Press "Enter" to skip to content

Jesus at Tops. Sanity is way overrated

Regular readers of this space are not in any doubt that the source of my inspiration is a brain that does not function too effectively. A mad brain. Today you will get a glimpse of just how insane I really am.

Part of the reason I am struggling to keep up with the demand for Thought Leader posts from my insatiable readers is that I am in the middle of a particularly hectic period. Not writers block. I have too many writing pots on the fire. TV scripts, columns, book chapters, suicide notes, crazy open letters for fat former cabinet ministers of defence etc. It’s a lot of thirst-inducing pressure.

So there I am walking into my corner Tops liquor outlet to replenish my brain juice stocks earlier today. There’s a woman in one of those bottle green church uniforms inside the Tops. Weird. To the teetotalers reading this, Tops is the alcoholic arm of the Spar group and is always adjacent to a Spar supermarket. There shouldn’t be anything that a good, God-fearing Christian woman in a green uniform shouldn’t be able find inside the main supermarket other than filthy, evil booze. Sure enough, she is purchasing some wine in a carton. To wash down His body? No. That’s for filthy, sinful Catholics and Anglicans. Zionist Church types don’t do alcohol at all.

Enter the insanity bit. For starters, I start singing this arbitrary Pentecostal Zulu hymn, ‘Ngizonibhevula ngamunye ngamunye’. No, not inside my head. Out loud. And no, I won’t translate what that means for whiteys and other funny types who don’t understand the president-in-waiting’s tongue. If y’all are so African, learn to read some freaking African. Or you better ask somebody, babay. That’s my contribution to nation-building for the day.

So, the next thing I’m imagining is the look on her face if her bearded pastor with a holy staff should walk past at this precise moment. No, scratch that. Her bishop with an even more impressive beard. Yes, there is a beard grading system in these churches. Or even better yet still, Jesus Himself in all His splendour and glory, shiny golden beard with lamb-like eyes and all.

What would she say? What if Jesus shakes His head and says something biblical like “Oh ye of unquenchable thirst, repent”. Would she continue checking out her shit at the till anyway with a dismissive biblical retort of her own as well: “I am She who cometh for the fruit of thine vine?” At this point, I’m laughing so badly I’m making gurgling sounds. Tears and snot are running down my face, into my mouth. People are starting to stare. Dear reader, this is the burden of living inside this brain. I know, I am diseased.

Like most people with disorders, I like to surround myself with like-minded people. People who understand. The cokeheads among you will identify. Only another cokehead will understand why you sold your 46-inch plasma for ‘just one line’. So I grabbed my bottles of whisky and escaped to the car. And then I sent a text message to The Sumo — — and Siyabonga Ntshingila — The Sumo was the first to respond. He slaves for a chocolate-manufacturing company these days. I know! This was his response. Verbatim. “Had my own giggles in the factory today as I was munching on a [brand of chocolate bar] off the line, thinking: I’m like a fat kid at a chocolate factory. Then it hit me, ‘Wait, I am!’ More howls of laughter.

I know. It’s quite bad. But I always console myself with the fact that I think sanity is vastly overrated. And everybody knows this. If everybody didn’t realise that sanity is much ado about a whole lot of nothingness, we wouldn’t all be spending so much money on the drug of our choice; caffeine, nicotine, booze, ganja, Prozac or Sting CDs. SAB-Miller wouldn’t have contributed more chins to already overfed, multi-chinned shareholders on horseback in crotch-hugging breeches in places named Kent-on-a-Whore in the Isles.

Think about it. What we call sanity is really just a statistical average, a statistical mean of what we like to call ‘normality’. By every statistical measure we know of, Albert Einstein was a certifiable madman who was fortunate enough to exist in the midst of other crazy-ass people. I don’t think that sanity is necessarily something to be proud of. I think that a significant percentage of people who are enjoying the state’s hospitality at the Sterkfontein mental health facility are people who hold answers to some seriously important questions about our universe. Perhaps they have figured out the precise mechanism of the creation of the universe without spending R70 billion on a damp squib Collider. Perhaps they have the cure for Aids, cancer, supporting Orlando Pirates and other such chronic ailments. You have to admit that the possibility exists. But because of the limitations of the minds of those of us wading ankle-deep in the shallow waters of mediocrity, we’re just not tuned in to their frequency.

A couple of years ago I drove a friend to the bus station. A man in tattered garb and a generally unkempt demeanour started addressing the crowds. He was originally from the Royal House of Venda, he said. He implored the multitudes to pray with him and wish him well in his godliness. As the security guards dragged him away, having cracked his skull for his resistance, he left us with a parting shot: “You fools! You don’t know what you have done. I am the one keeping the heavens and the earth in balance!”

A few days later Hurricane Katrina hit the US. I couldn’t help but wonder if this had anything to do with the man from the bus station. Perhaps the earth and the moon had been misaligned while they dragged him away. It is possible. But then again, maybe he was a madman who had watched too many episodes of the soapie, ‘Muvhango’.

But if it is not possible that this was the man responsible for the alignment of the stars, then it is also impossible that a locust-munching, generally unkempt man is the one who baptized a carpenter’s son who was also the son of God. Or something like that. But don’t worry about the details.

Just ask the 3 billion or so earth inhabitants who believe the story. The story about the locust-muncher and the carpenter’s son, I mean. If that duo appeared at Park Station today, we’d definitely bust their skulls open and send them to Sterkfontein.

After all, everybody knows that His spirit lives inside a short, pious man in a shiny robe at the Vatican.

[email protected]


  • Ndumiso Ngcobo

    Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he had lost his mind, quit his well-paying job, penned a collection of hallucinations. A bunch of racist white guys published the collection just to make him look more ridiculous and called it 'Some of my best friends are white'. (Two Dogs, ISBN 978-1-92013-718-2). Nowadays he spends his days wandering the earth like Kwai Chang Caine, munching locusts, mumbling to himself like John the Baptist and searching for the meaning of life at the bottom of beer mugs. The racist publishers have reared their ugly heads again and dangled money in his face to pen yet another collection of hallucinations entitled 'Is It Coz 'm Black'. He will take cash, major credit cards and will perform a strip tease for contributions to his beer fund.