You must have a lot of time on your hands

There is a certain phrase, which languishes next to old Justin Bieber ticket stubs and golf score cards in pleated chino pockets. It is the microwaved fish of social commentary and it is used by people who will tell you that Justin Bieber is somehow talented, or that he has any kind of cultural relevance, the kind of people who read motivational books and biographies, the kind of people for whom braaiing is an art and art may as well be thrown in the fire.

They come in from their M-Net Sunday Movie lives, chests jutting like Kim Kardashian’s self belief and say, after looking at something you’ve made: You must have a lot of time on your hands, with a smug look on their face. There are a number of responses to this, statement none of them particularly legal, but invariably the person being accused of having too much time is put on the back foot, forced to defend something they didn’t expect to. This is particularly difficult when the person being accused of having said time is in fact quite proud of their creation.

These are the kinds of people who will tell you with a straight face that Beyonce is talented, Kim Kardashian is a role model or that Carte Blanche is all you need to know about South African current affairs. The very same people who will spend hours upon hours on a golf course trying to hit a ball into a hole with fewer hits than last time, or who consider ‘drinking’ a legitimate hobby.

Unfortunately these are also the people who believe that you just need ‘one good idea’ to be successful, who somehow still believe all you need is to scream Eureka! in the bath and run down the street with your dick flapping all over the place. The people who comment on Yahoo buying Tumblr as if it has any relevance to any of our lives, yet probably wouldn’t get into Tumblr because, well, they have upside-down crosses on there you know! The people who think Sex And The City is somehow emotionally meaningful, that we should all aspire to Jimmy Choo Rabbit Vibrators, that life is a series of languid lunches with white friends and white wine. How long, exactly, did it take for the first person to figure out how to make an unwooded Chardonnay? Did they have too much time on their hands?

The real point here, dear reader, is: These people don’t understand. They just don’t fucking get it. What they really don’t understand is that to make something, you find the time. You don’t ‘do coffees’ and watch Grey’s Anatomy. You don’t play golf and you don’t do whatever the fuck else it is that men are meant to do. What you do, when you want to make something is: You stop sleeping. You figure out the least amount of sleep you need to be a functioning human (merely) being and then while everyone else is sleeping, you work. While they’re having wet dreams about fucking Mark Zuckerberg and wrapping his dick in hundred dollar bills, you are still hunched over your desk and you are still working. Your relationships suffer, your social life suffers, you turn into the shuffling, slack-jawed work zombie but you are still working. Because as far as I’m concerned the only way you can confirm your existence on this piece of shit planet is to make something.

Do I have too much time on my hands?

I don’t have enough.

Being a fancyman isn’t easy

Despite having shoulders much wider than they need to be and legs that are great for pulling carts, I find myself feeling decidedly unmanly. This is difficult growing up in a country like South Africa, where the ability to use a drill is considered paramount to your future success.

This situation in which I find myself is due to a number of factors. I was a bookish child, I don’t really believe in manly competition and I had an absent father who really didn’t impart much upon me, other than how to alienate yourself emotionally.

My reluctance to engage in manly endeavours has seen me land in a number of embarrassing situations and while I know I could figure these things out (there’s a reason those who aren’t big on intellectual stimulation go into jobs that involve drilling holes) I just couldn’t really be bothered. When there’s post modernism to think about and 60s and 70s counter-culture comix to read, why should I concern myself with such temporal fripperies?

I’ve been considered gay very many times, by a number of people. And I’m sure I am in an alternate universe, it’s just that in this universe I don’t really like dicks that much. The worst aspersions cast on my sexuality came at the hand of a female mechanic. With forearms as big as mine and somewhat hairier, and her hair in a rather Germanic plait – she straight out asked me if I was gay. There are some interesting gender politics for you.

I’ve had old men accuse me of not knowing what I’m doing in hardware stores, simply because I was wearing a lavender shirt. (To be honest, I have no fucking clue – because why should I?) And all of this is really quite embarrassing for me. As someone who was born embarrassed and spent the last twenty-seven years of his life in various shades of self-loathing and red-faced self-consciousness this is really quite difficult. And honestly, I hate hardware stores. Bookshops, art-supply stores – there is where my artfaggery truly comes to the fore.

So where to from here? How do I truly integrate into this macho society of ours? It begins with blagging your way through conversations about soccer and other sports (roundy kickball, if you are unfamiliar with the term). The easiest trick to hide the fact that you know nothing is to ask a lot of questions. This makes you seem Interested. And as we know, most people prefer talking than listening, which allows you to get to more interesting conversational topics like: What are your opinions of Viennese Actionism?

So the next time you have to hang a picture or build some sort of stupid thing, think of me – as my manhood slowly erodes in the eyes of others until I’m some sort of hairy ladyman.

Yours stroking his chin,

PW

Five things they don’t tell you about life

We are evolved monkeys. We lost some of our hair; we developed an intricate language with which to misunderstand each other. But that’s all we are. We toil for seventy years so that we can spend a few years resting before we die, slowly pickling in our own juices and become more and more alienated from mainstream life.

There is no soul waiting room where we hang around before popping into a body.

And when exactly does the so-called soul enter the body anyway? Is it at the moment of birth, the moment of conception or somewhere in-between? Does it have to happen within a womb? What if we are conceived in a Styrofoam cup? What happens if the sperm is delivered via a spout other than the penis itself? What happens if the parents are of opposing faiths, which god gets to deposit the soul? Is the soul power with that little burrowing tadpole, the most blindly optimistic thing in our cold universe, or the turgid egg – waiting for the fastest, most aggressive sperm to wriggle and burrow through its membranes?

We don’t get told a bunch of things before we step through a door, suddenly forget everything and start pissing and shitting all over the place as our souls suddenly become babies. We have to figure it out as we go along. And it’s much like your father – fucking horrible.

But I’ve learnt some things along the way, and I would like to share them with you.

 

One: If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

There’s a reason the Bible says the meek shall inherit the earth. It’s so that the people at the top can ride you around like a little fleshy pink horse. If you need something, you gotta ask for it Mr Quiet. So the next time you’re on a date with a girl lean over and ask her: Can I put my sperm-depositor in your lovechute?

See what happens. You will be surprised.

 

Two: It’s hard work being a pervert

Sometimes you aren’t allowed to look at butts. Sometimes you have to try really hard not to. Sometimes the butts are not yours to look at

 

Three: Smile and the world smiles with you, shit your pants and you shit your pants alone

Don’t shit on your own doorstep before you get off the pot. The early bird gets out of the kitchen.

 

Four: Bacon is not that funny

It’s a breakfast meat. It’s elevation to some kind of magical thing is just dumb. Take the joke out the back and kill it with a brick. Don’t even bother burying it, just leave it out for the twin crows of zombies and ninjas to pick at the carcass. Then blow the whole garden up. Those jokes suck.

 

Five: The funniest things are those which aren’t funny

Slipping on a banana peel – not funny. Slipping on a banana peel and dying – much funnier. Slipping on a banana peel and setting in motion a series of events which lead you to travel back in time and kill your own grandparents – even better.

Take a look at these jokes.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Euripides.

Euripides who?

Euripides jeans, you menda deez jeans.

///

Knock knock.

Who’s there.

Gerald.

Gerald who?

Hello please I’m being eaten alive by a dickwolf.

 

I’m sure we can see which joke is funnier.

 

PSW Eindhoven

 

[Pic courtesy of Mike Burns]

Five things to make you not feel so awful

I’ve spent the majority of my life feeling awful. This was brought about by a number of factors, including but not limited to: Being born with one and a half legs, the inordinate size of my bonce, my body hair, the way my teeth are so close together and that time all the dogs died.

I was feeling awful this morning, and as I contemplated throwing the entire cup of hot coffee down my throat in the hopes that it would somehow burn through my oesophagus and provide me with a nifty food letterbox, I realised that I had to pull myself together, to shape up, to pull my socks up above my knees before I was in for the high jump into the dog’s breakfast.

So I thought of five things that could make life better. Five golden eggs, shat from the very cloaca of the golden goose herself, into the waiting nest of opportunity. And before I get sidetracked any further, let me present them to you like some kind of frittata of fun, filled with the cheese of happiness and the potatoes of positivity.

 

One: The UFO like sound you can make when you hum while you whistle

When I was a kid someone gave me this great book, which taught you how to make sound effects with your mouth. It came with a record to help you get an idea of what everything should sound like, which I listened to once before the record player stopped working.

I learnt one sound effect; the sound of an alien ship hovering over unsuspecting cows moments before mutilation. I have since used this sound to great effect. Not only does it irritate my sister endlessly, it also causes dogs to cock their heads and go: Hmmm? Hmmm? Hmmmmmm? Which is cute.

Two: You are going to have sex

If you haven’t had it yet, the chances are you will have it sometime soon. You, dear friend, will be dancing the horizontal dance, making the beast with two backs and doing the mattress mambo. You will literally be shaking downstairs hands with someone – stiff, penile finger in moist vaginal glove. Imagine that, you and a person being all naked together. Isn’t it incredible? There might be screaming, there might be wailing, there might even be a midget.

HA HA MIDGET SEX JOKES. OMG HAHA MIDGETS. MIDGET SEX JOKES ARE SO FUNNY.

Three: Email humour is on the decline

If we extend our sexual metaphor a little, if we rearrange our imagery pants to make way for this rather welcome intrusion, we can make an observation. We are in 2013, and in modern parlance we could say that we are now at the ‘just the tip’ stage of the year. Yes, dear friends, we will be balls-deep by December but for now we are just in the entrance hall, so to speak. Our fingers are on the nipples of the year as we tweak away and as the year’s nipples harden we notice a yelp of excitement from the year itself – email humour is finally on the way out, much like the lubricating secretions bursting forth from this very year’s lovechute.

Gone are the days when we receive idiotic jokes, typed out in 24-point Impact about the old man, his wife and the priest or PowerPoint presentations of non-funny jokes. PowerPoints – are you fucking kidding me? The last time PowerPoint was used for a joke was when someone at BlackBerry explained why they weren’t going to go for touch screens.

If you still receive jokes and glitter graphics and cute babies and puppies and entire .wmv files as attachments – tell your mom to stop emailing you.

Four: There’s a soccer player called Kaka

And no matter what he does, he always comes in at number two. And no one wants to shower with a Kaka on the floor. And whenever Kaka plays soccer, he always looks so flushed.

Poor Kaka.

Five: There is no five

Don’t expect me to solve your damn life for you. Life is mostly shitty, boring and painful. You should be grateful I gave you four things to make you happy.

 

Yours in heartburn,

PW

From the air

There are brief moments of blinding clarity that flit into your consciousness like moths and explode with magic dust. They occur in strange places and at strange times, but in my experience they tend to occur at least 30 000 feet above the ground.

I believe this is linked to the very physical nature of our bodies and the in-built limitations on our cognition. We are used to being able to extend our abilities – we are androids who can see far, speak over great distance, move faster than our physical bodies allow – but in the air we are entirely useless – unequipped and unevolved.

We have spent millions of years of evolution specialising in our ability to perceive our immediate surroundings and recognise patterns, threats, collaborators and potential partners. This has led to our brains working in very specific, very specialised ways.

To wit, we know that there are 7 billion people alive on the planet right now, but we have absolutely no way of visualising that number. It is entirely beyond us, despite our confidence that this is an irrefutable fact. Our brains cannot do it.

Similarly the perspective we gain when we are physically above the earth, suspended in a magic tube, is astounding. The hidden patterns and utilitarian beauty of our transport system are laid bare. From the air there are no potholes, no red lights, no slow drivers and no beggars at the traffic lights, making you feel like a worthless piece of shit for spending R40 on a sandwich.

Life from up here is abstracted. The cars move, but they move slowly, driven by empty vessels into which I can pour my own meaning and create my own noise. People go to work, lovers have clandestine meetings under the trees, hearts beating and eyes magnetic, children go to school, hearses drag bodies down into the ground – the system works, because I see it as a whole.

The same beauty finds a home in the convenient nature of the footpaths across unused land. From the ground, their multifarious routes are a mystery, as people trudge from home to work, from work to home. From up here, they skip home to their families and kiss their children on the cheek, they stalk the ground and grind sorrow under their heels. Life and death and everything is mapped out in human laziness, or is that inventiveness?

As I go further the rivers reveal themselves, cutting through the rusty dust of the Karoo. Through nothing more than erosion, rain and gravity the most beautiful lines are created, ribbons thrown by a precocious child.

And I note those wonders, true wonders, and hold them close. And I know that they are wondrous not because some Being decreed that all rivers should flow thusly, that gravity should work the way it does, but precisely because they have done so with no intervention at all. Not one guiding hand has touched an oxbow twist or daring double back – these things have happened. They have Happened – with no sentience or idea of what beauty could even be.

The clouds dot and scud. They meet over mountains and split into their constituent parts. They show me new lands and their dynamic, doomed geography – mine and mine alone. There are mountains floating above the earth as light as a feather we have never seen. To see their hefty peaks, not their drab underbellies as our ancestors were doomed to for years, is a privilege I refuse to downplay.

The hidden valleys perched on top of mountains call to me, ask me to find their doorways and bask. Bask in their very middle as their arms, laid down millions of years ago, hold me close and buttress me.

 

In the rare times it is revealed to me, the Beauty is almost too much.

On the subject of terminology related to sexual encounters

It has always interested me how men use such violent euphemisms for sexual encounters, which aren’t really terribly euphemistic in the first place and might in some cases even be considered dysphemistic. This is clearly related to the physical action of sex, the very repeated insertion of a sperm spout into a baby receptacle (if you’re being boring).

But, if you are of the male persuasion or even the female persuasion (I’m sorry) the chances are quite high that you have had intercourse at some stage in your life. Should this be true, you will know that it is a bumpy, slappy and somewhat moist time, usually over within 5 minutes and accompanied by tears and unfathomable depths of self-loathing, even more so than you are usually accustomed to.

But what comes a few days after sex, after that awkward time you first have sex with a new person and you both suddenly become shy again after you’ve been really quite deep within each other (as you put your clothes back on and pretend like you weren’t playing “Is Daddy Home Yet?”) is the break down of your experiences with your friends; the backslapping and asking of awkward questions. These usually go a little something like this:

 

  • Did you hit that?
  • Did you slam her?
  • Did you graunch her?
  • Did you mang her?
  • And other verbs such as bonk, screw, hammer and pound.

 

I remember when I was still a young stallion, roaming the salt-swamps of interpersonal relations (before I had been parked in the partner paddock) and I managed to bag myself a young (and surprisingly willing) filly – a friend asked me if I had, ‘climbed into her’.

Let’s just park this for a minute, right over here.

 

Don’t worry I’ve got money for the car guard. Yes. No it’s fine. Really. It’s creating work. Yes I know they’re annoying. And I know they run towards you as soon as you get to your car, like vultures. But really, they’re just trying to do their best. Some of them were teachers in their own countries you know, and to think we’ve got a teacher shortage in this country. Criminal. I know. No I don’t mean the carguards are criminals. Oh just shut up.

 

What are the possible answers to this?

 

– Yes, in fact I cut a big hole in her stomach and literally climbed into her after taking all her insides out, then I walked around inside her skin for a while. It really was quite a lovely afternoon and after that I made a lampshade out of her back skin. I also made a bracelet out of her teeth!

– Well, I found that I ended up more burrowing down into her, rather than climbing into her, you know? Kind of like a twisting? Like a… like a drill / jackhammer combo but a little more romantic? Kind of a like Whack-A-Mole, but with rose petals? And a lot of booze. A lot of booze.

– No I didn’t because she’s a human being and I respect her feelings and she probably has parents you know I mean, she probably definitely has at least a male and a female parent in order for her to have been conceived all those years ago. And really it was an issue of mutual respect, not much more than a downstairs handshake to be honest. Just a bit of hand in glove, or was that sausage in tightly clenched fist? I can’t remember, except it hurts to sit down.

– I didn’t climb into her, but I climbed the walls. When she made me dress up like a Danish postman and dance the Macarena while thinking about the time my dog died.

 

In the end, what I actually said was, “Well I don’t know if I really climbed into her at all, it was more like falling over a low table, in the dark, and barking your shin.”

 

Sex is fumbly,

Piel