Missed Opportunities

Paarl resident Tamaryn Green was this weekend named Miss SA, and while friends, family, Western Cape locals and most of the country was lauding the medical student for her achievements, a small minority were wondering how in this day and age we could still be celebrating something as archaic, and fundamentally wrong as Paarl. Apparently, Tamaryn took home Miss SA, and Miss Universe South Africa, while the runner-up Thulisa Keyi won the Miss World SA title, which makes about as much sense as the fact that these things exist in the first place. Doesn’t being the best in the universe also necessitate being the best in the world? Tamaryn is the best in the universe from South Africa.

Being the best in the universe from South Africa must feel like a special achievement, even to someone who is going to become a doctor one day, and whose old boyfriends are currently clamouring to be recognised on Twitter. That’s the kind of respect I crave, and as such, I started investigating whether or not 2019 could be my year to become Miss SA. It seems not. While at first, I was excited, “You must have no visible tattoos or criminal record”, my hopes were quickly dashed by the fact that you can be no older than 27 and must have never been married.  So I started looking at the requirements for the notoriously low budget, old people’s version of the competition “Mrs South Africa”. Again I am afraid I struck out. While I am between the ages of 24 and 49, and like to think I am “A role model for married women in our country” I am unfortunately not “Beautiful inside and out”, “Hard working and ambitious” or “A strong, successful woman”.

Probably the best part about being the best in the universe from South Africa for anything is that when you die you are guaranteed to get a mention in a newspaper. Some journalist who hasn’t even been born yet will smash out a quick 200 words on the fact that you won, had three marriages, eleven kids, and died walking into the sea. It must be a comfort to her to know that the sooner she dies the longer the story will be.

At 39 I am already too old to be Miss SA and other doors have shut on me permanently too. For starters, I have missed the 27 club by more than a decade. Johann Ackerman was 37 when he became the oldest person to ever play rugby for the Springboks, meaning my total lack of interest or sporting talent are no longer the only things excluding me from the green and gold. I will never be a child prodigy and unless Prince Phillip dies soon I will also never be likely to marry into the British Royal Family.

No, I am afraid the only way left to me to guarantee myself a spot in the newspaper when I die is to form a suicide cult. So if you aren’t doing anything else send your cult application to warren@warrenrobertson.co.za. Sadly, fellow old people, applications are restricted to those who are young, beautiful, and not from Paarl.

 

 

 

The Only Way To Stop A Bad Guy With A Gun…

I don’t understand America’s obsession with the phrase “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”, and I don’t mean simply because it seems to be a confusing thing to say after every school shooting they have.

Let’s assume that the logic behind the saying is sound for a minute, that arming teachers with their own guns will mean that bad kids with guns will be stopped in their tracks before they can do murder on their fellow students, surely we should still take it a step further? Wouldn’t it make more sense to actually arm the teachers better than the students who have guns? If your wife was facing off against a madman with a knife, surely you would give her a gun rather than a knife of her own – given the choice, and assuming you are the same kind of coward I am who wouldn’t offer to fight him in her stead?

America doesn’t go to war against anyone without being sure they have better weapons and greater numbers than their opposition, so why are they including a fair play clause in the teacher vs student shootouts? Surely this saying should be, “The only good way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with laser guided nuclear warheads” or better yet, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy in some kind of mechanised gundam suit with arms made out of laser cannons?”.  There is no 14 year old with a tog bag full of guns who could take on an squadron of teachers flying F-16s. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with an army of battle-armoured velociraptors“.

Honestly it’s this kind of narrow world thinking that has America stranded and watching the same school shooting  every week on their news. The only thing the saying “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is good for is selling more guns. Instead of empowering the same NRA cadres after every shooting, why not invest in some decent start ups to make the teachers not only the equal of a gun toting teen, but his superior. The stock exchange would boom as companies entered the market making bullet proof robot geography teachers, interstellar “bad guy with a gun” laser targeting systems, and problem student decapitation collars.

The other option is of course the one proposed by snowflake liberal cucks like myself in which America just takes away the guns from the students, or at least make it a lot harder for them to buy them. At the moment a six year old can buy an assault rifle with her tooth fairy money, and gun enthusiasts don’t want that to change. What they don’t understand is that if they are right, and  taking away guns from scholars won’t lower the number of attacks, then it will at least make them more interesting. I am sure we are all bored as hell of the same story happening over and over again.  Rather than watch the news to only see the aftermath of yet another schooting (a portmanteau of school and shooting, that I am leaving behind as my gift to humanity) we could all track the killer student as he stalked through the ventilation system leaping on popular kids with a sharpened stick and a Taser.

Oh what a wonderful world it could be, but doubtless, despite offering two win-win answers to this problem, those NRA haters will say I am wrong.

The Award Winning Podcast – Season 2 – Episode 8 – Nicholas Goliath

Nicholas Goliath’s comedy bio says he is a loving father and husband. It doesn’t mention he also has a criminal record. This is a story you need to hear to believe. After this episode You Magazine will become SA’s second top source for SA celeb gossip. Nick also answers all the first date questions, and in the end keeps nothing back.

The Midlife Crisis Beard

When I left school I grew my hair. It was long and luscious and exactly the kind of thing my son will laugh at loudly when he sees the pictures. It was the 90s and everyone I knew left their schools and immediately started trying to look like they were homeless. I however did not. My first year at university was spent clean cut, with the same short style I had during my school years. This was intentional. I didn’t want people thinking I was going with the crowd, when in fact I very much wanted to go with the crowd. Toward the end of first year the excitement became too much and I started letting my hair grow out. The point was that it has always been important to me that I not fall into the trap of becoming a stereotype. Turning 39 and at the same time realising I am undergoing a midlife crisis has therefore been extremely annoying.

I know I am going through a midlife crisis, because I have started to think about growing a beard for the first time in my life. I don’t mean one of those neatly trimmed, and oiled hipster beards, but rather a kind of untamed jungle beard.  I want a shaggy monstrosity that I occasionally take a kitchen knife to and hack back like a wild vine. Or rather I don’t want one, because that is what’s expected of me at 39, shortly after a divorce, and I will be damned if I meet society’s expectations.

Knowing I am probably undergoing some kind of mid-life crisis is very enlightening however. It means I can choose the direction I want to take it in. I don’t necessarily have to grow a beard. Rather than unknowingly plunging myself into an extra-marital affair, taking up drugs or purchasing a stupidly expensive motorbike, I could be looking at this as an opportunity to position my life well for the next 39 years. Last night I made a mental note to buy more Weet-bix for the fibre. I am also considering studying something, and taking up the piano again.

On the other hand, there is always the beard. As far as I see it growing a beard now has many benefits and only one con. If I grow a Hagrid beard strangers will probably assume I am either a murderer or belong to a cult. People I don’t even know would likely fear me, or go out of their way to avoid me. It would be wonderful. Other benefits include not being able to see my face accurately in the mirror, and having an excuse for why no one wants to sleep with me. The con is of course that my toddler son may no longer recognise me, but I am sure he will understand when I tell him the “hedge who is his dad” is saving literally tens of Rands on shaving stuff each month.

By this time next year we will all know which path I took. Will I be on the path to self-fulfilment, riches and happiness, or will I have a beard. Who knows? I live in exciting times.

 

 

 

 

 

The Award Winning Podcast – Season 2 – Episode 7 – Angel Campey

Angel Campey is a comedian, writer, and, it turns out, a convicted criminal. In this weeks episode she makes us laugh, while telling us how the criminal justice system finally tracked down and convicted one of the country’s most wanted. She also chats about her career, Cape Town and everything else.

Koping With Stupiderity

One of my biggest problems I have realised is that I expect too much from humanity. My natural inclination is to assume that anyone I meet, and people I speak to, are rational, thinking, and reasonable people. When I put it to paper – website – like this I realise how foolish such a notion seems, but I can’t seem to help myself when I am out there in the world.  In my experience the great-majority of those people (the readers of this column exempted) haven’t got the sense to scratch their balls without first consulting a Youtube video.

This is of course alright. It’s absolutely okay to be the kind of person who eats corn flakes by stabbing at them with a fork. It’s something that could have happened to anyone at birth, but I shouldn’t expect the people I meet to be anything other than that. I could save myself endless hours of frustration if I just lowered my expectations of those around me. Harnessing this great power could see me breeze through traffic, smile benignly as the old woman in front of me in the Pick n Pay queue counts her coins for the fiftieth time, and sigh serenely as I hang up on call centre salespeople. At the core of this realisation is that I am seldom irritated with animals. Dogs are stupid. They spend most of their time walking in circles in an attempt to sniff each other’s behinds. The most one can expect from a dog is that it doesn’t poo on the carpet, however because my expectations of them are limited I rarely find myself frustrated. On the other hand I tend to expect so much more from the people than that they simply do “their business” outside, and this leads to disappointment.  For starters I used a public toilet the other day, and discovered that someone had in fact done their business outside the toilet. Cue existential despair.

Probably one of my favourite examples of epic stupidity occurred when in a moment of youthful exhuberance I accidentally found myself at a Boksburg nightclub I now believe was called Masquerades. I was confronted at the bar by a large bald headed man who told me that he “headbutted concrete pillars”. I smiled and asked, “Why?”, with a look on his face bordering on condescension he said, “For fun”. To which I replied, “You have had a lot of fun this way” taking my life in my hands. Naturally he laughed, said “Ja!” before smashing his head against a concrete pillar.

Lowering one’s expectations in these situations is admittedly easier said than done, but I have at least found another angle to understanding those among us who are so simple they believe white privilege isn’t real, but white genocide is.  A 2012 study led by Richard West at James Madison University reveals the stupidity that resides in each and every one us, by indicating our numerous thinking biases and errors.  Among a series of questions he uses to reveal these biases is this one:  A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

Naturally most people respond that the bat is a dollar, and the ball ten cents. This is incorrect. The real answer is that the ball is 5c and the bat is $1.05. It’s what West called a thinking bias, a quick route our brain has been trained to take over time, that we use because it’s simply easier than doing the actual maths. These biases affect every facet of our lives, and are there to give us quick shortcuts to save time in our day-to-day lives. One of the most powerful of these is called the “self-serving bias” in which we tend to think we are better than others.  Most people for instance believe they are above average in intelligence – even whose who think that vaccinations cause autism.

West further found that we are amazingly good at spotting when others make these errors and are terrible at recognising them in ourselves.  The reason for this is that we judge others logically and based purely on their actions, while when judging our own behaviours we factor in emotion, motivations and intentions. In each instance, we readily forgive ourselves our mistakes, but look harshly upon those of other people. And it gets worse. The study further found that the more traditionally intelligent a person is (the more “cognitively sophisticated”) the more likely they are to make these errors. Essentially: we are all dumber than we think we are, and even if we aren’t, that just means we make more mistakes.

Of course while this does explain some of the daily stupidities we are all made to endure, and  allows us to climb down off our high-horses and view the perpetrators in a kinder light leading to peace and forgiveness, I still think the guy who did a poo on the floor of the Douglasdale shell garage right by the hand-dryer is an asshole.

Anything But Selfies

I hate social media, and the reason I hate it, is because hating things on social media seems to be the best thing about it. It’s a confusing paradox. Last night someone pissed me off cause they hated something I also hate. I hated them, because they hated the thing I hate, in a snarky and off-putting manner that wasn’t in keeping with the more dignified, and quirky way in which I hate things. At least I thought so. I hope me saying that doesn’t make you hate me.

Probably the thing that I hate the most about the internet is the “selfie”. Not anyone specific’s selfie, just the concept. When I went to Japan way back in 2001 I took a few “selfies”, because I travelled there alone and needed proof I had been. It was awkward and uncomfortable, and I felt like a bit of a loser for having no friends who could take these pictures for me. A man alone taking pictures of himself, was viewed with the same suspicion as a trenchcoat owner in a play park. That was how it should be. Why was he alone? Was he a murderer? A lunatic? A Backstreet Boys fan? Turns out he was likely none of those things, just a normal, narcissistic arsehole like the rest of us. The only thing that prevented us from taking nothing but selfies back then was apparently the stigma, and once that evaporated so did our dignity. Now every second Instagram account is just pictures of the owner’s face blocking the view.

We should have seen it coming. It’s not like we haven’t always been narcissistic. Ever since the days of nobility spending hundreds of peasant’s worth of salary on oil paintings, we have wanted nothing as much as to look at our own faces. Coke had its first sales increase in more than a decade when it introduced the idea of adding names to their cans and bottles. We as a species are so self-involved, so desperate to be recognised as special, we will actually spend extra money just so we can drink from a can that says we have a common enough name to make printing it economically viable. It’s our biggest, most easily exploitable failing. We are idiots, little more than apes. Want proof? What was the first thing a monkey with a camera ever took a photo of? Itself.

I am more than willing to bet that if that ape had access to a computer it would also be posting that it has an IQ of 172 according to the test it just took on Facebook. Taking an IQ test on Facebook should automatically qualify you to fail it. “Only the smartest will be able to spot the…” If that sentence doesn’t end with the words, “data mining capabilities of this test”, then once again, finding the solution means you don’t qualify for the descriptor.

Facebook’s entire business model is based around selling our predictability. They are only able to promise that an advertiser will get x number of likes per x amount of cash they spend, because they know exactly what we will click on and when. That’s how mundane, and predictable we each are. If you see something on the internet that claims you are special it’s probably just selling your data to sex-traffickers or worse, McDonalds, cause you aren’t. You, like me, are a number.

We aren’t special so we need to stop acting like we’re among the most intelligent and handsome, just cause an app told us we are smart, or that we look a lot like the celeb Selena Gomez. No matter how many filters you use you don’t look like Selena Gomez – you look like the selfie monkey. So stop photographing your face, and turn the camera outward. At least then you’ll likely get a better view, and I will have one fewer thing to hate.

The Award Winning Podcast – Season 2 – Episode 6 – Dillan Oliphant

Dillan Oliphant is perhaps most well known for the fact that he won SA’s first comedy Roast battle. Dry, and quiet it came as a big surprise for everyone who only kind of knew him. Here he roasts me mercilessly while talking about his career, and everything leading up to it. It’s unpleasant.

Seeking – Cheap, back-alley liposuction.

I am overweight by about 8kgs. It’s not a lot by some people’s reckoning, but it’s enough to cause me a healthy dose of self-loathing. I therefore want to be thinner. On the surface losing weight is simple – all a person needs to do is eat less, and move more. The equation is simple. The application is not.

A few years ago I went to a dietician to see what I was doing wrong, and get an idea of what I should be eating. What she told me was horrifying. Apparently a fistful of nuts is not just the name of my favourite adult video, but rather what one should eat six times a day. “Whenever you think of pizza, just eat another handful of polystyrene,” I seem to remember her saying, sometime after I decided to ignore her completely. What she was saying made no sense – if God had wanted us to eat fruit he would never have banished Adam & Eve for an apple.

It seems when people say, “be hungry”, what they mean is, “Be hungry all the time. If you aren’t constantly famished, you aren’t living your best life”.  A famous comedian once accurately said, “Losing weight is easy. Stop eating. There were no obese people in the concentration camps.” Sure, but then those people were also notoriously hungry. Not one person left Bergen-Belsen delighted with their figure, and determined to stick to the diet.

In short you need to be ravenous, and if you are ravenous you are grumpy. If your personality has begun to make you a victim of office politics, and your wife is secretly visiting a divorce lawyer to consider options, then congratulations, you are probably dieting correctly.

The second step to losing weight is to simply move faster. Apparently moving faster, and more often is the key to making my body look less like a bag of milk. I have tried it. It’s unpleasant. Water comes out of me and makes my shirt wet, I struggle to breathe and things start to hurt. Doing this once is awful, but people say I must do it every day.

Lifting up heavy things then putting them down again also works. Lifting things up, moving fast, then putting them down is the best way to lose weight. If you pick up something heavy, move it quickly to somewhere else, then put it down, and start to see bright lights flashing behind your eyeballs, then you are both succeeding at exercise and at not eating. Well done. This is what healthy feels like.

It would be much easier just to make excuses. “It’s baby weight.” I want to say to anyone who looks at me sideways. “My son isn’t even two. I have time to drop down to my pre-pregnancy weight.” But things are getting dire.  I recently told a friend it was puppy fat, and he asked me why I ate a puppy.  So next week if you see me, please understand why I look so sad. I am starving, and spending all my energy picking things up and putting them down again, all so the TV news won’t use a photo of me with my head cut off when they talk about the dangers of obesity.

The Award Winning Podcast – Season 2 Episode 5 – Ebenhaezer Dibakwane

Rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars in the SA comedy firmament Ebenhaezer Dibakwane brings his infectious enthusiasm to the stage to talk about his time as a youth pastor, homelessness, being arrested, and which SA politician he would most like to sleep with.