I was just a little bloke. A laaitie as we would say in South Africa. You really want to know? Haha! You’ll be surprised! Go here and see for yourself. She was in all the movies late on a Sunday night back in South Africa. Once we got television in 1978.

I am just happy that she didn’t last long. Stevie Nicks and then Cindy Lauper were much better picks…

obamaglasses

I was thirty by the time I saw and felt snow for the first time. It was lovely. I never imagined it to be so white. And so quiet. Just beautiful.

We were visiting our great friends in Luxembourg. And Mr H drove us all the way up to the highest point to let us play in the snow. We found one little spot of snow and had a huge snow fight. Me and the missus. What a day it was. (Oh and N, his wife, was on her last days of pregnancy and he got into so much crap for being home late. But that is another story for another day.)

I remember the next time I saw snow – me and my lovely suffering wife sitting on a train coming from Brussels to Luxembourg on my birthday a year later and watching the snow from our window. We just stared at the beauty of it. Everywhere this beautiful white blanker covered the world. The train had to stop for a few minutes and we just sat there staring at the snow out on the farm lands of Belgium. Not a worry in the world. I love snow. Ever since I saw it the first time.

I never understood snow when I was little. All the Christmas cards had these pictures of this old dude with a long beard handing out presents. I always wondered why the hell was he in snow? It does snow in Christmas time. Not down South where I stayed. It’s beach weather baby! And why the heck is he white? Fat chance that the only dude in Africa handing out presents would be white. Never got it. Snow during Christmas. Imagine that.

Mr H from Luxembourg emailed us this really funny story a few days after they landed over there. The South African experience of snow the first season. We laughed at how funny it was. Now I am not so sure. I can feel the cold creeping into my bones. My African bones. These bones are made for weather above 15 degrees. Celsius. Around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below that and I move 1 mile per hour slower for every degree that it drops.

I still love snow. Just love it. But the cold weather. Man, that gets to me. Need a huge fire to walk with me.

Anyway, about that letter Mr H emailed us. I thought it would be very appropriate to share a version I found online. You know, before the snow starts falling again. I tweaked it a bit…

Snow, lovely bloody snow…

December 8: It started to snow. The first snow of the season and our first ever snow together. The wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven, clinging to the trees and covering the grounds. It looked like a picture painter in heaven. So romantic we cuddled up the whole evening.

December 9: We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape, what a beautiful sight. Every tree and shrub covered with a beautiful white mantel. Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had! Shoveled snow for the first time in my life and I loved it! I did both our driveway and the sidewalks, and even the neighbors place. This afternoon a snow plough came along and accidentally covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway with the snow from the street. The driver smiled and waved. I smiled and waved back, and got to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 11: The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment! My neighbor tells me not to worry- we’ll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again. I don’t think that’s possible. Bob is such a nice man, I’m glad he’s our neighbor.

December 13: Snow, lovely snow! It snowed another 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snow plough came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn’t huff and puff so.

December 14: 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4X4. Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that’s silly. We aren’t in Alaska, after all.

December 15: Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell and had to pay $145 to a chiropractor. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel, but nothing was broken. More snow and ice expected.

December 16: Still way below freezing and frigging cold. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should’ve bought a wood stove, but won’t admit it to her. God I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room. Tried to keep from freezing to death with the candles and a kerosene heater. Heater tipped over and nearly burned the house down. I managed to put the flames out but suffered second degree burns on my hand and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows. Car slid on ice on way to emergency room and was totaled. Had another 8 inches of the white crap last night. Both vehicles covered in salt and crud. More shoveling in store for me. That goddamn snow plough came by and buried me again.

December 19: -15 degrees outside. Not a tree or shrub on our property that hasn’t been damaged by the bloody snow. Electricity’s back on, but had another 14 inches of the damn stuff last night. More *&$^%# shoveling! Took all day. The damn snow plough came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they’re too busy playing hockey. I think they’re lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they’re out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

December 21: Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it’s so cold, it probably won’t melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plough on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he’s too busy. I think the asshole is lying.

December 22: Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!! Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she’s lying.

December 23: F&%^$ mother-*&@#% in white &^#%$ keeps on coming down. Have to put on all the clothes we own just to get to the *&#%$% in mail box. If I ever catch the son of a bitch that drives the snow plough, I’ll chew his chest off and rip out his heart. I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then comes down the street about 100 mph and buries the (*&$% driveway. Power still off and the toilet is frozen. Can’t piss or *%&%^# inside. Roof is starting to cave in.

December 24: 6 inches – Snow packed so hard by snow plough, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snow plough, I’ll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to *&%^$# death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I’ve just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the !@#$$%^%^^&& snow plough.

December 25: Merry Christmas my #%$&%! 20 more inches of the damn slop tonight – Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the snow! Then the snow plough driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the *&%^$ head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she’s a &^#% idiot. If I have to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” one more time, I’m going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26: Still snowed in. Why the *&%#$ hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She’s really getting on my #@$&% nerves.

December 27: Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28: Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me crazy!!!

December 29: 10 &^$%# more $#@#$ inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30: Roof caved in. 9 more ^%$&  inches of &#@$% snow and *&%#$ sleet and *(&%$ ice and goddamn knows what other kind of white ^%$# ^%$#@ fell last night. I wounded that &^%#$ snow plough dickhead with an ice axe, but the asshole got away. And now he is suing me for a million dollars, not only because of the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his %$@#& ass. Wife left me. I think I’m going snow-blind. I can’t move my toes. My dick is almost frozen solid. Haven’t seen the sun in weeks. Wind chill factor is -33 degrees. More snow predicted – 12 more inches. &^%$@ white %@#*.

December 31: I set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8: Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Wonder why they tied me to this bed?

 

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