FOR much of my life, I could describe myself as a cheerful pessimist.
This may sound contradictory. It is not. The merriment is easy to explain. I live within walking distance of the ocean. I saw two whales just the other day. Another time, there was a whole school of dolphins.
The pessimism stems from the fact that I am a member of humanity, one of evolution’s less charming products.
An exception to my general rule is the times I have been involved in love relationships. Then I was less cheerful and more pessimistic. Oh, and doctors have twice suspected I’m terminally unwell. That wasn’t fun either.
Last week I alternated between cheerful and pessimistic. I was booked on short notice to sketch caricatures of 80 guests at a wedding in Ballito on the Saturday. It’s rewarding for me. So much so that someone’s niece had to act as a DJ. The bridal couple didn’t have money left in their budget for a violinist.
That means I’ll be able to spoil my most recent love object with a romantic night out at Ocean Basket.
Or wait. No. Forget about that. It’s the one I’ve been sulking about for the past 18 months, even though the story was shockingly one-sided. One could almost say it played out mainly in my imagination, as did my suspicion that the Proteas could win the Cricket World Cup.
I mean, Heinrich Klaasen. The other day in the match against Australia, he looked rather deft with the bat in his hand. If he can score something like 174 runs off 83 balls again in the playoffs of the World Cup, with 13 fours and 13 sixes, South Africa should do quite well. Go, Heinrich!
Back to love. I’ll rather buy a six-pack of Black Labels instead, I’ve now decided. Then I won’t feel so sorry for myself until the next morning. I should probably mention, it’s those tall cans.
My job at the wedding went well. One of the highlights was the table prayer, which was of some length. I later learned the reverend had basically rehashed the wedding sermon, just without the stupid jokes, in which he alluded that the couple would physically validate their love for the very first time that night.
The long prayer meant the couple had to book me for another hour so all the guests could be sketched, and I could watch the first half of the rugby on my phone.
However, there was a bit of a tiff later when one of the ooms requested that I draw him slimmer, and I said, “Slow down on the brandy and the braaibroodjies and call me in a month.”
He threatened to flip over my table, but that’s not what dampened my spirit and made my pessimism skyrocket. That had already happened when my Boeing 737 landed at King Shaka International Airport.
It reminded me how obsessed humanity can be with leaders with murderous tendencies, to the point that airports are named after them.
One was even named after PW Botha, but fortunately it was in George, so virtually no one knew of it.
This strange custom is not limited to South Africa. In the United States of America, there is John F Kennedy International, even though JFK’s fingers itched on the red button that would launch nuclear missiles to plunge humanity into a third world war.
I read somewhere that mutual destruction of the US and the Soviet Union was one likely outcome.
There was however the story with Marilyn Monroe which certainly scored him some points.
Historians differ on how many other nations King Shaka wiped out or forced into slavery.
However, everyone agrees he was a fearless warrior, but less good-natured than other famous military figures such as, for example, Colonel Sanders. But King Shaka did treat his chickens better.
Whether he took it as far as my cousin Gabriël in Ladismith in the Little Karoo is hard to say.
My cousin’s chickens watch TV with him. Of course, in King Shaka’s days, there wasn’t TV yet, so it’s hard to directly compare them.
What I do know for a fact — I asked him myself — is this: no one has yet offered to name an airport after Gabriël.
♦ VWB ♦
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