Pen for hire

I am hardly ever at a loss for words. Usually only when a teenager cleans up without being asked. It happens. Rarely, but it does.

Most of the time, I am quite erudite. However, now that I must resort to shameless self-promotion, I find it a little challenging.

I’ve sold all sorts of things for other people, but (like following good advice) it’s easy to do it for others and hard to do for yourself. Perhaps I should hire another writer to do it for me? The thought has crossed my mind, but needs must and all that good stiff upper lip stuff.

Basically, I’m in the market for a writing job – permanent, freelance you name it. (I draw the line at wedding invites. Thanks to the pangolin-eating moron that started this pandemic I find myself armed with a pencil without a word to write.

If you feel like feeding the hungry mouth of a copywriter, please feel free to drop me a line. This fish is hungry and will bite (as long as the lure isn’t a Brussels Sprout).

The Pandemic and the Pangolin

“Mummy, how did the world end?”

“Well darling. Some idiot ate a pangolin.”

Why on God’s green earth would you want to eat an animal as inedible looking as a pangolin? Is there even meat on a pangolin? Enough for a meal?

In short, some covidiot went to lunch and set off a pandemic that has wrecked the world. Well, that’s what they say. When the conspiracy theories sound far more credible than the actual story I’m tempted to go with the official story. Who on earth would make up a tale so bizarre?

What it has brought into stark reality for me (like the world in the morning when I put on glasses and see my sleep-mussed face in the mirror – horrifying clarity) – is just how little actual life skills I possess. Basically, I’m a bit of a dud in a global crisis. I’m not even a good gardener. I suppose I could write the spin? Not very helpful.

Now that my job has been torpedoed by a single-celled organism, I find myself having to look at my old world with new eyes. It’s at turns exhilarating and abjectly terrifying. I’m still in the free fall hoping to land on a bed of feathers but concerned that it may actually be very sharp rocks.

I can’t really tell because I’m too scared to put on my glasses and a blurry world seems less intimidating than the cold hard truth.

If only I knew who that pangolin-eating mofo was, I’d steal the TARDIS, go back a few months and sic a Dalek on him. (That’s a Doctor Who reference. My daughter kindly suggested that I add this note for those who don’t know the Doctor. So sad.)

It befuddles my brain that the world (and my world) has been brought to its knees by a takeaway lunch.

Going postal

 

Slurps.  Burps. Farts. Sniffs.

These are the things that cause mild-mannered office workers to go postal.

It’s not one big episode that precedes the cracking of the veneer.

It’s the slow pressure-cooker build-up over months and months.

It starts as a minor itch between the shoulder blades, spread to a visible wince and slowly gathers momentum like a snowball into an avalanche.

It’s the repetitive “schluuurp” of the world’s largest cup of coffee.

The click-click-click of a pen.

It’s the constant miasma of egg-flavoured fart.

The sniffing of a persistent drop of snot.

The daily microwaving of fish in the office kitchen.

Above all, it is the laugh that stubbornly refuses to be drowned out by loud music. The one that has you abruptly standing up and leaving the office to shelter in the bathroom and silently scream for salvation.

It’s the laugh of the devil as he welcomes you to hell.

It’s the Janice laugh.

Food for Thought 2018

I have my box.

It’s a comfy sort of box.

It’s a protect me from the storm sort of box.

It’s a cozy box even if it is a little cramped.

And it doesn’t have a view.

Okay, I hate my little box, but I stay there because outside is more than a little scary.

 

People are always saying, “Think out of the box”.

It wasn’t until last Tuesday I heard, “Forget the box. There is no box.”

Damn straight.

 

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I was lucky enough to attend Ads24 Food for Thought 2018 event. It wasn’t only brilliant and eye-opening, but it forced me to evaluate my life and whether safety and boredom are really an adequate substitute for danger and excitement. I realise that I may have got too big for my box.

 

Between Dawie Roodt, Chief Economist for the Efficient Group, Prof. Nick Binedell, and scenario planner, Clem Sunter, my (usually goldfishlike) attention was caught in a web.

 

My box blew to smithereens.

 

Things are changing, our world is moving back to a pure economics, supply and demand model.

 

That the way we’ve been doing things like giving away our power to banks and governments and career politicians is short sighted and short lived.

 

For the first time I saw Donald Trump, not as sign of the idiocy of the human race, but as global movement against career politics. A stand against bureaucracy. Maybe, he isn’t the right face, but he sure as hell is shaking things up.

 

It’s time to create your own job, not rely on someone else to find a box to fit you into.

It’s time for an Armageddon, a paradigm shift.

Either you reach our grab it and ride that wave with sheer adrenaline or you drown.

 

Cold Feet

 

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Jack Frost reached up and grabbed hold of my toes. His touch was gentle like a lover’s caress.

I reacted like a frog in a pot of hot water. I didn’t pull away. I just sat there hardly aware of the icy grip penetrating to the bone.

Until I couldn’t feel my feet at all.

At which point is was too late.

That was at about 10 o’clock this morning.

Now, I sit at 4pm, all dignity shredded, with my feet wrapped in a jacket under my desk.

My pretty shoes have been casually discarded on the floor.

Pretty is as pretty does and pretty does not keep my toes warm apparently.

I considered sitting on the office kitchen counter and bathing my feet in the sink, but decided that it might be unhygienic.

I considered going down to my car, turning on the heater and working from the parking lot, but the Wi-Fi is spotty down there.

The cold has now risen up my body and is perched somewhere near my neck, cackling like a winter hag on a broomstick.

I live in bloody Africa!

I’d be warmer right now in the Outer Hebrides.

 

The Marbles and the Elephant

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I don’t always lose my marbles, but when I do I lose them all.

Not just the one marble.

Every single marble.

It was EPIC!

They scurry across the floor to hide in every corner and with every step I trip over one and land on my arse.

A pratfall (to fall on one’s buttocks).

Many pratfalls.

I pratfell.

 

I was handling my shit like a septic tank drainer.

I called paramedics for my mum when she broke her leg.

I took her across country to the hospital.

I packed her bags.

I checked her in.

I got her a pillow.

I finally managed after 12 hours to get her a painkiller.

I took her dog to the dogsitter.

 

And when I got home…

I saw that I had laddered my stocking.

Cue hysterical laughter.

 

And when I got ready for bed…

I realised that I had got my period.

Cue a few tears.

 

And when I got to work in the morning…

I realized I was once more in the wrong place and the wrong time.

Cue total breakdown.

 

I mean total losing of shit.

No pretty romance novel sniffles this.

Nope. Full on gulping sobs, rivers of snot and rising vomit.

Total and complete eradication of all dignity.

I gave up and went home, took some anxiety meds and slept for 8 hours.

 

Cue Monday.

I was dreading the walk of shame.

And…

No-one said a thing.

Not a peep.

Nothing.

It’s not like I didn’t just fall apart at the seams scattering marbles (of which I don’t have any to spare at the best of times) all over the faux wood floor.

They just handed me back a few marbles that I had managed to miss and we all carried on like nothing had happened.

Not bad for a girl who thought she might sent off to one of those places where they rehabilitate drug addicts and marble losers.  A girl, who for a few hours in the dead of night, saw being medically boarded as the next event horison.

Me and my invisible pink spotted-elephant just shrugged and got back to work.

Shedding the Load

Load shedding

 

Load shedding defined

When South Africa’s electricity gets turned off due to massive ineptitude and avarice on behalf of the country’s only power provider.

I have to provide the definition because it’s come to my attention that people in 1st world countries have no clue what load shedding is.

Until a few years ago, neither did we.

Yesterday, I had a fascinating and insightful conversation with a lady in the UK.

 

It went like this:

“We think it would be nice to something around load shedding.”

“Okay.”

“Like, we could remind people to record the show they’ll miss because of load shedding.”

“Um. That won’t be possible, because load shEskom, load shedding, south africaedding means that there is no power, so you can’t record anything.”

“Alright, so lets give them something easy to cook during load shedding.”

“Yeah, that would be amazing, except again, no power.”

“How about a no-bake cheesecake you can just pop in the fridge?”

“About that, the fridge has no power either.”

“What about internet access?”

“Well, the Wi-Fi would be down because of the whole no power thing and data here costs more than a kidney on eBay so most people won’t use their last two bars of battery and data to watch TV.”

Deep sigh.

My colleague interjects, “Basically, just imagine what London was like in the 1800s.”

I’m sure that helped a whole lot.

I didn’t set out to be deliberately obstructive. Promise.

So, we moved on to the times when most people are online.

“Here, in the UK, our high traffic times are 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm – so we think you should do more around these times.”

Deep breath in.

“I’m sorry, but that won’t really work here, because we don’t have a viable public transport system, so during those commuting hours people are mainly sitting in traffic jams waiting to die.”

“Oh,” she said, “That’s a very good insight.”

Yes. Yes, it is.

It’s a very good insight into the deteriorating state of government affairs and infrastructure in the face of extreme incompetence.

After that call I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

So, I chose to laugh.