Oor die jare was daar verkeie kolomme in tydskrifte wat aan die eensames se behoeftes probeer voldoen het.
Onthou jy dalk Die Opsitkers? In die Landbouweekblad, as ek dit nie mis het nie. En vir al wat ek weet bestaan dit nog steeds. Hoekie vir Eensames? Was dit in die Huisgenoot? Ek is nou nie meer seker nie.
Deesdae moet daar egter vir die nuwe generasie voorsiening gemaak word en aanlyn advertensies is dus aan die orde van die dag. So val my oog dan ook daagliks op Kom ons Kliek terwyl ek Netwerk24 se artikels lees.
Oor die fotos wil ek nie kommentaar lewer nie. Jy kan nie help hoe jy geskape is nie en smaak verkil in elk geval – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Jy kón darem bietjie moeite doen met jou kleredrag, haarstyl en algemene voorkoms, maar kom ons los dit ook maar daar.
Dis net ongelooflik hoe baie ‘n mens kan (of probeer) aflei uit die vier reëltjies wat onder jou naam en langs jou foto verskyn. Die idee is dat jy net genoeg moet sê om aandag te trek sodat ‘n moontlike belangstellende na jou profiel wil gaan kyk.
Laat my toe om so ‘n paar afleidings te maak.
Dis natuurlik belangrik dat jy die regte (by)naam vir jouself kies. Dit moet aandag trek, interessant wees, maar nie ander afskrik nie. Party mense, meestal ouens, gebruik sommer ‘n naam. Dit is dalk nie sy regte naam nie, maar klink vir my tog meer opreg as die uitgedinkte goed.
Naampies soos Duifie, Liefie, Skattie, Engeltjie, ensovoorts, gevolg deur een of ander ou nommertjie – byvoorbeeld 24, terwyl die fototjie duidelik wys jy is aan die verkeerde kant van 40 – val weer so reg in die kraal van die sogenaamde romantiese Afrikanertjies wat nie kan help om verkleinwoordjies vir elke dingetjie te gebruikies nie. (Wag eers, ek moet gou hardloop. Die natuur roep!)
My raad is dat jy maar baie versigtig moet wees vir die naam wat jy jouself toeken. Mense soos ek – een daar is baie van ons – besluit binne ‘n breuk van ‘n sekonde wat die naam vir ons beteken. As daar iets soos “hond” of “crazy” or “mal” in die naam is, laat dit my aan iemand dink wat jou gaan agterna jaag en dalk uiteindelik bykom – soos in byt, natuurlik!
Waag jy om ‘n dame te wees en “By” of “Bytjie” in jou naam te hê, moet jy verwag ek gaan dink aan heerlike soet heuning. O, en ek gaan dalk skrikkerig wees om jou vas te druk; netnou reageer jy ook soos ‘n by! Aan die ander kant,… aag nee, daar gaan ek al weer.
Oë regs na die +/- 25 woorde waarmee mense hulleself beskryf.
Jy moet verstaan, hierdie is gratis advertensies vir mense wat vriendskappe of maats soek. As ‘n ou dit dus baie duidelik stel dat hy daarna uitsien “om ‘n hegte vrienskap aan te koop”, begin ek wonder of hy nie by die verkeerde plek soek nie. Geld tel nie hier nie. En dan wil hy dit doen “voor enige gevorderde opsies”? Ek weet darem nie so lekker nie.
‘n Ander ou noem pertinent dat hy “hou van die lewe”. Ek sou dink meeste van ons is op daai blaadjie, ou bul. Soos ‘n bekende persoon (wie se naam ek nou vergeet het) eendag gesê het: “die lewe mag dalk moelik wees, tot jy aan die alternatief dink.”
Wat dink jy bedoel ‘n man as sy opening sin sê “ek het regtig baie om te gee”? As ek ‘n dame was hardloop ek ‘n myl (of ‘n kilometer of twee). Ek sal nooit seker wees of dit ‘n fisiese dreigement is nie; of wil hy my dalk net versmoor met liefde en aandag? Ek sal te bang wees om uit te vind. Dié man sal wel moontlik werk vir die dame wat blykbaar “stil en teruggetrokke dinge bekyk het, maar ek wil dit nou verander en myself blootstel”. A match made in heaven?
Hoe de hel ferwag jei om ‘n mysie (of man) te oortyg dat jy ernstig is is jy nie eers die heel bysieks van spel kan regkrei nie. Ek meen, as dit vir jou belangrik is dat die persoon “moed met ander kan komenkeer” en dat “omstandag heede” nie saak maak nie, dink ek jy sit klaar met ‘n moerse challenge nog voor jy hom/haar ontmoet (ontmoed?) het.
Wat van hierdie beskrywing van ‘n ideale pasmaat? “Iemand wat lus is om saam fiets te ry – langs my, agterop my fiets of selfs te help stoot”. Desperate mense, of is dit maar net ek?
En party ouens is net plein onseker wat vir hulle die belangrikste in hulle lewens is, al noem hulle ook een of twee keer wat (of wie) eerste kom. Maar wat vir ‘n waarskuwing is dit: “Jy moet nie bang wees vir bietjie konflik en Skrif studie nie”. Hoe nou? Beteken dit jy verwag ons gaan elke keer eers baklei oor wat ons gaan lees voor ons die studie doen? Ek voorspel dit gaan lank vat voordat ons ons geskilletjies opgelos gaan kry, want jy stel dit baie duidelik: “Aanhouer wen. Vind die res self uit.” Good luck, girl! Eerder jy as ek.
Mag ek tog nooit nodig hê om so ‘n advertense te plaas nie. Vat my na ‘n kroeg toe, gee vir my ‘n bierbril en ek behoort OK te wees.
As ek nie regkom nie, het ek mos ‘n ingeboude backup opsie – of dalk het ek geld om vir my ‘n “vrienskap aan te koop”. Solank ek net veilig is.]]>
6-0. Eight more before I’ll be forced to turn around.
The amazing thing is I feel no different than I felt yesterday or even 3 653 days ago. (Ten years, three leap years – stop calculating!). I will admit that some joints seem to be nearing the end of their useful life and now need daily maintenance. On the positive side, though, all the important bits are still working. (Go on, ask her.)
Looking back is not something I often do, except to reflect on the good times and amazing memories scattered through the past six decades. The not-so-good ones I tend to ignore, although some memories will forever refuse to be erased.
Blessed with and surrounded by an amazing group of people – family, relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances – I have enjoyed the past thirty-nine years* tremendously. I have been privileged to share the roller coaster ride of life with so many people, many of whose names and faces I have probably forgotten by now. Nonetheless, it would not have been the same without any one of them.
Who knows what’s in stall for me for the next 60, or however long is left. I honestly cannot see myself changing my life or lifestyle soon. I am still enjoying working and hope to continue until I have had enough. My sporting activities have already been scaled down because of the previously mentioned joint problem, but could theoretically stay at this level for many decades to come.
So, on with life – it is there to be enjoyed! And the party better be damn good tonight, boys.
(*In case you wondered, I am celebrating the 39th anniversary of my 21st, the best birthday I probably ever had.)]]>
I have been noticing a bluish round container in my bathroom for many moons and have always wondered about the magic contained within. So I took a closer look at the top label and was pleasantly surprised with what this product supposedly offered.
Firstly it claims to be “balancing”. Surely this is a must-have for those individuals regularly over-indulging in methanol-infused liquids, these days made from some of the strangest fruits and plants conceivable. Imagine an officer on duty asks you to walk on the white line to check your level of inebriation. How comforting to know that this is one test you will easily pass.
Should you, by some horrible stroke of bad luck, lose your balance and fall over, you have nothing to worry about. This product also promises to be “uplifting”. Quite useful, yes?
On the other hand, if you do fail the breathalyser test and said officer insists on giving you a pair of iron bangles before escorting you to your very small overnight room, maybe your spirits rather than your body require the “uplifting”. A long weekend all by yourself in a cold 3X3 could be very depressing, I believe.
Now that I think about it I realise there is of course the possibility that I am completely misunderstanding this “uplifting” thing. Does it perhaps refer to the power it may have of reviving some sagging body parts? Now, wouldn’t THAT be a real morale booster?
I carry on reading
The label further invites me to “get that feeling”. Without any hint of what feelings I am supposed to be getting, my two-track mind – don’t ask! – sets off on a wonderful road trip past all the possible emotions I could be experiencing. In my wildest dreams the possibilities are endless, but eventually I give up. No matter how hard I try, I cannot reach a conclusion on which feeling to get.
Is this stuff edible, I wonder? According to WordWeb the name suggests it is “an ice containing no milk but having a mushy consistency; usually made from fruit juice”. Sounds delicious, but I am not yet ready to taste it for myself.
Then I notice the proverbial elephant in the room. Right in front of me, in big bold letters, it says BODY BUTTER. And the light came on for me.
So, darling, do not believe everything you see on a label. These companies exaggerate quite a lot.
But please go ahead and use that “butter”.
I am in the mood for a sandwich anyway.]]>
Do you read the newspaper posters stuck on telephone or power poles every day? Did one or more of them ever convince you to buy the paper to read the story?
I have made a conscious decision that I will not buy a newspaper based on the content on a poster somewhere on the street. Not only are these posters often misleading, the rest of the newspaper content is generally so depressing that I end up feeling like cutting my wrists.
So I have come up with an alternative: I read the poster and then make up my own story behind it.
Confused? Join me on my ride through the news no paper ever dares report…
CATCH A JOB TODAY
The Cape Hunt and Polo Club – tired of all the criticism aimed at their laidback lifestyle of the rich & famous and the fact that their horses do all the work while they have become lard asses – recently decided to launch a new sport.
At about the same time the department of Correctional Services were discussing plans to give their inmates some more exercise without being accused of inhumanity or, God forbid!, infringing on the constitutional rights of criminals.
The best part of this coincidence is that the chief warden of Pollsmoor is also a member of the CH&PC, so the two ideas converged.
From about two months ago a large piece of open land opposite the prison was rented on a weekly basis by the said department to be used as an exercise yard for their inpatients. The field covers more than 100 hectares, thus allowing the cons plenty of space to run around in.
Of course it is impractical to allow every inmate out of prison every week, so it was decided to do it in groups, in alphabetical order.
The “hunt” section of the CH&PC jumped at the opportunity to leave their steeds at home and instead chase after and catch real live human beings for a change. Thus the sport of CRAP (Chasing and Re-Arresting of Prisoners) began.
Today the group of inmates with names starting with the letters “I” to “P” will be given the opportunity to roam the practise field. The members of the hunt club will arrive 30 minutes later and be given the opportunity to have their weekly CRAP and earn points for every trophy captured. As usual, through a completely random draw, one name was picked which will earn the lucky capturer 10 bonus points and give him/her the chance to earn the title of “Crapper of the Day”.
You guessed it: today’s lucky name drawn is “Job”, hence the poster advertising the opportunity to “CATCH A JOB TODAY”!
My less imaginative colleagues have suggested that the Daily Voice may only have been promoting a Career insert in their paper today, but of course you and I know better…]]>
Everywhere I go I see red ribbons, red balloons, red roses, red underwear. (OK, I’ll withdraw the last one – I don’t actually mind red underwear). Every radio station I tune to has some form of competition on, normally something along the lines of “show us how much you love your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/spouse/spouse equivalent/partner/stukkie/skelmpie/whatever and you could win big prizes.
It is quite obvious to me that retailers are exploiting to the max what is supposed to be a romantic day. What is even more obvious is that every second fool is falling for it.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating that Valentine’s Day be ignored, but I must acknowledge that the way it is being celebrated in general has a painful effect on my rectal muscles.
On the other hand, if I had my way I would ban Valentine’s Day, mother’s day, father’s day, Easter as well as Christmas tomorrow. Not for any religious or political reasons, of course, but I will ban all businesses from using and abusing these special events to suit their pockets.
If I am pushed and have to keep at least one of them it would be father’s day, I think. But then again, I might be ever so slightly biased.
For decades now I have watched in horror as retailers, restaurants and other businesses go from bad to worse year after year in an effort to fleece the average consumer out of some hard-earned cash that could have been put to much better use. And as I have already mentioned, it concerns me that consumers allow this to happen to them.
Obviously I write from a male point of view, so I will understand if you accuse me of being one-sided on the matter. But come on boys, are we not the ones that are being pushed to the limit by advertisements as well as a few – or sometimes a lot of – well-timed hints from the female of the species? After all, how are you going to feel when you find out that ALL her friends got flowers, cards, chocolates, gifts and jewellery, but she was SO embarrassed because she had nothing to show on the 14th of February?
It’s this guilt trip, man. Women are masters at making you out to be the villain when in fact you may be the only sane one on the block. Who on earth wants to fork out three to four times the normal price for a bunch of flowers on one day of the year when the same amount could have bought you forgiveness or even a good time three or four times during the year?
It’s just not fair, I tell you!
My advice? Do the sensible thing. Discuss it with her and come to an agreement that neither of you are into this commercialism thing and will therefore not spend any money on presents for each other.
Then, while she is not watching, go out, buy the most expensive flower arrangement you can afford, get some chocolates and book a table in a restaurant. It may be the only way to save your relationship (or even your life).
Happy Valentine’s Day!]]>
OK, let’s be honest here for a second. I have been reading articles written by people who were contemplating the worldwide energy problem.
On the one hand we are slowly but surely running out of fossil fuels like coal and oil. On the other hand – and this is the bit that concerns me most – we are fast running out of money to afford to pay OPEC for their oil.
For the past eight months I have been convinced that Angola has worse electricity problems than South Africa, but I am beginning to change my mind. From reports back home it would seem that things are spiralling out of control.
And then the answer hit me: NATURAL ENERGY! It is in abundance all around us and all we need is some simple, yet ingenious technology to harness it. Who needs Eskom when the answer is right here under our noses?
Allow me to give you four perfectly good examples.
With all the electrical, political, economical and other problems hitting our country on a regular basis, I sense that collectively we are experiencing wave after wave of despondency sweeping through the nation.
It is a well-known fact that the movement of the ocean’s waves is a consistent, non-stop supply of energy and a number of countries are already trying to utilise this source.
Now all we need is for some clever psychological engineer – do they exist? No? Train them! – to develop a method for us to harness the emotional tsunamis hitting us day after day.
The ‘wave after wave” of passion often coming from bedrooms or the backseats of cars may be even more powerful, but I guess privacy problems will put a stop to this idea.
It seems that every second person I speak to these days has joined a gym. Here’s the interesting thing: they are not going there to do circuit training. Nor do they do aerobics – it is SO nineties, dahling! No, the “in” thing these days is spinning. Yes, the act of sitting on an imitation bicycle and peddling your way to nowhere for half an hour or more.
I cannot for the life of me understand why this is so popular. If you really want to go cycling, why not buy yourself a real bicycle and get out there in the fresh air, man! (Just watch out for those crazy taxis sharing the road with you.)
While it lasts, though, put all this spinning to good use, I say. Connect dynamos to these imitation bikes and voila! Thousands of people are generating power to heat up my water for my early morning shower.
I do understand that this may be a short-lived supply, but at least during January every year there are lots of nutters attempting to live up to their new year’s resolutions.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. But the gas I am talking about is not the type that gets pumped up from the deep bowels of the earth. What I am talking about is there for the taking – it is abundant and it is free.
Have you ever been to parliament or watched parliamentary debates on TV? Have you heard politicians being interviewed? Corporate leaders informing us how they are fighting for the consumer? Al Gore and a myriad of organisational spokespersons going on and on about global warming and how we should “act now” to prevent future disasters?
Do you get my drift? There is so much hot air being released into the atmosphere every minute of the day, I am sure it has enough energy-producing capability to provide power to keep most industries going for many hours a day.
Now, if we can only find an easy way to capture this energy source and store it in high pressure tanks, many of our problems will be solved.
OK, you don’t have to tell me. I know solar power has been around for a number of years now and maybe it will be more affordable in the not too distant future.
What does concern me though is that solar power depends on the sun actually shining, the longer the better. In some places on earth this poses a problem, since overcast conditions are the order of the day for most of the year.
I do, however, have a solution that is not dependent on the sun to generate energy.
I know a lot of people – and I am sure you do too – who seem to believe that they are Mr or Ms know-it-all. They do such a brilliant job in their companies or environments, corporations and communities would not survive without their contributions. You know the type? These are the individuals who are commonly referred to as the ones “who think the sun shines out of their asses.”
Well, why don’t we utilise this characteristic? Let them all drop their pants and stand with their backsides facing solar panels while discussing their own good traits with one another. Can you see the picture? A 24-hour supply of natural light, whether the sun is actually shining or not.
So there you are. A simple solution to a simple problem
Just a word of warning: If you steal any of my ideas and actually implement it, I demand my share of the royalties.
Fair is fair!]]>
That is how strongly I felt about my problem a few weeks ago.
Let me sketch the situation.
One fine Sunday I left Cape Town for Luanda, Angola, flying via Windhoek.
I boarded in Cape Town with a lot of trepidation: I was waitlisted on the Windhoek-Luanda leg of the journey. What the hell would I do if I could not get on the flight?
Well, “all’s well that ends well”, I always say. So when I got to Windhoek and ended up in the first ten of the queue, I started feeling a bit more optimistic. (You must understand that I have heard so many stories about full flights this time of the year, I was seriously worried about not making it to Luanda on time.)
Eventually I got to the front of the queue. Lo and behold, I actually got issued a boarding pass. I immediately felt a lot better – I was going to be on the next flight out of there!
Then the first bit of bad news hit me: My luggage wasn’t booked through to Luanda. I had to go and collect it on the carousel and book it in for the next flight. Twenty minutes later all was said and done and I could eventually sit back and enjoy a coffee and a cigarette (which I hadn’t had since six hours before when I entered through check-in in Cape Town!).
More than two hours later we were eventually allowed to board the plane. In the end we left 2½ hours after the scheduled take-off time.
Upon arriving in Luanda I proceeded through immigration – a painful process all by itself – and went to the arrivals hall, only to be hit by the second bit of bad news that “your luggage was left in Windhoek.”
When I eventually arrived at the Luanda residence from the airport I started taking stock of the situation and how I was going to cope. Not only did I not have any clean clothes or toiletries with me, my luggage contained about 20kg of stuff that the team urgently needed to complete some projects.
A colleague offered to lend me some underpants, but I politely declined. I found out that he only buys G-strings and I suspected he wears them the wrong way round!
An hour and a brandy or two later I started to relax. The situation was not entirely as bleak as it first seemed. There were two clean shirts and some underpants and socks I left at the house on my last trip here. I could also go to the shop around the corner and buy the basics, so maybe I was going to survive after all.
A day and countless phone calls and e-mails – all unanswered – to every possible e-mail address on the airline’s website later, all that happened was that I got more and more frustrated by the minute. By then I had also learned the Angolan way of handling problems: There is nothing I can do about it, so why bother!
On Tuesday morning I woke up, only to discover that we had no running water. It transpired that our water tank was empty and the security guards never checked the level, so we had no advance warning that this was going to happen. The driver was immediately dispatched to go searching for a water tanker and five hour later the situation was resolved.
With some primitive tools I started fitting and fixing a few basic things in the house. Just when I sat back to relax the power went off. No problem, I thought, we had a generator. Ten minutes later there was still no electricity and I discovered that someone came in to do maintenance on the generator the previous day and since then it hadn’t worked. If only someone had informed me I could have had something done about it, but I guess the language barrier made it too difficult for the guys.
By one o’clock in the morning the power came on again and I looked forward to a productive tomorrow.
I got in the car to go and do some shopping, only to discover that the air conditioner wasn’t working. It was 38oC outside, the humidity was close to 100% and I had no way of cooling down! How bad can it still get?
Four days after my arrival in Luanda there was still no sign of my luggage. By then I was just hoping that it would get there before I left again the next week.
Frustration, desperation, anger – mention the emotion and I probably experienced it that week.
But hey, Africa is not for sissies.
“Kyk noord en f*k voort” (look north and go forth) is the motto I was going to adopt for the remainder of my stay. After that I was going to return to South Africa for a nice long break that I was really looking forward to.
By Friday I really got a bit desperate. I had an important workshop to run for the customer management team and I had nothing to wear. And this was not a “woman-thing” – I mean it literally! With a little bit of English and the odd Portuguese word I eventually managed to get the driver to understand that I needed to buy clothes.
“Fortunately” it only took 4½ hours to find pants that fitted me and I managed to get back to the residence five minutes before the workshop was due to start.
I am happy to say that all went well and five hours and a tipple or two later I felt a lot better. I had a nice steak on the gas braai and the company of some colleagues to look forward to.
Saturday afternoon, almost exactly six days to the hour since my arrival, I received a phone call from Camilo, our protocol (meet-and-greet) guy. My luggage had arrived and he was on his way to deliver it!
At least I felt fairly fresh when I checked in for my flight home on Monday morning. Hey, I was wearing fresh clothes and even had a shave over the weekend.
I did learn my lesson, though. I left enough stuff at the residence to survive for a week, just in case this happens to me again!
Well, I can quite categorically state – as one of our former politicians was wont to say – that I have never uttered those words.
And the reason? I am a winner. Regularly. And the prizes are quite big sometimes.
A few weeks ago I read a magazine entitled UnwiredMag (it has since changed is name to DigitalMag, or something to that effect). One of the articles was about an external disk that was new on the market and which they “test drove”.
At the end of the article they invited the reader to send them an e-mail with your details if you would like to receive this drive. I made a note of the address and later that evening sent of the e-mail.
Two weeks ago, out of the blue, I received a phone call from a certain Mike to congratulate me. I was the lucky recipient of the disk drive. It was delivered earlier this week and I am really enjoying the additional disk capacity I now have, especially since I will be able to load hours of music and movies on it for my regular visits to Angola.
This has reminded me of how “lucky” I am. Over the years I have won stacks of prizes in competitions, ranging from money to CD players and other gadgets.
A few years ago I even won a car in the annual Coke competition. You have to understand one thing though: my family and I consume so much Coke that we have probably paid for the car over the years. On the other hand, if this is true then I expect Klipdrift to deliver my Lamborghini soon!
So what is my secret?
You will not believe how incredibly simple it is.
I enter every competition I see that will not cost me anything – except for postage every now and then – and does not force me to buy anything I would not have bought anyway.
This means I am forever on the lookout for freebies and giveaways and I do not wait for them to fall out of the sky, I actually do something to give me a chance to receive them.
I live by the well known cliché: If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.
Next time you hear that I have once again won something, don’t come crying to me that you have never won anything in your life!
Now you’ll have to excuse me. I have to go to the corner café to buy my Lotto ticket.
PS: Thanks ITWeb & Digitalmag. I really do LOVE my Buffalo Drive!]]>
Who, me? Name dropping? Never!!!
But I really do love quoting other people, especially if their words were very witty or incredibly clever.
If you’ll allow me then, I will give you some examples of what I find funny or interesting, or gives me a “Wow! I wished I had said that!” kind of feeling. Over the years I have collected hundreds, maybe thousands, of these, and I hope you will enjoy this sample
To kick off, how about a few one-liners form the person whom I believe to be the master of the genre, stand-up comedian Stephen Wright. If you’ve never seen or heard him, he is the kind of guy that just stands on stage with a deadpan face, spewing out one hilarious line after another.
This is how Stephen apparently entertains himself: “Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.”
He also has interesting ideas for his apartment: “I just got skylights put in my place. The people who live above me are furious.”
Lastly, this is his view of the English language: “Why is it, when a door is open it’s ajar, but when a jar is open, it’s not a door?”
Do yourself a favour, look him up on Google (or Blackle, if you’re a Greenie) and read more of his wisdoms.
The world abounds with people who want to give you advice. This is the best bit of advice I ever received: “Never listen to advice.” I only wish I had heard this a lot earlier in life.
While we’re on the topic of life, how about this for a guideline: “Live life because you want to, not because you have to.” Doesn’t that just make a lot of sense?
Or as someone else put it: “Enjoy life! This is not a rehearsal.”
As we get a bit older, our view changes, as so nicely put by Jules Renard, a writer who lived from 1864 to 1910: “We don’t understand life any better at forty than at twenty, but we know it and admit it.” I can certainly attest to that.
As a final word on the topic of life, how about this piece of advice that has been keeping me going since a young age:” It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”
Moving right to the end, so to say, this is what Johnny Carson, a famous American talk show host, has to say about death: “For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.” Nothing like some scientific useless bits of information to help fill a dull pub conversation, I always say.
I may have had a lot to say about the driving habits of Luanda drivers, but maybe (just maybe) the following is also true for me: “The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.”
Of course the past is littered with people who made predictions about the future, especially as far as technology advances are concerned.
In 1957, in my book definitely one of the most important years of the previous century (private joke), the editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall had this to say about the future of computers: “I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
For all you couch potatoes out there, how do you think you would have passed the day if the prediction of Darryl Zanuck, producer at Century Fox in 1946 became true: “Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Someone else who cannot be accused of having good foresight as far as new developments are concerned, is Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society from 1897 to 1899. He had the power of his conviction to make the following statements:
· “Radio has no future”;
· “X-rays are clearly a hoax”; and
· “The aeroplane is scientifically impossible.”
I guess he has been spinning in his grave a few times over the last century.
There are a lot of negative energies surround each of us on a daily basis. I therefore make use of a few positive affirmations on a daily basis to help me through life. I have found that in the work environment, this one works best for me: “I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else’s fault.”
Many of us (or so I hope!) are gainfully employed by some corporation and are therefore guaranteed some income every month. In the uncertain times we live these days, I guess it makes sense to remember that “I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.”
I have stated that I prefer not to listen to advice from others. Well, if I have to be honest, that is not entirely true. For example, a Zen master once said to me, “Do the opposite of whatever I tell you.” So I didn’t.]]>
Some clever person once said “Rules are there to be broken.”
Of course I love this maxim. In fact, I could live my life by it if only society would allow me full freedom.
There is one big problem with it though. I am trying very hard to get my sons to understand the need for rules and live by them, while at the same time teaching them that it is sometimes OK to break them too.
Examples abound of people trying to put down their own rules, over and above the laws and regulations of the country or organisation or community or whatever you find yourself in. Sometimes they actually manage to sum up your environment or circumstances very well.
One such set of rules that I particularly like, are explained like this by Samuel Butler:
There are two great rules in life, the one general and the other particular.
The first one is that everyone can, in the end, get what he wants, if he only tries. That is the general rule.
The particular rule is that every individual is, more or less, an exception to the rule.
Doesn’t it just sum up the human race rather nicely?
But let me get to what actually got me thinking about rules.
A few days ago I, like hundreds of times before, went down a flight of stairs in the building of the oil company I work at in Luanda, Angola. If you have read some of my previous blogs you may recall that they are very big on rules, especially as far as the health and safety of their employees and contractors are concerned.
I looked up and once again saw the laminated A4 with the stair rules on the wall. And like so many times before I once again read it.
Then it struck me: I have just disobeyed one of the rules! What now, should I go and report myself to the HSE Committee?
Here is what I saw:
· Don’t run
· Look where you are going
· Hold the handrail
· Use the lifts if your hands are full
· Do not read
Go on, read it again.
Spotted it? The last line says “Do not read!”
Here we have a set of rules that are very important and, believe you me, taken very seriously by the company. And what do they do? Force you to break the rules while all you are trying to do is familiarise yourself with them.
I guess life is complicated enough without having to be burdened with conundrums like these.
To help make your life a bit easier I will therefore take the liberty of teaching you one of the most important lessons I have learned in the past few decades.
There are two rules for ultimate success in life.
1. Never tell everything you know.