The lesson a beating couldn’t teach me


The lesson a beating couldn’t teach me

If his headmaster had learnt something from the Saudis, TINUS HORN might have been a better person today.


I'M not really asocial. Just ask any dog that knows me.

Okay, there was Kosie that lived next door to me's chocolate Labrador, Buddy. The one that got kicked out of dog school after a week. Buddy followed Kosie everywhere, over mountains and through valleys, and over and under fences, the latter to enter my yard.

Once she was in, she would do her business right there, again and again and without exception. Kosie explained she was doing it there because she didn't have an office.

Of course, this wasn't Buddy's fault, but Kosie's. He never picked up behind Buddy as he promised. In the end, Buddy was barred from my yard for eternity. This meant Kosie's access was also suspended. After that, we had to chat over the wall. It was better that way for all parties involved.

Now that was a long and mainly pointless story. I sincerely apologise. See, I wanted to avoid telling the story of the taxi guy who wanted to throw a stone at me yesterday. Why? Well, why not?

It's not my job to further scare people. On the contrary. The Illuminati, and Bill Gates, who supposedly controls the Earth since the devil decided people give him the heebie-jeebies, have chosen me to spread joy and cheer.

But there is indeed a problem. My acquaintances are tired of hearing about the things that currently captivate me, namely magic mushrooms, The Felice Brothers, and the jacket-coat thingy, virtually brand new, that I picked up for R150 at the hospice shop.

It has this fuzzy lining (synthetic and completely vegan), as well as a warm hood, and is rain resistant.

All right then. I was at the dentist on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, that's the best I can do today. It wasn't the taxi driver who upset me. He was considerate enough to just hold up the stone while waiting for a more deserving target.

No. The foam balls bubbling from the corners of my mouth are the result of comments on a video that some genius posted on Facebook.

It was from an angry and clearly very hurt child, at most five years old, who has no defence against life's onslaughts and therefore vents his frustration on lifeless bottles, cups, and other such things.

Virtually across the board, the commentators believe he deserves a good beating. My guess is that his life mostly consists of undeserved beatings. Affection and understanding, I suspect, are not things he will receive while on this planet.

In contrast, my own childhood was filled with joyful moments and love and stuff. My older brother did bully me back in 1968 or so because I wasn't brave enough to tackle Johan van Zyl from the front during rugby matches in our yard, but I don't hold grudges. I forgave him last month.

I can only use myself as an example because I know the ways of others only to a certain extent, but in my experience, bullying is highly ineffective, because look at me now. Even today, I wouldn't tackle Johan van Zyl from the front, and he's now 62 and suffers from arthritis.

Likewise, I once got a caning at school over a joke I made. The joke probably wasn't particularly funny, but still.

I ought to mention that I didn't attend school in Saudi Arabia but in Crosby, Johannesburg. The law enforcer who had to reprimand me was the headmaster, a Mr Jacobs, whose initials I have now forgotten.

Six strokes were the maximum punishment he could administer without a trial, unless of course the pushing and shoving prior to that was allowed somewhere in the fine print.

What made the joke so unforgivable was that the rest of the school was busy singing Die Stem. I knew I was in trouble; it was more or less standard, but the extent of his wrath caught me off guard. The foam balls and all.

I made things worse by not showing any remorse. I hadn't been paying proper attention during brainwashing period.

Die Stem held little significance for me. My dad voted for the Progs, much to my mom's displeasure, and he was convinced that John Vorster, then prime minister, was the Antichrist, as predicted in the Book of Revelation, with his brother Koot, moderator of the NG Church, being the False Prophet. I kid you not.

The principal was a Broederbonder, a kind of Vice-Antichrist in my dad's opinion. He summoned my mom to school. 

“Now see what you did," he told me when my mom pulled a handkerchief from her sleeve to wipe away a tear.

Perhaps it was indeed my joke that broke her heart. Another possibility is that she was still struggling to cope with my dad's death two months earlier and was now slightly overwhelmed by the incoherent rambling of another adult.

I didn't quite turn out the way the principal would have wanted. That's where he could have learned a lesson from the Saudis. If he had stoned me back then, I might have been a better person today.


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