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Another year in the pursuit of misery

It’s that time of the year again when most people are in a resolute mood about all the things they’re going to change in the next twelve months. Needless to say, they won’t achieve anything. Nothing substantial in any case.

The fatties won’t put down the supersized Double McGrease Deluxe Whopper Meals with extra onion rings long enough to type “gym” on their Garmins. The boozers will cut down three daily pints only to make up the “shortfall” in one weekend sitting as Premier football action resumes and the Proteas continue sticking their big toes in opposition’s orifices. The big spenders will buy one shoe less per month but discover a passion for belts. Hamas will regroup, stockpile more rockets and continue hurling them over the wall. Israel’s response will be akin to detonating a grenade to swat a mosquito. Obama, Brown and Gwede will issue strongly-worded statements of condemnation.

Our politicians will make promises, put Don Juan de Marcio to shame as they seduce and cajole. They will dance for us with the fervour of Michael Jackson in the Thriller video, especially in this electoral year. Of course they won’t grow an ounce of principle overnight and those with the keys to the safe will have cookie crumbs on their paws as usual. The bunch on the fringes will bark furiously, howl at the moon and froth at the mouth in-between Botox treatments. As for the masses, they will continue on their dry bread diet, while sniffing the air vents at their local KFC for some flavour.

As for me, I’ll plod along on the same path of mediocrity. I will write another book or two. Maybe a movie script or two. I will update this blog only erratically. There will be few moments of inspired genius amidst the usual meaningless beer-inspired babble. For weeks on end I will disappear off the face of the earth and wander the wilderness like Caine from Kung Fu, mumbling to myself like John the Baptist. A few dozen Silwane Files hardcore fans will get withdrawal symptoms and send suicidal emails. I will respond with the customary “Just do it” one-liner.

My point? I know why people make New Year’s resolutions. Because the default human condition is misery. We’re not comfortable unless we’re unsatisfied. That’s what prompts Warren Buffet to get up in the morning. Because he believes he can do more. That’s what we humans do. We reach a summit, enjoy it for a while and start looking for higher summits. It is at the core of the “grass is greener” syndrome. At the core of it is the whole “pursuit of misery” phenomenon. That’s why we start out the year with resolutions. New Years’ resolutions are essentially a list containing the sources of one’s misery throughout the year. You could gain two promotions at work, double your salary, purchase your dream home and an Audi roadster. But you’ll still be miserable because your body fat percentage is 7%. That’s just who we are. Here’s my resolution:

This year I’m going to do what I’m going to do.

Yes, the line from the Oracle from The Matrix. It’s taken me this long to truly figure out what people have been telling me for years. Crisis is the only trigger for bringing about change in humans. Until my liver has swollen up to the size of a Texan steak, I won’t put the beers down. Until Vereeniging becomes a coastal town and Cape Town is a submarine paradise, we won’t stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with our 4 000 CC double cabs. Until they need a crane to remove you from your house, you won’t put the pork bangers down. It is what it is. This year, I plan to not pursue misery. I will be happy. Join me.

Have a Happy New Year.

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  • 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.