Happy Birthday


How does a drink after work end up with a hangover, retrograde amnesia, a sprained ankle, a stripper pole, a bearded man, a job offer and the loss of pants and a boyfriend? Throw in a rollercoaster and you’ve got the script for a Hollywood movie.

In South Africa, when we say “Go big or go home” we don’t mess around. We set the bar.

My friend celebrated her 22nd birthday this weekend. No-one remembers everything, there are flashbacks from enough people that we’ve managed to put together a timeline of events.

The evening began sedately with drinks at work. This civilised behaviour morphed into an epic game of Cards Against Humanity, tequila and body shots.

When that became too tame, the party relocated to a popular club where more tequila was drunk.

The birthday girl decided that she needed to upgrade her current beau to a muscle-bound, bearded hunk. She wasted no time and promptly got hot and heavy in front of her sleeker, but no less hunky boyfriend. Who apparently did not intervene, but quite naturally did not approve either. He was hampered from intervention due to the disproportionate mass-height ratio.

From there things obviously needed to cool down, so the party relocated to a strip club where the birthday girl decided to show the strippers from Eastern Europe how a real South African handles a pole.

Apparently, her dismount was a little shaky and she sprained her ankle, but not one to let actual bodily harm stand in her way, she twirled her way up the pole again to many cheers and, apparently, a job offer. This we ascertained from the business card of the strip club’s owner with a hand written message to call him ASAP about becoming a permanent fixture.

Finally, torn away from her podium, the birthday girl was loaded into an Uber. At this point it became clear that somewhere along the way she had lost her undergarments – and over garments – and was essentially, commando. Somewhere stranded are a pair of pants with nobody inside them.

Reviewing the video footage (now erased from cyberspace) it turns out there were no innocent parties. One missing participant woke up the next day to find her credit card maxed out and surrounded by a bevy of naked female strippers.

The birthday girl woke up with no memory of what had gone down and wandered out of her rooms, pants-less and with a throbbing head to ask how in the the blazes did she hurt her ankle and where were her pants?

An immediate crisis meeting was held and the night pieced together. In order to recover, a trip to the theme park was planned to use adrenaline to wipe out any remaining traces of the night’s excesses.

Strapping into the world’s most terrifying roller coaster, who should be seated next to the birthday girl? The ex.

An extraordinary and most unsettling experience was had by all.

As for stripper thing – it’s always good to have a fallback career, especially a well paid, tax-free one. You could think of it as being paid to exercise. It’s a thing.

And while the horror and humiliation lives for today, in twenty years’ time, it will be remembered as the most epic birthday party ever!

Let’s face it, it really could have been worse. It could’ve been like these poor folks in Newcastle and distributed on media worldwide: Daily Mail: Newcastle’s drunken revellers

How can I embarrass my child? Let me count the ways…

Copyright Derek Hardy
Copyright Derek Hardy

Way of the Warrior: Run flat-out into a wall at laser games and knock yourself out in front of all his friends.

Today I face planted.

I’ve never really understood that term until now.

Looking in the mirror I am mildly surprised my face is not flat.

It was not my proudest moment.


It was The Birthday Party today.

The party that has been freaking me out for weeks, months even.

Doctor Who Tardis Cake and DalekI spent yesterday afternoon making The Cake.

Of all the cakes each child requires I try to make one special cake.

For J it was Doctor Who’s TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). A big blue police box.

The reason I do not outsource the cake is pretty simple.

Someone once told me that in Japan there is a saying that equates to, “You can tell the depth of a mother’s love by the content of her child’s lunchbox”.

I may not make award-winning cakes, but they are definitely made with love.

Robyn from Kadies
Robyn from Kadies

The girls at work sent me to Kadies in Fourways for supplies. I am no super baker. I don’t craft masterpieces of cakedom like Cake Boss’s flushing toilet cake.

John and Robyn Brukman from Kadies did not make me feel like an amateur on professional heavyweight fight night.

They went out of their way to help me earn the look of wonder on J’s face when he saw The Cake.

Kadies Heidi and John
Heidi and John from Kadies

They coloured my icing for me, cut out my numbers and waited with utmost patience while the bank and I had a small altercation about my right to access my money.

Without them I would have been certifiably insane by this morning and would have spent the day in lockdown in a mental institute being feed little coloured pills.

In retrospect, perhaps that might have been less painful than what actually transpired.

I am a lazy party parent. I do not like having people invade my home and I do not like cleaning up before and after them.

As a result I seek venues.

This is what I wanted to look like.
This is what I wanted to look like.

We decamped to LaserMaxx for three adrenaline-fraught Daleks versus The Doctors games to the death. In some cases more brutal than others.

The odds were stacked against my team.

Along with the tweens were The Father, a target shooting champion, and three ex-army infantrymen.

On my team I had one of them and thank God for him.  We managed one decent win.

This is what the kids looked like
This is what the kids looked like

In Game 2, I was determined to take out the sniper that was hell-bent on killing me.

I stormed his base.

I hit the base.


Flat out.


This what I ended up feeling like
This what I ended up feeling like

And my lights went out and Tweetie Birds sang a sweet serenade only slightly marred by the warm flow of my life’s blood streaming Nigeria Falls like down the lower half of my face.

The physical pain was nothing in comparison to the body blow my pride tried and failed to bear.

I lay down in the foetal position against the wall and begged the earth to stop spinning.

Whereupon I was shot by my child.

Who was actually on my team.

The Husband came to my rescue.

“Are you alright?”


“Well, just lie there, there’s a few minutes left of the game.”


I made the Walk of Shame past the twenty-somethings with pity shining in their eyes.

This would have been a better look
This would have been a better look

I got some ice from the bar.

I went and hid in the ladies loo.

Then my phone rang.

A colleague asked me to attend a client meeting with the potential to take my career into the stars.

I explained that my nose felt broken, I had a black eye and my lips look like Angelina Jolie after a silicon injection.

His response?

“Dude! Ask them if they have a video. That’s a YouTube moment.”

I hung up.

I stalked over to the chaps behind the counter.

“Is. There. A. Video?”

“Um… Well you know we’ve had way worse,” said A.

“Yup,” said B, “We’ve had like 6 foot guys knock down entire walls and stuff.”

“Is. There. A. Video?”

“Well, everything is recorded.”

“You. Will. Not. Put. That. On. YouTube.”

“No, ma’am,” came a chorus.

Better men than I. I would have that video up there faster than I ran into that wall.

After that the cake paled in comparison. I didn’t even blink an eye as my masterpiece was decimated.

My concussion had caused a massive headache and my ego required some downtime and a call to my mother who was very supportive and tried hard not to laugh at me.

The Father was invited to join the LaserMaxx league.

I was not.


Find LaserMaxx



Stoneridge Shopping Center, Shop M4 – Undercover Parking Level, Greenstone Hill,


Find Kadies



Kingfisher Shopping Centre, Kingfisher Drive, Fourways

Sunday Night Tummy

It’s that time on a Sunday night
When I start thinking of turning off the light
And turning in and shutting my eyes
And hoping for a dream in which I fly
I’ve been told by a reputable source
Whom I know I can trust absolutely of course
That people stop dreaming of flying up high
When they of their creativity fall shy
It saddens my heart to think of their feet
All wrapped up in their bedroom sheet
By shutting the door on imagining
They’ve cut themselves off from the world within

I know one boy who flies every night
In between the stars so bright
He was born 4 years ago today
With the innate urge to run and play
He filled my heart with so much pride
As he took in his stride his first real horse ride
The smile on his face took my breath quite away
I know where we’ll be each and every Saturday

Wrapping torn lies strewn round my floor
And robots and transformers lying in the door
But more than the presents he found
The love from those who love having him around
The fact that knowing his mum and his dad
His grandfather, granny, grandma and granddad
His cousin, his aunties and godparents near and far
Think he is the very best boy by far
Far outweighed the red guitar for our very own super Rock Star

I’m away from the office for most of Monday
No briefs had better go astray
No car accidents or other mishaps
Better befall any one of my chaps
I’m off on a shoot and I have to say
That I am excited in a sweet childish way
Being me I did check the important facts
Like is there going to be enough delicious snacks?

Now tired inertia has truly set in
It’s time that I went and turned in
I’ve got that funny feeling deep in my tum
You get on Sunday nights that signals the end of the fun
I’ve had it since school days – do you know what I mean?
The knowledge that things are not quite as they seem