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Archive for June, 2006

atom bombSometimes one has to roll with the punches and take things in your stride. Other times, tact has no place in this world, and one has to tackle what life throws at you… head-on.

ME: Dude, did you just fart while I was taking to you?
HE: Erm… No, of course not! (crooked smile)
ME: Are you sure? I heard a strange noise while you were talking to me.
HE: Oh, that was my stomach rumbling. I haven’t had breakfast and I am a little hungry at the mo.
ME: Man, you really ought to see a doctor about that stomach of yours.
HE: He he… why’s that?
ME: Well, it seems that when your stomach rumbles, it also gives off a unique odour. Not very pleasant at all.
(I back away and start walking to the other side of the room)
HE (giggle): Where are you going… we aren’t done talking yet!
ME (laughing): Uh… yeah about that… can we continue this conversation sometime later?
There is a pocket of fresh air on the other side of the room. I want to get to it before it disappears.
HE (realizing the game up): Come on [K]… gimme a break, ok? Look… I’m sorry.
ME (still laughing): Dude… think Little Boy & Hiroshima! When the last bomb of this magnitude was dropped on mankind, it was 6th of August 1945. And even back then, the outcome was not pleasant. .
HE (shaking his head): They broke the mould when they made you, didn’t they?
ME (from across the room): Funny, you should say that. I just had the same thought about you.

Now, we are all guilty of letting go and thinking we can get away with at some point in our lives. That’s life! But when you are caught in the act, do the honourable thing and ‘fess up, Stinker!
I wonder if he is radio-active? Guess, I’ll have to wait and see if my nose falls off.

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I remember the first time when I felt really alone, or should I say… abandoned. It was the scariest feeling in the world. I remember thinking that nobody was going to find me. I was going to die and no-one was going to know that I was dead because they probably would not notice that I was gone. One has a vivid imagination when you are 6 years old.
My mother had taken me shopping with her to a department store. It was a busy Saturday morning. I had somehow got distracted and was separated from her. The one minute she was there and the next minute she was gone. I thought I saw someone who resembled my mother and eagerly ran towards her. I panicked when I realized it wasn’t her, and darted off in what I thought was the direction I had come from, and soon found myself horribly lost.
It is rather difficult to find someone when all you can see of people is what they look from the waist down. I did not know what to do, so I sat down and cried. People were walking past me in all directions and finally an elderly woman took pity on me and asked me what was wrong. Through the snot and the tears, I managed to tell her that I had lost my mother. I was able to tell her my name and the name of my mother. She took my hand and escorted me to the manager’s office.
Walking with her was also scary as I had been brought up not to talk to strangers or to go with people I did not know.
One hour later, and after numerous announcements on the public address system, I was rescued by my mother. She cried when she saw me and hugged me so tightly that she practically squeezed the air out of my lungs.
I learnt a valuable lesson that day. That asking for help and talking to a stranger when you have run out of options is not the worst thing in the world. And what you imagine might happen is actually far scarier than what is actually happening.
When she had finally managed to calm down and regain her composure, her first words to me were, “Wait till your father hears about this. You should learn to pay more attention to what I say to you. (she had told me to repeatedly not let go of her hand). One day your attitude will get you into big trouble”. How right she was… many times over.
Yesterday I got into trouble again for not paying attention to what someone was saying to me. I had caught the start of the conversation, but was too embarrassed (polite?) to admit that it was of no interest to me and hence I had no clue of what was being said. Nothing new… spacing out in the middle of conversations is a popular pastime for me. The person had actually asked me a question, and not having paid attention, I responded in what could only be described as utter nonsense. In the process I managed to insult not only the much-revered speaker, but incurred the contempt of all those around me.
It is a strange moment when you realize that you are completely alone in a crowd of people and that no-one will be coming to your rescue, at least not this time. An apology and a half-hearted attempt at humour can only take you to a certain point and then no further. From then on onwards it is only you and your own stupidity. I can’t say it was a pleasant experience. It was however a valuable experience… and it sucked!!
I don’t know why this incident made me remember those words my mother said to me all those many years ago.
Although, at the time I felt exactly like a six year old who had just lost his parents in a crowded mall.

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shy girlI bumped into an old roommate of mine on Monday when I was standing in line at the post-office. I use the term “bumped into” very loosely, since we did not speak to one another and all I was trying to do was avoid her at all cost.
This was by no means as an easy feat, since she was only two people ahead of me in the queue.
When I first saw her, I went so pale it looked like I had just OD-ed on smack. The only words going through my head was, “don’t turn around… please, don’t turn around”, as if by thinking it over and over, I could compel her to keep looking straight ahead.
I could have easily tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Hello, how are you?”, as any sane person would have done under the same circumstances. But I feared that by doing so, we would probably end up going for a drink.
We would exchange pleasantries and talk about what we got up since we both left university. We would inevitably end up re-capping the antics we got up to while sharing an off-campus flat for 2 years back in the good old days. All perfectly nice, it would seem… on the surface.
However, I feared that we might talk about one night at the end of our final year, shortly before we gave up the flat, when we ended up sleeping in the same bed. It was a stupid thing to do, but we were hosting a particularly wild student party to celebrate the end of our 4 years at university, and we both had way too much to drink. I am not offering that up as an excuse… we did. Really.
And even though this had all happened many years ago, it suddenly felt very recent and the memory of how (extremely) awkward it had been in the few days after the incident, welled up inside of me. At the time, talking about that night was not an option, so we went about our lives as if nothing had happened. The situation was awkward for a number of reasons; we had been best mates for two years. We used to set up dates for one another with people we fancied. Neither of us wanted to admit openly that it really meant nothing/zilch/nada, for fear of hurting each other’s feelings, which is how I suspect we both felt.
So I buried my head in the newspaper I had with me, and pretended that I had not seen her. She finally made it to the front of the queue, did whatever she came there to do, and as she turned around to walk back to the exit, I dropped down on one knee and pretended to tie my shoelace. Yep, I wore my crown as the king of the cowards with unrivaled pride! Grrr…
She walked past without noticing me… or perhaps she had seen me too and was doing the exact same thing I was doing.
Perhaps it is all for the best, I thought as I watched her walk away. Even though we had had lots of good times, deep down I did not really want to re-kindle the “friendship” we had back in the old days. Not that I feared a repeat what had happened… even I am not that vain and cocky!
The truth is we never really fancied one another to begin with. We were young and believed that nothing we did back then could affect us later on in life. And so far denial has worked for us… so why stop now?
Some things are just better left in the past, don’t you think?

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Football rehab…

Fifa 2006I am a bit of a fanatic; perhaps I am even obsessive, when it comes to some of the things in my life. My Playststion2 being a case in point.
Now, most people/gamers will tell you that the Playstation is indeed a Pandora’s box. Once you are hooked on it, life will never be the same again. You become a zombified couch potato, the living room will turn into a games arcade, and everywhere you look, you will see CD’s and opened CD cases.
I have over 60 games (at the last count) in my collection and I calculated the other day that between R300.00 – R500.00 a pop, I could have saved myself a ton of money. So much for the gift of hindsight!
The gf refers to herself as a Playstation widow. I like to think of her as a Playstation whiner, but that is something I only say to myself… quietly.
I am madly competitive and have always loved playing video arcade games. When I bought the Playstation2 a few years ago, I warned her that I may become addicted.
My obsession reached new heights when I bought the new Play Station Portable (PSP) and a game of FIFA World Cup Football 2006 game. It combined my love for football and my love for video games – a double freakin’ whammy. And with World Cup 2006 currently on the way in Germany, it is has only fuelled my addiction. I’ve become completely engrossed. When I’m not watching the games on DSTV, I’m playing them on my PSP… and vice versa. Fanaticism is exhausting! And let me not tell you what it has done to my diet… I think I own the largest stash of two-minute noodles and Lays Potato Chips outside of Pick ‘n Pay.

The idea of managing winning football teams from the luxury of my couch bowled me over completely. And who wouldn’t be, except perhaps the majority of people out there who actually live normal lives?
I have taken superstition and addiction to a new level. If one of my favourite teams is due to play in the FIFA World Cup, I would play the game on the Playstation before hand. In true ChistSter fashion, I have convinced myself that I could influence the outcome of the real game in Germany. “Don’t underestimate to power of the Playstation”, I would say jokingly. If the team in my game wins… so will the real team in Germany. It has happened a few times, which made me believe there may actually be something to it… ha ha.
Now I am fully aware that “coincidence does not causality make”; but try telling that to the superstitious gaming monster who has set up residence inside of me!
[S] has (rightfully?) put her foot down and said, “If you play another football game when I am here with you, then …” It has been a turning point in our relationship. There is something missing… at least from where I stand.
Well, perhaps it is not so much that something is missing, because I have found that there are a myriad of things I can do to while away the time in-between football matches.
Having said that… if my team loses in the World Cup, I know exactly who’s to blame. I could have made a difference if only she had allowed me to play the game beforehand on my PSP… couldn’t I?
I need an enabler (any takers?)… someone other than myself who I can blame for my addiction.
Hehe… I wonder if there is a Playstation/World Cup Football 2006 helpline?
Totally screwed, I know.

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A word or two

I saw this on Blackcrag’s blog, who summarily tagged me with the letter “H” (aitch)
The rules are simple: Write 10 words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.
Now I’m not much of a wordsmith, so it took a while for me to come up with my list. So here goes…

1. Hero: (Dial H for Hero). I have never been much of a hero, but always dream of being one. Too many Marvel comic books when growing up, I guess.
Having said that, every society needs heroes. And every society has them… selfless men and women who perform extraordinary acts. Without heroes we are drained of any passion or zeal, never making waves, levelled men fitting perfectly into the box provided for them, every one of us trained to be like everyone else.
2. Homer (as in Homer Simpson): He who juggles the roles of husband, father, safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, bowler, beer drinker, astronaut, small business owner and dreamer, embodiment of the negative stereotypes and makes it all look easy. Oddly enough, Homer is sometimes unpredictably adaptable, quick-witted and capable.
When I think of homer the word “Doh” immediately comes to mind and also such gems as
“If the Bible has taught us nothing else – and it hasn’t – it’s that girls should stick to girls’ sports, such as hot-oil wrestling, foxy boxing, and such-and-such.”
3. Hell: When I was younger, the word hell filled me with much dread and my mother used it very effectively to whip me into shape.
A place underground, with fire and molten rock where the devil lives where the evil and sinful, like myself, are doomed to spend all eternity. The devil being a creature who carries a pitchfork, has flaming red skin, horns on his head, a black goatee, and a long thin tail with a triangle shaped barb on it. Yeah, right!
Now that I am older and having been told to go there on numerous occasions, I am actually thinking that it may not be a bad place after all.
What the hell is Hell, anyway? It is all about perspective I believe. Being stuck in traffic is hell, and so is watching re-runs of Seinfeld.
4. Heart: That pear-shaped structure about the size of a fist that resides in our chest, pumping blood to all parts of the body.
Oddly enough (or not!), it is widely regarded as the universal symbol for love.
It can however be used to signify a number of other emotions such as, “I’ll rip your friggin’ heart out”, “heart-broken”, “a hearty shag”, “I hate you with all my heart”, “You are a heartless bastard”. Got to love semantics!
Me? I am all heart… and let me tell you, it is a be-atch when the brain catches up.
5. Humour: I like to think that I have tons of it, although it is not always appreciated and seen as such by those around me.
A sense of humour is one of the most important ingredients of what women deem to be a winning personality in a man. So if you are a guy and don’t have a sense of humour, cultivate one, asap!
~Irvin S. Cobb, said, “Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn”, and I tend to agree.
It is all about the context and a host of absolute and relative variables.
Question: Why is it that the most humourless people always stress the importance of a sense humour?
6. Ho(e): Probably one of my favourite H-words. It brings a smile to my face, and simply because it has gone from one of the tamest words in the English language to one of the most infamous.
A hoe, of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We have taken the liberty of changing hoe to ho, a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps
“You doin’ ho activities with ho tendencies.”
Thank God for rap music or this word may have become extinct… he he.
7. House: In this case, not house as in “home” but House as in the smartest, crankiest, most egotistical SOB doctor that walked the face of the earth. DR. GREGORY HOUSE (Hugh Laurie) is devoid of bedside manner and wouldn’t even talk to his patients if he could get away with it. His behavior borders on antisocial and he uses a cane that seems to punctuate his acerbic, brutally honest demeanor.
Got to love him, especially when he comes up with gems like these:
Wilson – “Did you know your phone is dead? Do you ever recharge the batteries?”
House – “They recharge? I just keep buying new phones.”
8. Hedonism: A belief that pleasure is the highest good. Hedonists want to be free, not tied down, confined, or obligated, to do as they wish when they wish, to enjoy today, to be impulsive, to have a life of action which repudiates long term goals, objectives, or plans, to be active just to be active, to do what they feel the urge to do, to experience excitement, to be seen by others as being free to act, as free spirits, to be exciting, optimistic, cheerful, light-hearted, and full of fun.
Oh yeah… just the way I like it… a-ha, a-ha!
8. Hamburger (hot dogs, hot wings): Yep, some of my favourite fast foods begin with H. I’d venture as far as to say that H is the king of the fast food chain. Ok… perhaps that is a bit of a stretch, but I think you get my point.
9. Hot: You are so hot!
Gone are the days when hot meant, having or giving off heat; capable of burning or being at a high temperature.
These days it is all about sexy, popular, what’s “in” and “happening”. The word lost(?) a little of its appeal when Paris Hilton coined the phrase, “That’s hot”, but who’s complaining… I‘d settle for her calling me hot any day of the week.
10. Happiness: Arguably, my favourite H-word. It conjures up thoughts of sunshine, joy, peace, and a wonderful sense of well-being. True happiness, I believe, is a choice YOU have to make. There you go… my bit of pop-wisdom for today… take, leave, use it, abuse it.
Remember those Happiness is… cartoons? Damn, they were cool back in the day, weren’t they?!
Other favourite H’s include, heaven, hope, high score, Huck Finn, hello, Halle berry, heathen.
(Who do I tag? will post names in the Footnotes below)

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Culinary Interlude

Fried chicken Me: Can I have the chicken combo, please? (combo = ½ grilled chicken, large fries, 4 bread rolls with a side order of tangy mayonnaise)
Assistant: Do you want bread rolls and fries with that?
Me (perplexed): Uh… of course I do. It thought that’s what I ordered?
Assistant: How many do you want?
Me: How many of what?
Assistant: How many bread rolls do you want?
Me: Let me see… can I have a dozen?
He rings up the order and passes the order slip on to guys in the kitchen. I start to giggle.
Supervisor (watching from the side with an amused smile): Sir, please do not screw with the trainee staff?
Me (still laughing): I am not. He’s doing a fantastic job of it all by himself. I just thought I’ll lend him a helping hand, if you know what I mean.
That reminds me…uh, I think I’ll pass on the mayo.
Supervisor: You are a regular stand-up comedian, aren’t you?
Me: You should see me at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Supervisor: (Laughs and walks to the back to correct the order)

Now who said you can’t have fun with fast food?

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ShoutThe gf says I have anger issues, and I fear she may be right. I can be an inconsiderate arse, and many times, there exists a distinct disconnect between my brain and my mouth.
I hate it when someone (anyone) uses an absurd statement to underline a point or to emerge as the victor in a spat. I feel compelled to react, which as the gf points out, is not good and that sometimes there is greater value in simply keeping quiet.
I do however find it disconcerting that society and individuals, through their silence, appear to endorse utter baloney when it is paraded it in front of them as the truth.
What pains me even more is how easily men in particular, will accept gratuitous society-sanctioned faux pas, simply because they feel ill-equipped to challenge a woman verbally. Let’s face it; women are more evolved when it comes to debating and the use of language. A guy would rather sit there quietly and pretend to agree, than engage in an argument, because:
a. He has no idea what women are about, and
b. How does a guy go about disproving something when he is unable to quantify or relate to what is being said?

But, I digress and let me not turn this into a gender specific issue. Instead, I’ll attempt to illustrate why [S] says that I have anger issues.
[S] and I are in Melville, Jo’burg’s quaint little capital of hippy-dom. For those of you who do not know what Melville is like… just wander back to your campus days. Think art studios, writers, second hand furniture shops, spiritual healers, quaint little restaurants, live bands and bars filled to capacity with ppl who shun the norm and whose aim it is to be different. It is the kind of place where dreams hang out when they are not swimming through your unconscious brain. 
We having drinks with [S]’s friend, Jen, (The Man Slayer) and her boyfriend. We haven’t, and by that I mean the gf, seen them in a while and the conversation mostly centers on, “Have you heard, “Did you know”, and “What-ever happened to so-and-so?”
In short, it is about as scintillating as having a gyrating vagina thrust in your face in a strip club… only significantly less pleasant. I am bored out of my skull, but I play the role of the good other. I smile at the right moments and throw in the occasional, “Oh really, that is nice”
It helps that they serve the most incredible Vodka Martinis in this joint, because my head feels all warm and fuzzy. I sense that I can actually catch one of those elusive dreams by merely reaching out my hand.
At some point, I excuse myself from the conversation to go to the toilet. When I get back, I hear Jen saying to [S],
“A man would never be able to tolerate the excruciating pain of childbirth”

Oh crap!!
I have no idea how the conversation deteriorated to this level in the time it takes to have a piss, but it is not unexpected and I have been here before… many times.
When a guy hears a declaration like that, all he wants to do is run away and find something to hide behind… preferably something big and impervious to light. I am thinking this is a good time to do a 180 and head back for the men’s room, but they have already seen me and I have no choice but to sit down.
I take a deep breath and tell myself, “Be cool. Change the subject and pretend you have not heard a word of what she said”
I manage to do that very effectively for about 2 seconds(!) and then my lips part and I ask casually, “As apposed to what, Jen?”
“Have you fallen out of a tree lately and banged your nuts on a really thick branch on the way down or have you ever been kicked so hard in the groin that it feels as if your testicals ended up in your chest cavity?”
“Ha ha”, she laughs, somewhat puzzled. “Don’t be absurd [K]. I am a woman. How would I know what that feels like?”
“So how would you know that a man would NOT be able tolerate the pain of childbirth? Thankfully, there are some things a man can never hope to experience. And as much as I would like debate the intricacies of childbirth, I believe that drawing comparisons of this nature to illustrate a point is just plain unfair. Giving birth must be excruciating, but it is also an experience that is filled with much happiness, joy and gratitude.
In many instances, when you are man, you are just dealing with raw pain and nothing else” [Silence]
Of course, the [S] is horrified. She kicks me under the table and asks me to go with her to the bar to buy another round of drinks.
“You just had to do it, did you? You could not pretend to let it slide” she says with a somewhat aggrieved look on her face.
“After tonight, Jen is never going to speak you again, you know that don’t you?”
“I know”, I say with a smile…”it is an unexpected perk, but I am sure I can live with that”
I guess we won’t be going to Melville anytime soon, and I had better come to terms with life in the dog box.
Damn those anger issues… sigh.

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